Wednesday, 15 March 2017

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Tuesday, 7 April 2015


Everytime the drops from heaven..
Come whispering a story..
Impregnates the barren land..
I start sniffing away in glory..
Shamelessly turn into a junkie..
Or even a bouncy li'l puppy..
Getting all high enough to hit the roof rack..
As if I just went to heaven and back..
Petrichor.. You beauty..
Is your smell Chanel or Gucci..
You are here again..
The soulmate of rain..

Tuesday, 3 February 2015


An 80’s born Malayali can never think of an alter childhood growing up without the memories of Lalettan’s words ‘Kilometres and kilometres!  In these days of degenerating decency of Miami beach to Washington DC..’ and ‘Namukkenthada daasa ee budhi nerathe thonnaanjathu’ and ‘Enne kollaathirikaan pattuo’ or ‘Annie mone snehikkunnathu pole Maggikku enne snehikkamo’ or ‘Clarakku enne marry cheythoode’ and many many more. And I strongly feel gratitude to the wonderful childhood I had owing to the VCR and movie cassettes  that my dad brought from ‘Gulf’ and more importantly to the one and only Lalettan who filled my tiny world full of laughter and delight. 

When the whole world went up in arms for the blood of Lalettan,  I stood firm defending him and sternly proclaiming that he would never swindle public money for his vested interests. People asked me how I can be so sure. But I can be. I just knew. Somehow that feeling has been instilled in me through his movies, interviews, blogs, words and deeds, that he is a genuine person without an evil bone in his system. And I truly believe the goodness in his movies and his thoughts have moulded the goodness in many a Malayali, including me.

And Yes, it is hard being a Mohanlal Fan.. Not because you keep getting cornered, when a film of his bombs at the box office or when he acts in roles not exactly cut out for him (downside of him being a person who would rather do a bad role than say no to people who mean something to him) but because there is a whole world of bad news mongers called sub-standard Malayalis, including pseudo MohanLal fans who feed and bulge their bellies and burp in content seeing someone else being stoned and hurt, a clan who never bother to even think twice or get their facts in place, before setting out on this mission. And yes, our dear Lalettan has had the misfortune to fall prey to the malicious words and thoughts of such lot! I have had to answer the grumpy questions and silly memes that were sent my way as if I’m Lalettan’s spokesperson. I guess it is part of the package when you are a true fan and I’m only happy to oblige. And I am only proud to say I’ve waged many a war for Lalettan, the battlegrounds being Classrooms, Get-togethers and of late, Facebook. And once again, this time round I intend to come out strong and proclaim my support for Lalettan in this unnecessary brawl created by many scoffers and cynics all around him. Yes, the show by Lalisom band at National Games inauguration did not turn out a magnum opus as expected. But that does not give any onlooking jobless monkeys the right to fling dirt in all directions accusing that Mohanlal conned money from the already corrupt government that we have.

Now that Lalettan has decided to return the expenses incurred by Lalisom show,(that is the expenses government actually spent on setting up stage, orchestra, other singers’ remuneration, rehearsal expenses, T&A etc which he definitely didn’t have to give back – that too after losing 21 days of his own remuneration from his movie works) many others are themselves seen displaying a different kind of show altogether. ‘”The Act of Changing Faces” – by pseudo fans who have taken a U-turn and suddenly started calling him the gift of Malayalam film industry and epitome of magnanimity. Some others have been seen doing “The Vanishing Act” – by the rest of the detractors who all seem to have gone absconding when the duly submitted expenses sheet showed that he actually did not accept remuneration for his performance just like he had made clear even before the show .
I wonder why this coterie of back biters and opportunists never saw the genuineness of this gem of a man – how they fail to notice it when he donates his eyes or organs or when he signs up for stem-cell research, or how they fail to see that he is a class apart when he turned out to be the only celebrity who actually talked sense about the petulance and nonsensicality of people protesting against a gesture of love, and how he is clearly the only actor who is not just a complete actor, but a complete artiste who has proven to the world that be it any art form – Acting, Dancing, Drawing, Kadhakali, Karate, Kalaripayattu, Drama, Magic – be it anything, he can master it all with the sleight of a hand, and even how his interviews have always been profoundly insightful. I clearly remember one instance when he was asked about people who hurt him with their vile accusations. His reply was something like ‘When someone says something against us, we need not carry it on our shoulders, it will only be a burden for us. Instead let it go and feel free. Let the burden be only his problem’. But to see his fans turn against him without even waiting to know the truth seem to have really given a deep gash to that heart. Don’t know how long it will take him to let go the burden of that pain.

