Friday, April 21, 2006

idealism

A few months back i was travelling from Bangalore to Erode by bus.I was in the aisle seat and i happened to get a series of calls from friends from different corners of the country and the gentleman seated near the window became curious about me.He asked about what i do and other usual queries that are asked to fellow travellers.I told him that my job entails hell lot of travelling and is quite adventurous.We started getting along well.He worked in a leading IT company and has put in around ten years.His wife is also with him in the same company and i could gather that they are well placed in their company heirarchy and satisfied with what they have achieved.We then discussed about working conditions in private sector and government.After a while he pointed out a hoarding that extolled a cine actor as the only hope for the poor and asked me how i felt about this phenomenon where politics is the refuge of all scoundrels.i asked him whether he has ever voted in the elections. He replied with out embarrassment that he has never voted.

This conversation kept on coming back to me.I evaluated the contours of my life since i left college in chennai.After college I was at the University in delhi for around seven years.I am surprised to learn how far i moved away from being a believer in uncompromising idealism to being practical in life.Does every body believe in some fundamental ideals?universal ideals? I was a student activist in college and university.So i was in some sort of laboratory condition where one had the confidence that change for better is always possible through activism and all of us have some thing to contribute towards a better (ofcourse 'better' meant different things to different people)world. But that optimism and confidence started eroding so subtly that i failed to notice. I guess that for people who were not exposed to the possibilities of social dreaming being practical is the very essence of successful living.I am not eulogising activists. Most of them become pratical at one stage and get swallowed by the wider system. I believe that to hold on to one's ideals is a tough task given the material consumer culture that envelops our every aspect of life. The most important strategy is to be aware of our own actions and what they mean to us personally.Idealism should be sought not in great deeds but in every day life.In what we do at home,at office, in every day chores of life.