Thursday, October 31, 2013

Of Hate, Complacency & Detachments!

11 years is not a small time and when it comes to politics, it is really a long long time. Rivals change, so are the friends. But then all the national and regional parties in India are united in one thing: bashing Narendra Modi for what happened in 2002. Yes, mistakes were made, some grave ones. But is Congress the right watchdog to raise the voice after the 1980/Moradabad, 1984/Bhiwandi, 1985/Gujarat etc. during their rule. Here is a complete list of our disgusting achievements of past and how many riots have happened under their rule to make things clear. 

But at the same time, the same Gujarat people have voted Mr. Modi back to power thrice (twice post riots). At the same time, Gujarat has developed the most under his leadership (I am not endorsing the over-hyped "Gujarat-Model"). At the same time, he has been garnering interest from a large portion of the country. Now all these amounts to a phobia that had caught on to the opposition party. And BJP knows it pretty clearly that 2014 would be their last shot at the centre with the diminishing hold they have in last few years. In a nutshell, if Modi won't be able to pull it off, no one will for BJP ever post 2014.


I have forecasted about the way Nokia was taking its customers for granted and the surge of Samsung during 2007/08 when people around me were sarcastic of my loyalties towards Samsung. They were pretty proud of their half-a-kilo Nokias with awful display but a great battery in the back. Samsung reworked its R&D team, the network and reincarnated itself during 2009/10. Also, during that phase the Indian upper class (read Businessmen/Politicians) were into something called Blackberry. It became the staple phone for those who wanted secured email communications and no one snooping them. Well, there obviously was no one who they could have suspected until Julian Assange ;) I was laughing out loud looking at their helplessness when it was revealed that just how much US knows about them.  

Cut to 2013. I know that number 13 is not a great number according to many, but today, we have both Nokia & Blackberry sold out! Reason : Complacency! Nokia always thought that there is only category of consumers whereas Blackberry assumed email functionality in a phone is all that people want. Now, without sounding as a Samsung loyal, I need to tell this - Constant Innovation & Multiple Options, are the reasons which made Samsung rise to the top. And there is Apple who have always been a pioneer of innovation in cutting edge technology. Because technology is a field where you just can not afford to sit back and presume what consumers can use, you need to understand their expectations and go beyond that. Then only you will be trusted and anticipated as a brand to own.


You have been instrumental in telling those dead parts in my body that life is not over yet. I won't say I had reached a dead-end but I was slightly clueless. You helped me contain my sanity. I jumped into a journey with you without a hint of tomorrow. But then bonding with a 'kite' was never a practical way forward as the two can never get along all the way. But why I'm blabbering all these! I never repent. I move on, atleast people around me think so. Let that perception continue. One last thing but a fact: "You were there for me, when no one was there." 

I'm becoming vulnerable to breaking down these days than ever. Parents being so far and fear of leaving such an awesome city. The maximum city as they say. And one insane brother. I'm confused being at the crossroads. Last few weeks have been tough. Only my pillow soaked all those moments silently. Leaving closed ones ain't easy. And I've to learn all these lessons of restructuring the life time and again. Don't do that. But then all those old lanes, old friends and old stories are waiting. Need to re-live them. After all, the real pain originated from there. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Hundred Irrelevant Musings

I speak my mind. I hate pseudo-intellects. Oh God, they are everywhere. All around. They strangulate me. I am counting my share of oxygen. I had one-fourth promise of staying with you. But who belonged to whom? Nothing is permanent. Expectations reduces joy. They are temporary. We have put a price tag for everything in life. The price of life has become nothing. The sweet nothings describes you. You all define me. The definition is subjective. Every subject is hapless at the hands of administrators today. Helplessness, many times, ignited movements. Movements are what we get inspired from. Inspiration is what we long for, inspiration is what we want to be. Longing has been a key element of my survival. Elements of hope, nostalgia is what makes me stay grounded. I seek contentment. I find it costly which I can not afford. Expectations are permanent, disappointments are temporary. I write my life. I describe events. Words are healing. All scars are mine. I am proud of them. I cry for peace. I seek quality. I believe in giving. Change is constant. I disapprove change.

