The Walking Machine

Walking Machine Point 1.1

Last time when I was travelling for a seminar, I was surprised at the kind of crowd in Bangalore airport. It was usual for people to stand waiting in at least 5 queues before you reach your seat. At the security, as usual I also had to place my hand bag, mobile phone, laptop and other things. These days they would demand your belt also. I removed my belt for their inspection and when I placed it on the tray, I could feel that my trousers were sliding down since the waist of the trousers was loose. Holding the trousers in one hand, I tried to have a conversation with the next person standing on the same queue: `A large section of people these days are so keen to follow the rules and some others keep themselves busy by making rules for the servitude masses who do not question. For example, why should they take my belt? In any case, the security person will be doing a physical check on us,’ I told him. The passenger next to me turned to me. Obviously, an elite upper middle class face. `It is all for our own good,’ he said.  I did not dare to waste my time after that in a conversation with him again.

After all, we would rather be happy to be a nut or a bolt of a larger machine. The machine is supposed to be `for our own good’. The rulers are `for our own good’ and the handful of corporates who walk over our dead bodies with their greed are also `for our own good’. The rules are being made to be followed. But they forget that the system in between the rulers and the ruled is a bit inadequate in this large and thickly populated country. They are as confused as the general public. By the time the executors of the rules learn about the rules and their implications, a new set of rules are declared. The dazzled public keep on running here and there and forget that they have elected a Government to serve them.

Now, whose `good’ are we really talking about? We are getting trained to become robots for `their own good’ and not `our own good’. The eating machine introduced by Charlie Chaplin in the film Modern Times, brings out a sharp side of irony from this perspective. Just imagine, he brought out one of the major characteristics of our civilisation today, in the year 1936. The film still remains as a major political statement on the modern times in 2000 AD. When machines take over the role of human beings, the human beings walk like machines. A robot civilisation is the soul of modernisation. You don’t need a State or a corporate world or a police machinery to stand against our right to dissent or our freedom of expression and speech. People around us will do that job for them and try to make us feel that we are the problem. A large section of the servitude minds seems to be demanding in their prayers: `Give Us Our Daily Rules’. If they do not keep on getting rules to obey, they may become psychotic.

People in power need not exercise too much of energy today to do the nastiest and the dirtiest job which any civilised human being throughout history may condemn. Their robot servants in the media would praise them for their great service. Remember de-monetisation, GST, UID and Aadhar Card? Remember the daily incidents among the farmers, Dalits and women? Remember Kashmir, Gujarat and Kandhamal? And remember to count the number and per centage of people in this 130 crore population, who really chose to not remember such grave issues! If there is still a minority of people who still dissent with these memories, the walking machines in uniforms along with media robots will do a fine job to erase those memories from the brain of those who dissent. Remember FTII, JNU, Hyderabad University, Aligarh University and Jamia? And remember….!

As far as I was concerned, my loose trousers were haunting my consciousness than my social and political memories. `Why should walking machines be bothered about my nudity?’ I tried to rationalise. `Can these walking machines really feel their own nudity, if they wished to cover themselves?’ I wondered. Perhaps, it was my own problem that I was trying to treat machines as human beings. The walking machines are not scared of Climate Change, they are not bothered of the crude and yet organised ways through which our forests, rivers, hills, lakes, seas and the lands are looted, destroying the source of lives of these very machines who keep on walking. The cry of the child in Delhi recently along with the incidents of CAA/NRC/NPA which pierced our ears, could not be heard by their metallic ears. If there is no democracy, they would keep on pretending: `I just don’t care’, or still worse: `It is for our own good!’

I kept on moving in the queue, holding my trousers with one hand without talking to anybody around till I reached the security guard who had an official right to feel my body. He gestured me to raise my hands to both sides to facilitate his search for terrorism on my body. Since my loose trousers would not allow me to do the same, I raised my left hand, so that he could check that part of my body. But he was not happy. He looked at my other hand. I quickly held my trousers with my left hand and raised my right hand. He was getting irritated: `Dono Haath (Both hands)’, ordered the machine in the uniform with an angry look at me. I could not suppress my irritation further. I raised my sound and told him in Hindi with the same irritation that my trousers were lose and if he could get my belt back, I could raise both my hands together. I pulled the waist of my trousers and showed him how loose it was. `I don’t mind raising my both hands, but if my trousers fall down, it would be your responsibility,’ I told him.

The security guard’s jaw fell. He did not dare to look at me after that. He quickly pressed the seal on my boarding pass and without looking at me, he handed it to me. I walked past him like a victorious walking machine among the defeated ones.

K.P. Sasi  is a film maker, cartoonist and writer




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K P Sasi

K.P. Sasi is a film maker, cartoonist, writer and an activist

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