Friday, March 29

Proletariat

How easy is it to abuse power?

Being Indian, we see the innocent trampled under the iron heel of what passes for government almost every day. In Mumbai, every minute. Being people with internet connections, and about 20 minutes a day when we're not on Twitter, FB or torrenting a movie, we read about it happening, overtly and covertly, all over the world. Unless we're the unfortunate sods getting fucked by fate and the machinations of the Man, it is only faintly affecting. Like trying to read by the light of a few stars.

Of course, we probably engage in it ourselves; in various subtle or knowing ways, with family, friends and random others. Then it becomes excusable, thanks to various nifty and self-assuring phrases that zoom through our craniums, so again, the effect is diluted.

So, if you know you're powerful, how easy is it to abuse power? 

From what I've seen over the last couple of weeks, not that hard. All it takes is the ability to enjoy being vindictive and to articulate your words and feelings through a series of devastating broadsides. I wasn't the target this time around, but a day may come when I will be, so it was a great validation of my suspicions.

Its disappointing to see. I'm not saying you need to be the milk of human kindness. Lord knows, in this economy, you'll curdle. You can be tough, but fair. You can have compassion, and express that through your behaviour. You can be benevolent. You don't have to let your monstrous ego get in the way. You don't have to crush an ant with a hammer. You can choose...

You choose. To show the extent of your power by making an example of someone so junior that their life and future shouldn't matter to your existence. To harass them with impossible deadlines, ludicrous criticisms, defame their character and do whatever else you can. Its like watching Jupiter becoming insecure because of Mercury. It'd be funny if it weren't so sad. 

Now, the rest of us minions now know how things stand. So, we're not obliged to bleed for the company or have any vestige of pride about working here. But we have long memories and contacts. And you can bet your sweet booties not one of us is recommending this place, even to our enemies.

Abuse your power all you want. Just don't be surprised at the consequences. That just makes it worse.

Song for the moment: Napalm Love - Air

Saturday, March 9

Warning Sign

The fear of being left behind is an instinctive feeling that first appears in childhood; we are in a unfamiliar, crowded place, entranced by the chaos of light and sound around us. It is only gradually that we realise that we don't know anyone we're seeing. Once the seed of that dread takes root, it flowers rapidly, killing off any joy we felt earlier and replacing that with a cold, heaviness in the pit of our stomach, a feeling that suffocates as each second ticks by. Then, out of the panic, we will see our loved one or hear them call. Relief will wash over us and life will go on but we'll never be rid of that all-consuming fear.

When colleagues announce their resignations, having secured better jobs, we'll have mixed feelings. Genuine gladness that their hard work, suffering, tenacity and talent have paid off, is often shaded by the familiar fear; That we're getting left behind. In this case, other feelings will join in. Inadequacy, self-doubt, ennui (apparently pronounced onway), a little bit of self-directed anger, a surge of adrenalin, desperately critical evaluation of the pitiful portfolio, self-recrimination, yada yada yada.

A combination of emotions similar to those shared by those poor sods in the movie 'The Great Escape', who don't, instead watching McQueen, Attenborough, Bronson and the rest mosey out of there.

At the end of the day, they're leaving and we didn't even think about digging a tunnel, never mind come up with creative warning signals.

Moving on.

When you've been single a long time, you do tend to confuse infatuation with genuine feelings of liking someone. It makes you blind to almost everything that is and could be wrong with the person. And speaking from personal experience, no good ever comes of it. It does not evolve into something more healthy; instead, it will burrow into your head, and turn your rational self into a blathering idiot. It is an unfortunate situation, but will only leave you picking up whatever is left of your dignity, pride and heart and attempting to glue them back together. Time heals wounds and all, but even it can't do much if you repeatedly keep stabbing yourself in the same place.

Of course, you only realise it is infatuation in hindsight. But, when you've been single a long time, infatuation is often all you have. Then what?

Song for the moment: Don't panic - Coldplay