None of us can ever be sure to see the next morning, or the next hour even. So why this compulsion to be adamant? Why so smug about humiliating others, so righteous about one’s own religion and dismissive about another’s, so careless about the planet? 

What are these energies that we exchange, knowingly or unknowingly, deliberately or not, maliciously or not? Our public spaces are more and more spaces for venting frustrations. There aren’t many other explanations for the aggression on show. And there’s just no excuse for the lack of politeness. Forget empathy. Empathy is dead. More or less.

Why do you think you can pee on the roadside and yet expect to live in a clean, not-stinking city? Do you think? At all? (More and more stretches of Delhi have started smelling like sewage.) Why do you throw garbage and the spoils of your communion with the divinity at the Yamuna and yet expect it to remain a river? River it is not (unless it’s raining cats and dogs and the neighbouring states release their extra water from their dams).

Why are you indifferent about global warming but bothered by the repercussions of it? You are lackadaisical about making small changes to your lifestyle and hyper and dismissive about climate-change activists. You will live in your cocoons until the floodwaters reach your doorstep, only to realise to your horror that climate change and global warming were not conjured up in a sci-fi writer’s mind. That we just had the hottest June and July ever in recorded history should tickle our wake-up-and-do-something bone, no? Yes or no?

It’s a fact that the poor will bear the brunt of climate change and studies across the world  can’t emphasise this enough. Why are we not letting this piece of information get through to us? Are we still surprised about the sudden spikes in temperature globally and the frequency with which one natural disaster after another is taking the world by storm? And be it heatwaves, droughts, floods and what have you, the poor will have little recourse against nature’s wrath.  

Why do our politicians seem ever-so-keen on raking up the ghosts of history for political gains, instead of pooling in their vast resources of state might and taxpayers’ money to take steps that are decidedly earth-friendly, sustainability-oriented, and humanity-caring?

Nationalism is a drug. So is religion. And so is fear. Fear of what, though? Fear of what is fed to you in your drugged state? Isn’t it as pathetic as fear of the damned, or the doomed? What are you afraid of? Aren’t you the majority and the one wielding the sword and dictating the story?  

Why, I thought you knew, and knew better. That you knew better than to find your god in guile and the demagogue’s guillotine. Have you found your god then? I ask you, have you? I ask, how is your conscience today? Do you have a conscience? Is conscience dead too? Like empathy is.