Friday, June 13, 2014

Step Into Another Shoe, My Species
~ Poorni Pillai

Greetings, human beings! It is indeed a pleasure to address all of you. As the leader of my people, I wish to clarify a number of things that my advisers tell me are causing unrest amongst you. As I understand it, they all pertain to the subject of your future and relative position on this planet. I agree that being demoted from the position of being the dominant species must be a disconcerting feeling. Rest assured, however, that as the NEW dominant species, we will be as benevolent in our approach to you as you have been to your own fellow creatures for these past few centuries.

You will enjoy a certain degree of freedom, of course. We reserve the right, however, to tell you where you may live. After all, our comforts have a higher priority and with our growing numbers, we will require more space to establish our homes and areas of commerce. This means that we will be pulling down some of your cities but then you can always make do with what space you have left. We will also be taking over a good portion of your agricultural lands for our manufacturing plants. This is not a very big cause of concern as we trust you will find ways to survive. You are, after all, a very resilient species. Two world wars and what not! Hahaha.

Moving on, we are excited to announce that some of you will be deported to our home planets for purposes of educational and recreational display, modeled after your very own zoos! Our young ones will not only benefit greatly from seeing creatures from another system, the observation of you in captivity will be immensely educational. With adequate space, timely sustenance and health care, many of you must be clamoring for the opportunity to be one of our captive exhibits. We'll even teach you to do some tricks that won't make sense to you, but we enjoy them. What a great purpose we give you! Freedom is so over rated, isn't it?! We wish you good luck. Keep your fingers crossed, as you say. Heh.

I remember when we first landed how excited we were to discover your many races. Rarely have we encountered such variety within a single species. We are planning on controlled breeding experiments to weed out certain traits that we do not think are desirable. This is a huge advantage for you. Imagine better looking, sturdier humans with longer life expectancies! In fact, my scientists even tell me it is possible to fine tune and perfect certain useful traits through this experiment. Maybe we can even make you serve us better. This gift we give willingly.

We actually discovered all this when we were experimenting a few of our drugs on some of you. As you know, finding cures for many of our diseases has become so much easier ever since we accidentally discovered physiological parallels between our species. I would like to observe a moment of silence in deference to those beautiful humans who were sacrificed for this great cause. The loss of their lives has resulted in the extended life span of many our own members and for this, we are grateful. It is sad that many more of you will follow them, but our medical research demands this. We need guinea pigs. Isn't that statement so ironical?! I cannot stop laughing. But to those who object, I say- the simple fact that we are capable of so much more than you puts the value of our lives above yours- this is the cruel way of nature, is it not? Or is it the cruel way of the human? Who cares!

We are also in the process of developing meat farms. This might be a touchy issue, I understand, but you will be relieved when I tell you how ingeniously we have tackled it. At great cost and much energy, we have developed a new sub-species of human. These creatures have no intelligence as they possess very little cerebral matter. Just enough to eat, sleep and procreate. This genetic material of yours is truly remarkable, I must say- so lending itself to manipulation that this breakthrough has become possible. Do not let their resemblance to your physical form sway your logic- to all intents and purposes, these are a lesser species and therefore, to be done with as we please. I hear they go very well with your commercial barbeque sauces too!

These and many more changes will soon be a part of your lives. The transition may not be as smooth as one hopes for, but then, for you, it is inevitable. I look to you for your co-operation, although we all know any resistance is futile. After all, my species is the dominant one for very good reasons. Our superiority, we have demonstrated through countless means. Any superiority precludes accountability, does it not?.....but, I am blabbering! Why would you resist at all? We have reviewed all our policies over and over again and I must say, we are personally greatly pleased at our benevolence and tolerance. I trust you share our complacency at how well everything has turned out. There is one earth saying that greatly influenced us, that we used to guide ourselves throughout this process- Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Thank you!

Friday, June 6, 2014


I was lying in bed last night and I noticed again that my bedsheet had a rip in it. I've been using it for weeks that way without giving it a second thought. It comes with living alone. But I imagined someone else around, and what they would say, what I'd be expected to feel or do..... Ok, I admit - it was my mom's voice I heard. Years ago, my siblings and I started referring to mom as 'The Voice of God'. Not in any spiritual sense, but more as in it could land right in your ear when you were doing something you weren't supposed to. So anyway, what would the common response be to this? - Using a ripped bedsheet like a poor person? Or a cheap one? But you know, I'm perfectly happy with it anyway. It's just as serviceable as an unripped one. Yet rejecting it and getting a new one would be the expected course of action. Isn't everyone entitled to an unripped bedsheet? ...I need to get a life if I'm so hung up on a bedsheet, right? But as always, there's a point to the madness.
I've seen a lot of this in India amongst the poor. How they toil, sweat blood, scrimp and save, all just to buy a piece of gold that they can display on their bodies, for others to see. But its deeper than a mere status symbol. Its a feeling of entitlement that they wish to satisfy- a decent human being must have atleast one piece of gold on them, should they? It's only fair.
I think a lot of people are stuck in their lives because of the crippling feeling that entitlement brings about. I met a man who is a 'difficult' person. His personality is abrasive and he repels too much familiarity or affection. He is aware of it too and attributes it to one fact- his most defining moment in his life, if you ask him, is that his mother abandoned his family when he was one year old. Now, the thing is that he had a normal life afterwards, with stability and resources and love. He had something for 1 year of his life, and then some 40 odd years when he didn't. Yet that which he lost, which he barely even remembers, yet what society has told him he is entitled too, that psychology has told him that he is poorer because of, is what he uses everyday as a reason to be lonely and angry.
I've been thinking a lot about this as I meet friend after friend who cannot let go. Failed relationships, dysfunctional families, financial hardships, loss.... things that have put people through immeasurable heartache, I completely acknowledge that, but what is it that makes some grow through these experiences and some to hold on to them and shape their misery instead? I think its the conditioned feeling of entitlement. that somehow life was meant to be fairer, easier, happier. After all, there are people around us who definitely have it better. Maybe they do. So what?
This 'so what?', I must add, is not a cruel question. Yes, there are a few times, when I listen to many a hypocritical self-pity speech and think 'Bitch, please!'. But thankfully, there are many more times when I feel sad about it and I wish I could just make them see that the answer to 'so what?' is so important to how we live.
"Ma'am! It isn't fair!" I hear this a lot in my classroom as children constantly compare and compete against each other, and measure their achievements and lives against what they've been told to expect. I see the seeds that I can only hope will not grow into bitterness. But maybe I can do more than hope.
I've been preparing the pin boards in my classroom for the next academic year and one of the permanent sections that I've planned for is called 'The Way of Life'. Basically its a piece of wisdom that I take off the net or a book and I try to put in a comic or picture, because I believe my children need to be challenged to think beyond what they usually do. Whether they do or not and how they grow is up to them, but I'd like to provide the stimulus. So the first month touches on this feeling of entitlement.