Samyak's Nook

Chernobyl and China

So, I happened to pick up a TV series after a long time. Not a sitcom, yet something I’ve longed to watch for months. The show: Chernobyl was in talks right after it was aired in 2019. Many of my friends recommended watching it, but I simply procrastinated.

Given the time we’re all mostly free, was there an excuse not to watch it? I started off yesterday, gulping down 3 episodes in quick succession. God knows when was the last time I focussed this hard for 3 hours straight!

The ambience, the cinematography, the characters, the depth of realism about every single thing in the show was so gripping, so chilling, so startling, that you can’t do anything but watch. Intently.

The show starts off with the hero, Prof Valery Legasov, hanging himself, after recording the famous audio cassettes of his commentary on the whole incident. In fact, I got acquainted with Dyatlov’s name before his own. The entire narration, from the first second, arrests you, and leaves you questioning quietly, “What’s next?”

Now, without spoiling much, all I’d say is — watch the goddamn show! But make sure you can stand the graphic content. There’s a lot of it. I have grown up with video games full of blood and gore and still found it hard to go through. All in all, it’s a tough watch, tougher than anything else I’ve ever watched.

Now, why am I writing all this?

At the time I am writing this, the scenario around us is altogether different from anything we’ve ever seen. So much so that I’m able to relate to some things which are being shown to the situation nowadays. “History repeats itself!” I say to myself.

Just as the Soviet Union tried hard to conceal all details regarding the specifics of what happened (till date), China has done the same. Communist governments, eh?

It also reminded us of the way the very scientists who put in their heart and soul into this very work all their lives are thrown out of picture when they are needed the most, leaving the power of decision-making and influencing to the hands of ill-informed ministers and bureaucrats, and wind up once they realise the situation is out of their hands. But it’s too late already!

It tells us to take care of the irreplaceable resources we have: intellectual humans, who can think (and that’s the most crucial thing in a panic-stricken situation) and provide unforeseen insights into problems. It also reiterates the fact that even if the economy can fall and revive, human life is limited. We cannot bring the dead to life, irrespective of the truckloads of cash we try to exchange it with.

It also makes us cringe to the core, about the ego-quenching decisions governments make to hide their flaws from the world. To be so consumed in the intoxication of nationalism, that they forget that they have countries and people around them as well. They forget that humanity comes first — that if you make citizens of two neighbouring nations stand next to each other, you cannot make out who’s from which side of the border.

A fun activity while you are still getting bored of being bored at home — watch the series and put China instead of USSR and amaze yourself.

And yeah, another thing. Aren’t we much, much, much better today? Just think about it. We as humans are not dealing with a vast, new, uninformed crisis for the first time in history. It’s about time to throw some of our less important desires out of the window and think about struggle — isn’t it an organised struggle that makes us so human?

Till then, Stay safe.