Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Dead Right



It's really funny how some of us like to be dead right about everything in life, but wish to steer clear of anything that's even remotely linked to death.

Try to hide it under the garb of anxiety disorders and irrational fears, call it Necrophobia, Thanatophobia or some other phobia, the fact of the matter is we discreetly hate the dead and departed, despite the 'anniversary' love we shower on them without fail, for ceaselessly and circuitously reminding us of our own impermanence and mortality. Hence that special timbre in announcing that so and so is no more, or the crafty use of words in the loose motion of emotions pervading the all pervading Facebook memorials, as if to say: heaps of salutations we'll continue to pay, but pray, for heaven's sake, stay away!

And of course, we have the pet intellectual notion called the fallacy of infinite regress to claim that the tangible soles of our shoes down below matter more than some absurd reference to few imaginary souls watching us from up above. We are in any case very selective about our choices: when to peddle our muddled notions of cultivated pragmatism, and when to pledge allegiance to good old family values and traditions.

We demand a frame of reference for everything we wish to avoid, both in thought and conversation, but we know very well we don't have the right frame of mind to demand any frame, whether of reference or preference. And there is one frame, we feel, is too lowly for reference: the frame of deference.

We are dead right. More dead than right - dead right!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

A play store in the guise of a workshop



November 18, 2018 was a historic day: a grand union of like-minded creative practitioners across different spheres to explore the possibility of seeding and nurturing a web-driven creation of the cinematic kind. Thanks to one and all, for the wholehearted participation in the workshop and the willful pledge of allegiance to serve the larger cause of an offbeat web-series.



All my life, I have been observing faces and gestures, as also the way people react to the thrills, challenges, opportunities, trials and triumphs of different situations. The workshop proved fulfilling in every respect and I must thank my colleagues and partners-in-crime Bikash and Pradeep in helping me quickly assemble an awesome gang of wonderful people, all mavericks of different breeds.

Of course, the path to fruition will be a winding route of many twists and turns, many of those that we will relish, a few that could leave a blemish, but given our unconditional involvement, I know for sure that fulfillment is beckoning us from the mists of a future that we are going to co-create exactly as we have envisioned it.

I feel the need to thank each one of you to have joined the family like how long lost siblings would cling to each other following a stunning reunion.

Maya mam, your exuberance and proactive communication is a towering inspiration for the group. The way you seamlessly gel with the crowd, the others are left with no option but to emulate you in thought and action.

Anandh Iyer sir, the way you instantly connected with your character proves it was destined. Your Whats App message post the workshop "bachcha bole to pillu re" was most hilarious - exactly as your character would say. Hats off sir!

Poona Rajan sir, you are even more interesting than what your name suggests, can't ever forget your smile of contentment when your character was announced. Other guys beware: The lion is about to roar...louder than the Metro Goldwyn Mayer lion!

Suraj, Hats off to you to have quickly agreed to the change of role on the spur. This adaptability will surely help you do justice to your character.

Swaraj: You carry a lot of ambition on your shoulders but I know for sure you are more than capable of delivering the goods. You are about to 'sketch' a character that will make the artist in you prouder than before.

Venkat: Your readiness to help out compels me to call you Venky without securing your prior permission. Thanks for the help at short notice in setting up the equipment. I was closely observing your face as character after character was being announced and your name was still in the wait list. You were anxious to know what part you would be playing, yet were applauding the other names with genuine emotions. Keep it up mate!

Snigdha: I am tempted to write a script called Bombay to Pune based on the trips you manage in quick time, and with no complaints. I am sure you will show the same agility in your performance. I am very happy to meet a 'heroine material' who is completely free of tantrums and snobbish behaviour. Continue to be what you are, even after you have relished the fresh fruits of success.

Latika: You have truly transformed from the shy, reserved girl I was introduced to. I can foresee the magic you will pour into your character, which is so close to the person that you are in real life.

Ishwari: You understandably took time to gel with the crowd, having been inducted into the group at the fag end. But now the time has come to do what your Whats App status declares "kuch aisa kar dikha, khud khush ho jaye khuda"

Aditya: Shy and reserved, but very co-operative and extremely punctual, you will always remind the group of the virtues of silence. Your character is very much like you, so you will explode on the screen no doubt. But in future, make some effort to lose yourself in the crowd. I suggest Maya can help you in this self-exploratory mission.

Hardik: You took time to open up, but right from the start, you were extremely attentive. I am sure your character will be one of the most enduring characters of the web series.It will also help enrich your future theater work.