I love words. They console me.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

People Make It Work!

You have great roads, well designed fly-overs, metro rail and now a super terminal in the airport. All the basic infrastructure is in place, there are still few things to improve, but it is still far better than other metro-cities. Delhi, or Delhi – NCR, has ‘almost’ got everything that will merit this city to be as India’s capital. When I visited this city, after a gap of a decade, I went with a lot of apprehension. And the apprehension was built over the same last decade where the crime rate in our capital city has gone up several notches up. Today, it is a known fact that a girl cannot step outside her house after 7 in the evening alone. What has happened to a city like this that the situation has reached
IGI Airport
such a point! During my last visit before this, around 2003 – 2004, it was only the taxi & auto drivers along with the shopkeepers were unruly and rude. The number of species has now grown manifold to an extent wherein you will start suspecting every person you are dealing with outside your comfort zone. During my current visit, by looking at the Delhi roads, I realized why Mumbai has lesser number of Lamborghinis. When I stepped into Gurgaon, I was elated to see how beautifully a city can be designed and infrastructure can be managed. So where is Delhi, the home to our parliament, babus & media houses, going wrong?

My next stop of the journey was a neighboring state of Delhi, full of scenic places, Uttarakhand. Recently devastated by the horrific flood, the state is recuperating from the effects. I went to a place 8500-feet above sea level and the road was good until a point. After that, we had many moments where we had the opportunity to witness some breathtaking picturesque surroundings and some such rough mountain terrains where we had to drive our vehicle through 2-inches gap from the other. Throughout the journey and during our stay, we interacted with many people, and each of them exuded one thing: warmth. They were helpful, they were soft-spoken and never misguided us (which they could easily have done). The stay was pleasant not ‘only’ because the temperature was 11 -12 degrees or the place was simply beautiful, but critically because we were taken proper care of. They ensured we get everything we required during the 24 hour stay.

Then I headed for my next destination, my hometown, Bhubaneswar. The state of Odisha has grown quite well (if not quite fast) in last few years. Bhubaneswar being the capital has seen tremendous amount of development with a lot of projects still underway. The city is not as big as Delhi nor as small as Dehradun, the capital of Uttarakhand. But it is a city where you can settle down post retirement knowing there will be lesser noise, pollution &
interference. What I have observed over the years when the city has seen many changes that there are two different sections which are growing separately. One that is growing with the right outlook of what future holds for them and they are preparing themselves for it and the other who are inclined to stay in their shell and does not like to be disturbed. Now, the second species are a bane to any society and a city at large. You can change everything in a man, but not the attitude. The attitude can be towards work, towards civic sense, towards their approach to the people or simply be the attitude towards life. Personally, I believe that attitude is your ‘upbringing’ plus your ‘education’. Both these factors overlap and inclusive. Now every society needs more of the first breed of people than the second to create stories people can feel proud of.

Whether I want or not, I had to leave home after a 6-day stay for my karmabhoomi, Mumbai, a city which is defined in many ways. Now when I stepped in, I found the airport terminal smaller, the parking slot outside slightly cramped, the road to my home with far more potholes that I found in all the 3 above cities added together. The traffic in Mumbai on a Sunday afternoon was more than the traffic of Gurgaon on a Monday morning. It has this never-ending monsoon spree which sometime continues without a break for 3 months (seriously without a single break of a day). During monsoon, the commuting in the city goes from bad to worse. The city has a metro project running for a half a decade now and is yet to start the operations. Now, what is there in Mumbai that millions come every month here, even though they are not even sure whether they can sustain in this city where the cost of living is higher than any other city in the country! I just gave a brief on the infrastructure, the haywire projects and the pain. Well then, let’s talk about those 8 million (yes, that’s 80-lacs) commuters in Local Trains (close to 2500 services/day) that runs for 22 hours in a day. This figure is barring the bus services and the taxi/auto services. The
Mumbai Local
last local train which runs around 2 in the morning will have ladies travelling in them, same goes for bus services. The busiest public places often turn into an uncomfortable place to female travelers, but not in Mumbai. You get into a local train or some other public transport system, you will feel welcomed. This city has embraced all, but how? The answer to all these questions is: People. It is the people, from wherever they are, they have one thing in common – tolerance. Tolerance to the person in front, irrespective of the religion, caste, sex or education is the proof of a healthy society and an enriching one as well. Mumbai, with its lack of space, has been the most accommodating city for me in my life. And it is the people who make you feel a part of this place, this city. Under no circumstances, I can take away the role of each Mumbaikar (yes, we call ourselves that, whether we are born in this soil or not) who shaped me into a better person. The accountability and the onus lies ONLY with us.

