Our Little Blue Dot (Patrika Plus)

As published in Patrika plus: http://epaper.patrika.com/1763310/Rajasthan-Patrika-Jaipur/Rajasthan-Patrika-Jaipur#page/20/2

The Folly of Midas Touch (Patrika Plus) – Mehul Jangir

 Have you ever heard the story of King Midas? Midas was a person who had everything in life, but he was of the opinion that further riches awaited him. According to Greek legend, Midas asked the Greek God Dionysus to grant him the ability to turn everything he touches into gold. Overjoyed, Midas turned all the roses in his palace to gold. When it was time to eat, Midas turned his food to gold and he realized his mistake, then his grieving daughter came to him, he tried to console her but turned her into gold as well. Midas realized the foolishness of his actions and thoughts, and he had no way to reverse them. In the end, Midas ended up in a world he didn’t wish for.

Mankind has progressed remarkably in the last few centuries and if easily the smartest life form to walk the planet, we’re the first to actually leave the surface of our planet and the first to utilize its resources on gargantuan scales. Mankind is the first to build communities that expand vertically instead of horizontally and is by far the most advanced in terms of knowing about both its own planet and the cosmos. However, such amiable results tend to have negative effects as well and I, without hesitation, can state that mankind is now a victim of its own advances.

In my childhood, I was taught about various animals and things I never actually saw in life. The beautiful butterflies in my science textbook never materialized in front of me, the brilliant sunflowers that dominated our school poems were never to be seen in the real world and the promise of frogs hopping about here and there during the monsoon was never fulfilled. I never saw the deep red of the leaves that characterizes autumn, I never saw the marvellous banyan trees that were once a feature of Indian pride and I never saw the brilliant hummingbirds and woodpeckers that were commonplace in English poems.

Instead, my childhood was full of sights of smoke pouring out from cars and buses, of taxis honking maniacally and hawkers sweltering in the sun. The winters were full of an eerie phenomenon, ‘smog’ and in the summers, sweltering heatwaves prevented me from playing my heart out. The monsoon would run dry with newspapers full of articles about farmers committing suicide and spring never beckoned a plethora of various flowers and insects.

Growing up, I’ve realized the source of these problems. Unfortunately, they aren’t natural, they’re artificial, a term scientists and politicians easily utilize when describing a new scientific achievement or a brilliant invention. Mankind is going down a path that does not hold any hidden virtues or beauty, it is a path of self-destruction.

Like Midas, we easily embraced what seemed like a divine gift, only to end up in a world we didn’t wish for.

As published in Patrika Plus.