The contemporary world values and accepts only achievers. Achievers are those who have learned what perfection is. Perfection, today, means doing everything exactly as the commercial, and political, world has prescribed. Those branded as non-achievers are the not so ready to take on the world of contemporary expectation. They can appear to be sentimental fools or people of a past generation who have not been able to keep up with the speeding times.
The formula of success today is not only sincere hard work (without that nothing is possible) but it is keeping in touch with the need of the times. A government, particularly in India, today needs advertisement rather than performance. The masses (simple unsuspecting voters) are waiting to choose the smartest of the lot. The ones who can advertise themselves better than the others, and seem perfect in the contemporary sense, are the ones who will win. All our political parties are doing exactly this and reaping their rewards accordingly. What the politician does is then imitated by the non-politician. If the bureaucrat does not advertise himself sufficiently he will not do that well, if an author like me, does not advertise, he will meet the same fate. The motto for our times is “Advertise or be cut to size.”
To an extent advertising is alright, but when it leads to duping the buyers with second rate stuff, there is something unethical about it. Quality is going down the drain and this is being accepted by one and all from top to bottom. We are getting too used to judging a book by its cover. The call of the day is sell, sell, sell; sell at any cost. The marketplace is at the center of a universe that spins around trying to live up to the market’s needs.
There is a humorous story in my new story collection, Intriguing Women, called “The English World”. This story demonstrates this commercial phenomenon. I sincerely ask you to read this and see how the market is the God of our times.