Has My Empathy Dried Up?

I am scared….
Disasters on a big scale just don’t seem to affect me anymore. I couldn’t care less about Kosovo, Kargil, Afghanistan or Turkey. Seeing pictures of devastated people and destroyed places on television or in the Times of India or in Time magazine, reading about the decimation of entire populations….nothing seems to really get me. I read the stuff, drink my tea and leave for work, unfazed, my mind having filed the information in some compartment in the same manner as the news of Kajol’s marriage to Ajay Devgan. Or at night, the moment some real-life tragedy comes on screen, I just can’t wait to change channels to see Dharma & Greg or Ally McBeal. I dump all email discussions regarding these tragedies that concerned friends send me into the “Delete” box, without even bothering to read them, except maybe for the first two sentences.
So what do I care about? I’ll give you an example. Some weeks ago, Sharad Pawar had a big meeting at Shivaji Park for his new party called the Nationalist Congress Party. Truck-loads of people were ferried to Shivaji Park, some willingly, some forcibly. This led to huge traffic jams, people getting stuck between Lalbaug and King’s Circle for over two hours. And even after the meeting, flag-bearing jeeps and trucks were merrily breaking all traffic lights and creating traffic snarls. This got me mad!! Sharad Pawar and his c.hor.s…(sorry cohorts) can do whatever they want with the Congress and the country, but they just don’t have the f…… right to mess up traffic and delay my ride home. When would Kargil have really affected me? Probably only if Mumbai had got bombed or if we had had electricity outages or if I hadn’t been able to watch my favourite sitcoms at night.
A car breaking a traffic light or cutting in front of me gets me worked up, but NATO bombing Belgrade doesn’t make any difference. People not saying “thank you” when I hold the door open for them troubles me, but the fate of the Indian government doesn’t. Am I the only one feeling this way or is this part of a deeper malaise affecting society? Or is this just a symptom of news fatigue and information overload? Or am I becoming so insular that everyday petty situations are just so much more important to me than end of the world questions? Or has all my empathy and interest just dried up with all the shit happening the world over!!
Or is it only me…….

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