Life speeds up unexpectedly. In that busy time the few moments you can snatch to keep your sanity intact seems so much more important in today’s context. Not because we are busy but because of the technological onslaught there is a constant buzz in the background which frankly sometimes goes beyond annoying into territory that is hurtful. That’s where the daily coffee and tea rituals come in handy. I’m a late convert, and I scoffed at it earlier calling it dependancy, but I realize its importance now. A small pocket of quiet time is what keeps you you.
You wish you could take a breather and have all that time to yourself but you know being busy, and doing something is what is keeping you sane. You can’t help but be grateful for your life’s purpose in whatever way it has found you. Has nobody told you? Sanity is a beautiful thing. It even keeps you alive. I should know I lost a friend to a deep depression which people casually. or should I say carelessly dismiss as the blues.
That smart woman, Leila Seth rightly named her autobiography On Balance. Balance is key to a peaceful existence. School moral science lectures turn out to be true, in the end (How I love to use the words in the end when nothing is ever the end until it’s the end.) Sanity is fragile and tenuous but don’t let anyone tell you that sanity just is.
I saw I, Daniel Blake (the comma is important) sometime ago but it left an indelible impression on me. It is a film with its heart in the right place, and it is inspired from reality. I will be talking about what I felt after watching the film. Though I have tried not to be specific you will get an idea about the general premise of the film so spoilers ahead.
What is a man with a heart condition to do? Forced to eke out a living when declared fit by the state but not actually in a condition to work – a conundrum I hope no one ever has to face. We live in a world where government apathy is so systematized that it doesn’t seem like apathy at all. I thought we in India had bad governments but the rest of the world isn’t so different when it comes to denying upstanding taxpayers their rights and making them run from pillar to post.
You are entitled to benefits but the State has frozen it. Along with Daniel, we see the plight of another young woman with children. She feeds her kids but goes without meals herself until she nearly faints with hunger. She’s desperate for any kind of work because she has to look after her kids. She steals essentials from the supermarket because she doesn’t have the money to buy them. What doesn’t kill you doesn’t always make you stronger. It breaks you, tests you and sometimes you keel over. If you survive, you somehow find the strength to keep walking, hoping against hope that your life will limp back to normalcy. What is normal anyhow.
India doesn’t even have these kinds of laws or these benefits so we are not even in the running to be an ideal or a model country (cue in derisive laughter). A country is known by how it treats its poor and helpless citizens, both young and the old, and in that regard India is a terrible country. And I found out our colonizer Britain is no better in spite of having amassed wealth (by leeching off from countries like ours) and in a much better position to help its people.
Continue reading “I, Daniel Blake and not giving up”