To summarize (not to ‘conclude’, as ‘comparisons’ has conclusions, and this piece is not one), let me put this straight - I am no Delhi-basher or Mumbai-supporter, I do not even have my ancestors linked to any of these 2 cities. I feel I can connect to a city like Mumbai like no other, after having spent my life in multiple districts of smaller and an under-developed  state because of only one thing: The People. They make it a place to live, they make it a place to respect, they make it a safer place. They make it move on. No city can work with just infrastructure, skyscrapers, flyovers, terminals, shopping malls. Every city need people who define it. A city is as good as its people.

People make a city work.

A small video, you may call it a travelogue, which I made during my last long-trip spread over 5120 KMs here.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Yeh Baarish. Woh Ummeed.

Main shukra-guzaar hoon unn lamhon kaa, jinmein maine kuch aisa paaya, jo likh sakaa. Zehen mein aksar bahut kuch likhte rehta hoon, din-raat, subeh-shaam, aate-jatey, uthate-baithtey, har pal har dum, bas  jab bhi mauka mil jaaye. Par record kar nahin paaya, lekin jab bhi samay mila hai, iss blog ke madhyam se kuch kaha hai.  Likhne mein ek alag hi mazaa hai, jo shayad main kabhi bayaan na kar paoon, lekin itna kehna lazmi zaroor hoga ki yeh bada sukoon deta hai. Mujhko, meri rooh ko! Lambe-lambe din kaate hain, raatein bhi bahut si aur bahut tarah ki dekhi hain, jinmein kal ki koi assurance nahi thi. Bhagwan ko toh dekha nahin kabhi, haan par Maa-Baap hain, jinko uski darza deta hoon, aur likhta hoon. Khushi mein likhta hoon, akelepan mein kuch zyade hi khayaal panap-tey hain, lekin gham ki shyahi ka toh koi jawaab hi nahin, bahut kaam aayi yeh mere likhney mein.

Likhna mazboori hai... Aur fitrat bhi!


Mumbai mein monsoon ko sehna ek achievement hi hai, aap maane ya na maane… Har gad.dhe ka hisaab rakhte-rakhte umra beet jaayegi, lekin yeh shehar kabhi nahi ruktaa, ruk hi nahi paata… Chand panktiyan, ussi shehar ke naam:

Is baar ki baarish kuch alag hai,
Boondein toh pehchaan loon,

Aisa hi ashkon se bhiga kuch khat, thodi yaadein,
Kahin tumne kahin dekha hai!

Baarish aate hi iss shehar ko kuch ho jaata hai,
Subah ghar se nikle hi nahin, toh shaam ki chinta ho jaati hai,
Baarish shuru hone se pehle hi, ussey bachne ki  taiyaari ho jaati hai,
Lekin kahan suntee hai kisiki, yeh baarish.

