Jan 31, 2011

Can Living Be Crime?

Can birth be unfortunate? Can living be a crime? Yes, it can be, if you are one of the 160 million strong population of Dalits. Every hour, one of them will be assaulted, three of the Dalit women raped, and two killed. For aeons, we have practised and propagated caste hierarchy that has resulted in an entire people being treated as sub-humans.

History is full of instances where in one set of people has dominated over the other. But when such domination continues to be a reality in the post-modern era of liberty, equality and fraternity, it indeed says something very shameful about the proud residents of this planet. Casteism is one such sordid reality. We make someone else clean our dirt and then call the person dirty. Is this what our religion, Vedas and traditions teach us? Hypocrites, that’s what we are. We touch the feet of our elders to receive blessings but outcaste “Dalits” saying they were born out of Brahma’s feet. We worship Lord Shiva, who holds the world’s dirt and poison in his throat, and abuse someone who cleans our homes! We dare to claim to be educated and ‘enlightened’ social beings endowed with sensitivity and sensibility. Yet we do this to our brothers and sisters…

Untouchability is indeed a sin, a horrifying saga of our beastly nature. When a woman is refused water because she is said to be unclean one moment, and ravished to fulfil a man’s lust the very next, the abuser is abusing himself. The continued practice of untouchability tells a dirty tale not about the so-called untouchables but about the supposedly ‘touchable.’ It exposes in all its ugliness, the naked aggression, the daily violence of the perpetrators.

What is sad is that the oppression has become so entrenched that the voice of a Dalit gets lost in this cacophony of self-involved, fast-moving and fast-changing world. Crimes against the Dalits in the villages, discrimination against them in urban areas, institutions like banks and universities hardly get reported. Worse, when reported, the crimes are hardly taken seriously by the authorities, unless they pose a direct threat to their interests.

Instead of improving their lot, the power-hungry politicians take undue advantage of the prevailing situation, making it all the more disgusting. They propose reservations that hardly benefit those entitled to it. They allocate money and lands which slip out into someone else’s hands, with official connivance. They make development plans on paper and receive money for their implementation. The money goes into their pockets, while the paper plan ends up in the waste paper basket. The exploitation and deception go on and a Dalit remains exactly what the name implies, “the oppressed”.

We all enjoy our share of freedom and rights Dr. B. R. Ambedkar gave his countrymen through the Constitution of India, but fail to share the same ideal of freedom and equality with the very people he represented! It is time we acknowledged our liability to the Dalits, atoned for the wrongs we have done to them, generation after generation. In our generation, no other issue has pitted us against “them” as reservation has. If we get so angry, feel so aggrieved that ‘merit’ is overlooked in the instance of a few thousand perhaps, how much more should the Dalits feel aggrieved that their very humanness was overlooked for hundreds of years.

Let us “cleanse” our soul of the dirt it has accumulated and begin taking responsibility for our filth, both spiritual and material, so that the generation after us doesn’t have to live with the guilt, like we are doing, for what our forefathers/ancestors did. Let us think, speak and act against untouchability.

Jan 30, 2011

An Ideal Death

Today, on Martyr's Day, I happened to think of how I would like to die.
Here are the various options I could think of, and against them, my comments.

  • Drowning: It will be a torture, nonetheless not a bad death.  Moreover, since I know swimming, I will try and befriend the waters a bit, praying to them to make it easier :P
  • Burning: It will be really gruesome, to die burning. But I would prefer a bomb or some explosion to the slow, cruel, unrelenting burning of a single fire.
  • Falling: One of the ideal ways.  Reason, one that the free-fall itself will be fascinating, second that it will end abruptly.
  • Assassination: I am no Gandhi, but it will be flattering, if I were assassinated. :P
  • Accident: I don't mind this one.  But it should happen at a time when people around me do not need me anymore, when I have nothing left to do in the world. Plus, it should be suddden and once for all.
  • Disease : A strict NO. However I die, I want to die a very very Healthy person. Extremely healthy...mentally, physically, spiritually and socially.  And that's how I want to live everyday of my life.

Jan 29, 2011

A Mother, like no other.

The damp folds of your saree
The onion smell in your hands
The dishevelled strands of your hair
And to add to that, my mother,
You give me comfort like no other...

