Friday, February 20, 2009

Ramblings

Alone, I stand
Looking ahead, and back
Trails travelled and unknown.
Behind are the woods - wistful, grateful, sorrowful
can't just leave them behind, can I?
And yet, the sky ahead is turquoise.
A blissful wind slaps my cheeks,
the sun burns me a rich brown.
It stings... and feels alive.
What is it at the horizon?
A gathering storm, I must say,
as I get drawn towards its.
Crazy?
Ah... yes. Passion is crazy.
Being alive is being crazy.
Being happy is being crazy.
I laugh, and move ahead
as the tear drops behind...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

More About Idea of India

A glance by chance at the list of articles by Shashi Tharoor led me to this article, also incidentally named - 'The Idea of India'.
While I put my thoughts about the same subject in the earlier blog entry in an elementary way, here's an intellectual giant elaborating the same in a much more engaging and pursuasive write-up.
Enjoy!

What's The Issue?

Just read an engaging column by MJ Akbar - 'All religions are not the same, but fundamentalists are'. He is right on three accounts:
  1. Fundamentalists are totally out of sync with popular culture. They are holding on to their own outdated notions - that are incorrect in the first place - and enforcing them on others with impunity.
  2. All religions are not the same, but fundamentalists are. Akbar Ji says that they all share an aversion for modernity and a hatred of gender equality. I totally agree.
  3. He says, "India is one nation among many that emerged from the ruins of the British empire claiming the mantle of modernity. This is not because Indians are superior to their neighbours, but because the idea of India is better."
"The Idea of India" - This is one of the most powerful phrases I've ever come across. The idea of India is so gigantic, vast, expansive, all-endearing... that there is no space for 'one' right way of doing things. India is a micro-cosm, a poupurri of colours, sentiments, beliefs, cultures, philosophies, cuisines, festivals, physical attributes and what not.
On a different note, when it comes to describing myself, I often say that what I am today, is a sum resultant of my past. I feel that this logic is applicable to everyone, and should be extended to the country as well.
What India is today, is a sum resultant of its past - the good, the bad, and the ugly. The fact is that that we need to accept it in all its wholeness. Could there be an India without the Taj Mahal? Could there be an India minus the quaint French charm of Pondicherry? Could there be an India without Bodh Gaya, Khajuraho or the Lotus Temple? You cannot have India by subtracting the influences that created what it is today.
The 'Idea of India' is that of equality, freedom, democracy and secularism.
The Sangh Parivaar and its subsidiaries must realise that they are simply alieanating themselves from India by propounding their narrow minded theories. India doesn't need moral policing. It needs professionalism, accountability, transparency. Similarly, the 'secular' front must become secular in the real sense by not engaging in minority politics. Meritocracy is the order of the day. Let the worthy, win!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Monkey Trouble

Monkeying can be both good and bad.

In fact, it can be pretty bad, as is obvious from my previous post about the Goons in Saffron. Watching the news made my bile rise, and I tried to divert my thoughts to monkeying of a different kind. Mistake me not dear reader, I am just referring to the fantastical acrobatics of our Darwinian ancestors, the real and honourable monkey. Honest to word, I felt much better and would now like to relate to you the same.

The apartment where I live is next to the sprawling campus of the Central Silk Board. Apart from the hundreds of worker, the campus is also home to a group of monkeys who take refuge in its greenery in a city that is today defined by its traffic snarls and concrete jungle.

Last year, in July, the monkeys made a surprise visit to our apartment, and had ravaged my potted plants kept out in the balcony. Understandably, I was shocked and appalled to see the destruction, and in the following months took great paints to nurse my plants back to health. Luckily for me, the monkeys didn't appear again, or so I thought.

A week ago I was sipping my morning mug of tea, checking emails in my study. Vijay was likewise working on his laptop. In all appearances it was supposed to be a usual run-of-the-mill weekday morning.

Having finished my tea I picked my mug and walked towards the kitchen. But Instead of proceeding I stopped dead in my tracks.

As if in slow motion my mind detected a trail of fruits on the dining room floor. First was a huge papaya, partially eaten, then was a pulpy, red stuff, which I decided not to ponder over. Then there was an onion, again half eaten and some more unrecognizable mashed stuff. As my unblinking eyes traced the trail to the top of the dining table, I saw a bunch of grapes lying outside the bowl and... (this is the worst part)... a large pool of a liquid that looked like water.