‘Asha’ ek badaa hi zaalim shabd hai, logon ne bahut kuch khoya iske naam par... Lekin chhod pana bada mushkil hai, Bhagwan ki tarah hai, dikhta nahi, par har jagah hai. Log toh yehi kehte hain, accept karne mein bhalaa harz kya hai…

Jaane se pehle koi vaada ya kasam nahi khaai  thi humne,
Khush hoon us baat par, ki 'regressive' nahi the hum,
Lekin jab jab tumhe dhoondhtaa hoon un andheron mein,
Khaali haath hi naseeb hota hai,
Andhera pasand hai mujhe, chhod do mujhe mere makhmali andheron mein,

Meri khamoshi ka sur lagati phirti hogi,
Ummeed tha dono saath kuch gun-gunaenge,
Saath kuch kadam aage lenge, kuch nazmon par guftagoo karenge,
Lekin kaun iss zindagi ke aapa-dhapi mein yeh sab karega,
Kahin 'regressive' ka thappa na laga do tum.

Kehte hain, ummeed par duniya kayam hai…

(Sincere thanks to Guru for helping me out with the editing thanks to my great command over the language)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Let's Begin from Home

Good work aimed at development and upliftment of people in general should not only be appreciated, but also must stand as an example for others to follow suit. We find it very easy to blame the system for every apathy we face in our everyday life. Finding a scapegoat for everything has become a way of our life. And it is happening because of the way our entire society is functioning. And gradually, we all are turning into an 'escapist'. 

While fighting hard not to fall into the trap of being an 'escapist', I keep searching for ways to do my bit in whatever little way possible. I came across a website of a small village, yes a full-fledged website, and it was so informative and inspiring. I went to explore further about their journey on development and how inclusive it is for them. There are various programs running and majority of them are aimed at sanitation and hygiene. Hygiene has always been a primary area of concern in Indian villages. They, today, have achieved a level where each house has proper sanitation standards. Apart from their own devised programs, they also have the Govt.-run programs (NREGA etc) successfully. These are the kind of model-villages who can be a benchmark for others to follow. With the level of corruption and ineptness of the governments over the years, the major onus lies with the villagers to take it upon themselves to change the things they want to see. 

Here is the link of a better world in a smaller place.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

'Lessons' I Call 'Life'

When it rains, it does not decide where to go. It does not belong to anyone, yet it is for everyone. Sometimes the sheer noise of the raindrops make you go blank. All you hear is that sound. Nothing distracts you, you start concentrating amidst the noise. These are facts of nature we must understand, for they don’t come with sponsored posts on social networks. The number of events, people and situations around us are enough to divert our attention, or are they? The truth, if we start exploring, will come out simple: if we like what we are doing, nothing can distract us. I never realized the umpteen number of times my father told me the same thing; assuming that how in the world it is possible to concentrate with Tendulkar playing those signature straight drives, Mom cooking those delicious fries, Mr. Vajpayee giving those speeches, those landline ringing during those odd-hours, friends calling for evening Cricket match with the life on stake.

With each year, I realized how critical it is to inculcate attributes I never thought of: 

1. Unlearn
2. Deserve
3. Prioritize

Unlearning, for me, came into existence at a stage when I realized that there is a knowledge overload from all sides. I saw people replicating the same stuff over and over again, this gives them some unknown pleasure. You will find professors fondly telling you concepts they themselves cannot apply and telling you stories they cannot relate to. And they do it for infinite times and then you come across many people preaching you the same things with additional layers. All these makes you either think that you know a lot of facts or you start questioning their validity. The second reason, which brings the 'unlearn' factor into existence is the "Life Lessons" you are taught over the years you grow up. You are told many such practices which are not only vague but carry no value in today's scenario. I can count at least 15 such stories/practices/myths which you really need to unlearn, but few I want to quote:

- Working hard leads us to success: No one, I repeat no one, has defined what 'hard-work' stands for. For example, I have seen employees sitting for 12 hours a day and 7 days a week in office giving less output than people sitting lesser number of hours. But the catalyst for the 'so-called' hard-workers is their bosses who nod their head for a good hike at the end of the year keeping in mind the hours they spent in office. The same goes for the CGPA/percentage we score in our academics. A 1% less here or there and that is the end of the world for the parents. (more on the academics some other day)

- It matters so very much what people think of me: Throughout my growing years, my parents were always concerned about what others kids are doing and what should we achieve. Our achievements were decided keeping others as benchmark. It happened with me, till I completed my 12th and post the 12th results, my father "finally" asked me what I want to do. Then things changed, I was an average student before that and remained the same after. But what changed is, he became more content and more satisfied with my progress. He stopped thinking what others are saying, as I always told him that "I will not disappoint you". 

