Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Of Human Bonds

Relationships. Indeed a dynamic concept. Often liberating, yet sometimes , limiting. Desirably deep, yet disappointingly superficial sometimes. Hopefully strong, yet “How fragile we are!” Draining in some respects, yet enriching, in others. Of disguised innocence and conspicuous sins, ancient values and modern sensibilities, conditional reflexes and unconditional emotions, actions with unequal, “un-opposite”, hence unpredictable reactions, relationship is an art I am yet to master, a science I am yet to decipher and a philosophy I am yet to assimilate.
Relationships to me are like a flowing rivulet. Forward flowing, sparkling and enchanting. One does encounter boulders, but eventually learns to go over and around them, such that the flow is unimpeded. Who knows, maybe boulders can be used as stepping-stones? However if the stream is muddy and sluggish, I believe, it is best to put that relationship aside. Chances are that the stream will dry up and one will be left standing in the dirt and filth. Here, stagnation amounts to death. That aside, staying afloat in this stream, despite of occasional turbulences and “bickering” down valleys, is one of the most joyful and fulfilling experiences in life ,“for men may come and men may go”, but this brook can go on forever.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Unsung Heroine

She laughs and talks,
She talks and laughs,
And when there’s hardly a reason to laugh aloud,
She takes it upon herself to be the initiator in the crowd,
Often missing the fact,
That it is she who is being laughed about.

She never stays put,
After all, frivolity is “cute”.
She plays the game,
After all, “not compromising” would be lame!
And thus swaying right and left she makes her way,
To what she thinks is a glorious day.

She awaits trumpets greeting her,
To celebrate her “triumph” with alacrity,

It does not matter if the world has been scarred,
That is no excuse for her happiness to be marred.
“Been there, done that” she silently yells,
But how it was done, is not the tale she tells.
And as she looks down from her ivory tower,
She wonders why no accolades upon her, are showered.
The silence she interprets in her own presumptuous ways,
As the malice of sore losers en route to decay.
Never for once does it cross her mind,
That the silence might with deeper grief be entwined,
That the silence speaks of a dreaded find.

With her head in the cloud she can all but see,
That the world below has elsewhere to be,
It is not her that the world spins around,
Things to fret and feud are there, abound.
Winners and losers are all she sees,
In her narrow divisive mind of conjectural reverie.
But that winners can be failures and losers a success,
Is something that only, time upon her would press.
And thus,while the world is too sore to sing,
The unsung heroine sings to the glory of her being .

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Blood and Tears

"You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins"

Was it a cryptic omen?I wonder now.Watching the movie "A Mighty Heart" a few days back,had left me with a nagging,disturbing feeling of apprehension,insecurity and sorrow.However,I was sure that it wasn't the movie only(though moving)and its specific subject.It was more like Lessing's "The Fifth Child",an impending doom,an unborn disaster being engendered within.It seemed to be like a certain eventuality,considering the way things are "progressing" for sometime now.
Now after 60 hours of Satan's reign over Mumbai,I wish I could assure myself with the belief that THIS was the eventuality,but it seems to me,the beginning of a prolonged nightmare.
No negotiations,no ransoms,no irrational demands for releasing jailed terrorists;what is chilling is to know that the foremost goal of these terrorists was to kill as many as they could till their last breath.These youth with phantoms and chimeras inhabiting their brain,were reported to be "remorseless and determined" in their "jihad".This they did,with messianic passion,shooting indiscriminately,holding hostages,killing them ,almost perfunctorily if they failed to serve their purpose.It fills me with repulsion to know that these monsters while making their way from one floor to the other (of Nariman House),while the NSG closed in on them,simply shot the helpless hostages,as their last cowardly act.They call themselves freedom fighters,attributing their actions to the name of "Allah".A two year old, orphaned on his birthday,gallant commandos and policemen shot to death,innocent civilians murdered just because they either moved or could not move too fast,this is the cause these "jihadis" died for.Yes,in death too,they remain dastards.

One of the terrible aftermath of this tragedy struck me while commuting to college.I heard a conversation between a group of students like me.When one asked who were responsible for these attacks,the answer came instantaneously,in chorus,"Who else?The Muslims!" This is probably one of the most dangerous effects of these acts of terrorism.Due to this undeniable common factor that unites almost all terrorists and acts of terrorism,it seems sadly natural that people would tend to generalize against the Muslims.One would argue that for all the pious claims oblivious pseudo-secularists make ,about this minority being on a backfoot socially and economically,with a huge band of aimless frustrated youth who are easily brain-washed to turn into miscreants, these problems plague other communities too,Hindus,Christians,Jews etc.How come almost all terrorists we see, seem to belong to this particular faith?While many of us,including me,would shirk away such theories and line of thought,one can't just deny this uncomfortable fact.I strongly believe that this factor should be analysed by social scientists and the like,to excavate the deepest underlying reasons behind it.The last thing one would want now,in this hour, when we should stand together as a country,is to have a new group of reluctant fundamentalists among the citizens,and the youth especially,for opportunist political groups to gleefully take advantage of the situation.
I think this incident has shaken most individual's trust in humans ,for afterall, what are humans without humanity ,the attribute that has been rampantly abused by these warmongers?If a man can stoop down to the deepest gorges of hatred and the nadir of barbarism,how can we claim that "God made man in his own image"?This Apocalypse is initiated,planned and executed by Man.Who are we going to trust if we cannot trust one of our kind?I guess,had H.G.Wells been alive,the War of the Worlds would not have been brought about by aliens wreaking havoc on the face of earth,but by these revolting spectres of inhumanity,bereft of even the dregs of compassion.I am so full of hatred for these cowards...

