I had a glimpse of Michigan (Anne Arbor) during my first visit to US. The university and residential areas were the main recollections. The house with Sun room was my favourite and also the deck which would be snow-covered in winter.
I did not visit Michigan this time. So the magic is portrayed through my wife’s encounters and superimposed with my generous imagination. She visited her school friend and recreated all the relationships with a changed personality now. And the beauty is, we can still look at the new person through the lens of childhood experiences and many biased understandings.
“Just across Canada, Ford museum and Factory and a lovely friend’s dwelling place” were the three impressions I gathered from my wife. With that I sat down to weave the tapestry of the Michigan visit. How did the endless waters of Michigan prompt and permit the biggest land sponsored automotive industry? Do most humans tire seeing the same landscapes and abundance of natural resources? Do they need to be innovative to end the boredom? Are they not happy with the soothing sound of ripples and a spray of drops from the playful wind?
The man-made marvels were on sleek display at the Ford museum and it was fun to learn the largely automated factory roll-out of vehicles with the same gusto after decades. So if we had the option, would we go back and not walk this path? The path of progress always beckons us over the playful road to nowhere. A hundred years from now, we will have another monster to grapple with. The famous Artificial intelligence (AI) industry. Soon there will be Detroits all over the world replicating the human industry. The disruptive complex world is what we want to create and dwarf the gently flowing nature.
One day, like the Indian tribes in Michigan, the human tribe will be driven away by AI monsters. That was the message that the all-black cat seemed to tell me from the picture my wife sent me. The cleaning robot and the mindless gadgets was not his idea of company. Humans were busy making money, planning for a better tomorrow, landscaping their backyards and insulating themselves with a false sense of continuity and stability.
Less is more, we preach. 10 million population with resources that can house the deprived millions! No lake has this policy of stopping the flow of lives in its folds. We create these walls as we fear the nature’s ways.
Someday we will relive the stories of Great lakes as told by the Indian tribes, not so different from the many stories of our goddess Ganga or the many tales of the mighty Nile. That will be the global-taleisation we should pursue.
Photographs by Devang Desai