Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Number Game

Quake rocks Sichuan province of China..storms sweep Myanmar..Series explosion in Jaipur ..Around 40000 killed in the first case,around a 100000 in the second and 70 killed in the third..and still counting..
At first I ignore these news pieces thinking of them as just another explosion somewhere or just another nature fury in some part of the world..and I continue watching the IPL matches instead of giving even a trifle of attention to whats going around..and then reports start pouring in that there have been significant loss of death and my attention crescendoes towards it..after a series of switching of channels in between the overs and otherwise too that irritates others around me,I find that the death rates are increasing and I find myself more interestingly inclined towards the news..Somehow deep inside I am not feeling bad for the thousands misplaced..Well i am feeling bad but not able to empathise with them much to the extent that I remain sad all throughout..deeper inside I am not praying for the figures to come down..and please note that itas not that I am praying for the figures to rise either..just that there is not much commitment to the whole tragedy..its not that I enjoy people getting killed but somewhere deeper deeper inside,if there is a word like that,I am not feeling bad about It too..this is easily the most difficult post that I have tried to put as expressing myself the way I want to might not be its open to all kinds of interpretations..
I don’t know if its just human nature or just me..I tend to associate more importance to an event or incident only if there are casualities involved. I don’t know if I am able to get the point across but somehow the events in which say a 100 people die is less important than one in which 500 die..and I guess its true about many of us atleast say a 75 %of us(a very conservative estimate)..Hundreds of people die in Afghanistan and Iraq due to car bombs and human bombs..But then that ends up as a foot note in most of the news as well as our attention.. Somehow 40 lives are not more important or equally important as 500 lives..Simply put in words,more numbers are more eye grabbing than less of them..
Lets take into consideration ,a case,where there are injuries too..Somehow the number of injured people don’t get my attention that much and it just gets side lined although sometimes being injured and scrapping through every inch of life is worse than losing it in a matter of few seconds..I might even be telling all this because I have never directly been involved in anything like it..
It just doesn’t end there..sometimes,the compensation that the state governments announce for the dead might be ,and I say ‘might be’, a boon for certain family members..Well I know you might be bickering over the clich├ęd line that life can not be equated with money as it is priceless and invaluable but still I just tend to think devilish sometimes..and everyone has that side for sure,although many do not come out in the open and owe up to it..I feel guilty for being heartless at times,well most of the time,and conjure up some possibilities.Suppose there is a person who has left his family and probably is a big drug addict or a drunkard and abuses the family members ,physical abuse too..this guy just walks up the road and bam!!There is an explosion and he is ripped apart, the members see this breaking news in the screen ,if they are watching news that is,now,isn’t it actually better for the family that the member is gone and if the compensation does reach then it would be beneficial for the family ,say a timely compensation of Rs 500000 ,as was announced for the Jaipur attack victims..Now another case is when there is this beggar or a labourer ,who works day and night but still might not see 100000 Rs in his/her whole lifetime..Well given an option of death and money ,NONE would chose the latter for sure but just think of it..What if the family is actually benefited by the lakhs they receive..Atleast it would be a strong basement to build upon..I feel I should have never thought of things like this but then my mind continuously swivels towards thinking on thEse lines..and only after putting these thoughts into words,do I get some respite from the guilt..but then I need to know if other people feel the same too..or am I the only zombie around who feels that death after all might be good news for some families whether they accept it or not..i am expecting a lot of criticism from people who read it and they are all welcome to do so..Well people might say that ‘Arun!you wont say the same if you are in such a situation where someone close to you is in danger’..probably ya but then ….still…Cant stop thinking..
I cant explain the conundrum I am in..there are two ways to look at the whole problem..first is that I am sympathetic towards the people who are suffering but then the fact is if there were hundred people dead instead of a 10000 in china ,I wouldn’t have cared for it much..So the consideration angle gets thrown out of the window..Now the second and more satanic view of the problem is that,somewhere deep inside I probably expect the death tolls to rise ,so that there is much more seriousness or debate attatched to it than just brush away that piece of news..atleast there is a lot to talk about now..i guess it is like the opposition parties that might be praying for a lot of casulaities so that they can have a reason to attack the ruling parties..Well I guess that’s all I want to put in right now..As chinese officials now announce that there might be 50000 killed now,figures might rise again!!


