Sunday, January 04, 2009

Dream On

Some months ago I watched this video on you tube titled "Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams". I was spellbound...I am ready to die tomorrow if I can deliver a speech like this. Got to thank a truly awesome guy who pointed me to this. Will not reveal his real name here...let me just call out one of his aliases and say thank you "Bruce Willis". Moved, inspired...I copied Randy Pausch's idea and I drew a list of significant things that I have done or I have always dreamt of. On the list there are 36 things. Some are my childhood dreams, some teenage dreams and there are more that I am picking up as I go on with my life. One of them was going to Bhutan. Yes, it is the 9th item on the list and I have put a tick mark against it. Dream scoreline 9 out of 36.

Being a city bum, I am blessed with the energy that only a city can give. This energy is so powerful that I dreamt of Bhutan and back within Rs. 10,000 and I smashed this target by a mile. Travelling 'low cost' was the mantra. I am going to be writing more about the Bhutan trip...and I intend to break it down into small pieces. First piece is about eighty plus hours that I spent on the train from Delhi to Siliguri and back. Travel through Bihar and Uttar Pradesh took lion's share of the hours.

"If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India!" - Romain Rolland

Talking about dreams...let's go back about hundred years and imagine what a freedom fighter in India would have dreamt. When I say freedom fighters, I am not talking about stalwarts like Bhagat Singh, Bose or Gandhi...I am talking about yesteryear's equivalent of me and you. They probably dreamt of an India which is independent, prosperous, has a functional democracy (big words these), where people are educated, there is no poverty and there is respect for everything an independent country has to offer to its citizens. Of course, this is just me imagining and no way exhaustive. When I travel in sleeper class through U.P and Bihar and I feel the heartbeat of India, with authority I can write, freedom fighters have turned in their graves and their dreams are shattered. Indians - we just don't care. Absolute contempt for anything and everything around us. Train is over twelve hours late, ticket less travel is rampant, those who have got the tickets are reduced to idiots by the goons who push their way in and the filth - do I even need to get started about it?

This is particularly heartbreaking for me as I really believe in the stuff world media is churning out which predicts - India's hour has come on the world stage. No matter which way I look at it, our population is the biggest problem and the population pressure on our resources is so severe that over the years we have become billion plus people chasing too few resources. We need at least twenty-twenty five years of negative growth rate in our population backed with educating the illiterate masses. Growth rate of population can't be controlled unless you and I (and million others) decide and execute on some drastic steps. It could be as drastic as deciding to stay single and not get married at all. The socio-cultural stereotype in India dictates, 'kids' as a natural outcome of marriage. But you have the power to make a about adopting a kid from an orphanage than having a kid of your own? If you can't do this, please do not feel guilty in pressing the 'escape' button and emigrate to a country which has declining population and need young population to form a part of their workforce.

I am stating the obvious, we really have an emergency situation as far as our population is concerned and if we keep going at the rate we are going, very soon we will have civil unrest as fruits of 7-8% GDP growth is unevenly distributed. Don't believe me? Open your eyes and look around...there are plenty of silent indicators to this. Needless to say, I have plenty of doubts whether we will be able to create jobs at the speed of our population growth rate.

Anyone who has spent their precious time reading this post....I want to say, this really is not just another post. And it definitely is not an idle Sunday rant. It is much more than that. Only I know, how badly I want to see my country as a developed country before my time is up. Oh yes, we can dream together....or let's just say, 36th item on Vinayakan's dream list : India - A developed country. This is one dream, I know, I can't achieve alone.