I am a person who has had the rare fortune to meet this great man in person, have a meal with him and actually spend more than an hour sitting right next to him talking at length about even inanities of my life like the fact that I share the same birthdate as him, that I still hold on to the autograph I got from him when I was 10 years old, or that I’m also an Osho fan just like him. Him listening to all my yapping so patiently and equally participating in the conversation made me realise how down-to-earth a human being he is, despite the heights he has conquered. He kept telling me to try out each and every dish, kept asking why I was eating very little, telling the waiters to give me a piece of the tasty kappa or another appam and this and that, playing the role of a perfect host. He was only supposed to spend half an hour with us since he came from a shooting location just for the occasion, but he made it a point to sit through the lunch till all of us finished and did a cake cutting after that and left only about an hour and half later. When one of us asked about him losing his precious time for our sake, his answer was,“Ningalde koode irikkunnathum santhosham alle’ followed by a sweet smile. I always believed my unending adoration and admiration for him is what made me have the opportunity to spend such quality time with Lalettan. Like Paulo Coelho says, “When you want something bad enough, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” and that was a wish I believe I yearned for, more than anyone else.

The fact is, someone who has scaled the mountains of achievements and recognitions as Mohanlal has, need not be sincerely humble, and genuinely nice in behaviour to a random stranger, for it is not going to do much for him professionally or personally. But I guess he just can’t help it. Can’t help being the way he is, being Mohanlal. Each Malayali who has been touched by the divine acting of this legend says in unison - "Lalettan makes us feel like he is a member of our own family". And would you ever forgo your family come what may? So, know this all you detractors, those who love him from the bottom of their hearts will always do that and stand by him firmly, no matter what the rest of the world says or thinks. And we are a hell lot in number!! With u Laletta, forever!! :-* 

