Friday, May 6, 2016

Finding Light

अपनी मंज़िल पे पहुँचना भी खड़े रहना भी, कितना मुश्किल है बड़े हो के बड़े रहना भी  - शकील आज़मी

A last goodbye is always required. Yet the final goodbye is not easy. This dilemma is eternal. How much ever time you spend with someone, it falls short when they depart. You wish you could have spent some more time with them, you could have told them more about your dreams in life, listen some more stories from them. We might have spent years with them, yet the departures are difficult. You may term it as bonding, relationships and what not. The fact is, deep inside us, we are all attached to someone, to something. Whether we accept or not, humans are weak, much more than they think are.

It has been 10 years I have been staying far from parents. They have come to this karmabhoomi of mine umpteen number of times, but each time they pack their bags I break from inside, many times over. I told myself that now I have grown up and should not break down anymore, just does not happen. I used to hide my tears when I came here to study till now when I am married for 3 years. It is difficult, I have realised, to act as a grown up and equally challenging to not feel anything about what people think of you.

I, for one, live in nostalgia.

कुछ दूर तक तो जैसे कोई मेरे साथ था, फिर अपने साथ आप ही चलना पड़ा मुझे - अमीर कजलबश

My struggle in this city has been minimal yet real. I take pride in it. I earned a name (however little it is) for myself and lead a decent life. My struggle has been much more difficult when I decided to leave everything aside (a well settled job, a good place to stay, a great circle of friends) and go back to my hometown, almost 2 years back to be precise. I knew the odds were against me, at an age where people only go up in their careers. I spent an year at a place I grew up and knew everything about. But each day spent there made me more disillusioned. I started questioning the inept system, poor administration, lack of employment opportunities, lack of civic sense and so on. The most common answer to majority of problems I got was - I expecting too high. I knew I would not survive for long with a constrained aspiration limit.

अब हवाएँ ही करेंगी रौशनी का फ़ैसला, जिस दिए में जान होगी वो दिया रह जाएगा - महशर बदायुनी

And I had to come back. Mumbai has taught me more than what education has. Not just humility or responsibilities towards the society we live in, it taught me the value of making a mark for yourself, without any help or influence. Mumbai is ruthless, quite stubborn and adamant and will try its best to break your back. But that is just a phase, once you put your foot down and take up the challenge, the same city becomes a city of dreams, hopes and aspirations that none other can give you. It embraces you. Each day I spend here is a learning by itself, quite contrary to the city I belong to. When I was at the peak of my suffocation and got a call if I would return back to Mumbai, I never thought twice. Parents, as they always have been, said a big yes.

It is not about lowering expectations, it is about not utilising your skills that makes you stagnant (not behind the race, for race is an illusion). Mumbai, my love for you is infinite and more. I remain indebted.

जिनके पास सिर्फ सिक्के थे वो मज़े से भीगते रहे बारिश में, जिनके जेब में  नोट थे वो छत तलाशते रहे - मिथिलेश बरिया

I do not like to travel much after the gruelling travel I do for work everyday. I am not too adventurous too. Hence, I bear the brunt of many of my friends of not meeting them at different parts of the city (and the country too). I have come to realise that I have got one life to live, so can not waste it for any excuse. So, I will try to ditch my laziness and my inhibitions and get soaked in rain, not thinking whether my mobile phone is waterproof or not.

Love. S.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Go Screw Your Religion (Thank me later)

Do not get surprised or offended by such an outrageous title of the post. And if you do, then do not kill me. I normally keep opinions related to religion or spiritual beliefs to myself. I know eyebrows will be raised and I will be judged for my opinions. I neither have the energy nor the interest to defend my stand or my views to people who would just want to align my views with theirs.

I used to be an atheist but tilted towards being an agnostic over the last few years. I am not exactly proud of being a Hindu or for that matter a Brahmin (no reservation quota, you know). While growing up, I was equally inclined to Islamic & Christianity and never could understand what differentiates ‘them’ from ‘us’. I remember asking my friends to know who created this differentiation. At that age, they didn’t have the answers nor did I. When I went to my parents, they only told me these are beliefs that are there since centuries and being a part of ‘this’ religion; we need to abide by it. But no concrete answer.

I had/have many non-Hindu friends. But when I look back to the time when I became friends with them, I found out I didn’t choose them to be my friend based on their surnames. I chose them because our wavelength clicked. But now when I meet someone, I am programmed by the society to look at him/her in a different way. It is only because of my education and conscience that I look beyond their names. But I dread how easily can we be trapped in these perceptions created by others.

Let’s now slightly move towards the flipside of it. Every religion has its passive, active and extreme followers. The problem generally begins with the extreme ones, for they are not followers, they start taking the place of Gods people believe in. They start talking like the custodians of their religion and for that reason also take the sole responsibility to defend it. Who are they to defend? Who appointed them? And what exactly are they defending? Whom are they defending? The answers to all these will solve entire set of problems. In between these custodians, some have gone all the way to kill people. They kill people, from all religion, including theirs in the name of their God. More than 95% of such defenders of faith belong to a specific religion. And they claim to be protecting the 1.7 billion (or roughly 25% of world population) citizens in world belonging to them.

