You had to hang him, I thought. I do not sympathize with Afzal and the people he stood for. I do not support their struggle. I believe they are fighting for a chance to jump into a dark chasm they neither understand nor have the capacity to deal with. I abhor them for inflicting pain at my countrymen and I feel quite righteous. But the death penalty was not only unjust, it was damaging for the integrity of this nation. That much I understand. So I winced in disbelief when he was executed. You want us to pay for your stupidities, I thought.
We are caught in a circle of a need that arises due to rampant insurgency and the corruption resulting from the power we have to wield to control it. The media is hand in glove with the government to create a haze of misinformation and bias. The end result is a collective conscience that tears apart this people into blind factions mumbling rhetoric. Or, so I thought.
How easy it is to blame it on “them”, as long as we are excluded. Media hides facts. Government does not act. Security forces misuse their power. What about us? We do nothing. Never in the history of this world has doing nothing felt more powerful. We ride these moral rocking horses, blindfolded, ear reverberating with reasoning and anecdotes that we take at face value, our mouths duct-taped to a continuous supply of intellectual faeces that bloats our minds, leaving it capable of only rousing into murderous rage for frequent but short-lived moments, whence we denounce the world for its mere existence, propounding our self-righteousness in the same breath, eventually subsiding into a state of greater incapacity than furniture. We are not even ornamental.
It does not matter what colour the terror is, because the colour of the blood it spills is always red. It does not matter if your loved ones are safe, because the survivors of a blast are those who get killed, the real casualties (of any terrorism) are the people who witness the massacre and (decide to) live in a world where another blast has been accepted and swept off as that dull, annoying, pestering thing called reality. It does not matter if and when are the terrorists brought to justice, because we, and our inaction, are creating them.
One of the most powerful and elegant natural processes that has shaped all life on earth as we see it, evolution, is brute force. Organisms are not born perfect for their surroundings. They adapt to them gradually over generations, thanks to natural selection. Millions of offsprings with varying traits are procreated, but only those most suited form the succeeding generations, carrying the fittest genes ahead. The failure rate is astounding.
Our work and our creations carry the most basic gene the world deals with, our ideas. Every piece of work done by humans is an attempt to ensure the survival of their progeny of ideas. In this sense, the process of creation is the intellectual equivalent of reproduction, and the resemblance is remarkable. Ideas are not born perfect, they have to be improved over several iterations, and very few make it in the vast and unruly jungle of human knowledge and conscience. The strong ideas stick; persevering through generations and centuries, either directly or in various mutated forms. Though, the signatures they leave on their living or non-living bearers can not always be traced back, their legacy lives, long after they were first expressed. The weak ones either die obscure deaths at the hands of social predators (cultures, norms, and such) or starve because they fail to gather enough interest to thrive upon.
Consider this analogy and then think, who are we to ever give up? Be it ideation, creation or attempts at achieving a particular goal, we are supposed to be unabashed and brazen at failing. If nature needs brute force to create the remarkable world we marvel at and get inspiration from, we for sure should not mind picking ourselves up and starting all over again after falling ever so often, unless one doesn’t mind disappearing (without a trace).
Ever wondered how ambiguous this idiom is? Apparently, it implies that the possession of some, however little, part of what you want is better than having nothing at all. Apparently! Well, making some profit is definitely better than just breaking even. I have a bone to pick, but not with its meaning. My war is with the contradictory wordplay this idiom uses to increase the ambiguity in my little universe. Ever since I first set my eyes upon it, it has coyly expressed an opinion exactly opposite to the one it asserts otherwise. Something, it whispers (as it winks), is not better than anything. And hence, something, it whispers (as it nudges), is the worst! And then it slithers up my sense of clarity, asphyxiating it as it warrants that there is nothing in the whole world which is better than something. You achieve a dream in its entirety or you achieve nothing at all. But you achieve “something”? Oh lord almighty! What pity! You got some of it?! Tch tch.
With the frequent launch of consumer electronic devices hopped up on Android, I question if it is really smart to make all our devices “smart”? Or to seek a different perspective to the same question, is it really smart to make all our devices “smart” separately? Can’t we somehow unify the smartness of all our devices?
Samsung is aiming to grab the point and shoot market with an android powered digital camera. The only novelty it adds is an ease of connectivity for sharing/uploading your pics, which in all fairness is nothing new. But, a manufacturing giant like Samsung can potentially stream-roll the competition by selling these at throw away prices. Or consider the trend of Android-ment of televisions, be it an embedded system or a companion device that converts your legacy tube to a savvy system that can be used to surf the internet or stream content to or from a cloud based service. The consumption and distribution of digital content is forcing manufacturers to introduce “smartness” to traditionally dumb consumption devices.
So is this how the future looks? A myriad of smart and connected devices, each with a customized processor and UI? Or does it look a little smarter and more efficient? If Asus’s futuristic [but horrendously named] attempt is considered rationally, it looks like a nice place to start. The PadFone by Asus utilizes the power of a single device to motor three form factors on the go, a phone, a tablet and a netbook.
If you take the concept and extrapolate it, the future looks handy, literally. A single device [I call it a "smart core"] could be used to power not just different form factors to suit your current needs but also entirely different genres of devices, like your camera or your tv. The firmware of the device can be designed to perform the task the device is meant for but the processing power, memory, connectivity and UI needs can be fulfilled by a powerful smart phone in its core. As an example, you could use your phone’s camera for day to day pictures, but for a wedding or on a holiday you could simply slip it into a shell that helps it take better pictures [not entirely futuristic any more].
Moreover, with advances in wireless technology you may not even have to physically connect it for few applications, like for managing your TV. And far ahead lies the state of pure digital nirvana, the world where all the connectors and devices are standard and non-proprietary which essentially means the user gets to hook any “smart core” to any device seamlessly. Thereby eliminating the dependence of one device on any specific smart core, and hence increasing the multiplicity of its use, even by other members of a family.
My dad was 51 when I was 15. He had no reason to connect to a teenage rebel, no obligation to walk across the generation gap and hold my hand, but he did. Through the years he did his best to understand me and my idiosyncrasies. He led by example, and made us [me and my three sisters] honest, hard-working and compassionate. My mom is the smartest homemaker you can find. She is skilled in the sartorial arts and is an amazing cook. She stood by my dad through thick and thin, worked as hard as he did [may be even harder] and brought us all up smart, strong and ready for life. They are the best parents a child can ever get. I am what I am today because of them. The only fault I could ever find in them was that they care a little too much. My folks are a rare exception, and hence, the words that follow are not for them.
Parents, inherently, are bad people. When I say “bad”, I don’t accuse them of making mistakes, being wrong but unaware. No, when I say “bad”, I mean they are bad by intent; their actions are incorrect and they know. For example, they take your life decisions for you. No, they don’t help you reach your decision, they don’t equip you with the right skills to take decisions, they take them for you. Granted there is a huge chance that they are right, that everything they warned you about your decision will happen, and you will be proved wrong. But life is not about taking right or wrong decisions, it is about taking decisions and facing the consequences with all your strength and pride. [And mind you, I am not talking about simple things, no-brainers; of-course drugs are bad, they are supposed to tell you that and stop you from destroying your life. I am talking about those situations in life where failure is more fruitful than success because it teaches you invaluable lessons about the world around you and yourself.] They know it is good to learn the hard way, but they want to make an exception for you (you, their precious vehicle of gene propagation) to give you a head start in life. If it worked that way, vaccines would be 100% distilled water.