Srichit: I can't thank you in words buddy! Your unassuming presence was more than reassuring in confirming my belief that this world is yet not totally deprived of good people, who put others before them by choice, not compulsion.

Praveen: You belong to the Srichit tribe. Your face is ripe with 24-carat emotions and yet you don't make any explicit effort to convey any of those. Cinematographer-cum-actor, and humble to top it all: I couldn't have asked for a better deal that that!

Prasoon: I am sure you will make better use of your baritone voice and 'wonderfully pensive' face in this web series. Loved your proactive suggestion regarding the get up of your character. Superb!

Vinamra: Your absence was surely felt, since my gut feel says you would have relished the workshop. Your enthusiasm forced me to create a special character for you on the spur. can't wait to see you playing it on screen!

Avinash: Your staple expression of perplexity-cum-wonderment is special, never lose it. Esp. for this project. You will play someone who will create history on celluloid, alter the geography of tinsel town, and redefine the civics of acting!

Akshay: the youngest turk of the group and most flexible, has innovative ways of marking his presence in the frame. Note how he established his place of pride in the group snap.This Kohli bhakt will do the same in the web series, mark my words.

Pradeep: Kavi Pradeep, can't thank you enough for your dogged determination and ceaseless effort to piece everything together. But I am sure this project will finally introduce you to Pradeep the potentially phenomenal actor who will in turn pave the way for Pradeep the budding Filmmaker!

Bikash: Bhai, you have this uncanny knack of being more prominent in the background rather than while at the forefront. Listening to your bizarre but highly cinematic ideas in your inimitable soft voice is a real treat, difficult to describe in words and best experienced in solitude.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Green House Cinema


After a glorious tryst with corporate role plays, orientation workshops and theatre intervention programs (including an innovative slum theatre festival), Green House is now venturing into the potent space of web series and short films.

Green House Cinema, in collaboration with Creative Parrot Films, is producing an out an out comic thriller for an eclectic web audience across the globe.


Stay tuned for more details...

Friday, October 05, 2018

Corporate acting – Whose line is it anyway?


Courtesy: http://www.indiainfoline.com/article/lifestyle-happy-corner/corporate-acting--whose-line-is-it-anyway-113111800119_1.html

Aptly used, corporate acting, role playing in corporate situations to be more precise, is a powerful tool to address a host of people issues - both within the personal and professional sphere. The essence is in re-creating business situations based on client specifications to unearth the elusive human element wrapped in business interactions, finds Sudhir Raikar.




More often than not, the patterns that emerge out of a role playing session challenge convention and fuel innovation. Measurable business value is guaranteed, provided the “learnings” are conveyed to the target audience as an integral part of the enactment, carefully plotting the refinement road map for individuals/groups.


TYPICAL ROLE PLAY DESIGNS INCLUDE

Talent recognition & Management - Developing sensitive, focused and business-centric interviewers, bridging the academia-industry divide to enhance classroom-to-workplace transition.


Addressing conflicts & challenges - How to convey the “bad” news with grace, how to minimize the “stress” associated with an “exit”, how to inculcate the right work culture, how to promote ethics at the work place, how to eliminate acrimony among groups and improve camaraderie for effective performance management.


Change management - How to inculcate the desired culture across the enterprise in ripple-causing situations like M & As, takeovers, technology adoption, diversification and business fluctuations.


CRUX OF THE MATTER

Corporate acting runs the risk of being reduced to a ‘fun time’ exercise in the absence of adequate care and precision. The sessions conveying the importance of brevity and preciseness of role play sessions to participants need to be made as elaborate as possible. Else, many participants seem lost on defining the purpose of the role play session.


Role players need to be conveyed with more clarity that this platform is not for displaying their acting prowess, but for “living” the role of a guinea pig which subtly helps participants understand the umpteen hidden aspects of human interaction.

Since the employee participants are the ambassadors of the program, it would be a good idea to recognize and reward good performance, such that the good word spreads across the organization. This will help convey the message that role plays deliver measurable business value and help mitigate the popular contempt against this tool of being a “non-business” pastime.


Even though the role players need not grasp the depth of the domain/technical knowledge, a curtain raiser can be arranged by the facilitators for a quick summary of the essence of the role.


The observers – both actors and participants - can be powered with more authority to be able to control and monitor off-track and derailed situations rather than citing them in offline conversations.


