The little threads broke off in my head. I was stricken by the reality of these people whose careless lifestyles and callous, irresponsible abdication of intelligent choices would cost me, among a billion other people around the world poorer than Google beneficiaries, the pain and deprivation that these folks would escape by virtue of their money. I was stricken that I was friendly with people who made it clear they did not care for the likes of anyone not like them, not ‘aspirational’ (that’s the word this century; it used to be ‘greedy’) enough to be like them. Is there greater foolishness than not to know who to befriend? After such knowledge, what forgiveness?
And these are the people I had been defending for so long, my fellow Indians…I wouldn’t defend them anymore, of course. But they did it before I did, they left me defenceless. For, though they no longer identify as or aspire to be Indian, they are the public diasporic face of the people I would like to call my own. I do not think of them as India’s prideful intellectual export: no, they seemed dangerous in their amorality, and fit only for that green libertarian paradise they panted after.
For a tilted moment I wished them the very experiences they had so gaily rejected—hunger, thirst, deprivation, rejection, humiliation, helplessness, the torture of meaningless suffering. I wished they would at some time experience a fall in the food chain. I wished them the abattoir. I was not in equilibrium, and was using my powers in anger and for revenge, even if I were extracting retribution for all the nameless tortured deaths of humans and animals in the world who have suffered because of the likes of these inhuman creatures.
I, too, was wrong then. Having failed to engage them in thoughtful dialogue over time (the only sure way to come to know each other’s minds and acquire respect for alien things) I was failing my causes by my stance. So I said nothing more. And behind me the convert sat open-mouthed in dismay. He, too, had lost faith.