- It is bloody important to stay happy: After a great deal of self-experience, I realized that being happy is a state of mind. The onus lies with you how you want to feel. There will
definitely be situations that will be more adverse than you can even think of and the great self-help-gurus will tell you take it lightly or keep calm to infinity or not to break down under any circumstances. But it is quite "normal" to feel bad, be upset and even a temporary break down. It really is normal and for all my male friends there's nothing like "men don't cry" theory. For I know we all break down numerous times for many reasons. But having said this, we can not stay in the state of mourning for eternity, for every phase shall pass and the only fact is we need to move on. Happiness is multiplied when shared and he who loves, stays happy.

Deserve is a verb that means 'have or show qualities worthy of rewards or punishment'. It also differentiates between people who are practically ambitious from those who expect things which does not even exist. It also separates people with 'half-knowledge' from people who think before they speak. There is this famous but simple phrase which I believe blindly, and it holds true in every phase of our lives, it says: Deserve Before You Desire. Being in a profession that primarily revolves around 'people issues', I have uncountable number of instances where the employees in any organization expect more than they need, more than that is justified, more than they deserve.

- Earn It : Before I could understand all these in life, I too was desiring things before reaching a certain age or time. Then I learned this critical lesson from my father, who always ensured that I have to 'earn' everything that I 'desire'. All these demands ranged from chocolates to bicycle to video games. I never got anything the day I asked for and it never ever made me happy. I always used to tell him that he was the harshest and a heartless father. Each year passing by, I used to get something I wished a year back or may be some time before that. I felt wonderful with every new thing being given to me and but complaint against him remained the same. The biggest realization happened, when I started working; I started valuing a lot of things around. I always valued people, for I knew they are the biggest assets to any family, society and organization. Today, as I write this, I can only think and thank my father for making me earn everything I wished for which turned into valuing each of them. More often than not, when we get things without working for it, we start taking it for granted, we often do not 'value' it.

- Being Content : These days switching jobs is just another 'norm'. Changing a mobile handset is an 'in' thing. And 'breaking news' has actually become a trend. There is no end to our expectations. Majority of that is materialistic. Observing my father through all these years makes me understand one thing which I believe is very crucial to become a better 
human being: be content. I know I have not even distantly close to the level of 'contentment' he has in his life, but I believe it's time I should learn that. He has lived a life that has got every aspect of seriousness and his motto was simple: time takes no holiday. Being content become very difficult thanks to family, society, peer pressure and what not. But the day you start telling yourself that you are fine with what you have, believe me that would be the beginning of so many happy days to come.

Prioritizing does not come naturally to everyone, it ain't that easy as well. Some just could not do it, some start and then could not carry it forward and some 'act' as if they are really into it. Prioritizing often becomes a practice if we do all those little things in a day in a more organized way. Organizing your day, your month, your tasks are one part, but the most critical is doing the same with your 'life'.

My priorities changed as I grew up. There are multiple phases that kept me changing my priorities, some worked, some did not. When I was into my 12th, I saw this extraordinarily beautiful young girl, and all I did during the phase that followed is 'think' about her. For me the priority was 'courtship' at a time when studying should have taken the front seat. I made my family shift base just because I could be near her; sounds so hilarious today and so hazardous if things would have gone wrong. Then during my graduation, while I was neck deep in to William Shakespeare, R.K. Narayan & William Wordsworth, I thought my priority is to get a job as soon as possible. Doing management seemed the most valid idea as Mr. Shakespeare would have taken me to some distant college with a meagre pay. When I spent 23 years at home, Mom's food was just alright for me and I always teased her each time we ordered food from outside. 

