Thursday, April 17, 2014

THE NEXT FIVE YEARS OR THE REST OF OUR LIVES...

I live a privileged life; I won't lie about that. I probably don't know the tribulations one has to go through to earn a daily meal (and sometimes, not even that). And yet, deep inside, I feel a rage welling up which threatens to overthrow the barriers of apathy, blame & caution. I feel strongly about the state of affairs in my motherland, India. She is a beautiful & exotic bird trapped in a cage forged of many a personal, selfish ambition. She is a mother who dutifully provides for her children even though they have turned into ravenous, greedy demons.

Ironically, this seething anger only first took seed when I was vacationing in Greece in 2012. Very akin to a typical country hopping snob, I ranted about how everything was better there than here, there being anywhere but here. The stark difference between what we are & what we could be overwhelms me, and there's not a single day when I don't rue that fact. Then a voice of conscience strikes me like a sledgehammer, asking me to show some respect, to be proud of the country that gave me everything irrespective of the state it is in today and make a positive difference, small or big, rather than wallowing in worthless grumbles.


But try as I might, I could not stop indulging in good-natured comparisons and had to wonder: WHY can't my country be proportionately better than this? Why can't the standard of living & human-rights quotient be higher? Why can't I be as vocal of the virtues of my land (of which there are many) as I am of its vices?


It could be because I tire of government apathy where the bishops spend more time & effort hoarding wealth than putting it to appropriate use, and of pawns who're looking for a shine of green or are just plain indifferent to issues that could very well plague their lives too. It could be because we conveniently put the blame on others while we are blind to our own moral decay. I'm saddened by the fact that when I look for a solution that is my fundamental right, I'm faced with an impervious wall or suggestions to “grease some palms”.  If I refuse, out of some “outdated” utopian sense of an ideal world, I'm cursed to face that roadblock for way longer. I'm sad the world cannot be a more honest place and I'm sad that 9 out of 10 times, we will slip in the green & yet complain about how corrupt the netas are.

Is this a perfectly timed blog on the back of the impending general elections? Is that what influences my words? Maybe. We're optimistic & perhaps putting all our eggs in one basket, hoping for a miracle now that a new, comparatively honest & principled political party is in the fray. With righteous, better-informed & open-minded people, they are our best bet today & can help us help others, the nation and ourselves. However, at the end of the day, they are but a helping hand. We the people must not turn them into a crutch, expecting them to rid our society of all evils, or into an excuse when it does not meet our lofty expectations.

Please do go out and vote intelligently for the right candidate & party. Know that it may change our lives for the next five years. But to change how we live for the rest of our lives, let us be better people and influence a better tomorrow, every day & every year henceforth. Today we are a hundred, tomorrow a thousand & soon the millions who'll bring in a new age...




*****

Friday, April 04, 2014

THE CITY AND ME

Wisdom & popular belief have us convinced that one really gets time to absorb life & it's true meaning when they travel far & wide. 

Logic dictates that jaunts out into the big, bad world beyond the warm, comfortable womb of home provide space for reflection. 

A person is undoubtedly busiest in their own home & untrammelled by shackles of responsibility when they travel. All of this indicates the obvious, and yet, while I love travel more than most things, Mumbai my city is the only place where I get TIME to THINK.  

Some travel to forget, some set out to fill the mind with fantasies & the fantastic. Yet others seek the unfamiliar & the treacherous, the thrill & adventure of experiences both enriching and wanton. Many a writer, poet, musician, stand-up comedian etc find inspiration in their sojourns. There's no doubt that my mind too is most at peace on terrains both familiar & otherwise; the silent mountains, the sunny beaches, the cobbled streets. 


But it is here in my city, within the chaos, heat, traffic and people both innocently bare & craftily concealed, that I get an omniscient sense of clarity. In a tough to explain way, I find special peace & a zeal to excel in this madness. And predictably enough, in this serenity within the chaos, I too wrestle an all-consuming weariness & a prodigious urge to relinquish my ceremonial throne.

In that convoluted, contradicting island of humanity that is Mumbai, I bite into my manna and sip freely of my poison. I die a little now & then and rise from the ashes every single day.


I'm a May fly & Phoenix rolled into one. 

I am me.

I am many people.