CORPORATE ACTORS – SPECIAL NEED, RARE BREED


The actors play a vital role as conveyers – they have to “breathe” the roles they play – whether a disgruntled employee, pompous manager, matter-of-fact project manager or a patronizing business owner. The art is to release enough clues through the enactment such that the session is not subjected to sudden jerks, periods of lull or derailment. If the actor “plays to the gallery” or is seeking applause, the session becomes self-defeating.


It’s imperative that the actors should be well aware of the dynamics of corporate situations – routine and otherwise. An emphasis on grasping the domain and technological specs of the work environment proves highly rewarding – as the participants gain momentum only when the actor begins to “speak their language”. A good actor salvages a near-hopeless situation by shrewdly keeping the conversation on track with a great sprinkling of wit and wisdom. A good actor subtly helps participants with clues for better performance.


So, where does one find such actors? More often than not, one has to depend on the mini markets masquerading as mega disciplines; including acting and personality development institutes, on line and offline catalyst organizations, audition facilitators and scores of lateral companies claiming to employ theatre techniques for effecting and facilitating learning & development.


The most glaringly disorganized of the whole lot is undoubtedly the audition market which simply cannot rise above vital stat measurements and Bollywood-brand look tests. On the demand side of this bazaar, we have desperate wannabes of different shapes and sizes, from all corners of the country, waiting only to be the next Khan, Kumar or Kapoor. On the supply side, there are scores of dreadful agents, without the slightest idea of their principle duties, entrusted with the critical job of talent recognition and acquisition. Hiring a product of this bazaar will only prove self-defeating.


Most of the personality development organizations pride on a silver bullet fondly referred to as “soft skills”. Try scouting for an actor (finished product) there and they’ll ask you to enroll for their forthcoming life-changing seminar. Among the acting institutes, where content is often overshadowed by presentation; most of the student actors feel they have already arrived and dictate their terms even before you have spelt your need.


Look for actors working with companies claiming to specialise in drama techniques and you have to face a different flavour of melodrama. Many among these providers are busy flaunting the “overseas” connection and the borrowed wisdom, one that appallingly ignores the dynamics of region-specific culture sensitivities. Their actors are conditioned in the embedded learning; they will instinctively try and force-fit a one-off experiment done in the corporate environment of some western country into the work settings of a SME firm in New Mumbai. And when the recipients look sufficiently dazed, they call it a ‘learning gap’.


Ideally, the above mentioned talent providers should collaborate with each other to deliver corporate acting projects by creating a pool of trained, incisive actors suitably exposed to the realities of the corporate world as also the finer aspect of acting. As of today, such value chains are only a distant dream. One has to necessarily go through the grind, training employees of client organizations, handpicked for their felicity of expression, if not flair for acting. When measurable value is at stake, a compromise is always better than experimentation.


Thursday, September 27, 2018

Of Genes and Reins


Genetic predisposition – a two-way street
Courtesy: My content capsules for a healthcare start up

People talk a lot about genetic risks these days, the risk of developing a particular health condition evaluated and quantified using statistical entities like odds ratio (OR), relative risk (RR) and absolute risk (AR). It's true that Gene expression influences how various foods are processed and absorbed within the body but a commonsense approach often helps us provided we are ready to help ourselves.

Although Genes manifest at inception and do not change for life, their expression can be modulated through the person’s environment (Diet, lifestyle and activity).Learning more about and adapting to one’s predispositions and genetic tendencies significantly improves the quality of life and maximizes health benefits. Practice two pranayams without fail: Kapalbhati and Anulom Vilom. They will set right all ailments and disorders with the 'blow hot, blow cold' effect (not idiomatically, but literally - Kapalbhati is Sun and Anulom Vilom is Moon).

Don't go for pricey genetic assessments, listen to your body - it will tell you what it needs, which may or may not be contrary to what you crave for. Don't worry about your genes, allow your body to hold the reins.

If your 'feeling of fullness' after a meal is sub-optimal, switch to a Fibre & Protein-rich diet: Whole grains, millets, fruits, green leafy veggies, cereal- legume combo meals, nuts, yoghurt, salads & sprouts

Enjoy meals of smaller portions of defined quantities, practice mindful eating.