"And I hope that they die
And their death'll come soon
I will follow their casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while they're lowered
Down to their deathbed
And I'll stand o'er their grave
'Til I'm sure that they're dead."

Still,if we can divert our residual anger for those "..that never done nothing,but build to destroy" and those who play with our world like it's their little toy,to an intransigent desire to rise above this hatred(rather difficult) that completely engulfs me and I guess some of us now, with the strength of our mighty hearts,and not fall prey to petty communal differences and misunderstandings,stand as one,united country to root out this evil,these perpetrators of hinous crimes against humanity,these "Masters of War" , maybe ,just maybe,somewhere over a rainbow,a distant silver lining will emerge out of this very dark cloud of blood and tears.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Turning 20.

Here I am,an 'ex-teenager'.It has been about 6 days since I started my 'tenure' as a 20 year old...and for the first time,the words "year old" seems significant.
On the 26th,I was still a teenager,barely holding on.Then,"at the stroke of the midnight hour",a sudden deluge of phone-calls and text messages followed,from friends and strangers alike ,and it dawned on the groggy me,that I was indeed 20..!
Morning broke.I opened my eyes to see both Ma and Baba looking at me,with much affection,almost a lost-and-found look.I was confused.I could still be Daddy's Little Princess ,right?I hope age was no bar here..!I think he sensed that.So before I could doubt a second longer,he pinched my nose,and I was relieved..!Mom tried her best to get me out of bed,and I was assured that I was going to be pushed around,even though I was 20..!Ahhh....sweet relief..!
The weather was gloomy.It was pouring.My birthday coincided with the last day in college before vacations.I wanted to be there.The rain was a dampener.I was dreading that College Street had turned into the Great Bath.I couldn't force my friends to come over,just because I wanted them to.Yes,I sulked for a brief period on my 20th birthday(matured,eh?)And then came the sun,"doo-dah,doo-dah",not in the shape of the great ball of fire in the sky,but the news that my friends were braving the rain to go to college.I was in 7th heaven.So I found myself in college,all dressed-up,which led to certain people asking me whether I had a date!?!I am 20,and yet,I like being the cynosure of all eyes on my birthday...!Hence,I thoroughly enjoyed being there in college.
Next stop was at Mainland China with my parents.I did what I do best,EAT.With food which could be a gourmet's delight,celtic music,and cute waiters(20 year olds,do get to call guys cute I hope!),nothing could have gone wrong.Even Dad falling off to sleep while the food was being served couldn't ruin the day...!His snoring too,acquired a comical glow...!
Evening brought along with it several guests,(a few unwanted ones too)presents,and a birthday cake.It was a warm gathering and all of a sudden I felt grateful for 20 years of love and affection that I had been blessed with.A stately dinner ended my celebrations for the day.
It had been a great day.My best friend called.My good friends made me feel special.Strangers were overtly nice to me.I got wonderful presents.I felt loved .Yes,I still wondered about whether a certain someone remembered that it was my birthday and felt torn between two eventualities as I do,on his.But I wasn't going to let that "steal away my thunder"!
Later,as I laid in bed,contemplating ,I couldn't help but feel a tad sad.I would never be a teenager again.That I would no longer qualify as a 'kid' ,an address that would have previously irked me,now pained me.That I would be expected to act as a matured adult,scared me.All of a sudden I felt claustrophobic.I needed air.I went and stood in the balcony.
And as always,it was darkness that helped me see.I saw the stars,how they shone.It was not a static,permanent beam of light.It quivered,glimmered,varied in intensity.Each spark different from the other but none, lesser in beauty.And there it was,the answer to all my doubts,confusions and sadness.Indeed my life was like a sky,and each age would bring with it ,its own charm,its specialities,its freedoms,that would make me look forward to the next step,its restraints,that would make me look fondly at the years gone by.I understood the look in my parents' eyes.While the little girl was now a fond memory,the woman now was their proud reality.And,so it was with me.
It has been a wholesome 20 years.There has been clouds blocking the stars,yet unhappiness too has attained a glow.There has been clear skies and moonlit nights and the light has shone through.If there has been heart-aches,failures and unpleasantness,there has been love and friendship,triumphs and joy.I am happy to be 20 years old for they have undoubtedly been the time of my life,and in no way,'hollow years'.All in all,I convinced myself,without any difficulty whatsoever, that it had indeed been a very happy birthday. :-)

