For the first time in months, I find myself wishing I could do a 'soft' story.
I know I shouldn't be wishing such things. There are stories of systemic betrayal of the masses; stories of mass anger, mass defeatism, mass migration, massive manipulation, massive misuse of funds and abuse of power - there are stories on each hill and in each village that we're all too busy or too callous or too world-weary to bother writing about.
These stories need to be told. And I opted to try and tell them.
But it is exhausting all the same - watching the dispossession and displacement caused by 'development', the resentment ensuing, the awful mangling of relatively sane cultures, in the attempt to homogenize...
Today, I wish I could write syrupy odes to pine trees in the mist, instead. I wish I could write of how good it feels to be wrapped in rough, handwoven fabric. Or how cold the rain was and how rough the ride over dry riverbeds. And how I wish this were a trip with no purpose attached.
But I'm too young to want to have no purpose.
I was in Uttaranchal recently, with an old college friend, also a journalist. She said something that I've felt deep in my bones for the last two years. She said, "In two years, I've become so cynical that there is no positive feeling left for my profession... I should have been this disillusioned after fifteen years... not when I'm so young."
I should have felt this way after fifteen years. Ten years, maybe.
I'm not supposed to be looking at every single creature with suspicion and wonder: what's in it for him/her? Not yet.
Not when I'm just learning what this world is all about, and what it means to be out in it, on your own. Not when I'm supposed to be fighting back all the conviction and bravado that my youth and idealism can muster.
And I'm not supposed to be able to see that it's a losing battle! I'm too young.
I'm not supposed to wish this 'civilization' would self-combust, because there's no other cure for it. I'm not supposed to be content with soft stories. I'm not supposed to allow myself to wallow in a morbid cynicism that shrugs off all responsibility to change the world.
I'm too young...