Friday, April 19, 2013

Not If. When.

I read The Lord Of The Flies on a long-distance bus more than a decade ago. I finished it in a few hours, and spent the rest (mostly) staring out of the window, looking at the dusty roads, the trucks, villages where shiny new DTH dishes and motorcycles coexisted with sagging power lines and open, stinking gutters. Even then, I had that sense - that something was going wrong, somewhere. 
I can't watch the news anymore. I can't watch even a few seconds of soaps while flipping channels. The newspaper comes and goes. 
Because whenever I see any of these, I remember those villages, those small towns. I remember the snarl of a million wires stealing power from poles, flies buzzing, snarled traffic on broken roads while people sat around and watched bright, colorful fantasies on screens, shopped for their knockoffs and preened. 

It's all coming down. 

It was a microcosm then, and it's everywhere now. 
I look away because I know I can't handle the rage, the dark redness that comes up again and again, more and more frequently these days. One day I'll look too long, and something will break, and then it'll be all over. For me, for them, for you. 

Cows and dogs and pigs and rats. Pigeons and crows. The squirrels and sparrows are all dead now, choked in the poison air and the tainted water. 

We stumble around in the little worlds we build around us, made of screens and paper and gossip and aspirations. The water is rising, and it stinks, but we mustn't look down, oh no. We have our phones and TVs and movies and soaps, we have our outrage and air-conditioning and our 'spirit' and cricket, and the gods we make, and the lies we eat. And that's the way it's going to be, while the water rises over our legs, our bodies, our mouths, and then we'll hold our breath, because though we can;t eat the lies anymore we can't breathe either, and then we'll die, and sink down into the muck, quiet at last. Maybe the water will dry up later, and something will grow. Or maybe it'll just fill with the blind white toothed worms and maggots, our legacy. 
It doesn't matter. 

You always think it won't happen to you, that you're not like that, not like them, no, you're smarter, you take care of yourself and yours, and what you see today if you look too long is the result of a dozen channels starving for content and replaying ad nauseum, a hundred newspapers and magazines and movies and morchas finding a popular subject and milking it till it's dead, that this is just a biased sample and not actually all true. Even as the similarities grow, you keep finding the differences, the tinier and tinier pointers that say this isn't you, you're not like that. 
Then... it does happen, and then it's too late. 

And look around. It's a matter of time. 
It's not if it happens. 
It's when. 


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