One day, historians will call this the Gelded Age. The earth was to have become a neon-lit orchard—flat, endless, endlessly networked and buzzing. Like a super-extended Dubai or Singapore. Only the ripening of fruit was awaited.... That’s when the blights struck, in a rapid series of crippling blows, beginning 2008. In Davos last year, they were still indulging their hubris, talking Globalisation 4.0. But now, at the grim daybreak of a new decade, the promised land looks void ab initio: shaky and paranoid at the centre, rough and uncertain along the margins.
That flat piece of ceramic appears warped, and the prophets are falling off the edges—there goes Fukuyama, and there Friedman, along with all that tropey economics. As we embark, blindfolded, on the Timid Twenties, India marks its first quarter with the largest repatriation exercise it has ever done. Indians are being brought back from some 31 countries, by air and sea. And the densest lines on this ragged march of history will be traced across what was till the other day a Gilded Corridor...stretching from Kerala, a jobless tropical paradise, to the Persian Gulf, the other end of the rainbow where the pot of gold was.