Friday, January 01, 2016

One Rant on the Pinnacle of Human Endeavor and One New Year Wish

Anyone who has dealt with a critical medical situation in the family knows that feeling of helplessness that comes with putting your trust in a doctor, usually a stranger, who now controls the fate of all the memories from the past, and the moments you were planning for the future.

Recently, while sitting outside an OT with my insides threatening to explode into a debris of crumbling nerves or whatever gore insides explode to, I noticed this short inspirational sign board.

I am not sure about the origins of this, but don't the lines about a patient can offer you no higher tribute that to entrust you with his life and his health and by implication with the happiness of all his family move you ? Like really move you ?

Now, if you have ever sat next to me on a bar stool you would have heard my loopy rant on what are 'real' jobs and those made up things wise guys in corner offices come up with. The real jobs, ever since division of labor and all that economics 101 jargon got spewed out, in my limited wisdom are

  1. Farming - feeding us all
  2. Soldiering and policing - helping us not get pummeled by the biggest guy in the neighborhood
  3. Medical practitioners and researchers - helping us stay alive before we die
  4. Firemen and rescue services - Risking their own lives for the lives of others. Stupid but heroic.
  5. Scientists with crazy hairdos - Taking long shots for a better future
  6. The guys who come up with different types of Beer.
I may have missed out on a few, but any other job description, especially the ones that 'add value ' in some important sounding supply chain are largely made up to help things be done more efficiently.

But what about the soul Parab?

As far as artists go, sure they help our souls, elevate our thoughts but when stuck in an island with limited space on a boat and you having to choose between a tiger and a goat, I would rather be my own entertainer and get a farmer dude along with me. Just in case. Or a Victoria Secret model.

Sports ? I know I am being brutal here, but again in the strict sense our lives no longer depend on how fast we run over a 100 meters or how cleverly we cut a ball over third man's head.

No offense intended. I am guilty of double murder. A marketer (I can't look myself in the mirror) and a writer ( I need longer hair to help me look myself in the mirror)

But here we are. Here we are with our jobs.

Important in our own ways for putting food on the table with the greatness of our purpose being making others look good. These are the cards that have been dealt to us by fate, by circumstance and largely by the choices we make. There is no escape for there are only so many people who are required for the 'real jobs'. And then someone has to do the writing, the coding, the selling, the passing the ball around to make the wheels, the wheels within the wheels go round and round so the world can go around.

Its really not that bad, I figure. A superhero is important for there are so few of him or her.

And so, as I sat outside the OT worrying about family,  resigned to fate, and knowing that how badly I could use some distraction.  And then those words on the sign board. Brilliant.

Take writing for starters. And while my heart soared when that connection was made, my blood boiled.

For is it not true that a reader while not putting her life in your hands, is putting a few hours of her limited time in reading your work when she can easily give her attention to another book, a movie, or perhaps something else. In that moment, are you not a doctor who can help someone be better? As writers, don't your readers deserve the best that you can put in front of them ?

As an artist, don't you owe it to yourself  after you have made a deliberate choice to create? Should you not at least try to raise your work to the highest pinnacle of what you are capable of, if not human endeavor ?

The blood boiled, and it does boil every time I see 'writers' writing books we can do without for 'it sells'. Every time, as one of the internet forwards go, well meaning trees enjoying their retirement are cut down to print garbage. Every time impostors claim to be writers, implying by the choice of the self description a bond with men and women from the past who have toiled over hours figuring out how to write, re-write, and re-write till no more word can be made out of a word. And then re-write so if not for an entire length of a book, but for fleeting moments you hit the pinnacle of bloody human capability.

The same with other non real jobs I guess. You may be a techie, a shop floor mechanic, a driver - feel free to lower your tolerance level for the mediocrity around you so in a way, you push yourself in a corner and then push yourself to raise your game to be truly unforgettable. No matter whichever profession you are in.

Ok. Rant over. Happy New Year. Wish over.

Rustom and the Last Storyteller of Almora by Gaurav Parab [Hachette] was listed by the Times of India and Business Standard as one of 5 weekend reads , The Hindu calls it a Genre bender, The Statesman ‘An Almost Perfect Debut, The Lucknow tribune calls it a debut to remember, The Pioneer calls it Cinematic, The Vistara Air inflight magazine a Good Book on the Shelf, the Sakaal times says its ‘sheer brilliance in storytelling’ while the Bangalore Mirror calls it an unforgettable story. It is available in leading bookstores and online here

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