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Kalki Koechlin’s ‘The Printing Machine’: This is How Far We Have Come

Kalki Kochelin Unblushed

It is true how the printing machine is a diligent witness of all our mess. It sees it all. It bears it all. Silently. One devastated female at a time, one callous fiend at a time, one disgraceful incident at a time.

Going its own way, blind and deaf, like that drumming monkey you must have seen at a toy shop, faithfully creating a ruckus when you ask it to, oblivious to its surroundings. It wouldn’t so much as flinch even  if you turned it on during a funeral.

Not unlike ourselves.

Every time we are faced with something disturbing, something that reminds us of the brutal reality or the culpable potential of the human race, we ask two specific questions.

“What has the society come to?”

“How far have we come?”

Let’s not make our insignificant brains work that out. Kalki Koechlin, in her stunning and compelling video, has answered these for us.

Kalki Kochelin Unblushed

Chrrr, tak tak, taka daka tak, chreee, goes the printing machine, our helpless witness. Chrrr, tak tak, taka daka tak, chreee, it goes.

Don’t even think of blaming it, though. It does so on our command, we the superior humans. When things that can walk, talk, jump, run and roll can’t put up a fight with us, there’s no point channeling your anger towards this poor thing. Poor little printing machine.

I am right, aren’t I?

But wait, I think Koechlin would differ, though. Here’s what she would say:

DO NOT underestimate the potential of the printing machine (why would she say that, poor little printing machine). It does not act on its own accord. It never gets tired of being the spectator of our acts. And that’s where the problem lies.

I think she’s right. Let’s process this.

The printing machine (poor little printing machine!) delivers just what is fed into her. It presents itself as being an objective messenger of our successes and crimes. Our crimes. Crimes that easily obliterate our successes. Crimes that are too heinous to ever be wiped out. Crimes that we are too afraid to talk about in the open, even to ourselves. And here is our brave printing machine making statements!

How dare it tell me that my fellow human (oh! A poor little human) did something *god forbid* bad to a grown woman, an old lady, a baby girl! Irrespective of their age, the time, the outfit, irrespective of everything (can you imagine!).

How dare it tell me things as they are, and not as I want to see them!

The printing machine is not a poor thing; it is a devious creature that, as Koechlin rightly points out, will bring the Great Indian Heritage down. It will bring down our society. Our superior, all-knowing, indifferent society. Oh, that devil!

So, what were those questions again? What has our society come to? How far have we come?

Well, I think Koechlin (And I! Hey, give me some credit, I figured it out) just blatantly answered that. This is what our society has come to. And this is how far we have come. We have come so far that now we are at the edge of a cliff. “What cliff,” you might ask. Well, I believe that it’s the cliff of humanity. And now that we are at the very edge of that gargantuan cliff, it wouldn’t take much to have us falling off it. “Where to?” you might ask. Believe me, you wouldn’t want to know. Falls such as these don’t have an end. They are simply dauntless and endless journeys to nowhere.

That is the potential of the printing machine. No, I won’t call it a devil again. It is, after all, our helpless witness. We are the ones who deliberately brought it upon ourselves. Possibly, the destruction of our Great Indian Heritage, as Koechlin would echo.

It’s time we rephrased those ever unfathomable questions we ask ourselves and others and start imploring:

“The printing machine is hamstrung, but what’s wrong with us?”

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