The saddest thing about the world these days is not that there is too much hatred, but that there is too much apathy. In an age which is calling out for us to feel, indifference dominates as a numbing shadow that has made us impervious to the joys and sorrows around us.

We no longer care enough about anything. Our fellow people's happiness doesn't excite us anymore. Heck, we don't even know our neighbours these days. Nor does their suffering touch a chord in our heart. If we see someone being beaten, robbed or raped, we prefer to look the other way and carry on with our lives as if nothing really happened. We don't offer to help a blind person cross the road, or carry a heavy bag of shopping for the elderly. It isn't the accident that kills a man on Delhi roads.. it's the hundreds of people who pass him by and don't stop to call for an ambulance.

We're so self-absorbed that we have forgotten to look beyond our own existence. Getting ahead in the rat-race, climbing the corporate ladder, gunning for that next promotion, looking to make more money, buying property, living the "good life" a.k.a. living in the lap of luxury... these are the catch phrases that dominate our thinking and psyche. Ironically, it is in the pursuit of that elusive "good life" that we stop living altogether.

These days, we see so much struggle, suffering and strife around us that we have become numb to their effects now. It is a paradoxical situation - you're not human if you don't feel, and yet it is difficult to live when you feel too much... The trick is to empathise but not let it make you miserable... and that requires strength.

These are the ravings and rantings of a mind that has failed to understand how creating marketing strategies to make profits for big pharma companies is contributing towards making even an iota of difference to this world.

Thoughts anyone?

Where The Grass is Always Greener : Chapter 2

Mike Mitchell was an enterprising junior secretary to the assitant manager in a big financial firm. He was among the lowest paid and most burdened workers in the firm and he was nowhere in the line of going up the heirarchy unless he did something really extraordinary, and he wasn't bright enough for that.

He sauntered along the shopping district, peering into windows to select something cheap that would do for a ring to propose to his girlfriend with. Mike had no pretensions about his attractions and knew that he was getting a good deal. She was pretty, kind hearted and loved him inspite of his faults. He wasn't sure if he loved her, but he was fond of her and was good natured enough to keep her happy. What he really wanted was money to lead a comfortable life, to indulge a little in the horse racing circuit and have abundant meals and clothes. His was a simple and rather unoriginal mind, and he did not have the mettle to make anything big of himself.

As he walked along the shop fronts, he looked with awe at the glittering diamonds, shining gold and shimmering trinket jewellery in the upscale stores. He couldn't even imagine entering and buying something from one of these shops. They seemed inaccessible to him behind those glass doors that formed a barrier between him and his dream life on "the other side".

Finally, he spotted a fake diamond gimlet ring and wasted no time in buying it. He looked at his inexpensive faux leather strap watch, a gift from his lady love. It was getting late and he quickly walked across to the street that would lead to the corner of The Residency, where his ultimate boss and idol live.

Mike saw Mabel from a distance, and smiled. She looked prettier than ever, with the rose in her hair, and suddenly he wished he had bought a better ring for her. He walked shyly up to her, and without waiting a moment, he produced the fake diamond ring and breathlessly asked her to be his wife. Her eyes shone as she said yes, and pulled him into an embrace. It was surprising to him how even the gaudy diamond seemed to gather radiance and class when on her finger. Though he was happy, he was also slightly alarmed at the prospect of now providing for two people instead of one, and was suddenly overcome with doubts as to the astuteness of his proposal to her.

Mike Mitchell looked up enviously at the tinted windows of The Residency. The door opened suddenly, and he couldn't believe his eyes when he saw the owner of his company, Mr. D'Arcy, sag against the door. He pushed Mabel away and rushed to help D'Arcy up to his feet. The doorman at The Residency held D'Arcy up and supported him back inside, his immaculate shirt still without a wrinkle and his Rolex glinting at his wrist. Within minutes, an ambulance screeched to a halt outside the door, and white coat clad medical attendants ran inside.

