Friday, November 28, 2008

Time Average

In my study of physics over the years, I've come across a certain topic called the ergodic principle several times. In essence, it states that if you wait long enough, a system explores every single possiblity and state it can exist in. So when you wait long enough, neither you, nor the system can tell where it started.
The attack on Mumbai that is still on, has caused millions to react to the scenario. For one thing, I notice that there's suddenly a display of grief online. There are poems, there are dedicated status messages, and there are blog posts expressing grief and ire at what happened. While my heart goes out to all those affected in more direct and tangible terms by this travesty than myself, I do see a certain trend arising out of all this. And the trend is error-free because I have a huge pool of such incidents within this year to observe the pattern.
We're going through this cycle once every fortnight now. Only that each time it gets worse and bolder. Almost all bomb blasts carried out this year in India have been serial blasts. We thought it was really bold of them to have successfully carried of 6-8 coordinated blasts at the same time. Then there was a time they let us discover no less than 28 bombs in a city in the span of 48 hours. Then the number rose further to 16 blasts. This time round, instead of walking into our backyard, they sailed in through our front gate and brought us down to our knees.
What did we do in response everytime? Poems, blog posts, status messages. The standard knee-jerks. "Oh, this is a terrible tragedy". Thats pretty much what even I did. We got up and declared proudly through whatever means of communication we had, "Terrorists, you will not destroy our spirit!". In the next few days, and on the first anniversaries of these tragic incidents, if the number of dead is above a certain cut-off, the news channels reported how everyone has gone back to their business as usual. "The spirit of the city has not been broken". Of course, the polite political condemnation had to make its presence felt. Before we could prosecute the perpetrators of one blast, there were some fifteen more.
My point here is that if we were to note the time axis, there is a peak of such knee jerk reactions everytime such an incident occurs. Slowly, it fades away. Tomorrow, my status message will be something completely different. And it will continue to be different till the next spike arrives. And I'm sure the next spike will arrive. The terrorist does not take note of your status message and your declaration of an indomitable spirit.
Why do people go back to their lives as before? Because they don't have a choice. The 200 dead have left 2 million behind who still have to live. And we say people have gone back to normal, really, on the average. 200 is not a number. 200 is a fraction of the number of lives that have been irreversibly altered by the incident. They will never go back to 'normal'. But because even this number is much smaller than the mass that wasn't affected directly, the blips get lost out in the average.
As time progresses, we would be exposed to every possibility, so no one can tell where we came from, much like the system I talked of.
While I express my heartfelt solidarity to the people of Mumbai, its about time we stopped knee-jerking.
A little less bark, a little more bite.


Lithium said...

hear hear.. i wrote a poem too... hope it makes sense though..

Shrey said...

loved dis post as well..loved lazy felt too lazy to comment!! So ur post had d desired effect!!

As usual..ur writing is want f a more "apt" (bajaj!) was in school some of your word choices pleasantly surprise me..You are like the structural engineer..n ur pieces like buldings...each nut and bolt precisely where its sposed to be...or maybe like a carpenter who uses the hammer of words with exactly the right pressure at precisely the correct angle to drive the nail in...

Here's hopin' dat wsnt too gay!!

PS: A particular line prompted me to write all i frget which...

Wanderer said...

hahaha nuts and bolts it is then! :)

Unknown said...

siddharth.. this time around it has been so upsetting.. i so agree with you that this whole bit about 'spirit of the city' is such a crappy facade.. at the end of the day if someone you know hasnt lost his/her life or been maimed, we really dont care.. you just say a silent thanks that it wasnt you and go back to slaving away for your companies..
as a country, we are such escapists who shrug, mumble typewritten threats.. we never had the balls to stand up to china and now we cant even demand accountability from a nobody like pakistan..
Times like these make me feel so ashamed of being an indian..i have also developed new found respect for USA..

Wanderer said...

well, I just saw this video jaya sent me abt some pak defence analyst suggesting a conspiracy by radical Hindu groups.
Now, I'm not saying that he's right. He's most probably wrong. But there are a few queer things about this...the trouble shrey has written on his blog, that we're driven more by emotion and aren't able to conclusively finger point fast enough.
Totally summed up by one of the comments on that video, "madar#*#^@( ye kaise ho sakta hai??"
No conclusive evidence, raw emotion gone astray