When I read your blogs most often the word that used to strike me was “angry”; how angry you were about the system, situation and people. for the first time i think i experienced that were the words that dropped into my inbox yesterday. It was from M, a dear friend and supporter who lives thousands of miles away and who has become a confident and close ally. Perhaps it is because we share the same dreams, however impossible they may seem, notwithstanding our age difference or the fact that we live in two different worlds. Perhaps again it is because we both at some times of our lives learnt the fox’s precious lessons and look with our hearts!

She often reads my blogs and gives her views, or we exchange emails on issues that disturb us and often realise that our views or similar. However this is the first time she reacted vehemently and shared what many feel is my anger. M was referring to an article that appeared in the New York Times and depicted life in one of the upcoming and fashionable suburbs of our metropolis. It portrayed in graphic details the life of the two Indias hat live side by side but not in symbiosis. Swanky flats adjacent to crowded slums were residents of both interacted for some hours of the day as one bought comfort and ease to the other. What had riled M was the apparently innocuous and yet portent remark of one of the residents, a Doctor by training, who confesses having thought about opening a clinic in the nearby slums but feels that there is little she or anyone else could do.

M cannot not understand how one could simply waste an education, or put in other words how people lose their conscience somewhere along the way. Or to put it yet again in other words: how one could remain insensitive to the reality that was so obviously there to see.

There are no easy answers. A comment on a recent blog I wrote sent a chill down my spine. To my now almost legendary ranting and ravings about a disquieting issue, the commentator proffered the following: Yes times are changing…… its the beginning of the end.
I hope you don’t harbour any misconception that this civilisation can be changed for the better. We are too conditioned for that. Civilisation began in places like India and here will (or already) it die first. This is not a judgement but an observation. The evolution is merciless and creates the new on the death of the old. Pray for strength to see through the tough and tougher times to come. There is no point in reacting. Lets learn to mute witness to the process of life.

My answer is simple: sorry I do harbour hope that things can change for the better. No bigger example than a warm day in march 2003 as held a death sentence in my hand and yet also saw life. Today Utpal lives for all to see! I am not conditioned and cannot be a mute witness. It would be an insult to my very existence.

Yet one wonders if this is easy way out one could adopt to whitewash every and anything that seems to be out of sync. Like the proverbial karma that is thrown at you each time you try and solve an issue, suggest an alternative or simply do some good an thus threaten to rock the boat.

Too many today hide behimnd the cloak of fatalism and yet each time I am comfronted with a situation like this one, my determination to carry on no matter what takes a quantum leap. It seems that we have walked the passive acceptance route for so long that we have along the way lost our conscience, our sensitivity and our ability to look with our hearts hence defeating the very essence of the karmic view of life. It is easy to wave another person’s karma for all to see, but what about our own. Is it not time to turn the mirror towards ourselves?

Sinking into comfort zones or burying our heads in the sand is not a solution we can be proud of. Change or the much heralded transformation of society can only come when we assume responsibility of what surrounds us and take a step, no matter how tiny towards setting things right.

We cannot wait for Godot. He is there in each one of us, it is for us to find him.

I will end this post with M’s words as they reflect the deep seated anguish of a young Indian: how do we as a society inspire such people to stop squandering their education? i understand that everyone has the right to whatever education they want and to respect their choice on what they do with that education. but are we really a billion people with no concept of “pay back” to our society? what sort of upbringing are we giving our children when we aspire them to complete school, get degrees when we can’t teach them the value of a shared community that benefits from everyone helping out? the other way to look at this is to assume that economic prosperity once established in a quorum population will ignite a string of social entrepreneurship. but that’s a wait and watch game.

It is time to act!

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