“Cubicle Nation” has come to being quite recently where we could observe hundreds of people look at a CRT or plasma screen for 10-12 hours a day for work and earning their living.
Since all products and services are nowadays powered by cubicle nation in some form of the other, this post is relevant for them.
The urge for writing this post came to me when I had heard that my alma mater – University of Strathclyde, Glasgow was doing a research on the “Health of the Entrepreneurs” with the characteristics Scottish pragmatism and usefulness ( The University motto is : “A place of useful learning”) while arguing that those (the entrepreneurs) who are going to take care of the health of the economy and ours must have sound health.
I have done a kind of field investigation among the citizens of cubicle nation – mostly in my native habitat and found out some serious conversations going on and for brevity I note them in this white space, as if jotting down in a conference room. There is a subtle difference in these notes : due to reasons not unknown to the citizens, I am translating them, rather making them less sanitized and more urgent :
- Formula 40 : Citizens over 40 and having a large pay-package and less half-lives as in case of the radioactive elements find tremendous stress, anxiety, fear, dread. In addition to the issues of 2 EMIs (car + bank funded home), 2 school fees ( private schools) and 3 credit cards, they also find that there is no one with whom they can speak openly, without agenda, without the fear of being heard by an informer’s ear. Colleagues are no longer friends but potential assassins.
- Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota : Menfolk among this nation were taught, since childhood and via Bollywood and Hollywood that men are tough and have balls of steel and the tear glands and emotional glands are also made up of the same material. Hence, most of the men can neither open their minds and fears fully to their better halves / friends and the whole atmosphere has a no-ask-no-tell protocol. Some search for relief in nicotine, alcohol, diversions of many kind but the core issue : unburdening one’s sense of fear, of insecurity, of being proven if not utter but a serious failure in life at this age. There must be someone – a place of trust, someone who will not judge but will resonate with this. There is absolutely nothing to take care of the “dard” – not the aspirin kind but a very deep one.
- The Rank-holder syndrome : Most of the citizens above 40 in the Cubicle Nation must have held some rank or other in India in their 10th / 12th / Entrance examination -otherwise they would not have been in the cubicle mid 1990s. This has consequences. Many have never failed in anything serious things in their lives. They simply could not. It is not possible in the scheme Indian for them to think that they can fail. In India, the greatest conditioning we have is this : a white collar job is better than a blue collar or any collar job, irrespective of any other consideration of earning, location, interest, leisure, family lives, one’s own life. The Cubicle Nation citizens, especially the IT work is the whitest of the white collar job considered. This perception by the outside world and the inner turmoil of the citizen combine to make a lethal mix : Life is worthless if I fail to remain a white collar. White collars did not invent Life. Life or Existence does not listen to any one – of any collar. And even to Dollar.
- Do you hear me Bela ? (“বেলা বোস, শুনতে পাচ্ছো কি…..?”) : In one of the memorable songs of our generation, the caller called Ms. Bela Bose but did not receive any answer. The message was curt and clear : “I got the job” (চাকরীটা আমি পেয়ে গেছি, বেলা শুনছো). But all of us, author included, at the circa 2016 have a more ominous reason to call our own Bela – that resides within us. The message is telegraphic, impersonal and explosive and since most of the citizens are quite accustomed to deal in acronyms, the word comes in a shade of pink, in Gothic font : GTFO …here. There must be a place, other than a bar to go to – to handle the humiliation, the heartburn, the terrible anger and a helplessness. There is no such place. But we need one.
Great thoughts come from the Heart. We need men and women – of exceptional calibre and sensibility, having passed through this themselves, an ex-addict and with all the scars visible and they are kind, understanding, non-judgmental and competent.
The true philosopher – not a priest, not an astrologer, not a mentor, not a doctor, not a therpaist, not a depgrogrammer, not an ex but all of them together.
Dr. Philo is coming with a helpline for Cubicle Nation very soon. Currently, he is in his study in some cellar in East Calcutta. The sun rises here.
Those of you who do not know Dr. Philo, the best introduction will be his treating of Mr. KT – a brother citizen of yours who, at the height of success suddenly found that he could not move his finger as he lied in his bed in one morning, aged close to 40 years – a top-notch, rank-holder, well-performed man with a nice wife, one five year old daughter, 3 BHK in the suburb, one Wagon R and his nemesis – six digit monthly salary ( in INR)