Thursday, November 26, 2009

It has been an year

It has been an year since my city was raped in front of my eyes while its protectors the swiny politicians and babus kept bickering among themselves about whom to blame. It has been an year since I watched helplessly while somebody destroyed, mauled and played havoc with my childhood memories. It has been an year since we lost our bravest officers for want of better equipment.It has been an year since the media houses feeded on the grief of relatives like blood thirsty vultures waiting get their next sound bite. It has been an year since a bunch of gunmen from an alien country played the dance of death on the very streets where I had spent some of the best moments of my teenage. It has been an year since our necessity and compulsion ws termed our ' resilience' , since we were told that Mumbai will rise, since we were told about the cliched line " The spirit of Mumbai". I was afraid. I am afraid.

What has changed in the past year? The lone terrorist who was caught is still lying in the jail awaiting sentence. Our Prime Minister is having a state banquet in a foreign country. The " masterminds" of the carnage are enjoying state hospitality in the foreign country. The Jacket of one of the bravest officers is lost while his Wife cries for justice. The current police chief takes pride in telling us that his force fought with " every available weapon" and his head doesnot stoop down in telling that, that everything included a chair thrown at an AK-47 wielding terrorist. The Home minister who made the statement " Bade Bade shehron mein aisi choti choti baatein hoti rehti hai " ( such small things happen in Big cities ) is back at his position. The then chief minister who treated an attack site as family picnic is back as a cabinet minister. We have exchanged innumerable dossiers back and forth with Pakistan while no concrete action has been taken.

But apart from these a lot has changed. The lives of those 173 people who were killed that day ended forever. The thousands of lives connected to them changed forever. The rage which was there after the attack subsided. As expected Mumbai learned to mind its own business. As expected Mumbai learned to live its own life knowing very well that very few care.

It has been an year since the night I knew what it felt like to be murdered.

"Do not go gentle into that night
Rage rage against the dying light"
- Dylan Thomas

PS: I was not sure whether I should write this post or not. But well it was something I had to write. Mumbai deserved better. It still does.

image courtesy:

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Childrens Day!

Ok the main motivation for this post is that Sagarika Ghose replied to one of my tweets. But apart from the ego boosting reason for this post, there is a bigger issue staring at us. According to a UNICEF report 46% of the children in our country below the age of 6 months are malnourished. We aim to be a superpower, there are constant reports in the media about the rise of new India, the power of the new redefined Indian. Not debating all of it, but can we achieve total development without making sure that the benefits of the 9% GDP growth for which we are aiming percolate down to the weakest and poorest sections of our society.

We don't have any concrete form of food security in our country. The ration cards are misused, there is mass hoarding and the corruption at different levels. Rajiv Gandhi Once remarked that for every 1 rupee spent only 10 paisa reaches to the those for whom it is spent. We have schemes like Public distribution system, Mid day meals etc but they are either in name sake or if implemented they leave a lot to be desired. What lacks is the nutrition we provide to our children. The sanitation is at prehistoric levels in the interior parts of the country and the drinking water in most parts of the country is not fit for drinking.

Coming to the issue of education in our country. 71% males and 46% are literate ( there is a clear different in opportunities for different sexes, will come to it later). Even 99% literacy, once a pride of Kerela is no longer there. Our government is more interested in opening new IIT's and IIM's or increasing the quota for reserved candidates but nothing about primary education. It is even failing badly in his endeavors for higher education. We don't have adequate infrastructure or quality education in our primary schools. According to a world bank report 25% of school teachers in India skip work. Only 50% who are present actually work. Due to lack of a proper infrastructure most children don't continue their education and thus it indirectly feeds into the child labor problem.

Finally the issue about different opportunities given to the 2 sexes in our country. I am not sure what percent of the 46% of malnourished children are females but I am very sure that majority of them will be girls. Traditionally in Indian homes a girl is always told that she is equal to everybody but in face of constraints they are most of the times treated as second grade to their male counterparts. There is widespread infanticide in India. There are 93 girls for every 100 males in India. Even thought things like ultra sound are banned, dingy clinics in interior parts of the country are still conducting tests and committing these ghastly murders. In places like Punjab and Haryana there are hardly any brides for eligible bachelors. The girl child is India is less nourished, less educated and provided less opportunity than her male counterparts. Even those who make to schools of excellence have to compete in a highly male dominated chauvinistic environment. I have never said it, but I have always admired the girls in the Engineering colleges for the way they conduct themselves in such chauvinistic environments ( requires a separate post.)

So today we celebrate Childrens day. the same way we have celebrated for many years and the same way we would celebrate it for many years to come. But now is the time to move from functions and long speeches to actually take care of that child who tomorrow would be the future of this country. No child should be denied an opportunity. Who knows you might not be feeding the next Abdul Kalam, killing the next Kiran Bedi, not educating the next Indira Nooyi. As the tag line from a famous movie:

Every child is special.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thoughts of a worked up mind

Its been been an insanely long time since I posted anything here. This post is part a guilt ridden for not writing for so long, part longing to connect back, part trying to deceive the unexplainable feeling I am having right now and part trying to escape from the daily motions of my life.

When you start with the job your world changes. Suddenly everybody is your colleague. There are no pats on the backs after some nonsense joke ( there are no nonsense jokes). There are no loose talks, no late night chats, no sitting around the mess table not caring about the time and putting all your energies trying to pull the leg of one poor soul. There is no Dc and definitely no main chat. There are no the days when you ask a person waking up and moving towards the bathroom " kitno dino se nahaya nahi " ( How many days has it been since you last had a bath!). There is no thinking about bunking a boring lecture. There is no planning about those last days of the month when suddenly cash seems to dry up. No infinite loans to give and no people to pester about treats.

These days life moves like a flash. Working like a robot from 5 in the morning to 12 in the night. Everything has a schedule and you stick to it. You think before you speak evaluating the possible outcome of the words that leave your mouth and how they might be perceived. You try to please your bosses and not feel awkward when a man thrice your age calls you sahab. You complete the assignments given to you in time. Try to remain busy. You wake up and look prim and proper before proceeding for office. You eat your meals thinking and discussing how a particular force or moment might apply to the member you are designing ( To be fair the lunches are still fun with those 15 minutes afterward where everybody sits and discusses his/ her "job experience" ) You suddenly have so much money that you don't know what to do with it, suddenly that constrained account with debts to paid and 200 rupees accounts to be settled look good.

Yesterday while Sachin ( God) was scripting another masterpiece in what would turn out to be a match of so near yet so far, I was in the common room. It felt like to be back some 6 months back. The shouts, the jeers, the adrenaline , the euphoria at every six and the collective sigh at every wicket .... It felt nice. I felt like 2005A4360G back in BH4 cheering at the top of my voice. Instead I was now a different number, at a different place and at a different designation.

I probably have never worked so hard in my life ever. I probably have never felt so contend in my life. I probably have never run faster or lifted more weights, I probably have never been in better shape. I probably have never read so much in my life. Probably for the first time I have felt what it is like to have a goal and try to achieve it. What it is like to make a comeback.

I miss the things which I have written above, but I would trade them any day for what I am feeling now.

ps: I will make that comeback goddammit.