thinking out aloud

Read a wonderful article “Pitfalls of imitating the American Dream” by Sudheendra Kulkarni (I need find out about him).

I should say as I read too many ‘online’ article, mostly blogs, i was pushed to an extreme when I struggled to read this article in one go. I thought, may be I should tear this page (some kind of bookmark) and read it later after I am done with the paper. I am still getting used to “The Indian Express“. {My father decided to switch the newspaper from “The Times of India” from Monday saying Times is too much color and TRASH!} So, then I went to google and to get the online version of this article but nah … I guess google crawlers had not got this into their archives …

Coming back to the article it talks about thoughts of the late Arthur Miller (today marks his first death anniversary) and his play “Death of a Salesman”. I hope to read it later {inspired by this article}. But just highlighting the main points on how Miller’s thoughts were influential and how they may be important to India. I would to exchange views and ideas between the Indian dream and the American dream! If anyone is interested do leave a comment here and we can chat it over a cuppa coffee in mumbai? The articles talks about rather raves about the play, touches topics on capitalism, the great American dream and now the Indian dream, consumerist advertising in india and what things “attention must be paid”. I am missing my room-mates and IIT days to start an arguement here! To quote a few important lines from the article (the final paragraph packs a powerful punch!):

Willy Loman believes in the myth that any American can become rich by working hard. He is also led to believe that, apart from hard work and honesty, success in life depends critically on status, popularity and personal attractiveness … Life teaches him that capitalism creates dreams for all, but fulfills them only for a few. He chooses not to become one of those ‘‘successful’’ few by becoming dishonest in his dealings … Soon, he too starts to think likewise. Slowly, his sense of self-worth fades and he dissipates to his hopeless death.

There is a line in Miller’s play that echoes the experience of … today’s heartless and impersonal economic system in India ‘‘You can’t eat the orange and throw the peel away“. If you have the eyes to see, you can see tens of thousands of these meekly protesting but essentially powerless Lomans in India, China, United States and other countries. They provide the labour that helps a few become millionaires and billionaires, but who themselves live largely unhappy lives, unhonoured in their workplaces, unknown in their habitats, mostly worrying about their children’s education, employment and housing, their family’s mounting medical expenses, life after retirement, etc.

In an excellent obituary, Time magazine’s theatre columnist Richard Corliss wrote: ‘‘Miller saw the American Dream as a kind of curse, for it led us to mistake ambition for destiny, and to suffer the inevitable slump and crumble when reality makes mock of the dream.’’ After the worldwide success of Miller’s play, ‘‘Attention must be paid’’ became a popular line in pro-people theatre and political writing.

That line bears repetition in the present Indian context, when the same myths, half-truths, false promises and counterfeit values, which were castigated by Miller and countless other great poets, playwrights, novelists, journalists, philosophers, political activists and spiritual leaders all over the world, are now being propagated by consumerist advertising in India. Individualism is extolled. Obligation to contribute to the well-being of the collective is underplayed. Our young people are being led to believe that life is all about getting rich quickly, gaining status in society, and having a ‘‘good time’’. Those who can’t make the grade are adjudged ‘‘failures’’, even if they are honest and display other superior qualities at workplace and in their personal lives. The rich and the powerful are the new icons in our society, never mind how some of them got their money and power. Surely, ‘‘attention must be paid’’ to these life-impoverishing imbalances in our ideas of prosperity, economic growth and development.”


Published by: vinu

My life - BREESY! :-) :D Beautiful Random Enjoyable Eventful Simple Yellow Places I have lived (chronological): (country) (- state) (-- city) India - (Orissa) -- Cuttack (2yrs) -- Bhubaneshwar (3yrs) - (Maharastra) -- Bombay/Mumbai (8 + 1 yrs) - (TamilNadu) -- Madras/Chennai (6 yrs) - (Pondicherry) (1 yr) United States - (California) -- Berkeley (3 yrs) Education : IIT Madras 02, UC Berkeley 05 Work Experience: Mechanical Engineer at FORD Motor Company, India; Management Trainee at Datamatics Technologies Ltd.; Wireless Programmer at TeleCommunication Systems Inc. Passions (currently as of Dec 2005): Family, Media (visual / audio), Mobile Systems, Internet, Design Interests: Music, Movies, Photography, Enjoying nature, Playing Violin, Graphics, Business / Entrepreneurship / Managments, Spirituality, Design, Technology, Mobile / Wireless

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