If your snacking pattern in between regular meals is sub-optimal, then this prescription may help you:

Regular meals: Omega-3 fatty acids (flaxseeds, walnut, fish); milk & milk products; cruciferous vegetables; and brussel sprouts

Mid-morning snacks: Whole fruits/ fruit salad, yoghurt, nuts & dried fruits

Evening snacks: Green tea, roasted soybean, sprouts seasoned with pepper & olive oil, vegetable salad, raw vegetable, stuffed whole grain sandwich


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Paradise Lost


Sudhir Raikar, IIFL | Mumbai | October 19, 2015 09:10 IST

Did a book review for a reputed IT company in Bangalore. The students were surprisingly well aware of Mason's book and its contents. Given that present-day Indian IT has enough mavericks, it's safe to assume we have a bright tech-enabled future waiting to unleash...


Paul Mason’s seminal work is a rich reference book on the premise, progression and precincts of capitalism. But in valiantly raising legitimate doubts on its seeming permanence, he falls prey to the lure of zeroing in on definitive solutions. Despite the invaluable scholastic value of the treasure trove, it’s hardly a guide to our future.



This is easily one of the most poetic accounts of an economic concept, packed with charming anecdotes of flowing prose and fitting poise, a remarkable blend of the clinical and the lyrical, befitting his twin degrees in politics and music. Had author Paul Mason, Economics Editor, Channel 4 news, stopped short of extrapolating his neat analysis into ‘a guide to our future’, the sanctity of his seminal work would have remained inviolate. But in a humdrum utopian leap, from fabulous literature to fantastic conjecture, he sketches a hazy way out, which unabashedly seeks to employ the machinery of the very regime he wants uprooted, for effecting key resolutions of his version of Postcapitalism. This maladroit prognosis has diluted, if not damaged, the enduring value of Mason’s painstaking research and scathing observations on a host of pertinent issues.

The breathtaking expanse spans 368 pages divided in three distinct parts. The first unfolds the crisis of our times and enumerates how it evolved over time, the second elaborates the moot point – Mason’s theory of Postcapitalism - and the third visualizes the supposed transition to the new order. Mason aptly lists four factors – consistent injection of Fiat money, cacophonic spread of Financialization, curse of global imbalances and the colossal impact of Information technologies – that initially lent momentum to neo-liberalist forces but are now turning counterproductive for its cause. Not that Mason is the only one to warn us, but the perils of an artificially puffed up economy are beyond doubt real – debt has become precariously more fashionable than equity, value trades ridiculously weigh more than value creation, shareholder interests have been blindly allowed to take precedence over tax payer concerns and the Golem-like demon of consumerism has left modern-day lifestyles with less life and more style.

Mason convincingly highlights the constraints and contradictions of Capitalism which hitherto was highly adaptable to the ups and downs across eras as the ruling class employed technology to keep the working class gainfully engaged through suitable enhancements in the production methods and modes. But the digital age, he observes, has empowered grassroots architects to innovate and explore newer ways of work and life defying the usual diktats of markets and governments that stifled them in a vicious work-wage padlock all this while. Though information is hardly a stand-alone asset, invariably a bundled component of a tangible product sale, there’s enough merit in Mason’s inference that the sheer abundance of information, as also its easy replication and extraordinary endurance in a network-rich knowledge economy, will soon make the hierarchy-driven capitalism unsustainable as growing automation will render jobs negligible and drive prices to near-zero. The ‘cut and paste’ feature of the information economy undeniably spells massive consequences for the conventional market.

Mason touches upon a vast universe of wide-ranging allusions to support his views as also to disprove conflicting points. Nikolai Kondratiev’s incisive long wave theory, martyr Rosa Luxemburg’s ‘The Accumulation of Capital’, Marx’s visionary ‘Fragment on Machines’, Lenin’s pivotal ‘What is to be Done?’, Peter Drucker’s far-reaching ‘Post Capitalist society’, Frederick Winslow Taylor’s ruthlessly innovative ‘pick up a pig and walk’ time and motion study aimed at enforcing stringent management control of factories, Rudolf Hilferding’s ‘Das Finanzkapital’, Jeremy Rifkin’s ‘The Zero Marginal Cost Society’, Ludwig Von Mises’s ‘Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth’, David Ricardo’s Labour-theory, Paul Romer’s path-breaking ‘Endogenous Technological Change’, Yann Moulier-Boutang’s ‘Cognitive Capitalism’, Yochai Benkler’s ‘The Wealth of Networks’, Alexander Bogdanov and Frank Herbert’s sci-fi novels: ‘Red Star’ and ‘Dune’ respectively, Richard Hoggart’s highly perceptive ‘The Uses of Literacy’, Connie Field’s documentary ‘The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter’, Kevin Kelly’s ‘New Rules for the New Economy’, the maverick RMS’s GNU and Free Software Movement, Andre Gorz’s insights on the changing face of work…The constellation boasts of the best of thinkers, philosophers, economists, consultants, software architects, filmmakers, journalists, and even legendary writers (Shakespeare, Dickens and Orwell) making Mason’s book a rich reference manual for students of economics – whether academic or amateur.

