The Reality Junkies

"It is like a collage of crises that we all seem to be carrying around in our heads making all of us just a little bit more insane"

“Of our elaborate plans, the end.
Of everything that stands, the end.
No safety or surprise, the end…”

– Jim Morrison, The Doors

 The Bombay bomb blast in Dadar happened a while ago. I don’t remember the date anymore. Too much has happened since then. That day is memorable for the egg sandwich that I discovered in the canteen next to my office because I couldn’t leave the office till late. I wasn’t scared by this act of terror – living in India makes you a bit immune to them, even to the ones in your immediate backyard. My mammalian brain seemed to have found a way to cope with the tragedy, though I got a throbbing headache by evening which I couldn’t explain.

Most days have an epic quality about them these days. You wake up in the morning to see USA lose an A, the world markets meltdown in front of your eyes as you get ready to leave for work, one more regime would have changed in the Middle east by the time you come back from work. The event itself has ceased to be the surprise, that everything didn’t unravel and come unhinged is now the surprise. It is as if the world is balancing on an edge, forever, threatening to topple over with each new event, but somehow holds out.

To live a normal life while carrying this collage of crises, both good and bad, in our heads is probably making all of us just a little bit more insane. Greece could default anytime now, Euro’s death could be the headline tomorrow morning, and news about India is only getting worse – and each of these will have a major impact on your well being too. But thinking about it too much is like thinking about death, it comes in the way of living well today. Compared to the severity of any of these events, trying to live a predictable and an easy life seems politically incorrect. How can I think of sandwiches when terror stuck Mumbai? How can a morning tea be appreciated with a few billion dollars of global wealth evaporated in one morning? How can haircut be important when India is facing an existential crises?

Nor is there enough time to make sense of many things. It is as if Moors law has jumped out from the world of microprocessors to the real world and written a new rule for you to live by – the pace of change of your personal life will double every 18 months. We go from bust to boom in such a short span of time that disasters don’t seem permanent too. This over stimulated life is now the new normal. In this volatile mix, disasters and opportunities lurk around the corner for each of us, as long as we can hold on.

I stay an optimist, or maybe I have become a reality junkie. There isn’t any other times I would like to be in, except maybe the future. Next 5 years could transform your reality into something you cant even predict. The credo to live in todays age was captured so beautifully in the movie Castaway, when Tom hanks right at the end says –

“…And that’s when this feeling came over me like a warm blanket. I knew, somehow that I had to stay alive. Somehow. I had to keep breathing. Even though there was no reason to hope. And all my logic said that I would never see this place again. So that’s what I did. I stayed alive. I kept breathing. And one day, my logic was proven all wrong because the tide came in, and gave me a sail. And now, here I am. I’m back in Memphis, talking to you. I have ice in my glass… and I know what I have to do now. I got to keep breathing. Because tomorrow, the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?”

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