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Rewriting my Fairytale

What do you say when the one who is supposed to be your better half for a life time, pulls off a Tiger Woods on you? After the initial fireworks and blasts, you sort of become a recluse, shy away into a shell n take your own sweet time to come out of it.. In the meantime, a whole volley of events unfold around you.. First of all you (rather your close ones) are ambushed by critiques, cynics and condescending bigots in the forms of relatives, neighbours and so-called ‘well wishers’.. That’s the thing about our society bearing a glorified culture on its shoulders; people who have absolutely no idea of what actually transpired, or even worse, people who have no clue of who YOU actually ARE, get to somehow comment on your life because you went to school with them several blue moons ago or because your grand aunt’s co-sister’s neighbour got married to their uncle’s stepson’s third wife or even because your ancestral home is next to their cow farm! Every tom, dick n harry end up being highly opinionated about your life. “Oh it must definitely be her fault” or “She deserves just that” or “I didn’t expect anything better from her anyway” become the talk of the town for quite some time. The worst part is, none of the above is done to you on the face, but discreetly behind your back in hushed tones.. and the more disconcerting fact is, you invariably get to hear it! Well, because as we all know, that’s how closely-knit the gossip mongering networks in our society work! Almost like they are competing in efficiency with news exchanging little ants that busily go up and down a trail !
Meanwhile, you are still caught up in the murky world of thoughts and soliloquies ranging in all dimensions.. The million “How could he do this to me?”s, and “Am I not good enough for him?”s run amok in your head.. You introspect, analyse, over think and go into doldrums of exponential magnitudes..  And finally you somehow buck up and pull yourself together to brave the world with a bold face, or rather a face palm!
Now comes the twist in the tale.. All of a sudden the Tiger Woods pulls off the second phase, that of a contrite Bill Clinton, and expects you to be the ever charming Hillary and welcome him back into your life with open arms and rosy pathways leading to your doorstep! He is all remorseful and guilt reeks even from his breath. And this drives you into yet another frenzied state of mind, where in you are foddered with gold starred words of wisdom from all directions. Then you contemplate with all the facts and figures at hand, the before and after scenarios, familial and societal pressure, and last but mostly the least - your own individual take on the whole brouhaha. Because let’s admit it, that’s how the life decisions of a woman in our society works. Least preference to her own choices and her individuality, which is precisely the reason why most of the time you even end up in such predicaments. You end up getting married to someone even when all your instincts point towards the backdoor. Your feelings of foreboding is waved aside with a dismissive hand, berating what a young girl like yourself know about life, marriage or relationships, and hours of listening to ‘Gyan’ that “this is how it works in all Indian marriages” (Seriously, it “works” eh?) leaves you with no other choice really.
And so when the boomerang phase happens it is a tad too late. You have already reached a point of no-return. And you wonder, ‘Why don’t people get that some actions have permanent consequences’!? The damage is so colossal that nothing you say or do later is going to undo it. It is like someone rash drives and takes the life of the one travelling with them.. No words, thoughts or actions would bring the person back.. The driver should have considered the aftermath while he was at the wheel, before pulling off stunts that took a dear one’s life. So when someone you trust pulls an antic that jeopardizes everything you both had till then, may be a part of you dies along with that, and nothing he says or does can reclaim you.
So what did I do, when the above described series of events happened in my life? I took some time off.. Time to myself, time to think, read and write.. but more importantly to figure out what I really wanted.. And in the meanwhile, I checked things off my To-Do list –
  • Kick started my baby – i.e., An establishment of my own (Of course not entirely myself, with my best buddy biz partner)
  • Crossed the seas for a trip alone in another country (Gave me a sense of freedom I never felt before and got me more in touch with nature)
  • Gifted myself a puppy   (The most adorable ball of fur who yaps and snaps at me if I don’t kiss him every day)
  • Drove across the length and breadth of the country (5000 kms. Phew!.. And got to see another face of this sparkling India/World that we know of till date)
  • Got my nose pierced (My long abandoned dream, redeemed.. Thanks to painless piercings! )
  • Learnt to ride a bike (Why should boys have all the fun, and no I’m not talking about the silly scooty that gals ride.. This is the real deal, Motorbike WITH Gear :D)
  • Coloured my hair red (And then got all other shades – brown, bronze, copper etc – free of cost shortly after)
  • Found my happy tree (Frangipani – Realised that just looking at the tree makes me feel so happy that I smile to myself)
  • Wrote quite some stuff I felt so strong about (And even about inconsequential inanities that I’d rather not show out in the open)
  • And yes, looked death in the eye and said see you later with a smile.. :) (Though that was actually not part of my to-do list)

And the fact is during the 2 year phase, first you do plummet into these black holes that are endless pits of dark thoughts.. But, one thing is certain, you definitely would come out of it alive.. And when you do, it’s going to be a new rejuvenated, invigorated you.. With a spanking new stash of secret fuel up the sleeve, to help you launch and rebrand yourself in this world.. and here I’m.. after the whole ordeal, emerged a Superwoman! Ready to rewrite my Fairytale, all over again!! ;) 