Anonymous said...


i get ur pt quite clearly n m nt goin to say tht u r heartless...coz d truth is dat increasin no of deaths due to whteva reasons dnt really touch ur heart unless u r one of d closely involved... such stories simply get lost wid tym..lyk u've pointed out d bombings n death in iran n iraq....

i perfectly understand ur attitude towards such things...i pretty much feel d sme way...perhaps m used to seein such rising death tolls

nice work


Dan* said...

interesting stats ! keep posting

SAEMA..... said...

well...dis is sumthng on whc i agree wid u...
we r all heartless at sum pt of tym..cnt help it..
u know the media waits eagerly 4 such events 2 happen..not coz thr heartless or sumthng but coz dis is thr job..the more the activities the happier the media..
natural calamities v cnt ctrl...but the terrorist activities i condemn..the bombings make me sad..coz the innocent ppl gt killed..i dont undrstnd why just 2 create terror n fear amng the ppl these terrorists attack the poor civilians..if they hav power why dont thy just kill sum politicians.....whc wud b bettr..

Gagan said...

I 100 percent agree to you man !!

we can stop the terrorism attack but cnt stop natural clamities !!

Mohan Kumar said...

ya rightly said ., i felt very much sad with that statistics !!

Emoxaph said...

its not about being heartless or not...there might be a time when these deaths touched ppls heart. But i can tell you this todays world, it is hard to feel this way when you constantly see these news of TV.
I am from Pakistan and whenever i hear news of explosions and deaths in pakistan, it doesnt make a difference to me, coz i know this is not goin to stop and there is nuthin we can do about chill man...u know we cant do nething...coz if we even try...god knows we might be dere next target!

Tina said...

those stats are horrifyin truth man...Its shockin to c these nums....

Death i belv has to be natural and its sad and disheartnin to c ppl die.

Terrorism is sometin m totally against and i wrote a poem as well..chek it ut and tell me wat u think

Pranay said...

you know what.. its simply human nature.. and partly a role played by the media..
more deaths catch more attention..
I read somewhere that Death and Destruction is what makes news the most. So its natural for us to pay more attention to the incident involving more no. of deaths.. and ignore other smaller incidents..

but i dont entirely agree on ur view that if a beggar dies and the family gets 1lakhs, it may actually prove to be beneficial.
I think that even in the worst of times, we all long for love more than money... so the compensation may be a momentary relief.. but ultimately.. it'll be the loss of hum life that'll remain the most tragic..
i thnk u deserve a pat on the back to have brought forth ur feelings so transparently and honestly.. well done!

Unpretentious Diva said...

increasin no of deaths due to whteva reasons dnt really touch ur heart unless u r one of d closely involved

That is the main reason why collectivism can never work!
While for Individual well-being and happiness, Liberty is much needed.

rohit said...


you are fantastic!!!

a kiss for you, my dear friend!

god bless u dear

can we exchange our link

r u ready to do?

C R D said...

oh i see this rohit chap has kissed u too. i think ive seen his kisses on atleast 15 other blogs today. no im not exaggerating [:O]

well, i think things that happen rarely tend to grab our many times do heads turn when someone in india spits on the road, or spits out paan, or yells while yaking on his phone.its commonplace here.

need i say more? [:P]

keep writing

Sandeep Balan said...

u reminded me of the dreaded gujarat quake n other calamaties that i have witnessed...mumbai riots...gujarat earthquakes...godhra...i was at these places n have a first hand account of the natural n man made disasters...well written..cheers

Dr Rajshekher said...

I thnk Arun, I agree...a pat on ur back for giving vent to ur actual feelings...I'm intensely interested in human psychology and the psychology of violence....its interesting, what u said, n the sympathetic responses from our fellow bloggers...i thnk thats how v all r, no shame about it, if u cared a lot (say, too much), u'd bring life to a standstill the moment one such event happened, and then terrorists would be very for us to be happy, to be hopeful, to live for another day, one needs to close one's eyes n mind to today's tragedy...this is true even when it is personal...and easier when it is impersonal...that's human psychology for u..a necessity

Sushobhan Sen said...

What sort of a society are we headed towards, where people have become insensitive towards death and numbers are just numbers?