Mason is beyond doubt a competent story-teller. Whether the poignancy of Kondratiev’s life or his own stint as a press operator, he makes each account handsomely vivid. At times, the narration sounds too indulgent for comfort – for instance an elongated report of a London Underground carriage, seemingly to highlight a demographic divide, ornately informs us of Mason’s penchant for in-transit work and well-shined shoes among other things – but overall it’s a precise and passionate description of where we stand today and how we got there. Rather than unfairly link his stretched out tribute to Russian thought leaders with his Trotskyite roots, we should profusely thank Mason for having put the intractable political, economic and social problems of our times into perspective which should ideally set off fruitful debates rooted in honest introspection. Some of his insights are first-rate. Consider these:

“In an information society, no thought, debate or dream is wasted – whether conceived in a tent camp, prison cell or the ‘imagineering’ session of a startup company.”

“The elite and their supporters are lined up to defend the same core principles: high finance, low wages, secrecy, militarism, intellectual property and energy based on carbon. The bad news is that they control nearly every government in the world. The good news is that in most countries they enjoy very little consent or popularity among ordinary people.”

“The debate on Postcapitalism has come a long way since Peter Drucker, yet in another sense it has gone nowhere. It has been marked by speculative thinking, technobabble and a tendency to declare the existence of new systems rather than to explore their relationship to old realities.”

“All simple forms of finance now generate a market in complex finance higher up the chain: every house buyer or car driver is generating a knowable financial return somewhere in the system. Your mobile phone contract, gym membership, household energy – all your regular payments – are packaged into financial instruments, generating steady interest for an investor, long before you decide to buy them. And then somebody you have never met places a bet on whether you will make the payments.”

“Kondratieff’s real crime, in the eyes of his persecutors, was to think the unthinkable about capitalism: that instead of collapsing under crisis, capitalism generally adapts and mutates.”

“The problem is, mainstream economics does not understand its own limitations. The more complete it became as an academic discipline describing an abstract, static and immutable reality, the less it understood change.”

“Now though, we have a new problem: demographic ageing. There are no activists to drop banners from buildings to protest against ageing, there are no ministries for ageing, no prestigious scientific panel or global negotiations. Yet it is potentially as big an external shock as climate change – and its impact will be much more immediately economic.”

“The successful crooks and dictators of the emerging world have already bought influence and respectability: you can feel their power as you walk through the door of certain law firms, PR consultancies and even corporations.”

However Mason’s bet on the impending doom of capitalism, rather on its dead end in its present form, is based on a wobbly compendium - the trigger of 2008 meltdown, Mason’s first-hand reportage of ‘edge places of the world’, selective statistics borrowed from Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the staggeringly disruptive power of the Wikipedia model among others. Without bothering to tell us exactly how capitalism will go to wrack and ruin, he puts forth a case for Postcapitalism, ostensibly beyond ‘the incoherence of conventional protest movements’, as a definitive Masonic solution ‘for a substantially better future that what capitalism would offer by the mid-twenty-first century.’

He calls his book a guide, but spells out his aim as ‘not to provide an economic strategy or a guide to organization.’ He’s here only to map the new contradictions of capitalism to serve as credible co-ordinates for ‘people, movements and parties’ for the ‘journey they’re trying to make.’ The proposed plan is titled ‘Project Zero’ after the significance of zero in each of the targets: zero-carbon energy, production at zero marginal cost and near-zero labour time. Project Zero proposals, should account for, Mason cautions, five key principles to avoid past failures –small scale tests and repeated modeling of macro-economic impact, design for ecological sustainability, human perceptions along with values of economic and social justice, ubiquity of change agents across all strata and making the most of the power of information.