Road Trip into the Indian Chasm

A trip which spanned across 10 days, 9 states, 5000 odd kms, variety of terrains, and various sights of human plight; that pretty much sums up the cross country trip of a lifetime. 5 of us in a Renault Duster from Chennai to Delhi and all the way back!
Everyone called us crazy, out-of-our-minds.. but a trip that started out as a cheaper and more adventurous option than flying out from ‘GST Road’ in Chennai and landing in ‘IGI Airport Road’ in Delhi, turned out to be quite an experience.. Though to all our critiques we retorted in jest that we wanted to touch the soul of India, that is in fact what ensued. With a broken GPS, which kept taking us through all the outdated routes the urban clan of India seems to have long-forgotten, we ended up visiting village after village in the remotest parts of India. And by village I do not mean the quaint picturesque ones that happen upon u while driving across Europe. These were the kind of places that our Mammootty (Courtesy: Mal movie ‘The King’) and ‘Mohanlal’ (Courtesy: Our PM’s US visit speech) Karamchand Gandhi asked us to go in search of, to know India.
We started from Chennai, drove till New Delhi and back via 2 different routes covering the states TN, AP, Telengana, MP, UP, Delhi, Hariyana and Rajastan, and were fortunate to have witnessed quite few ‘remarkable’ sights on the way – run-down buses in an about-to-collapse condition bearing proudly on its forehead “Super Luxury Bus”; a car with the sticker “Govt. Doctor” almost as if he was worried people wouldn’t believe he is actually a certified doctor; 2 guys in a bike speeding past with a cow sandwiched between them, like they were kidnapping it and fleeing from the scene of crime – scenes people capture and give the caption ‘It happens only in India’
Every few hours we were crossing 100s of kms, while flanked by barren land and visuals that would move even a barren heart. We kept seeing ‘truckloads’ of villagers – men and women going to work I suppose, all bunched up like matchsticks inside a box, too suffocated to move or even breathe properly. There were little kids and even grown-ups who did not have even a tiny closed-off space in or near their house, because why else would they do all their business by the side of the highways, along with the cattle?! Women were seen walking barefoot in the scorching heat, balancing several pots of water on their heads with finesse that would envy a professional acrobat.
Driving through a hillock in one of the villages, we stumbled upon few monkey dancers, who at first glance seemed like our ‘Pulikali’ artistes from Kerala, but turned out to be some lads masquerading as Lord Ram’s Vanara Sena. They were on their way back from a show and were delighted to see us stopping and asking to take their pics. We danced with them and at the end of it they asked if this would come on TV. We had no words hearing this ignorant or rather this innocent question of theirs.
While in Agra me and my cousin were at this busy market where people were hogging on street food. We were waiting in line and saw 3 ragamuffin kids – a boy and 2 gals loitering around begging. All the shopkeepers and parents of children, who could afford to buy them the snacks, kept shooing them like they were some scavenger crows flocking to grab their plates of food. For almost a minute I just kept staring at both these sets of children, pensively pondering at how drastically contrasting their lives are, for reasons which are none other than accidental birth. Then my sister snapped me back to reality saying ‘do u want us to buy them food’. The children took the food with no emotion whatsoever; life’s hardships at such a tender age have maybe made them impassive to everything. Not just their hands, their hearts also seemed calloused. They are young, but have aged.
Driving to Delhi we happened to stop by Madhura, Lord Krishna’s kingdom. The filth and dirt of the town was no less in comparison to the other towns and villages we passed by so far. And there we saw guides who were willing to give us a 3-hour tour of the place for a meagre sum of Rs.50! Shows how poverty-stricken the place is. 2 questions circled my thoughts.
  1. If Lord Krishna’s own townsmen are in such a sad predicament, how was he expected to take care of the rest of the world who keeps beseeching his blessings??
  2. Our Guruvayoor is so well-kept, a stark contrast to Madhura and Gokul temples owing to the gulf money that keeps pouring into our state. Isn’t this proof that it is infact man who made gods and not the other way round?!
