Monday, May 5, 2008

Is it too late?

I had once mentioned in a column, “Nothing rattles the Americans more than pictures of naked, starving brown kids”.

This has long been an ace up the pseudo-Christian groups’ sleeve to raise money – An emotionally charged evangelist inviting the wrath of God on the sinners, interspersed with pictures of brown children. Out come the wallets and greenbacks of which the children in question don’t see a cent.

Considering the present circumstances, “Nothing rattles the Americans more than pictures of well-clothed, well-fed brown kids”.

This image is now being blamed for the food crisis in the west. If George Bush and Condoleezza Rice are to be believed, the current global food crisis is because of the changing eating habits of the Indian middle-class (and the Chinese, to an extent). And to mess it all up, there is currently a hold on food grain export from India. So, what now that food is becoming as important a commodity in the global markets as petrol? Will we see a food-fight? (No pun intended)

But one man saw it all coming. And in his humble way, he tried to make a difference (from as far as I have experienced) for about two decades. He shares his first name with that of the current US President. He is the one man I love most in the world. He’s my dad.

I haven’t written about dad in this column primarily because I can’t do him justice. Daddy is from a middle-class family that came up from modest beginnings. I have had the privilege of close interaction with him and his siblings who worked hard, dispensed their duties, and brought up their children with good morals. All they ever wanted were educated children who did their duty. Their duties to their family, society, country, and the world.

But another important life lesson that he wished that I learn was about living within their means. To save for the rainy day and to invest the extra rupee. He would’ve been a hit in politics, but he is too honest for that. He could’ve been a writer, but he was too straight-forward for his times. He could have been a lot of things, but instead, he chose to be the world’s best dad.

The earliest warning that I could recollect was his diktat that we should serve ourselves only portions that we could finish. Kochu, my younger sis, learnt this the hard way… I still remember the look on her face when he had insisted that she finish the cauliflower dish that was on her plate. Now that I try and recollect his expression, I think he wanted to say, “If you don’t finish whatever’s on your plate, you’re wasting food. Then one day, 'Someone' will fall short of food and they’ll bomb you!”.

Only if his advice was heard by all. Live within your means. As a race, we haven’t saved anything for a rainy day, invested enough for renewable sources of energy. Instead, we chose to contest elections and write to criticize.

But then, not every country can make a Dad like mine!

And one thing’s for sure – If we don’t start looking like people in the picture, we need to be scared. Very scared. I suggest it’s time we started to save a meal each day so that the ‘mighty’ don’t feel threatened enough to use their twitchy bomb-fingers on us.


hyacinths said...

And one thing’s for sure – If we don’t start looking like people in the picture, we need to be sacred.

The Walker said...

Thanks Hyacie. I have corrected the error :)

Where would I be without readers like you?

Chandu said...

"We're an unbelievably compassionate nation," he said.

"I think we ought to change our food policy in Africa and other developing countries...buying food directly from farmers as opposed to giving people food. I think we ought to be saying, 'Why don't we help you be able to deal with scarcity by encouraging your farmers to grow and be efficient growers? Otherwise, we're going to be in this cycle forever."

Why don't they send more soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan instead so that they just kill each other and bring down the demand?

BTW, I'm surprised George Bush is so well-versed in microeconomics. I mean that statement would make Alfred Marshall proud!

The Walker said...

Chandu: I'm honored that you chose to comment.

Talking about 'encouraging' higher productivity, I really doubt that crap's going to fly. With all those 'stretch' a bit longer for no extra pay, 'innovate' to contribute for the better of more stuff that HR types advocate might work for a career sucker. Not a farmer. They are smarter!

Your suggestion to bring down the demand deserves a Nobel prize! Alfred Marshall wouldn't stand a chance... Neither would Dubya :)