Now what can be done? Nothing, if we are to continue this blame game and finding an escape route. Much, if ‘we’ take a clear stand. Who are these ‘we’? It is those 1.7 billion people, nor the rest. Because the rest have been condemning these terror attacks month after month, year after year and decade after decade. The rest used to sulk at their homes, now they do that at various social media platforms. But nothing will happen with this shit. It is ‘if’ and ‘only if’ the educated class of the ‘religion of peace’ will stand up and clearly denounce these acts. They must declare it loud and clear that they or their God does not need to be defended by killing people.

You ignore, boycott, ban, threaten and then kill. I refuse to accept the fact that there would be any administration in the world that would not listen to someone in the first 4 levels. And these ‘so-called’ defenders of their faith get on to level 5 directly for even a satire on their God. On the contrary, other religions make and enjoy full-length feature films on Gods. Dichotomy? It’s just the tolerance. It is the tolerance towards others that defines the richness of our religion, culture but most importantly our upbringing as a human being.

Now in 2015, we have got a new section of people. They are called pseudo-liberals or terror apologists. They would defend exactly the opposite the mainstream would be talking about. They would analyze each move by the majority govt. but would overlook thousands of nonsensical things being carried out by the minority. After each terror strike, they would be the first ones to come out in saying that let’s not blame a whole religion, let’s not use this as a platform to peddle terror by other religion and so on. Seriously? Are they pointing out to those 5% to become the messiah of the rest 95% terrorists? We have a great example by the name of Pakistan, our beloved neighbor since 1947. The whole world knows where Dawood Ibrahim is and where Osama Bin Laden was. Just like Pak denied having Osama in their land, they still deny that they give shelter to terrorist outfits. When hundreds of school children were killed in Peshawar, the people of Pakistan realized the menace that they are feeding in their homeland. The administration only started a crackdown on selected terrorist groups, excluding the India-centric outfits and the ones they felt are very powerful to retaliate. It is not that there are no one in Pakistan who are speaking blatantly against terrorism, but they are too few to be ignored. So where does this solve the problem? How many countries that are having a majority of the ‘religion of peace’ have ‘openly’ denounced what the ISIS is doing or speak against the Talibans or Al-Qaida? None. And those who does, gets a fatwa. Be it Taslima Nasreen or Salman Rushdie or M.F. Hussain, none of them were spared in their countries for speaking the truth. And those who argue about M.F. Hussain’s treatment in a secular country like India in reference to Charlie Hebdo massacre, I remind them that Hussain died of age as a millionaire, he was not shot down.

Salman Rushdie's remarks after the recent Charile Hebdo massacre
I stand in the public debates, whether in a canteen or on a social media, and openly say that pathetic comments and acts by fringe Hindu groups called RSS or VHP are plain disgusting. I say it loud and clear that they are morons. So is my stand against the home-grown Naxals or Maoists. They need to be eliminated from the root without any explanation. They are not fighting for the poor; they are killing under misguidance of certain elements. I wonder if my friends from the ‘religion of peace’ would come out so openly against their extremists. Charlie Hebdo, a French satire publication, lampooned and lambasted all religions, minorities or majorities, refused to have a different yardstick for a ‘specific’ religion. But only that ‘specific’ religion reacted and threatened and killed the entire publication house. Peace, you know. They like people to shut their mouth and stay in peace. No satire, no jokes, no laughs. Stay serious, else we will peace you out, in pieces.

If you think your faith wants you to kill children, or needs to be defended from cartoonists, then you are a joke. The world has fought two World Wars and seen millions killed before these bastards started their ‘Jihad’. If they would actually read and interpret their ‘holy-book’ properly, they would rethink. But they won’t, there are counselors appointed to interpret those verses differently. Our leaders also play politics with their name. So it actually is a big nexus. Only the people of ‘that’ religion can stand up and speak against this fast-spreading disease. Your religion isn’t taking you anywhere, your work will. Your work is your only identity in this new world.

Islam means peace, submission, purity. The foundation of this religion is not based on violence. The real Quran never advocates killing people for Allah, the almighty. Each day when these cowards kill people hiding their faces, who is insulting Prophet Mohammed more? The cartoonists or the killers? Yes my Muslim friends, I am the same guy you know since years. And I want to remain the same guy. Just allow me to be. Just allow me to fight for you, defend you. But you stop defending or remaining silent for the ones who are degrading your entire religion. Either you speak or the world will assume that you are one of them. Remember, we have a Prime Minister who is still questioned about what happened 13 years back, so you all will be questioned for what is happening worldwide almost everyday taking the name of ‘your’ God. Because I never heard any of these terrorists saying that I killed for Osama, for Dawood, for Lakhvi, they all say they killed for Allah. I doubt Allah would be remotely proud of this.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Words & Me

There is this person who always told me how she loves my words more than me. She has always maintained it. Never changed her stand. I tried persuading her all throughout. Catherine is one stubborn yet sincere reader of my irrelevant work. But each time she says that she loves my words more than me, I honestly feel jealous of my words. I felt I need to crosscheck with Aditya to find if I deserved some attention just like my words. He also declined to oblige my contribution to my words. I felt disowned. It was almost getting proved that my words were actually better than me. It was obvious on my part to feel restless and not so happy.