Several faces kept gnawing at the back of my mind, not letting me completely enjoy the trip. The shabby looking beggar woman kissing her infant who was equally dirty, all covered in dust, and smiling looking into its face; that was the visage of a contented mother feeling how beautiful her child is. The tiny sales man of may be 7 years of age who stopped by my window in Delhi traffic. I gave him 20 bucks without taking the cloth he was trying to sell and I was greeted by this “Tank u Didi” with the most grateful smile I had ever received. The haggard old beggar with long hairlocks who was sitting by the roadside pile of garbage segregating and devouring to his heart’s content some food leftovers that was mixed up with other waste. And that was the most heart-breaking of all the scenes I had to see through the entirety of the trip.
I was thinking of these millions of people all living in such hardships that we have never experienced of, or even seen before in front of our eyes. Reminded me of these chickens in a poultry farm we saw on the way. Thousands of chickens just stuffed into cages stacked one over the other, the whole milieu filled with filth, stinking and suffocating, and those creatures are born into it, are raised there, live their whole life there and end up dying too, there itself.
My trip to North India was an eye-opener, a reality check, an absolutely shocking one, one where I felt someone did an ice-bucket challenge over my head and shook me up, and made me see things I never knew existed, things I was so unaware of. There are thousands of villages in such pathetic state, in dire poverty and I wonder what the MPs of these constituencies are thinking?!?
And it made me question many things about this great nation, especially how public money is spent here. A country having a population of over 1.2 billion has around 400 million people who live with less than $1.2 under a day and doesn’t consider it superfluous to spend $1.2 billion (Rs.7350 Cr) every year for its space research.
The government seemed very jubilant to announce the upcoming spending of a staggering Rs.80000 Cr planned for submarines and surveillance aircrafts. Of course defence is one of our prime priorities, but still why so much for terror and so little for hunger, I worry.
A smug-faced head honcho of ours during his US visit was spotted with Mark Zuckerburg, discussing about the digital expansion in the country and how more than 100 Cr people in the country do not have access to the internet. And I wonder if he or any of his predecessors ever actually put serious thought about 1.5 Cr odd children (1.83 Cr to be precise)  in the same country who never get to know what internet is, because they don’t live past their 5th birthday due to the poverty-stricken conditions that they are born into.
We have 17% of the world’s population and 20% of the world’s poorest of poor living here. And it is a pity why those bearing the onus is not bothered to utilize half the energy they have for doing all the above, to implement a veritable public food distribution system when more than 25 Cr people do not have enough food to eat?!
Food for thought. Is there actually a point in making it to the top of the chart of nations with state-of-the-art space research or technological know-how, when we are also on the top of the rank chart of poverty?! Everyone is gung-ho about the fact that we accomplished Chandrayan and Mangalyaan. But think about it, are we in a position to celebrate spending so much money on technology that we don’t need right away, when everyday there is a fellow citizen dying?! All this is for what? To show the world that we are also in the running to be a super power? Or are these a facade to keep the rest of the Indian social strata in dark about the appalling poverty that India actually deals with. Why else would we have a video going viral of a bearded guy screaming “India is innovating”. When nearly one fourth of its population can’t read or write, one tenth lacks access to clean water, one twelfth are homeless, and half of its population defecates in the open, do we really think India is innovating? I feel given the current state of affairs, with the ravages of population and how conveniently oblivious the governments and political leaders seem to act of the predicament, “India is doomed”.
When India wakes up and realises that being able to spend Rs.450 Cr on a Mars Mission still does not make India a less poorer nation, that these billions spent on tech is still not going to fill the empty stomachs of the poor or fade out the cries of little ones here, India would really be innovating. India will rise.
Note: All statistical data are validated.