You scold me many a times
And feel bad when I answer back
You wait for me to apologise,
And then we both end up crying,
Comforting each other, like no other...

Expectations that you have from me,
Which you hesitate to express,
Which I often pretend I do not know
But nontheless they tend to grow
Into love for you mother, a love like no other...

We do not talk for weeks,
But we think of each other's cheeks
And I remember you kissed me once,
When I was in the deep of sleep
That touch would quell my shudder, in a way, like no other.

You would work day and night,
Saying your ankle, your back's not right,
I would feel like the worst of daughters
To not be able to share the blight
But you fed us both, me and my brother, everyday, like no one other..

Jan 27, 2011

The way only a book can

I have been thinking of expressing it somehow....my love for books, though I cannot pride myself on reading too many of them, neither on the variety of whatever I have read.  But when I see a book, the cover, the images, that give an identity to what lies inside, I feel a strong rope pulling me to the story, my curiosity urging me to delve inside and float in the words that weave a life, a chain of events, that become your and yours alone.

A book is like a hidden secret.  You cannot see or survey it. You cannot find what the next paragraph offers, until you move into it, until you are dragged into the web of the story.  As in films, you are not supposed to fast forward, if an uninteresting plot passes by.  You have to go through the piece, just like you have to go through your life, the good, as well as the bad, finding you irresistible, unwilling to let go of you, indifferent to your judgements, and still leaving you elated or shattered...time and again.

The characters are yours, and nobody else's because the book doesn't force you with a face, you can imagine one; the words only show the way, never holding your hand and pulling you to a definition.  You are free to visualise, to think of what it must have been like.  You read a book, but make your own story.  That way, it gets immensely personal...each person may have utterly emotional connections with the story...a dialogue, an expression, a turn of event, a betrayal of expectation and hope...and much more..

Whenever I start a book, I start with an indifferent attitude, but soon it hooks me, and I cannot let go...this happenes usually when I am more than half way through the book.  I cannot wait to complete it.  It is then, that I can relinquish everything ....food, sleep, water, or even moving my posture.....just to get to the end of the book.  When I near the ends of a book, I feel as if a tremendous event is going to befall, a change of season, a quake, the end of a life, or the beginning of a new one.  Almost invariably, I shiver and tremble when I am in the last few pages...my mind rushing with how it will end.  But when I trail past the last of the lines, nothing changes.  All I feel is emptiness. A cruel emptiness, angry at the book, for ending.  Angry at the writer for ending it. Angry at myself for reading it so fast.  Sad, that it will not haunt my days any more. 

It leaves you broken, and at the same time stronger, it leaves you melted, takes you out of your world, your body, your life, and leaves you in darkness, sadness, danger, threat and fear, and it leaves a mark on your mind, on your memory, in your heart, ......the way, only a book can.

Jan 17, 2011

Idle Solutions To Loneliness and Boredom

Loneliness is a fact of life; whether you have 500 Facebook friends or 10 people 'Available' on the gtalk at any time in the day, you certainly do not feel 'accompanied'.  We no longer live in the era where the 'pados-waala/waali' will come over to your home, sit on your bed and talk about anything under the sun with you.  Moreover, with most residential areas getting denser, you do not have playgrounds near your house or even if you do have, who will stake their 'exam' or 'job' or any other boredom of life for jumping around in the dust and mud?

So what do you do?  Here are some ideas, most of which I have never tried. :P

DISCLAIMER: These ideas are for those who are not computer or gadget addicts, and don't want to be either.

  • Gardening: Take a clay pot (not difficult to find), break it midway, fill it with mud and clay and er..well, grow mushrooms, if nothing else!  I guess they are easy to grow! Once they grew by themselves on my old home's window sill. Just make sure they are the edible ones..before you try using them in your food! And also, beware, you may have a mushroom allergy!

