Thursday, December 26, 2013

a breath of fresh air is the need of the hour

Thank God! At last there is a breath of fresh air- we are looking forward to India coming forward with energy and good cheer to spread the joy of young, practical governance.
Is this a mirage? We hope not. If it is, then all our flamboyant hopes will lick dust. Actually what are we hoping for? Not a bribe free India, nor a 100% above the poverty line population. I think we are hoping for a way of thinking and planning for the future, which is free from party bondage and age old ideologies, hierarchy and red tapism.
Some tell me that the youngsters are going to make mistakes! so havent the stalwarts made mistakes also? The unpardonable kind of mistakes? Have they not sold our country cheap? So cheap, that now today, there are no takers for anything Indian? Does it really help to know that the stalwarts have been making the same old mistakes all the years down; India became independent in 1947, and since then, we have been a melange of mistakes and heinous crimes. If I have to define my country, whom I love from the bottom of my heart, I will say it like this-" A beautiful country with beautiful people gone haywire because of a handful of bureaucrats and politicians who are so used to promoting their own ends, they forget when to stop for the larger good of the nation."
So as I was saying, I am very very hopeful of a positive turn in the tide which will propel us towards better governance, optimal welfare and minimal malpractices. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Happiness is what happiness does.........

Hi there Amrita Chakraborty! This one is for you... you got me thinking, and got me happy too!

So we were talking about how extremes of wealth and poverty can be happy together! Never mind the place or continent, they are just happy! I say I am happy when I earn two hours of consulting time! My counterpart frowns when she clocks just 12 hours in a day! she is prolly earning six times as much as me, but her definition of enough is rather different from mine. We are both as equally qualified as equally competent and also equally complacent, but happiness seems to be a state of mind- so we are not on the same platform for intrinsic feelings like happiness and joy....and 'enough'.

I pack in some dynamite when I use those 2 hours of consulting time- my friend also packs in a lot more of dynamite but laced with a sense of dissatisfaction which prevents that smile which perpetually is on my face. It is purely a  question of mind over matter- if you dont mind, it does'nt matter. Its not as if I am happy with less- but I look forward to more while being thankful for the less.

So whether we be in Asia or Africa, or even Australia or America, the advanced continents, it is immaterial. Our smiles are governed by those around us- havent we often commented that just because a killjoy happened to be around, we really could not have a good time? Attitude here seems to be the killjoy. And a historic melancholia which often overpowers the current euphoria! hey guys, i just got the right words- honestly, i couldnt have thought of a better phrase with my limited intelligence and painfully limited vocabulary. But just because I wanted to say something to you, I tried to say it just like I really want.

We cannot be happy on a hungry stomach. We cannot be happy being nurtured on hatred. Most people cannot be happy when they are confused and almost everyone doesnt like to feel cheated and used. Can you tell me why Humpty Dumpty had a great fall? Because eggs don't sit on walls! And if they do sit there they fall down, they break their heads! And their smile disappears! They are happy eggs till they fall down and break their heads!But eggs arent supposed to sit on walls, I say? They have to nestle in the cardboard rack. Or be incubated by Mother Hen. If I had written that rhyme, I would have prolly thought of  a metre which went like....
"Humpty dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,
Egghead, didnt he remember at all
That eggs don't sit on all those walls?"(with apologies to the poet)

So what is a happy situation? For me, the post writer, it is "where the mind is without fear and the head is held high..."(Tagore, the illustrious Tagore) and never mind the killjoys around. But I cannot stay hungry, thats for sure.

It helps to know that 95% of the people I know share the same sentiment. But what are we doing about it? And the remaining 5% are never happy- those are the killjoys.We are actually continuing to promote unhappiness by logging on to unqualified 5% killjoy viewpoints and then latching on to them. We can hold our heads high only when we are convinced about what we are doing. Eggs should not sit on walls and even if they dare, they should be careful.