Monday, 24 November 2014

A kiss in the land of moral chaos!

Ok, so much brouhaha! And for what? Because a faction of liberal minds wanted to show their support for love, and maybe even their support for freedom of PDA. You can do nothing but be aghast at the sequence of dramatic events that rolled out

First of all, let’s examine who exactly these Moral Polices are;

  • A curious breed of antisocials who call themselves the torch-bearers of ‘Indian Culture’, playing the roles of ‘moral vigilantes’!
  • ‘Mostly associated with conservative political and religious sects that condemn anyone unwilling to kowtow to our ‘so-called morals’ or anything that is vaguely linked to openness about the ‘forbidden 3 letter word’.
  • Suffering from a serious condition of ‘Frustration Disorder’
  • Diagnosed with having the ‘No one-should-have-what-I-don’t-have’ syndrome
  • Displays symptoms of ‘Double Standard Illness’
  • Perfectly OK with carrying out any dirty work discreetly, while being in the forefront to criticize genuine people who are blatantly honest about matters pertaining to sex.
  • ‘Moral Policing’ is a main occupation for many; though there is a large subsection who considers it just a recreational activity during their leisure time.
  • This activity has been mainly doing rounds in our dear state for past 2 decades or so; that is since parents turned sensible and started letting their offsprings actually make friends with the opposite sex.
  • Their main duties include being a German Shepherd, i.e. snooping around, sniffing out people who are doing ‘it’ anywhere that is remotely open/public, for e.g., cars, parking areas, beaches, parks etc; it being kissing, fondling, hugging or anything that suggests one apparently has the capacity of self expression.
  • The trend of the activity was expected to gradually downturn and die down. But, due to the highly admirable ‘state of our state’ these ‘moral polices’ are still running rampant
  • These ‘police’ have incarcerated many such ‘perpetrators’ so far. Even siblings and married couples have made it to the hit list, until proven their ‘innocence’.
Well, I wonder whoever laid down the rules in this state that you need to be hanging from different branches of the same family tree or have a blown-up laminated marriage certificate in your shoulder bag to be able to express your love and affection to someone you care about.
Now let’s slice up the clichéd reasons why a kiss in public is deemed to be wrong in our state.
  1. It’s immoral
Now, who makes the definitions of morality. The dictionary definition goes as “Concerned with the principles of right and wrong behaviour”. And what is right for me might be wrong for you. There are countries across the world that practise kissing in public as a very normal affair. Does that mean they are immoral and we are highly moral? It’s a pity that we Keralites still have not learnt to respect each other’s views on morality and coexist!
  1. It is against Indian Culture.
Let me make something very clear. First of all, India does not possess a culture of its own per se. The culture that we have now has been the cumulative effect of 5000 years of having borrowed infinite number of customs, rituals, languages, attires and lifestyles from every passerby who visited us or had the guts and power to invade us. The minutiae of our culture if dissected can be seen as imbibed from the Aryans, Mughals, the Persians, the British, the Portuguese, the French and so on n so forth.
I hope the young popular critic who pops up in TV every now and then just to shout the 2 words ‘INDIAN CULTURE’ for anything under the sun would have something to say about this. I would like to pose 2 questions to all those who can’t seem to stop flaunting this reason for detesting public kissing.
  • Please show us where exactly in any of the scriptures or doctrines (The Gita, The Upanishads, The Vedas, The Itihasas, The Puranas) that most certainly form an integral part of Indian culture, is it written that kissing or public display of affection is a transgression.
  • Isn’t Khajuraho built around 1000 years ago in the heart of India, – where display of affection, and sex itself is portrayed publically – a part of Indian culture?
  1. This cannot happen on our soil
Let me get this straight. So when these same people go abroad, they would not at all cringe or look the other side at the sight of a lip-locking couple on the road. So the problem is with the land we walk on. You know this particular soil type. Ok, that makes sense.
  1. If kissing is allowed today, tomorrow people will start fornicating in the open
This is like saying since today your kid in the kinder garten had a fight with his playmate, in about a decade and half he is going to grow up to be a goonda . Very sensible rationale indeed.
