Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Change We Can Believe In

Every post of mine is like a Jugal Hansraj movie. So sporadic that everytime I come back, it’s a comeback. Understandably, a lot of water has passed under the bridge since I last wrote. We still had a PM who had more hair on his head than on his face, Karunanithi and Mayawati were thinking which portfolios they would get in the new cabinet, the defence minister and finance minister were two different people (so were the PM and the Gujarat CM) , Bihar still had a chief minister whose name you didn’t have to Google, Sr. Yadav was the most embarrassing CM UP had ever had, West Bengal divisions of Asian Paints and Akzonobel still had White and Blue colours in stock, thirteen IIMs and sixteen IITs were considered aplenty, train was still the cheapest means to reach Kochi from Bangalore, Iraq had only one notable militia: its government, the most gruesome death in Game of Thrones was Ned Stark’s, the two kids in HIMYM didn’t know who their mother was, Sri Lanka didn’t know how to win tournament finals, Mayanti Langer had the best figures in the Binny family, Netherlands was supposed to be van Gaal’s toughest assignment, so many on Twitter had Spanish Flags and Federer as their DPs and you finally thought you had seen the end of Sreesanth on TV. 

But things change, don’t they? We live in a world in transition. So much so that every voter demands change, every politician promises change and every government delivers change: a change of personnel. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this constant craving for change is what sets us apart from other species. From the average voter to the subziwallah, everybody wants change. When we had very big computers and phones, we wanted small ones. When we finally got small ones, we then wanted big ones. I am sure the sine wave was discovered as a result of curious change-seeking scientists trying to plot a graph of the average screen size of electronic devices on the y-axis and time on the x-axis. Even within electronics, the change is not restricted to screen sizes alone. Remember the good old CRT screen days? That was the era of the Thomsons, BPLs, AIWAs, AKAIs, SANSUIs and ONIDAs; the era of curvilicios televisions. But then could we settle for something that had lasted for so long without suggesting alterations? Hell no! So we invented flat television. Scarlett Johansson gave way to Kiera Knightley. And just when you thought flat television was here to stay, Samsung is now trying to sell curved TVs. 

I am sure, somewhere in her Malibu penthouse, Scarlett just winked.

The need to change isn’t restricted to the accessories we use. The rot runs much, much deeper. While travelling, those with confirmed seats in AC bogies want to peek out of the compartment doors while ticketless travellers want to rest their butts on air-conditioned seats. Those on the upper birth want erect postures while sitting while those with lower births want the no-nonsense comfort of the upper birth. In flights, those who chose the window seats now want the leg space of the aisle and those who opted for the leg space now find the scenery ever so attractive. The poor fellow on the middle birth always wants change. 

People who owned two wheelers now want four wheelers while those who owned four wheelers now think four are two wheels too many. Women are proud of well toned bodies while certain men flaunt their 56-inch chests.

Prime Ministers are becoming Presidents and Presidents becoming Prime Ministers. Batsmen are turning their arms over and bowlers are flexing the willow. Off-spinners are bowling doosras and leggies bowling googlies. Fast-bowlers are bowling slower ones and spinners bowling arm-balls. Strikers are finding the midfield more challenging with the midfielders becoming more attacking. The lunatic is adding method to his madness while the methodical is throwing caution to the wind.  

Clearly, such changes aren’t limited to our lives alone. They have had an irreparable and indelible impact on art and literature as well. While it has helped in coining of new terms such as anti-incumbency, at the same time, it has made redundant others such as status quo. It has made immortal lines such as ‘the times they are a changing’ while made others such as ‘change is constant’ paradoxical, because truly speaking, nothing is. Remember Calculus from High-School? Wonder if teachers still deduct marks for skipping the constant you needed to add after Integration.

With the Left looking Right and the Right looking further Right; the East looking West and West looking East, at least we’re all headed in the same direction. South.