  • Fashion Designing: We all have old clothes at home, don't we?  Just let your mind go crazy and cut clothes, paste them...well I mean stich, etc etc. You can try repairing an old dupatta or try attaching nice little bling items to its bare edge. If it is like stained or something, you can cut it in half and make a scarf. There is absolutely no end to what you can try.  Take care, never to get a second opinion, especially of your parents; they will either get so enthusiastic as to enroll you into a 'tailoring' class or come to a rather unfair judgement about your sanity...all the while keeping a half-smiling face...
           You can also try making ear-rings with nice buttons, which you can pull out of the dress your mom loves, but you hate, or out of your sibling's dress too, if you've got to settle some scores!  Just keep your hands off your mumma's stuff, you want the dinner tonight.

  • Hair Styling:  Once, when I was a child, I was so bored, I thought of shaping my 'eye-lashes'. I am not joking. I took the scissors, and went on. I tried on the left side I guess, keeping the right as it is. :P Thankfully they have grown back to normal!
       Now, I also had this very long hair, and this comb, and scissors.  So you understand right?  You can, yes jushht try that out. Over the years, I have actually become better at it.  A few days back, under the patronage of my adventurous Bua, I cut the front part of my hair, to make a fringe.  Well, I didn't take the lock of hair generously enough, so it is not really a 'fringe' but more like...let us say, a moustache, growing on the upper border of a forehead.  But believe me, it looks nice! Yes,... that's why I haven't updated my photo on Facebook....

  • Cooking:  If you don't like tasty food, you are either lying, or you like very tasty food. Well the point is, we all get imaginative while cooking, which is fun!  What if I put this in the mixture, what if I put that too! What if we use this oil, or that pepper.  It is absolute adventure.  Be careful no guests have decided to come over, what if they happen to find you in the kitchen! They will force you into feeding them whatever it is that you cooked.  You want them to give positive feedback to your 'to-be-in-laws'.  Remember, no one but you gets to taste your experiments. Very important!

  • Dancing:  Have you got radio? No, not the i-pod or the music player. In radio you have this uncertainty of which song might be coming next! And that's THE fun! So make sure all your windows are curtained well, and there are no vantage points for any maniac living around your house. And then, unleash the wildness in you. Jushht go mad and dance to the songs.
       Sincere advice: Don't bang your head much...I know, it is the easiest part of the body to move.  But when done too wildly and with strong jerks, it can leave you dizzy, and tired, not to mention the strange headache, which you wouldn't know, originates from your neck or ends there.

More of such things later on...at present I am plain boorred of blogging.

Jan 15, 2011

Last Night SMS

There are times you hate it when your cell beeps....aargh!  Yet another SMS from that untiring friend with his/her bulky SMS package.  You open the message, just to delete it right away.

But there are times, when you are in need of an emotional boost, and you look forward to what the message has for you...an inspiring proverb, a humorous joke, that might lighten your heart up and blow away some, if not all, of your stress.

Last Night, I got this message, it was from my friend Sonal, whom I never reply, and who never stops sending me such messages.  But just then, at that moment, the text struck me right at the base of my heart.

I share that SMS poem with you:


Sometimes in life we feel so blue,
But someone, somewhere is not as happy as you...
Somewhere far at the border when a soldier sleeps,
Missing his loved ones he silently weeps...
Somewhere a mother painfully sighs,
Coz her new born baby didn't open her eyes...
Somewhere a poor dad silently cries,
When he sees his own son begging for a bowl of rice...
Somewhere in an orphan a litle girl's sad,
When she misses her mom and dad...
So at times a reason to smile you may not have any,
Say to yourself that you're happier than many...
Coz life is beautiful and its not always blue,
And someone, somewhere is not as happy as you...

Jan 12, 2011

Magar Tum Aasmaan Ho

अगर तुम तूफ़ान होते,
तोह मैं संग  में  उड़ जाती

अगर तुम शोला होते,
तोह  लपटों मैं दहक जाती

अगर तुम सागर होते,
तोह ख़ुशी से उसमे डूब जाती

अगर तुम धरती होते,
तोह मिटटी मैं ही समां जाती

मगर तुम तोह आसमाँ हो,
बताओ मैं क्या करूँ.....

Jan 10, 2011

Little Miss Sunshine – Review

Little Miss Sunshine is one of those movies that have both sugar and spice. It is about a family, a family that hasn’t yet learnt to live together. Everyone here has a problem with how the other behaves. The only common feeling that keeps them together is probably the affection for their little daughter Olive, who is blissfully blind to their grudge against one another.