Well, it’s widely known that the countries across the world did not start kissing and hugging in public just about yesterday. And it would be great if our moral polices could hand over a copy of that list; you know, the one with the names of countries which now practice sex in the open as a normal thing. If after years and years of practising PDA hasn’t brought them to such a predicament, isn’t it kind of moronic to fear it would befall on us, lest we curb public display of affection altogether! Or this can be considered just another utterly lame excuse which the moral polices are trying to camouflage and package as a relevant reason.
Coming to the ‘Kiss of Love’ commotion; the attitudes of people here are so passé that it was over and out expected that there would be exponential times more people who made a foray than who supported it. The highlight of the event was a group called ‘Freakers of Kochi’ another kind of police, who put up quite a show; that the model police of State Armed Force and the moral police together joined hands in beating them up mistaking them for KoL supporters. They even seem to have come up with categorizations of which type of kiss is ‘Halaal’ and which is ‘Haraam’. Their point seems to be that adopting other cultures is utterly completely unacceptable sans the below said gimmicks.
  • Getting squeezed into funky loud clothes as if they were sown on to their skins
  • Unloading bottles of hair products on top of their heads and making their hair look like a toilet brush
  • Getting their facial hair designed into immaculate patterns etc
Well aren’t the above said more plausible of being tagged as borrowed from the western culture than PDA and openness about sex & intimacy? At least the guy with 2 wives (one of them being a popular anchor on TV), who played gangmaster should have had some contemplation without setting out for this task. Him who has 2 wives and parades around publically with both on either side like paraphernalia sure offends me. It may comply with his religious beliefs, but it most definitely is against my ideals and morals, the ones that I was brought up with and I bet there are many who would assent. Yet we wouldn’t go out there marching with flags and flexes saying it is against the morality we believe in. That’s because some of us actually have the sense to let people make their own lifestyle choices, live their lives and do things the way they want, as long as it is not by shitting on anybody’s head, erm.. I mean by not hurting a fellow compatriot. Last time I checked, we were still not a fascist society.
And have we stooped down to the point where we have ceased to be a society where even freedom of speech is no longer the right of a citizen? Just the other day a teacher had to face so much reproach in the forms of verbal thrashing, mean posters and what not. Her offence – a post in her Facebook profile supporting Kiss of Love. And does it stop there? She was asked to be dismissed from her job, by the PTA and even the student community (who were apparently the dextrous hands behind the posters). And there is more. 10 students have been suspended from a college in Kochi because they conducted a ‘Hugs of Love’ protest, where they hugged each other to spread love and to protest the regressive attitude that is increasingly becoming unhealthy. Get a grip, people! A hug is not even a sensual gesture when done with affection. It’s even scientifically proven that ‘A hug a day keeps illness at bay’. And we protest for that. Our land is so tolerant towards violence. People stage violent protests all the time and no one is seen lifting a little finger against them. But when someone protests non-violently by showing love, suddenly there are clusters of prudes emerging from all corners!
Look at what happened in Kolkata. They pledged their support calling the movement ‘Kochi to Kolkata’ and it was a grand success. No one was beat up, no one ran frantically, no one was hurt. They came, kissed, shared their happiness, left. And isn’t Kolkota part of this very India and its culture? They are, but guess the people are more sensible.
Kissing in all its glory is just an act of expressing love and affection. How does something considered perfectly pleasurable at night or inside the confines of a home, suddenly turn sinful and aberrant in daylight or in the open? And we are not even talking about anything obscene, for the Supreme Court itself has ruled out kissing as an act of obscenity. May be these people should ask Government to declare a dry day for kisses when no one is allowed to kiss in public. Would that suffice to satisfy these culture mongers?
The fact is this geographical part of the world was civilized much earlier than the rest. When many others lived in jungles we lived in cities. And we kept learning from all the visitors and invaders that kept drinking blood from our soil, and we kept getting enriched as a culture. I hope when people keep raving and ranting relentlessly about ‘Real Indian culture’ they would rather realise that civilization is our real culture. And beating up people who express love is not civilized at all. And that is what is against our culture.
Finally if you think you get intolerably rankled and cannot stand the sight of two people liplocking or sharing love, you should introspect whether the problem is with their love or your demented mind (read: sexual frustration).

