Collective narratives of work have all but gone

Last week, a curious article on urban poverty, sympathetically described young men and women across India’s towns and metros consumer-walking their way into malnutrition and hunger because after shopping for contemporary necessities such as upwardly mobile food and clothes, they had no money left to feed themselves adequately. Imagination is the technique we deploy to bridge the gap between aspiration and status quo. In recent years, we have used to bridge our personal and collective desires. There is very little evidence of the relevance of work and its existence in relation to the realisation of most collective aspirations these days. Collective narratives of work have all but disappeared.

Bollywood, that custodian of our popular imagination, has scarcely shown a hero or heroine for some time now to do a day’s work, earn a wage, fight with the boss on a work related issue, or come up trumps with a work-plan that defeats the villain/enemy/poverty. In fact, poverty has all but disappeared from our screens and these narratives.

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