As it happens, Olive qualifies by default into a children’s beauty contest and for some reason or the other, everyone has to accompany her to California. An overworked mom, a dad obsessed with self improvement techniques, a step brother who has taken a vow of silence to fulfil his dream of becoming a pilot, a heroin addict grandpa with a foul mouth, and a gay uncle who had almost been dead with a suicide attempt- all of them set out for California in their Volkswagen T2 Microbus, bickering, fighting and taunting each other all the way.

But somewhere, hidden beneath their rough skin and rough talk, lies a heart welling with love for each other. And as the events unfold, some of them really sorrowful, they grow closer and we discover their strength and solidarity as a family. The climax comes at the beauty pageant where every contestant apart from Olive is dressed in sexualized evening wear and heavy make up ready to perform their elaborate dance routines.

What happens when our simple plain Olive arrives on stage? Does she win? No, she doesn’t. But then there’s more to it. The suspense is not in winning. The story is in fact about celebrating loss. Find out how!

Jan 8, 2011

I go bananas

I go bananas,
when I read a nice poem,
A genuine blog,
when I look at a painting,
An early morning fog.

I go bananas,
when I find a new friend,
see myself in somebody.
When I am able to,
Intutively, their mind, study.

I go bananas,
when I recall a magical time,
and replay the details.
When I can't let even my breath,
Interrupt those memory rails.

I go bananas,
when an old friend calls me up,
and we talk like it was yesterday,
when I suddenly feel a pang,
that paints the moments grey.

I go bananas,
when I think of my mother, my father,
and put on their shoes.
When I go through their lives,
in my only mental cruise.

I go bananas,
when your soul trusts me,
believes me with its secret.
When you and I are bound together,
sans an expiry date.

I go bananas,
when I am lonely;
you aren't there.
And I have for you,
all the damn time to spare.

I go bananas,
when I am sad,
the days are ugly and bad.
When I force my heart to whisper,
that tomorrow it shall be glad.

Jan 7, 2011

Horticulture Exhibition - photoblog

Bua and I on our way in. (I am behind the cell camera)

3 Ladies, yes Three...

Udey jab jab Shawl Bua ki...

Black Mare, Don't Stare!

The Girl in Every Woman

No Entry

Flowers Tagged


Soldiers in Line

Freshly Shrivelled





White and Bluaa

Towards the Sky


Fruit Masonry

Sumptuously Netted

Stranded Boat


Crop of Hair

Beauty in Ruins

Multipurpose Nailcutter

Majhi..oo Majhi

Environment Friendly

Gathering Absence

Me - the name I call myself
P.S. : the Photographer too, except for this pic of course.

Jan 3, 2011

A Prayer

Let me in,
I need to sleep in your lap,
Let your hand,
be my blessed cap.

Keep me
from withering away,
Help me up,
every time I go astray.

I want to live,
as a part of you,
don't break me off,
I've been feeling blue.

They say you are inside,
I wonder if they've always lied.
I have been longing for you all this while,
Please come unto me, and make me smile.

Jan 1, 2011

Drops of Tear (talking to the soul)

We were childhood friends,
You and me,
I was always there,
to blur what you see,
Whenever you wanted,
I would, there, be.

So then why did you flee,
Away from me,
I was at your call, but you
Pulled down the screen on me..

I must now say,
that I have lost my way,
and forgotten, where you used to stay..
But I can still hear, whenever you sway.

I lie hidden, somewhere here,
In expectations of meeting again,
of being called back to lighten your weight,
of being there to slow down your gait..

You've been running too fast,
I couldn't keep up the pace,
You've left me behind,
in your meaningless race.

Have you come over everything..
the sorrows and the stakes...?
The cruelest jokes,
that life, of us, makes..?

Are you so too strong,
to handle even the worst of the case..?
That you don't even need me,
at times, to wet your face?

Is it that you no more think,
Nor even, at the harshest light, blink?
Or is it that you have closed your eyes,
and promised to never, your sorrow, ink...

It'd be nice to know,
if your mind's as white as snow,
but our bond included the happiness too,
So tell me please, where did that go?