Today when I look back, I realize I could have just weighed every situation instead of taking decisions for those instant priorities. Be it my 'courtship' or 'management degree'. And yes, as far as Mom's cooking is concerned, only I knew how delicious it was when I started staying in a hostel and realized I can't even have it once in a month. Even my tears of missing home could not feed me that time.

If we get on to some more worldly affairs, we will see how our priorities today have become so very materialistic. Staying in a bigger 'city', having a 'house' of your own, a 'vehicle' that has to match your apartment's other ones rather than your requirement, a 'CTC' that should be well bargained in the market, mugging that pink newspaper just because the person sitting next to you is reading it, calling people friends just because they will come handy for you in future, working for a brand even if you know the profile is something that will never excite you... the list will be endless. I will never argue with those who will say each of these priorities are based on leading a good and secured lifestyle, but my only thought is 'at what cost'!

No lessons will be enough to protect you from an imminent hazard if you are never prepared to 'unlearn'. There will be no substance to validate your dreams if you do not 'deserve' them. 'Priorities' can never be set at the expense of wrong choices which later determine our actions.

Monday, July 1, 2013

My Dateless Diary : 3

A hectic month-end at office. A lonely Saturday night. A no-agenda-Sunday. I am happy that I am not lost. And people still count on me. I know that the first 3 days of the coming week are going to be insane at office. The rent is due for an increase, the broker will swing into action to suck my money. I like schedules in life, I like things organized. I love to see my calendar filled with things to do, things to look forward to and etc etc. I hate blank people, blank sheets, blank calendar, blank account balance, blank minds, blank theatres, blank tables and etc etc.

Now in between all these, I ask myself - how important it is to have agendas for everything! How much required are the stuffed calendars!! How much our lives will change with the things I hate being 'blank'!!!

Monday, June 24, 2013

My Dateless Diary : 2

Over the years, I have started liking being alone (wasn't left with much of a choice though). It has certain freedom which allows you to do your 'stuff'. It also helps you spend time with yourself, which becomes a challenge otherwise. More on the 'independent stuff' some other day.

Saw this movie called "Raanjhanaa", everything in the movie is a revelation to me apart from the never-ending use of "A" in the title and Sonam Kapoor. Sonam is still needs to improve a great deal being 5 years into the industry. Now, what is this guy Dhanush is! He not only stole the show, but made me like him in the first flick itself, and let me tell you that's not a small feat (I ain't bragging). Abhay Deol is there for a cameo and the characters sketched around Dhanush did a great job. But then with few potholes in the script, it is only Dhanush who holds the fort throughout and makes this movie stand on his feet. The dialogues are fabulously written by Himanshu Sharma and crowd loved it. So is the tempting background score by the maestro A.R. Rahman. The director who returns with his second offering after Tanu Weds Manu, takes a big stride forward while staying on the same genre of 'love'. His story-telling is simple, believable and heartwarming. For me, the takeaway is just 1 simple person: Dhanush. Salute.

India continues to play relentless Cricket and rain continued incessantly in the country bringing havoc in Uttarakhand. Thousands of pilgrims could never come back to their homes and many are still stranded as I write. One thing which struck me when one of my colleagues, a complete non-believer, made a statement: "what happened to God? Where is he? He could not even save the ones who took shelter in his own den!" I, someone who from 'non-believer' to a 'confused believer', had no answer to it. Even my brother shares similar sentiment.

To believe or not to, is no more the big question. It is what we get.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My Dateless Diary : 1

I borrow the title from my favourite Indian English writer - R.K. Narayan. And apart from just the date-specifics, you might end up finding these pieces as mindless and senseless too. But just like the blog's inception, the writing shall continue.

The rain has lashed Mumbai quite on time, unlike last year. And so many similar events took place: buildings collapsed, water clogged, trains got cancelled, people stranded and so on. But this city continued to move on, it always has. The fact of the matter is, it just can not AFFORD to stop.