As the door of The Residency swung shut, Mike wished for a moment to be free of Mabel, and have enough wealth and power to generate such importance. As he sighed and made his way back to where Mabel stood, Mike wished he was on The Other Side.

Where The Grass is Always Greener : Chapter 1

D'Arcy flicked an imaginary speck of dust from the cuffs of his expensive and meticulously tailored shirt. He looked about him with disdain, observing as the menial ones scurried around eking out their living. Standing at the window of his luxurious bedroom, he looked down upon those lower beings with their grubby faces, grimy hands and scruffy clothes. Those men and women of toil and labour, who probably earned less in a month than he spent in a day on cigars. A clear line marked him and them.. a wall of wealth, success, opulence and luxury. They were on "the other side" of it. He smirked and sipped his morning cup of coffee, watching snow flakes drift lazily down on a cold gray December afternoon.

Jack D'Arcy was a hard-nosed businessman, a financial genius people called him. He knew where to invest and when to cash in. He was known equally for his charm and wit as for his heartless and fearsome takeovers of small, mostly family-owned businesses, cutting out the owners completely and transforming them into money making machines, but at the cost of generations worth of goodwill. He had made his fortune out of others' misfortunes and took pride in his rapid ascent from a small town, middle class boy with burning ambitions to a tycoon.

He lived in an apartment in one of the most exclusive avenues of the bustling city, simply called The Residency. The firm that built it specialized in catering to its high-profile clientele, providing its patrons the privacy and discretion they desired without compromising on the luxury that was their prerogative. The door that led to the foyer was unostentatious and plain, but the single gold band around its edges and the simple golden angel motif on the top right hand corner marked it out to the cognoscenti as the mark of the highest of high society. Noone could enter the pristine halls unless accompanied by a patron or one of the firm's own escorts who were trained to allow only those who were possessors of enough millions to be potential customers. It was from the window of his well appointed bedroom in this fiefdom of the wealthy that he now witnessed the early morning hustle-bustle of the world beneath his feet.

Down below on the street, a young woman hurried down the crowded footpath, colliding with several on her way to where two roads met on the corner right below D'Arcy's window. She looked anxiously around for someone, eagerly scanning the face of each man who came her way, each negative followed by a moment of disappointment and then hopefulness bounced back on her features. Her body was tense and she looked as though poised on the brink of something that was important beyond measure. She wore a simple gray dress that somehow managed to flatter her slim figure and bring a dignity to her bearing. On her hair was adorned a single blood red rose that seemed to bring a spot of colour to the otherwise dull, black and white pallete of the winter afternoon. It was the rose that caught D'Arcy's attention, and the woman that made him catch his breath...

A lifetime ago, D'Arcy had been Jack, a boy with dreams in his eyes and Mabel in his heart. They had grown up together, been to the same school, lived in the same neighbourhood. He had loved her and wanted nothing more than to spend his life with her. And then he discovered he could make money in a thousand ways. Greed overcame Love, and he moved from strength to strength, and never found to time to tell her he loved her.. and then he found she had become a stranger to him... He remembered the pain and shock in her eyes as he bulldozed her father's old bookstore to make way for his supermarket... but she no longer mattered to him and she had never forgiven him....

As he saw Mabel standing there, his love for her came rushing back. He wouldn't let her go again. Loneliness and longing bit him like a serpent, and he knew that no amount of money or success could heal the rift in his heart. The coffee cup slipped from his fingers and crashed to the floor as he rushed out the door and ran down the stairs. As he pushed through the gold lined, angel motifed front door, he saw her in the arms of another, a middle class young man, much like he himself had been a lifetime ago. Joy radiated from her face, her lips parted in a smile that held the warmth of a thousand suns even in the bitterly cold winter. D'Arcy sagged against the gilt-edged door, a moan escaped his lips and he felt his heart shatter in an instant.

And in that instant, he would have given all his wealth to have become that poor young man who held D'Arcy's greatest desire in his arms. His last thought before he slipped into unconsciousness was ... He wanted to be on The Other Side.
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