Outsourced

“Five-year warranty? Nah, two’s good.”

“This is wrong… Why d’you do this? It’s not even a big margin.”

“Every little counts, Mark. Besides, this is good enough for those rubes.”

Roadways contractor Billy clapped his hands, excited. Eyes aglow, he gestured at his long-time assistant to seal the deal. It wasn’t the first time he’d chosen affordability over durability. He didn’t bother, either. Because if the National Freeway he builds now caved two years later due to low quality, he wouldn’t be answerable.

Within five years, he’d saved millions from state funds. All locked in a safe in his name.

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Old news

It’s 6:30 am on the 15th of February. And I’m angry.

It’s is not how I’d hoped to start my day. My first realisation for the day was how bloody America has become. A teenager has gunned down high school students—again.

I don’t live in the US. I’m no longer a high schooler, and I’m no parent. I know no one in Florida or anywhere near its vicinity.

But I’m angry nevertheless. It pains me—who lives 11.30 hours ahead of PST—that someone somewhere has unrestricted access to such vile weaponry. I’m silly that way. Because I care about what’s becoming of this place that I no longer want to call home.

Just last week I was proud—thrilled that a fellow human propelled a rocket to space. A single man’s determination and persistence has given us all a lifetime worth of achievement. Last week as Falcon Heavy made a safe landing, we celebrated human-ness  and our intense ability to reach beyond our confines. Our race had pursued the nigh-impossible and proven nothing’s impossible. For one week, I was proud of humankind.

This week, I’m repulsed by it.

Sure, life’s full of good and bad incidents. And philosophers would argue we wouldn’t appreciate the good unless we experience the bad. Which is all sage advice, except the bad is no longer bad when it extinguishes the innocent and exalts the unworthy.

Elon Musk had to fail hundreds of times before he could succeed. That’s the bad pill we need to swallow so we can appreciate the good one when it comes.

A teenage murderer isn’t the kind of bad that leads to realising goodness. Nothing good ever comes from entrusting a loaded weapon to someone unauthorised to wield it. That causes more than an unfortunate turn of events—that’s a consequence of utter insensibility.

Scrolling through social media, I saw videos and text messages from students inside the school during the shooting. They’re communicating with family and friends outside and most of them seem calm and collected.

Calmness in the face of adversity is healthy, some might say. I’d say no, though.

Although panic gets us nowhere, calm indicates familiarity. Despite grieving, people have grown accustomed to such incidents. It’s the first time for some folk, but nothing unheard of. Violence and guns amiss are so common that no one’s surprised that it happened again.

Everyone’s shocked because it happened, of course, but no one’s surprised that it happened. And there lies the fundamental fault in our stars.

Unexpected

This valentine’s day

for a blind date seeking love

a mother lectures

Master of none

“Carl! How’re ya?”

Carl looked up “Hi, Mark. All good, tha — ”

“Quick favour. Can you conjour up a poster for us? Nothing too fancy—we’re organising a last-minute event, and need designs ASAP.”

Carl sent the memo he’d been proofreading for Jason, and then turned to Mark smiling. “Sure. I’ll be happy — ”

“Cheers, life saver. Drinks on me, Friday!”

Carl had spent the morning proofreading his team mates’ work, before tackling Jason’s memo. It took him all evening — amidst discussions, brainstorming sessions, and distractions—to finish Mark’s designs.

By 7, he’d done everyone’s job but his.

Tomorrow, perhaps.

*Ping* “u thr?”

Love’s not love…

In our obsession to explain every thing under the sky, we’ve also defined our tendency of being unable to accept ours. Imposter’s syndrome is a clinical term that refers to one of the most fundamental emotions of humans.

‘I don’t think I deserve credit because I don’t feel like I did a good job.’ We all feel that sometimes. No one person is always satisfied with the yields of their efforts. That’s when we’re so guilt-ridden that we refuse to admit achievement.

We don’t realise, however, that anything that’s sloppy to us may seem exceptional to someone else. Ironic and though difficult, we must accept that. We all see the same thing in different ways — we have our own perspectives — and when someone declares how much we mean to them, not only is it decent to smile, acknowledge, and thank them, but it’s also a mark of self-help.

For only when we accept recognition from others can we appreciate our own self. We’re so hard on ourselves sometimes that we don’t love ourselves enough. How are we to love others if we can’t love ourselves first?

How we love others depends on how we love ourselves. When we’re unconditional towards our own self, and satisfy our self, we become happier from the inside out. That reflects when we interact with others, too. That’s why it’s almost impossible to enclose love in a dome. Love’s not only the love that young frivolous couples share, but love’s what we all share towards one another, living or otherwise. The more we love ourselves, the more we have to share. And the more we share, the more we receive.

It’s one infinite loop.