Father came to my rescue, with a short trip. At least we both assume that this is 'rescue'. I just needed a break, he dropped in. And his interventions has always given me happiness. He is leaving today and as I write, I am quite melancholic. Even though this is his second visit in 3 months, just can't get enough of him. Fathers are like that, supermen. My 8-year stay away from parents have not made any of us immune to that pain when departing.

If only rain could wash away everything we do not like.

Monday, May 27, 2013

RIP : Recollections. Introspections. Perspectives.

7.5 years in Mumbai. 6.5 years at blog. 5.5 at work. And the sum of all right and wrong choices made in life stands at 28.5. While I want the span of the first three to go further, I want the last one to shrink.

But life only moves in one direction: 'forward'. There is no 'pause' button to hold back and the 'stop' button is not under our control. The 'play' button is on auto-mode since birth. So all these tells us that there is no break, until the final one.

When I came to Mumbai, my life was wandering in many directions. The priorities were slightly different. Today, there are still directions and priorities, but the definition of terms itself has changed. The perspective of looking at life has taken many turns, while it has matured, it has become more restrictive as well.

I seek answers, for I believe that asking right questions are so important. Else, we should not be repentant about the outcomes. I remained silent for the majority part of my life, when I always thought that my reservations did not represent the larger group's interest. I tolerated people with half-knowledge roaming in & around me and active on intellectual forums in my school & college.

I started understanding & realizing the value of people even more. My stay outside my home taught me this, in a very real way. I had my days when I had to swallow my pain myself as people around me kept so occupied. I have seen people reducing themselves to machines where friendship is celebrated on a specified day and happiness is only shared on social networking platforms. But my experiences will only allow me to stay connected beyond (and including) such mediums.

My way of living life may continue to change in days & years to follow, so will be my perspectives. But I will ever remain homesick. And will continue having chocolate ice-cream knowing that I am prone to cold. No one can detach me from movies and music even though I chose to stay happy with lesser than what I earn today. There are certain things money cannot buy and for rest I do have my will power, so mastercard is not a mandatory requirement. People (family & friends) keep me happy, my gadgets keep me occupied and my work is too insane to term me as employed. I am eternally a claptrap.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Valley of Heaven & Hell

What it feels to be told that a part of your home is disputed, is under somebody else’s control. It feels awkward, it upsets you and you will surely feel like it taking it back. Then you are told about so many clauses to get your hold on that part that you get confused, you get tired. Then the most painful part: people residing in that part of your home start speaking in a different tone, start believing in theories that you never heard. They become more tolerant to your neighbors than you, they celebrate the success of your neighbors not yours. These things makes you ask yourself: what action can be taken, why they are speaking a different language, what are the areas you are falling short or is it even worth keeping them as a part of your home?

Well what I am going to write ahead is about a topic or should I say an issue on which it has been comprehensively written about, spoken about and debated. It’s about a place called Kashmir, at one point of time called as ‘heaven on earth’. Yes, today there are no signs of any heavenly feeling or news coming from that valley, one of the most scenic places I have seen in my whole life. It has been more than 2 decades that the valley has been witnessing casualties almost every day. There has been infiltration, there have been riots and there have been attacks on Indian Army by locals. Our beloved neighbor Pakistan has been claiming its rights on the valley since ages, the people of valley has been asking for an independent state status, India has only claiming that the valley is their inseparable part. No conclusions, no decisive action or no punitive measures on attacks by monsters in masks.

Militants have been active in Kashmir over last 2 decades claiming more than 50000 lives including the men in uniform, that’s quite some number. Many battles have been fought, trust has been broken more than once, but we have not reached at any conclusion. Blood is shed every day to prove the point of a small section of people. We, as a country, have been soft on our foreign policies since inception. This has resulted in China intruding our land, Pakistan doing the same and many other countries taking the benefit playing around our policies. All we have done so far as a government is to witness in mute is Kashmiri Pundits being killed and thrown out of the valley, innocent lives taken by terrorists in the name of religion and invasion of neighbors from all parts of the valley.