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Friday, 22 August 2014

I'm Human. You?

Written on 15 Aug 2014

Ok, it is that time of the year again. The time when every Tom, Dick, Harry and even William has a picture of the national flag displayed, has a redundant status message, or even writes a nondescript prose on how proud he is of the nation – The Independence Day week.
In India’s case, 67 years of Independence! Ah! What a feat to be proud of, right? But amidst all this I sit here and question what need there is to be ‘proud’ of. It is certain that almost everyone who reads the previous sentence would be thinking that this is yet another post that is going to vomit the socio-economic challenges India has been facing since independence.
Well, not quite. I completely agree that India’s history is truly grand, embellished with epic stories of great souls, art and heritage. But I’m here deliberating just the word ‘proud’ in a slightly linguistic context, as in where and when you can actually use the word precisely. Isn’t juxtaposing the words ‘proud’ and ‘country’ when one has not made any major contribution kind of asinine, though we seldom look at it that way?
Talking about patriotism with a negative undertone is considered an anathema, and I’m sure none in their right minds would venture into those dark waters. But I guess I would. Let me ask you how can you say you are proud of the combats your forefathers fought and of their valour in knocking off lions at close quarters? I’m completely and earnestly in consensus with the fact that they should be remembered and honoured for their achievements; but long afterwards – a tsunami, a gas tragedy, and a war later, how can you say YOU are proud of them? How can someone born decades after all that transpired feel the tingling sensation under your rib cage called pride? After all, none of us lifted even a little finger in their struggles for freedom, if I’m not mistaken!
Let alone, patriotism in such a context. How about patriotism as a singled out word? Let us revisit ‘The Pledge’ we were made to drone like robots everyday for 12 to 14 years.
“India is my country. All Indians are my brothers and sisters. I love my country and I am proud of its rich and varied culture….”
Come again, so why do we need to be proud of our rich and varied culture? Why should we – born in the 21st century AD of this supposedly 14 billion year old earth – be proud of a culture that evolved and snaked its way through 75,000 years? (I use the word snaked because slowly and slyly ‘our culture’ has insidiously seeped into this century and like a serpent ‘our culture’ has a venomous tongue, and lashes out at anyone and anything for supposed impudence in the name of ‘morality’) So why should we swell our chests in pride for an ‘accident of birth’? Just because we were born here, why on earth should we be smug about things that happened here at some point in time?
Is it the sense of belonging, the remote lineage purportedly ‘passed via blood’ that makes us think it is our prerogative to be proud? In that case are we proud of having a genetic predisposition for excessive hair fall, or excessive sweating? Or for inheriting a ‘fat gene’ which makes it compulsory to add on an extra inch of baby fat with every bite of Big Mac? If not, then why this?
It so happened that we were born in this part of the world, but why should we be proud of it? I fail to understand. Perhaps to inculcate the concept of patriotism, we have always been asked to BE proud from childhood itself (brainwashed? reminds me of the Nazis!) and hence we are. And we never really gave a second thought to it.
A few spot on, quirky lines a dear friend with similar thoughts shared about patriotism comes to my mind now –
“Did you know you are of a particular nationality because your forefathers ended up in that geographical location and adapted to the place due to lack of birth control measures and other past times they populated the area? In short, you are Indian because your forefathers decided to have some fun and stay here before they started using passports”. Come to think of it, is that reason enough to be proud of something? No personal effort of yours chipped in, and just because your nomadic great great grandfathers grew too cosy in their beanbags and were too lazy to pack up and leave from where they roamed in from!
The fact is if patriotism is kept under a microscope, at a grass-root level it is nothing but the basis of segregation. Demarcating what is ‘mine’ and what is ‘yours’. Bifurcating ‘us’ into ‘you’ and ‘me’. And don’t you think that thought right there is what has caused the whole world to wield weapons against each other. For no apparent reason at all, everyone wants a piece of the earth for themselves, to claim their own – forgetting the fact that the whole earth itself is our own. That feeling has been imbibed to such a deep dark point inside of us, that we don’t mind getting downright bloody and gory to grab it.
Is a piece of land which you are definitely not going to spirit away in your backpack when you die, worth dying for? (And who knows in your next life you might even be born on the other side and fight the same war! – From another school of thought) So isn’t this feeling of pride and patriotism on some levels selfishness and hence the harbinger of the world’s doom? I bet many would have a million arguments against what I said. Yes, I do agree that patriotism is an admirable thought, when you are pitted against opposing forces that are out to vanquish you.
But I keep thinking of a different realm, a different possibility – what if no child was foddered with the idea of patriotism and pride, what if no factions sprouted up because of that, what if everyone desired the good fortune of the other as much as they wish for themselves, what if you were able to transcend from the feelings of possession, what if every living being was your compatriot, what if you were a human first rather than an Indian, a German or a Palestinian… – may be the world would have been a brighter place and a safer haven to dwell in.
On this Independence Day, I’m not going to say “Jai Hind”… Instead, I’m going with “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”!
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