Writer's note :- I chose to write this a few days after my birthday ,to ensure that my feelings then ,did have some constancy,and were not merely brought about by rationalization.I can safely say now,the feeling prevails,and will prevail.:-)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Face

A poem close to my heart.The incident and the 'protagonist' are REAL.
I am grateful to The Face for disturbing the slumber of feelings that I fear,would have otherwise died,completely.


A busy Kolkata street
The mad hustle of a Monday morn,
The scurrying of a thousand feet
In a city of concrete
Automobiles conduct a cacophony of horns.
With deadlines to meet,
Jobs to keep,
No one notices,a face so forlorn.

‘Comfortably numb’ in the cocoon of my car
Cut from the world by the darkened glass,
I was in some land afar.
A tap on the window interrupted my reverie,
“Didi, would you buy some candy?” was the ardent plea.
I dismissed it, with an indifferent waft of my hand.
The city of joy steels our heart to sorrow,
(Or was it the pericardium I wonder?)
Protecting it from the prick of conscience.
The struggle and sorrow Man faces
Seems to us as mundane.
So it was with him,with his face so forlorn.

He implored, again.
It was more a disgusted appeal of desperation than a plea,
“Didi, take one, PLEASE.”
Something within me stirred
Something that had been rendered dormant by my hedonism.
Was it conscience, or was it humanity??
I looked up, rolled down my window
And came face to face with conscience,
It was his face, a face so forlorn.

He was just a kid,
Not more than three quarters of a score,
His eyes so innocent,
Unable to hide the torment,
Fate had so cruelly inflicted on him.
“How much are they?”I asked
“Fifty paisa each Didi?”,he said,
Much with relief, than enthusiasm.
And I couldn’t help noticing,
The abuse of innocence,
Reflected in the face ,the face so forlorn.

I asked for six , handed him a ten rupee bill,
Asked him to keep the change.
The impassive face lit up,
Like a sudden volcanic outburst,
Not with joy, but indignation.
“Why should I take the change?”,he retorted
I was jolted.
Dignity existed,even in a face so forlorn.

And then, the dam broke .
His face contracted,he broke down.
“My parents are dead,
I have my sisters to take care of,
How many days can we survive with an empty stomach?
I can’t take it anymore.”, he said
Tears streaming down his face.
The face so forlorn.

The light at the signal turned green,
Impatient commuters started honking and cursing.
I sat still, dewy eyed, guilty and ashamed
It is by humans after all that humanity has been maimed.
He took the money I had offered and was gone
But not before slipping in two more candy
Soon, I had left the road and was homeward bound
Yet it was alive in my memory,a face so forlorn.

The city of joy,
Its people boasting of their sensitivity,
Where every person claims to be a proletarian at heart .
Yet, it is here we see the rape of innocence,
Abuse of youth, murder of potential.
And all we do is shake our heads at the hopelessness
Blame it on the system, the establishment, the world
And seeing , yet unseeing carry on with our lives.
Yet everywhere lurks such a face, a face so forlorn.

He owed me six rupees
I owed him much more.
My conscience, or was it my humanity?
From now on, each time I’m deluded by selfishness,
Too blind to see the rampant suffering all around,
His face shall be my beacon of light.
The truth envisaged in his face, a face so forlorn.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Beginning

The whole darned idea of blogging..! Rather a la mode..! However I don’t understand where the whole point lies, typing away, one’s deepest ,darkest ,brightest, thoughts,honest expressions(supposedly) for people to dissect, judge(how I hate that!),criticize.. and worst of all, to know..! That baffles me..! What’s with the desire to make the personal, impersonal.. I wonder? What’s with the objective of writing ,either hoping for appreciation, or dreading a nasty comment…I wonder? Why would people type away poetic words with almost astute perfection, when the whole act of typing is half as romantic as writing, I wonder?? I fail to see the point. But life, as we know it, would have been rather bland, had it solely been based on geometry. I guess it is the “point-less” trivials that matter..! So while I wouldn’t be sharing my secret desires with all and sundry, my intimate thoughts with all who care to read my blog(I thank them for doing so, though),I will be honest, at least will try to be so, in my own limited way. Comments will be welcomed,(yes, I have a modicum of narcissism within me, nominal in quantum but does exist),however they shall not influence what I write(rather, type.)
With these words, I start my journey, devoid of all geometry, on the ultimate day of my being a teen, being nineteen…hoping to find some meaning, in this whole maze of pointless nothings