Now, having said all these, there is an aspect of Kashmir that silences me to some extent. It’s like that part of the home which is disputed has reasons for it. You discover that you only know 80% of the whole story when you go through such history. Kashmir as a state was under dispute right from the beginning and India never handled it in a firm way. We have always allowed others to invade our land and our minds before we spoke or took action. The one thing we have religiously doing in last 6 decades of our independence is talk about “peace” and countless initiatives on it. And all we got in return is betrayal of our neighbors. But in the hindsight, there have been no clearly defined policies in place.

Today, giving away the valley to any country will not make it a better place; giving it an independent status will solve no purpose. The simple reason behind it is Pakistan is not capable to sustain its own economy and feed its own people. It is equally infected with insurgency on its own soil. Making this state an independent entity will make it even poorer as there is no source of income apart from tourism (which is already badly hit thanks to terrorism). But the saddest part of all is, these are not understood by the inhabitants of the valley. They are simply being driven by a herd mentality with unjustified demands. Such cases needs to be dealt with a lot of precision and needs to be validated by strong administration.

I agree and accept that there have been incidences of army’s misconduct; there have been instances of protesters being handled in wrong ways and also false encounters. These acts cannot be accepted under any circumstances when we talk of such high integrity and democracy. We also cannot, under any situation, overlook the peacemaking treaties we have signed and the voices of the people there.

Before I finish, I would like to mention what makes me sad as a citizen of this country. I feel ashamed when an attack on Mumbai is justified by certain militant group and people of the valley remain silent. I feel terrible when Kashmiris protest the hanging of Afzal Guru, does that justify the attack on the parliament. I feel bad when they remain silent on the barbaric attacks of Pakistan on our citizens jailed there. The way they celebrate when we lose in sports, the way they cheer when beating & stoning our army men.

May be that part of our home does not want to embrace us as their own, may be they do not identify themselves with us or may be they were never ours.

Few links which represents multiple dimensions to this issue, do read:

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Nostalgia. Now. Dreams.

It’s been a different life, different few months. Months that has changed quite a few things. People ask me to describe this phase; it gives them sheer pleasure to indulge in such quiz for they know any answer would excite them. Sometimes the no. of questions are infinite if you allow yourself. There has been more than one instances where I have had close acquaintances with few where each of them came with a conclusion written or decided in between. Had my share of luck, love & happiness long way back, for quite a long time. Somewhere I couldn't muster the courage, interest & invest time for something ‘that’ serious after that era was over. I could not seize certain moments, I could not take that one extra step, I could not let go of my inhibitions. But past is past, no looking back, no regrets. But I have lived a lifetime with nostalgia. It is something that moves with me, it’s something I live with. I love it & hate it. All at the same time. Deep inside, there lives some ‘emotions’ which I am yet to define or understand.

Nostalgia is something that keeps me going, it is something I live with. It is insanely painful yet so real. It shows me a picture I can not detach myself from. It is my truth, those were my moments. I lived them with my own conscience. There may not be any ‘undo’ button, but I am also not finding any ‘repair’ button as well. I need it. May not be badly, but surely. I want to go back to ground zero. Home. Want to live with just those I know since I know myself. Don’t want new things in life, don’t need additions. Memories, in the form of nostalgia, takes me back years. Years, that I am not able to find now, times I am missing. Times I spent without any pre-conditions. Missing so badly that I want to go back and stay there. Never travel to future. For I know what future has in store. Yes, it has dreams, so many of them. I, as a person, have believed in them for the whole life. Now I realize, every dream comes true at a price tag. A tag too costly, a tag too materialistic.

So my search for myself continues. But I am getting tired, my patience is running out. Thick and fast. And I am getting old too. I know I have been impatient throughout my life, but that’s not a crime. It has paid me more often than not. It has shattered my dreams as well. But why do I need to do all these permutations, why do I need to do so much analysis? Writing is what gives me solace, that’s what I am doing, that’s what I can do and that’s what I am capable of. That’s what I will do.