Who are these people and parties that would embark on the said journeys to steer the said movements? Should they enroll as volunteers on the Project Zero website? Should they go for the kill in ‘do or die’ fashion? Would states somehow do the unthinkable - come to terms with the new reality in one abrupt blaze of spiritual enlightenment? How will the tech innovators, who reap the rewards of the old order in draped forms, push capitalism towards a dead end? Will the Internet of Things make Mason’s agenda its top priority before grappling with its own set of challenges - the mammoth task of connecting things and the need for large-scale data discovery, archival and analytical mechanisms notwithstanding the proposed upgrade from Ipv4 to Ipv6 standard? Most important, which authority will assume responsibility for the law and order in the new economy, considering that it has a hell of a lot to do – fix guaranteed incomes for all, provide cost-efficient services and infrastructure, regulate the IT industry in the larger interest of the community, mitigate debt to the extent possible and measure the happiness quotient of the people from time to time? (The last bit is obligatory we think even though Mason doesn’t call for it. Maybe Bhutan can share priceless insights with the world on this point)

Mason offers no clues on ways to get there save for some generic instruction like rapidly reducing carbon emissions (already happening in some form), stabilizing the finance system between now and 2050, delivering high levels of material prosperity and well being to the majority of people and gearing technology towards reduction of necessary work in an automated economy (again, underway right now). He has an action plan for each of these top goals but the weak post script – that his role is that of a cartographer - waters down the potency of the recommendation. No point in examining the substance of his Abracadabra therapy – get rid of market forces, socialize the finance system, suppress and socialize monopolies – when the architects of the transcendental transformation have not been identified.

Mason’s faith in information technology is laced with fairy-tale beliefs. No one can dispute the internet’s democratizing power, nor the first-rate collaboration and co-creation of the open source movement, but the dark side of software development, factory of a different mould, can’t be disregarded either. On the face of it, many IT organizations, start-ups in particular, are flat organizations with radical morals but peep inside their code labs and you’ll find the same old hierarchies of power distances, ruthless ambition and narcissism at play, where a handful of smart and wily operators merrily rule over a veritable but vulnerable majority. Many ‘genius’ founders are keen to trade their innovation, rather than nurture it, at the first given opportunity and a host of globe-trotting tech professionals are faking work, day in and day out, on their cell phones, tablets, excel sheets and word documents even as the bulk of the inarticulate programming tribe goes through the grind, inevitably falling prey to Machiavellian tactics and the bell curve nonsense at the workplace. Who’s going to reduce the besmirching carbon footprints of the IT industry that pollute the social fabric in elusive ways – where hyped on-site-off-site-offshore models don’t necessarily mean better working conditions, where key performance appraisals are invariably unscientific, where egos are sky-high and tempers fly high, thanks to the variety and vanity of designations: the perfunctory coder is keen to call himself a developer, the developer genuinely believes he’s an architect and the architect is thoroughly convinced he’s God’s gift to mankind. Talking of the positively disruptive open source movement, it attracts as many opportunistic users with profit motives, thriving on an erroneous reading of the ‘free’ tag, as selfless contributors committed to the larger cause of the faction.

If Mason has pinned his hopes on the gender-neutral, sexually liberated IT tribe to fight for his post capitalist wonderland may be his Second Life avatar has a better chance to steer the dream towards fruition. Emancipation in terms of sexual choices and denouncement of gender bias, in real life at least, are no guarantee of equity and equanimity in public affairs in spite of their invaluable contribution towards a more secure, stable and inclusive social and cultural environment.

Will humanity rid itself of its deep-rooted possessive tendencies – inborn greed, lust for power, distaste towards responsibility and desire to withhold – in one decisive catapult, just because it would have moved from scarcity to abundance? This is not to doubt Mason’s intentions but his guide to our future seems no more than wishful thinking. It’s more of a plea to the powers-that-be of the current economic regime to mend their ways than a prophetic utilitarian prescription for a new order. Mason’s appeal is passionate no doubt but only states the obvious: “Millions of people are beginning to realize they have been sold a dream they can never live. In its place, we need more than just a bunch of different dreams. We need a project based on reason, evidence and testable designs, one that cuts with the grain of economic history and is sustainable in terms of our planet.”

Ask the millions of people and at least a few of them will retort: Yes, we are angry, we know what we need, and also that it calls for a fool-proof actionable project. Not a wishful Grundrisse which, for all its literary value, runs the risk of appearing wistful.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Deathbed: A Short film


Circled around the Deathbed
They weep and moan
Sullen looks, swollen eyes, measured sighs
Magic Makeover tailored for the occasion

All in anticipation of the breaking news
and pray if it doesn't seem forthcoming
They fret and fume within,
drained by the 'performance'

How long? they wonder,
for the politically correct broadcast
across media: social and anti-social,
of heartrending obituaries
and touching tributes
proofed, edited, revised and rehearsed
All in readiness

Fun to watch,
this short film
On the futility of life,
featuring the departing soul
in a culminating cameo,
Ironically on the Deathbed.