A new hope

This is an extract from Atish’s Hotdog Mailer. Sign up to the mailing list here.

Hey Hot Dogs,

Long time no email. Hope you’ve all been grand. Big update on my end, I had a son! Say hello to Zian Singh Mehta 🙂 My capacity for love has extended beyond what I ever thought was possible. 

Having a child in middle of a pandemic has its share of challenges, but overall the timing of Zian’s earthly arrival has never been better. I love spending nearly every moment with this kid. If I step out of the house to run an errand, I dearly miss him and want to rush home. I can’t imagine having to get on a flight to play gigs while this cute little bug is cooing and babbling at home. I’m oddly grateful for this unexpected pandemic upside.

It’s interesting how having a kid has guided me towards looking at society from a new lens. My thought process usually begins by thinking about how it’s CRIMINAL to not have mandated parental leave in the US. I then reflect on stratified access to health care, day care, and quality education – all compounded by our gridlocked political system, polarized culture wars, inability to handle and prepare for crises (pandemic, climate, cybersecurity, energy infrastructure), taste for authoritarianism, and the preponderance of misplaced distrust in facts and institutions.

I feel quite a bit of dread about the world in which my son will grow up. This system is devoid of empathy, compromise, civility, and rationality – values I hold dearly.

I’m desperately searching for any calculation that we’re not heading towards a failed state, but it’s honestly a struggle. Though the bright side is perhaps counterintuitive: my inability to visualize us digging ourselves out of these moral holes may itself be a sign towards the solution. Gen Z and Gen Alpha are much smarter, more capable, and faster to iterate than my fellow Millenials (and older). They are thinking about the world in ways that I may never comprehend…perhaps our minds that created these problems simply aren’t equipped to solve them.

So the next time I think “kids these days, what the fuck are they thinking”…and as adolescent Zian and I inevitably get into fights…I’ll hold on to the idea that my objections to their values, lifestyle choices, and priorities may just be indicators that they are on the right track towards fixing what we are destroying. No pressure Zian, but my faith in you is my sliver of hope for humanity.