A Dreamer in Arcadia - by Umar Sheraz
Nadia yawned as she started poring over her journal and began to think of how to piece together her daily journal. As an anthropologist working on a comparative analysis of food resources and conflict, she had spent the last three months on NANGUN WRUK on an Intergalactic scholarship. She had specifically been chosen as she had been a champion of communal harmony and a believer in change being slow, measured and carefully thought about before being implemented. Her past three months on the planet had been an eye opener to the alternative ways of co-existing and communal harmony and she was wondering how to translate some of these learnings to planet Earth. In the morning, Nadia had witnessed a community meeting which was summoned because Plearn was stealing rations from somebody else, due to drought. For her, this experience was memorable as there was a calm sense of community togetherness as a resolution to all problems. The matter was resolved amicably with a rationing of resources, without anyone being hungry. But her Aye Caramba moment was the sharing of technology between the complainer and the respondent, without any legal hassles. Her mind wandered over to Earth, where she would be resuming her lengthy legal battle over genetically altered legumes and their Intellectual property rights. Oh, how she wished that conflicts would be similarly resolved amicably and cheaply, in one meeting? On the way back from the community meeting, Nadia stopped for a moment to gaze at the small fields of Darshin, an indigenous crop and main staple food of NANGUN WRUK. The philosophy was that less was more and only sow as much as is required. She had envisioned scenarios of zero-wastage of food but this planet was its living embodiment. Every part of the Darshin crop is utilized, eaten and then recycled as nutrients for the next crop cycle. A vegetarian diet is observed, so water wastage is avoided. Nadia’s idea of in-vitro meat was shunned by the locals as they did not want a divide of ‘haves and have-nots’ in their midst. As Nadia trekked back towards her residence, she glimpsed at the beeper on her watch indicating her daily calorie intake, fresh air and mandatory outdoor living time and the number of communications she had made with other inhabitants. This health-onomics and lifestyle form the glue which brings the whole planetary community together. Eat well, live well is the mantra. The pursuit of unhampered growth, unabashed profit making and unethical practices is a distant dream. Nadia wonders what would happen if capitalism found its way to this planet. As she jotted down her final thoughts to end her report and file it, she started thinking about how to put ideas to practice. To begin with, it was important that this does not just become one more best-case study that gets shelved. Instead, she had started thinking about dissemination, engagement and communication with various relevant and non-relevant stakeholders, including her V-log which had high numbers of followers. Also it was hard to unremember how communal meetings were used to resolve thorny issues amicably and these techniques could be used to resolve the issues of planet Earth. Finally, the technology for the commons, could be used to remove the differences of the ‘haves and have-nots’ and create an equitable future where nobody had to sleep with a hungry stomach. As she finished the journal, a siren for the mandatory lights-off blared across the premises. 6 hours of rest was mandatory for healthy and positive living and perhaps that was another lesson to be learnt and logged.