Knowledge is power, screams Economic Times, all the time! Secure in your knowledge quotient, you can dare to be happy. You can be without fear, only if you know. You can hold your head high, only if you know. You can smile, only if you know.Smash that ignoramus inside your head, get a scalpel and knife it away. Get that smile back, life's not so bad after all! The top 5% know it, the bottom 95% need to make an effort to rise above their current levels and learn to become the 6th-7th, 100th% on top!
Live happy, die happy! Keep smiling!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Finally..."I am what I am"

I have begun to love myself. Me with all my faults. Me, with all my idiosyncrasies and dumb thoughts which others have been pointing out over the years and blasting me for it. I have always thought and believed there are so many people all of whom are so good, and so much better than me. Yes, of course there are, Where was I  when they were all learning to be so good and so smart? Why did I not become the good human being they all are? Why was I left out in the cold when they were all getting to be so evolved and so cool?

"I am what I am".   Isn't that what someone really famous said once? He saId a lot more things each of which later became the doctrine of life. With your leave, I beg to apply this to my life, my way.

 Take me or leave me, I am what I am.... I chose this as the doctrine of my life now. I dont think I can change my genes and I dont think I want to. Having gotten born with all these goods and bads, I now have to make the most of it, while i am here- what? 40-50-60 years? Life expectancy in India is increasing much to my chagrin. I dont really want to live long; I want to live good. I want to die good. Just like my dad- he sat and chatted up to his hearts content one night, felt cold in the desert cooler draft, pulled the blanket around him and slept, never to get up again. He passed away into the next sojourn so comfortably, I am jealous. He was 77... he had seen the heartrending sorrow of losing two children when he was not even 30. But had learnt to rejoice when three of us came along one after another and filled his life with things to do and stuff to buy, and schools to choose and kids to throw parties for. He wasnt perfect, but loved perfectly. When life gave him lemons, he sweetened the lemon juice with his smile and attitude. This too shall pass, he would say. He was loved. And we were blessed to have him.

I want to be loved too. I try, but its so difficult to please everyone. I now want to understand my three best friends and thats it. I want them tomorrow and day after, and even after I die I want them to remember me. Am I an attention grabbing stupid woman? Perhaps. But thats just what i want. I really dont want to be with people who dont understand me- life is too short to waste time on people who dont matter to you. And I have already spent a large part of my life doing things which I could have easily passed by. Not any more. Life is too short.

There is a lot to be done. I want to use all my available time making a difference. Enriching something, I dont know what. Achieving something, I really dont know what. Maybe I will crack a new recipe and somebody will give me an award for it. Maybe I will write another book. Maybe I will just sit and hum a song from my childhood? Or do some more audio books on the Daisy Talking Library software...... hmmmm. If there is any good karma in whatever I have been doing, then I hope to make a difference in the life of my maid, at least, if no one else.

She walked in this morning, looking hassled, tousled, hungry. It was 6.10 am and I was not happy with her for walking in so early- I need some sleep, I said and cant have you ringing my bell so early and then noisily cleaning up. I hate noisy mornings I told her. She listened and her eyes brimmed with tears. There had been no electricity in her home all night, and she had not been able to sleep- Delhi, by the way is reeling with temperatures going up to 45 degrees etc. She went to her counter and began working, without a word. I think she was feeling like a loser- with life, with me her mistress, and with everything in general. She did not sing in her screechy voice today. We often joke at home that her singing can be used to scare the pigeons away at the airport. Today I was missing it. She did not even turn on the singer in her handphone so full of  screechy regional songs- perhaps screechy voice is considered good in her part of the world.

Her head was low, and her eyes hooded; she looked pensive and resigned all at the same time. After a five minute lecture on how she spoils my mornings I went away back to bed in our air conditioned bedroom, and she continued to do her work.

Then it was time for our morning cuppa. Actually the morning mugga! our mugs look like jugs! Hey guys thats poetry!!!! Maybe I can become a poet!!!!

Ok, so I usually share a cup with her too, along with some Indian breads and vegetables. If she has left her home at 5.45 am she would definitely not have eaten. When I am not able to find time to eat at 9 am(thats when I leave home for work) then how could she- she who has no maid, no cook  and no driver and to top it all, no electricity in her home? And no money?