My sudden halt alarmed Vijay who was on the phone. He hastened to cut the call and hurried to my side. And predictably, even he was dumb-founded! What could have happened? Who could have come in? Why is the house in such a state?

After what seemed like an eon, my mind jolted into action and noticed the bite marks on the papaya. Large jaw, almost human, but not as big. Next I noticed the red, pulpy stuff... hmmmm... tomato. What about the onion? The bite marks on it corresponded with those on the papaya, and I silently congratulated myself. Ah! I had missed noticing something earlier - a bunch of bananas was missing! I moved to the table and inspected the spilled water. Where did it come from? Did a bottle fall off? Hmmm.... no... As I watched, the water trickled to the side of the table and started dripping on the floor. I wondered as I watched and made a deduction.

It was a monkey, a young monkey, alone, away from its group, that visited our balcony. The door was open, from where it detected the green grapes in the bowl. As it scampered across the living room to the dining table, it saw the yellow papaya under the shelf. Excited at the prospect of so much food it scampered to the shelf and took bite from the papaya. From that point it could look inside the kitchen, where onions are kept in a basket along with potatoes. The sight of the shiny maroonish onions lured the monkey inside the kitchen.

(I can almost visualize a kid in a candy store!!!)

The monkey retraced its path, carrying a bunch of bananas that were kept next to the papaya, back to the dining table. There it dug into the packet of vegetables I had bought the previous evening and ate up a juicy tomato. Then, in the exhilaration of finding his new land of plenty, he decided to mark it as his territory. And yes, he marked it in ways more physical than psychological, the way most animals do - by urinating (uggghhhh!)... on my dining table!!!!!!!

(I have no words or expressions to demonstrate my indignation at this point!)

While the simian adventurer was thus marking his new territory, it heard footsteps of a homo-sapien (poor me). His survival instincts kicked in and he was gone before I even reached the crime scene.

I must say that Vijay was baffled, intrigued and disgusted by the whole episode. But he also admired my Sherlock Homes-kind-of-deductive-capacity. After a gallant offer of cleaning up the place, he relinquished that job to me and proceeded to throw all the food that had been touched by the surprise visitor into the garbage bin.

Wow.... though my simian guest was unwelcome and unexpected, I didn't feel angry. In fact, I thought it was really funny! And I think that things like these should happen once in a while to jolt us out of our 'routine' lives! Personally, I think it was nice, sweet monkey, in the teenage phase, hungry and trying to establish its domain. I'm just glad it didn't get interested in my purse, or Vijay's ID card which were also kept on the table...

I'm glad that this world still has real monkeys - creatures that stay true to their nature, don't have perverted thoughts, live and let live. Mutalik and his goons can take some lessons here, eh?

Goons in Saffron

I am a Hindu and I am ashamed.

I am ashamed because Goondas are using Hinduism - perhaps the most diverse and all-accepting religion in the world - to achieve their pathetic 15 minutes of fame.
First it was the Ram Sene, and now it is the Bajarang Dal, who are destroying the unique harmony and cultural pou-pourri of Mangalore. I lived in this charming town for a year, while I was dating my husband, Vijay. And now I wonder, if I were still living there, would I have been dragged out on the street, beaten, abused and embarrassed, for being friends with a boy???

I sincerely wish that the girls who were molested in Mangalore come out and identify the culprits. Otherwise our silence will be taken for acceptence, giving confidence to these ruffians' perverted minds. Being a woman myself I can understand the fear of being 'branded for life'. But then, why should we accept a branding system that is flawed in its very conception, and is unfair, unjust and illogical to its core?

I also wish that people celebrate Valentine's Day like never before. Even if they have no plans or no partners, they must come out and celebrate. Because it is no longer about right or wrong. It is about our fundamental right to freedom. We must tell these goondas without mincing any words that their crude political games will not work here - not in the midst of educated, aware and responsible citizens. And if these 'goons in saffron' cross the line, we must not hesitate to get them prosecuted.

We all know that there are innumerable real issues that need urgent attention - illiteracy, casteism, gender discrimination, corruption, bribery, rape... the list is endless. But these hooligans refuse to think straight and are bent upon getting media visibility and hence political mileage through disrupting communal harmony. After all, what can one expect from people like Mutalik, a political sidekick with almost 53 criminal cases pending against him???