– Zahid M. Zubair
We are always on the lookout for extra space as we seem to be running out of it. No space on the memory cards of our mobile phones, no space on the hard disks of our PC’s and laptops, no space on our tables, no space in our rooms, no space in our houses, no space to park on the streets, no space in the busses to stand, let alone sit, no space on the roads to ride or drive, long queues outside restaurants, all waiting for a turn to dine and make merry, and the world is moving towards such a phase where there will be no space left for humans. And yet, we are still looking for stuff we can, and cannot cram. We download movies, games and music to fill the hard disks and memory still yet, we buy stuff that may not even be important or useful and shove them in our houses. The situation on the roads and transports has always been bad. The condition of the population may best be left untouched.
From ‘live and let live’ it’s come to ‘adjust or perish’. With nowhere else to go, there have been dialogues about missions to Mars and Moon, one-way human expeditions, plans to build colonies on other planets and occupy them. All this seems straight out of a science fiction novel, but we are assured that this will soon be a reality. We dream of open plains, flushing meadows, flowing rivers, lush forests and abundant resources. This too seems a fantasy today, with the world turned into a concrete jungle and with humans doubling as the alpha predators, feeding on the ‘Mother Earth’ and devouring the flora and fauna, defiling the environment and the atmosphere, making it ever difficult to live in. We ourselves are trying to fit into the ‘posh’ society, trying to enhance ourselves, present better images of ourselves in the eyes of people we may not like or even know, trying to be accepted.
We are given the option of tuning our own privacy settings whenever we may feel the need to access the internet. But we are also given a disclaimer through every medium possible that we will always be under constant threat from hackers and viruses if we do not renew the subscription of our anti-virus. While privacy is just a term, the real scenario is completely contrasting, with no one ever out of the eye or reach of the others. And all this while, we are assured by the Land of Columbia and its Supreme Commander that we are not in any danger or under any surveillance and that it is a free world and all are welcome to love and follow any religion we want and go anyplace we want. The Right to Liberty has never been more wholly projected, thereby giving us the false security that we are all living in a cultured world. And we are desperate to cling to that fact and would never believe otherwise if our life depended on it.
At the end of the day, one is left wondering if all this is really necessary to live. Whether it is really necessary to monitor at what rate rupee sells to a dollar or whether North Korea has yet made peace with its southern counterpart or how many times has Roger Federer lost to Rafael Nadal in the Slams or whether Louis Van Gaal was the right choice for Manchester United. We may have all the information and all the statistics and all the knowledge of the rights and wrongs, and the happenings in the world, but it is still a question of whether it is really important. Can man never be free of the bonds of ‘ethics, behavior and rules’ of life according to a few ‘scholars’, put down as traditions and ways of nature to be followed unto death to be called Civilized Men? Can he not be subtle in his ways and go about his business without a care in the world or, for that matter, about what the neighbors may think?
And then there is the debate of Man and Woman. Why should men always dominate in every aspect? Why cannot women be given equal importance and opportunities and chances to prove themselves and move forward in life? This debate would spiral on and on until it reaches the very roots of humanity, but always distinguished by the opinion of different people roaming the face of the literary community and holding positions among the ranks of great thinkers. And still this would not be resolved and the people will move on to other trending topics and try to pick the brains of the person sitting next to them, trying to solve the crossword in the morning daily.
It’s the age of information and technology, where everything is available at the fingertips of the people through advancement in technology, and the advent of the internet is as never before. From homework to office work to research work to consumer reviews to banking to buying and selling of everything owned to virtual markets of Bitcoins, every new concept online is gobbled up by the people like piranhas on flesh. There is no concept of wait and watch.
It is said that the world is moving towards a global disaster. That global warming is on the rise and peculiar weather-related phenomena keep taking place where they shouldn’t be happening. The people are calling for a ‘go-green’ drive. The markets are being flooded with ‘green products’, each trying to outsmart the other in the eyes of the customers. But these products may not even have any utility or use for the masses. Hybrid cars, eco-friendly bags, solar chargers for gadgets people do not even own, electric vehicles, all being promoted as the saviors of the world. Many are left wondering if all this is a gimmick to capture higher market share and pinch customers from competition. And it’s not just customers that are being ripped-off from competitors, it’s also the employees and the ideas, leading to high-profile lawsuits and non-compete contracts.
This is the so-called civilized world we inhabit. They say there must be a balance, equilibrium between everything, to maintain the status quo of the world. There must always be the good and the bad, hope and despair, the rich and the poor, the enjoying and the suffering, the living and the dead. This is how the world will go on. All we have to do is adapt and move on. Life will be back to normal if we adjust to the changing circumstances and keep going on, pretending that it’s still Christmas and that soon, there will be a ‘happy’ new year.
Everywhere we turn to, we see hardships and suffering and misery. People trying to convince themselves and others that they are happy with how the things are done. But in the face of such adversities too, we find people who give a helping hand to others in need. They find time, energy and resources to support others. This shows that humanity is still not lost on us, that there are still people who are willing and trying to change the world, trying to make it a better place. This shows us, reminds us that there is a God, and this gives us hope for a better future for ourselves and our kids.
This is how the world will always be: some trying to salvage it while others try to destroy it. While we live in our make-believe sphere, the world will still be at war, the people will always pry into others, keeping tabs on their neighbors, looking for fresh gossip to discuss at the next get-together, the kids will move onto new gadgets and newer technologies, there will still be complaining and cribbing from the masses and we will still be short on space, and yet, we will buy that beautiful vase we saw in the window of the store we passed on our way back home.