The New FrontierT. SHER SINGH
Friday, October 12, 2012
There’ll be 242,000 millionaires in India before long, proclaims the country’s media gleefully.
That means that while these 242,000 lucky buggers -- still unhappy with their lot -- are tearing around frantically to multiply their worth by hook or by crook, 1,219,958,000 Indians will have to make do by being stuck somewhere between the somehow-eke-by-in-life crowd and those living in abject poverty.
The latter’s extreme spot on the spectrum is proudly held by over 95% of Indians. But that’s another story for another day …
Let’s tend to the trials and tribulations of being a Malik Bhago in today’s India -- the endless search for more and more and more, and never a moment to sit back and enjoy it, because, well, it’s a rat race, isn‘t it!
I feel sorry for them millionaires. Because, we’re told, India’s thankless poor are a happy lot … you can always see them laughing and playing, always inexplicably content with their allotted place on the food-chain … or the foodless chain, if you will.
But I know you shed tears for them, the pitiable, deprived millionaires of India.
Well, there’s good news for them. Finally. Relief is in sight.
Right in time for the oncoming Laxmi Pooja - the Hindu festival in honour of the goddess of wealth - the good devi has exercised her munificence.
Haven’t you heard?
A new planet has been discovered, twice the size of Earth.
Are you sitting down?
It is made of diamonds. Really. Its continents -- not just miniscule stones which have to be put under a microscope to be appreciated, like our wealthy cousins have had to suffer in this kaljug -- are made of D-I-A-M-O-N-D-S!
Just think about it.
Indians no longer have to hold Commonwealth Games in New Delhi to cultivate a whole crop of millionaires. You no longer have to run for elections to qualify to make oodles of money. You no longer have to be a brahmin and receive gullible hordes in a mandir to build up a treasury. You no longer need to store away your ill-gotten gains in Swiss accounts and other tax havens …
All India needs to do is divert its space program, which hitherto was pointed towards Mars, and get it to aim for the planet of diamonds.
Space program? India?
Well, you see, encouraged by their success in building a subway line or two in New Delhi -- which runs in tandem with the hours during which electricity and water flows in India -- Indians thought they were ready to tackle space-travel.
I mean, who wouldn’t have thought that a subway system is a perfect precursor to an outer-space transportation system? It’s the need of the hour in India, isn’t it?
But, I digress. Back to Diamondia.
Well, it’s the name I have given it, so that India knows what to name it once its urrhan-khatola lands on the new planet.
In the meantime, though, the scientists have named the new planet “55 Cancri e”.
You don’t like it?
Well, it’s better than “Cancer”, isn’t it?
With the sense of irony and humour that God has reserved for Himself, the new planet has been discovered as part of the constellation of Cancer! If you thought it was thunder you heard the other day … no, it wasn’t. It was God laughing.
Now, I hope no one gets deterred by the fact that even if we could learn how to travel at the speed of light -- which we can’t yet, not for a while anyway -- the round trip would take 80 years.
True, true: if you’re going for diamonds, why would you want to come back? Okay, so it’ll take 40 years to get there. That’s 40 h-u-m-a-n and r-e-a-l years. Each one 12 months long, etc., etc.
But I wouldn’t let that deter me, if I was you.
Nor would I worry about the 2100 degree Celsius temperature on “55 Cancri e”. I mean, there are ways of getting around that sort of a hurdle.
So, let’s not lose sight of the enormous potential of this great discovery.
Surely, the United States would want to plant a flag on the spot first, and declare ownership too.
China? Russia? The European Union?
How about De Beers?
Or, even better, we can get George W. and Cheney and Rumsfeld interested and they could get Halliburton to, well, ‘facilitate’ things vis-à-vis 55 Cancr-e. They could be assured a monopoly for, say, a 60% cut. Is that fair? Is that the usual fare?
The more I think of it, the more I see a whole world of possibilities opening up.
A new race.
And a new arms race.
It’ll be good for the economy. Down here on earth, I mean.
And, finally, we get to have r-e-a-l Star Wars, the kind Ronald Reagan used to have wet dreams about.
Now that we’ve lost our taste for fighting the Taliban and the Arabs in godforsaken deserts -- it‘s no fun fighting and not winning! -- we can have a whole new theatre for the mother of all wars.
Wait a second!
Don’t we have an election coming up, a mere 4 weeks away? And two more debates?
Here’s what I would do if I was Romney. I would promise a diamond on every finger if I get elected. The day I get elected, I would say, we start on a journey to 55 Cancri e …
Once we get there … and Romney should make it clear that he’ll require more than the first term for that … we’ll outsource everything to the new planet, ship all the unemployed to it for work details (so that they can collect food-stamps and health-care vouchers) …
Can’t you see what I can see? It’s a sure-shot debate-winner. Nay, an election winner!
A whole, brave new world … a new frontier!
Conversation about this article
1: Dr.Birinder Singh Ahluwalia (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), October 13, 2012, 7:17 AM.
This article, in my view, projects cynicism re humanity at it's best, faith in humanity at it's nadir - blame for this lies with everyone and everybody: democracies, pseudo-democracies and non-democracies ... However, I sincerely believe humanity still has a chance to show it's decency and reach for the stars to proclaim the destiny it is capable of - true peace, true liberty, true happiness and shared prosperity for all mankind ... or maybe, I am too ...
2: Kulwant Singh (U.S.A.), October 13, 2012, 8:35 AM.
It seems that India is more concerned with maintaining a good image, and competing with other nations, than feeding it's own people; thus, flailing for the stars, while most of its population are still living in extreme third-world conditions. I hope the electricity doesn't go out on their space shuttle.