The last post I wrote was on the last day of last month for the Tehelka Thinkfest. While the week which followed Thinkfest was spent in relaxing in Goa, two weeks after that were spent in paying back for these holidays at office. But as I went about my usual work and also while I was taking in Goa, the conversations that happened over three days lingered in my head. Over three days, I heard a lot of people - most of them well known, some of them not so well known and a few of them not known at all; coming from backgrounds that were not even remotely connected unless you invoke the whole "we are all related in some way or the other" theory. I could write a post on each of the sessions - such were the quality of discussions. And, for all we know, I may do it, at least for some of them.
But this post is about an overarching thought. A thought that is so simple yet so profound. And, mind you, a thought, the meaning and relevance of which, I have not yet realized. The thought that "We are all one, but living in different worlds". On one side we were listening to Gregory Stock who said how science will help us decide what qualities our offspring will possess; how the weak would be weeded out by this process of (un)natural selection. On the other side, we heard Himanshu Kumar and Kopa Kunjam talk (in Hindi) about how a (hopefully) duly elected state government was "undermining" (and I cannot overlook the fact that undermining has the word mining in it) the rights of its its own people to achieve larger objective of progress. On one side we listened to Chitrangada Sigh discussing the subject of "Love, its meaning and its powers" and on the other hand we heard the fiery Dayamani Barla defending (in Hindi again - which for some strange reason was a relief to hear on stage and even sounded like music) the rights of the tribals to the earth, mountains, rivers, air.
Many times, I feel confused. Is our progress akin to that of stretching a chewing gum. One end stuck to one finger while the other keeps on going further away and ultimately making a mess of everything. It was shocking for most people (including myself) to hear the contents of Soni Sori's heart-rending letter to Himanshu Ji. But what beyond this shock. Isn't this shock similar to the shock you got when you first witnessed an accident on the road and now laugh about as you drive past to your destination. And when I say this, I have not hidden the needle of guilt to poke you. Because many times we have the best of intentions but a lack of motivation.
And so while we shared the roof for three days and ate together, most of us went back to our daily routine. Living in a city like Hyderabad, while I crib of hundreds of things, I also take for granted thousands of things that are a dream for many living in this very country and many times living only a few hundred kilometers away. Have we thought of what can happen to us if we choose to take on the state? Have we thought of what will be the compensation you will seek when your government comes tomorrow and asks you to sacrifice that flat and job which you were so sure about till yesterday. And how would you feel if after promising to help you pick up the pieces, it left you in the lurch. A la Lawaris. Honestly, I do not know.
It is understandable to live in worlds that are separated by culture, geography and ,to an extent, financial status. But it is not understandable when our worlds are separated by ignorance.