I felt what should I be doing to be liked by people. It was hard to find a reason. It was equally difficult to find a better alternative to the 'words' either. In Marketing terminology, I almost went on to sell myself. It was of no use. I was falling behind in the race to my own words. My words were going ahead each time I wrote. I decided to write things that won't please the readers. I wrote about incidents that presented the ugly realities of the world. I penned down stories that would disturb an average reader. I often tried to stir the stereotyped sensibilities we are conditioned to.

In the process of all such efforts, I found myself far behind in the race. So behind that, I realized I will never be able to win it. My words took the limelight. It is not that I didn't like the limelight, but I never disliked it. I knew I will always remain a shadow to my words. My words no more were an extension to my definition, they eclipsed my identity altogether. I started analyzing what am I writing, I dissected them to the core. I said to myself I cannot write anything more extreme than this.

I found out I was only writing Truth.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

An Old Tomorrow

I am not able to blog. Blog regularly. This used to be "my space". A space where I used to vent, shout & seek peace. I still want to do that. But I am not able to write. My reading habit too, is on a decline. I was doing so many thing when I was busy, now I am not able to do half of it with double the time in my hand. I am not able to meet my evenings, the ones which used to energise me. I am not able to sprint hundred yards to catch my next destination. Are things slow around? Yes they are, they will be. I was ready for this transition, but was not ready for people becoming unknown entities. May be I thought I am getting into a more real world, only to realise artificially has made its way deep into my old place. People have turned into something that I am not able to comprehend. My nights are stretching into oblivion.

Are these my complaints? Am I unhappy? Who defines 'unhappiness' index? And what makes us 'happy' in real terms? I try to look at things in 'larger perspective'. But here the 'perspective' itself is missing. I feel I am hanging in the interstellar medium after being sent to that world by Christopher Nolan. Now what frightens me is that will I be able to come back to the real world, because there is no coming back from the fifth dimension.

An 'old' tomorrow is coming nearer. Hope, dear heart. That's what is left.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

We're All In This Cycle

Emotionally, I am not that strong. I do not claim to be as well. But just when I do not want a particular phase of my life to turn emotional, it does. Then what! Complete screw up (I'm refraining from using extreme words here). Men and the theory of them not breaking down, they being super strong while getting emotionally trapped is all but myths. I am not only referring to me here, but discovered many such folks around who sulk alone while boasting of big things in public. In my research, it is the men who are most alone, they are the ones who need a company more than their female counterparts contrary to the common perception. Then why this facade in the outside?

Life is how you define it. But then it also has its own tricks up its sleeves. You better be prepared for it. I never was and when I realised it, I realised it tough way. I struggled to meet people, I started searching for companions, I felt alone than ever before. Nostalgia is what I live in, but this sort of melancholy has never set in my days. I drive for miles while in a state of inertia, unaware of people around. I stop at traffic signals because I see a red light, I fear that colour. Then I move on again, into a state of limbo. I always search myself, as I feel that way I can keep reinventing. But in this phase of my life, I am losing myself. 

If I will say I need a companion, that would raise eyebrows. But how can I say that's the truth. I am searching all my old friends, running after them and shouting their names. They are just walking away. I am not finding my closed ones near me. It is a feeling of not being wanted, anymore. But I am still the same person. These all things can be my hallucinations because these being true will be unbearable.

Okay, so what's going on guys! I know the Football fans must be having withdrawal symptoms, it happens. Just 4 more years guys. A lot of top news editors have been leaving their current assignments, but the news is breaking everyday. Just like it was yesterday, a lady who won a medal for her nation at an international event is selling paan at a shop where she is subjected to public humiliation. They are just not accounted for, we have to 'break' such news.

We get emotional so easily for things we are concerned for. For us melting of an Ice Cream is a priority (and it should be, we are spending for it) than what will happen to earth in 30 years from now. But then there are so many things, who cares. And what shall we achieve! So let's think of of how to survive another day in office tomorrow, what new things to buy and how to make my family see a better day. In the process, let the society reach a stage where it will stink. We give a damn to the awareness towards women safety, instead tell our daughters to come home early & not wear 'specific' kind of attire. Let all confine ourselves into our four walls.

I am emotionally weak. I have been strong, have pulled myself up few times. But now I need support. Atleast, for this phase of my life. I know the future requires me to be strong. I am giving the proof of my past to it. Accept my past as my certificate. But can I get some help for my present.

Ignore these rants, let's have some chicken kassa, it is an East Indian special. Because food is what keeps us happy. Let's eat our way into happiness and oblivion.