My first public confession

Over the last year I visited the mall way more times than any temple, church or mosque. I put in more money there. I believed more of what I was told and sold there.

My religion is Late Capitalism. It is a ‘way of life’.

In this religion, I don’t really have to worry about citizenship. If I have money, i can buy a home in Portugal or invest in St Kitts and have a passport twice as powerful.

However, if I don’t have money, I am in serious trouble. Climate change will get to me first. No nation-state will want me. The state will use violence and appropriate my labour.

This is India in 2020.

Confusing and obsessing about religious traditions that have mostly strayed from their essence. Understanding the issue through corporate sponsored media. Acting like a dissatisfied customer of the political ideas it was sold.

This is me.

Allowing my intellectual property to fuel the valuation of this company, this platform. Typing it on a US-brand computer (of a company that pays no tax even to the US!). Surrounded by stuff bought from another US site, manufactured in China. Searching for information using the US search engine.

But, hey I care about India.

India as a noun, too vast to comprehend. India as a verb is what is unfolding right now — the dialogue, dissent and the churning. “She” as the pronoun for the motherland whose love is getting negotiated.

I’m not alone. Others care about India too.

As an investment destination. As a 5 trillion dollar economy. As the emerging market that will be the growth engine of the world. As a place to park money for infra projects.

Some others care for India as the land for Hindus. Some take the idea of cleanliness and purity of India way beyond what we intended…And we’re all negotiating…

These are difficult times for us in India and the world, especially for those who care.

We’re sad, distracted and isolated.

And this invisible, niggling, hard to pin down “system” has lodged itself among us like a parasite. It has latched onto our fear of death, need for survival (and money) and connection (love).

Till we don’t wrestle with that, internally AND externally we are only fighting symptoms. We’re chasing ghosts — even if we catch one, we will find it’s only a shadow.

Eating 2 minute noodles has taken us to 2 minute activism. Bottling water, we bottle emotions. Then they erupt, all on one occasion, once in a while.

The system manages to commoditise even that (ads on news channels for example). It will happily co-opt dissent and make it ‘cool’ (millennials seeking purpose is a trend for 2020).

We’re up against something that we can only collectively understand and resist. Something that we’re so deeply embedded in, that it is invisible to us mostly, like water to fish.

Except that this ‘water’ leaves us thirsting for more, faster. Stuff, services or social change — doesn’t matter.

In the absence of alternatives, for now, I plan to continue practicing Late Capitalism (in a moderate rather than extremist form).

Maybe I will become a Sufi-protestant-brahmin Capitalist who consumes with joy, opposes the establishment and continues to profit from trading in abstractions while talking against them.

This then, becomes my first public confession.

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