So when I put out her breakfast today, she just looked at it and looked away. I poured her a cup of tea. I was waiting for a retaliation which never came. I sat at my lappy and did some morning mails etc but my mind and heart were preoccupied. We talk very little in the mornings- maybe some music plays softly, but thats it. No urban discussions and no arguments. I had already delivered a lecture early in the morning. For the sake of peace, enough.

So I sat and waited for the familiar sound of the spoon tinkling inside her mug when she puts in an extra helping of sugar in her tea and stirs vigorously. She usually asks for a bottle of cold water but today she had'nt so I guessed that either she is angry or else she is scared because I was angry in the morning. But she must be thirsty and wanting that cold water.So I put a full bottle out next to her plate and hoped she would drink some. Actually I wanted her to drink because if she didnt, I would feel so guilty. Water is a basic necessity and cold water a luxury for some.

Finally, the spoon tinkled and I knew she had accepted her breakfast from me- her hunger overrode her ego. I dared not go into the kitchen for fear of embarrassing her. I just wanted her to eat in peace, because she had another cleaning job in another house after mine. She had her rotis, and she had her tea. Did she have the cold water from the fridge? I dared not ask. She finished, cleaned up the counter, put her stool back in place, and then called out to me to say she was leaving. I wanted to hug her and tell everything is alright, but when I went to her, her eyes were searching mine- she was prolly wondering whether I would sack her? I just smiled and told her she could go now and come back at 3 in the afternoon. She took a deep breath, her shoulders slumped and grabbing her dupatta from the clothesline, she went.

I then dared to look at the bottle of cold water. It was half empty. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ode to poetry- on the occasion of World Poetry Day

I read you, lengthy verse, and wonder,
What thought prompted this expression?
Was it sorrow which I am thinking-
Or can it be that he is in love?

Why don't they, who write you,
Tell me what goes on in their hearts and minds,
So that I understand you better?
Can they not share truthfully, their qualms
And their unspoken pangs
Without mincing words? Alliteration? Similes? Metre?

Just when I think I know what you are saying...
There comes a twist, believe me.
Triggered by a pun, or allegory,
Which makes me change my mind-
And move on in another direction?

Maybe thats not what you meant to say,
Maybe I got you wrong;
But you aren't here so who can say-
Where you were coming from?

And then these well read fans of yours,
Sit and tear your work to shreds.
Argue it till the tatters,
Can not be woven back.

Did you turn in your grave just one more time,
At the rape of your thoughts enmeshed,
In the pretty design, that you wove...
Together with your soul, the midnight oil,
And the dark blue night for company?

Well, live on everlasting words,
The progeny of a raving mind-
The offspring of a roving heart,
The child of a shattered soul!

Live on, the rantings of a girl in love,
And live on too, the broken heart's outcry.
Happy songs, live on and flourish-
To make the daisies grow- the lotus bloom and the roses nod
The rising sun, the dew on the hillside...
The song of the larks and the music of the springs.

Life, you are a poem...
Full of poetry of so many hues.
Live on, play on, love on
Never mind the blues!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Yes, I love my India but.....

I am ashamed. I hang my head in silence. Should I come face to face with Nirbhaya's parents, I dont think I would know what to say. I am haunted by the feeling of utter desolation each time I think of her. I am so amazed that we did not estimate the extent of depravity we could cultivate or which exists among our people, our men? the six men for instance?
Each time i think I am a woman just like Nirbhaya, something snaps inside me. I feel suffocated. Each time I think she went away so hurt, my heart cries out. All religions advocate peaceful dying; for her it was hell alive. I am sure she had her dreams and she had her fears, but like this?
Every morning when the papers announce some new facet of the three weeks old case or throw light on some hitherto redundant fact, I cry. My entire day is spent silently thinking how that child must have suffered. We can build temples, and state laws in her name, but she is gone. And each temple and each law named after her is more pain for her grieving parents. No one is brave like that- we are all human.
Instead of just sitting around and feeling bad, I chide myself- what is it that I can do to help India become honorable? I dont want to contest elections. I just want to make a difference. Tell me how, please tell me how. Right now, I am ashamed of my India.