Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Our Own Little Revolution (to say- Mera Neta Chor Hai!)

Without warning or notice this man has become the centre of my life right now. I read about him, he’s on the TV, I speak to people about him. If nothing more Mr. Anna Hazare, you have certainly marked your place in history.

I am not very sure I agree to everything Anna’s version of the Lok Pal Bill says, but to see my country raise a voice against something so deep rooted in endearing. Yet what I fear is like most things our enthusiasm will go down soon enough (we are used to loving our cricket team one day and thrashing them the next day). I also fear that the truth behind Anna’s cause might get completely diluted by the interference of the opposition who is obviously fuelling this to gain seats in the next election which will lead to another cycle of scams and breeding of corrupt leaders.

The bill in question is another matter – its anti democratic nature, the use of force of implementation by Anna’s team (we all know basic civics and the time taken for a million amendments and passing of a bill), its pros, its cons etc etc....

What I wonder however sitting quite far away from my country is that if I were back home would I be on the streets, flag in hand, Gandhi topi on and screaming ‘mera neta chor hai?’

Have I been victim to and given into corruption – YES. I have given ‘chai pani’ to the security guard to let me get ahead in the line to submit my college form, I have bought many tickets in black at Gaiety Galaxy theatre and even laughed about it later, I did get my licence without giving a driving test . I did all this but it enraged me when a police man asked me for a bribe, when it meant to give money to get into a college, when my income, the taxpayers money was looted by the likes a Mr. Kalmadi for example.

The answer to everything however for me and my peers would be, ‘chalta hai’, ‘hamare desh mein chalta hai’.

Because we are a race accustomed to adjustment. And we are so proud of it. It’s not just about adjusting to five people sitting on a seat meant for 3 people in a Bombay local train; it is imbedded in our core, our genes. We devalue ourselves and we don’t demand. Take a simple example of how in front of foreign tourists we treat our own people, go to France and expect a local French person to treat you better than he treats his own countrymen, you will be disappointed. So we go to France and become timid creatures in white sneakers and overstuffed travel pouches.

So coming back to if I would join the enraged crowd to demand for a corrupt free society. The absolutely right thing would be to say YES! But I am not quite sure. From Shakuni Mama to Suresh Kalmadi we are inherently corrupt people. I am not sure that the Jan Lok Pal bill will miraculously cure corruption hidden in deep crevices like unknown villages without electricity where Reliance Telecom has reached but to charge their mobiles villagers have to pay a hefty sum to the local grocer in a nearby village privileged to have power.

Maybe I am a cynic but I wonder how long the flame that has been lit by Anna will last before it is easily blown away.

What we can do is strengthen local bodies, strengthen and implement the RTI act powerfully, educate, feed, empower. We need to start somewhere but we need to start sensibly. Perhaps start by not giving ‘Chai Pani’, waiting in a line and not requesting the aunts, cousin’s friend in the railways for a ticket confirmation.

Someone rightfully posted a status on FB that, to clean a home you have to be in it hence to clean the country you need to be in the system.

As we all are a miniscule part of the system either we start a change in our own little way or stop saying – mera neta chor hai (kyon ki vote to tumhi ne diya hai)

*The ideas expressed are solely my own and readers are welcome to their own views :)
*Image courtsey - roarmag.org

Friday, August 5, 2011

She Painted My Nails Blue!

I was thirteen when I was introduced to atrocious coloured nail polish. Even today when I think of blue, black and green coloured nails, I think of her.

My mother thought it was a ridiculous idea, but she thought it was cool for me to wear sky blue nail paint during my summer break.

Sometimes, she randomly comes into my thoughts through the few things I have come to associate with her - nail polish, swim suits, ceramic jewellery, the colour yellow and big smiles. 

I still remember when I first met her - The first of my parents ‘young’ friends. Someone, who considered us kiddos a part of the conversation. When she and her husband came for dinner, we could hang around post 8pm and talk of the world, travels, books and English language. 

I saw them build a family. They seemed closer to me (in age and in thinking) different from the typical uncles and aunts we knew. I looked forward to them visiting us after their visits to far off lands; I knew there would be stories and gifts for me. 

She was there when Snoopy died. I sat with snoopy in my arms and she sat next to me, silently. 

She shaped my life to what it is today. The decision to take that step, to move out into the world was taken after a conversation I had with her, one I remember so clearly.

I moved out, life happened and I forgot about her. She became one of mom’s friends. The last memory I have of her is her clapping, smiling and dancing at a wedding. 

I think of that wedding day often and wonder why I didn't have another real conversation with her. 

One day months later, I got a call that she left us, just like that. 

I am sitting at home today doing absolutely nothing and suddenly at supersonic speed something random connects me to a memory of her.

I love how our brain functions to connect scattered dots from anywhere to exactly where we are meant to be at a certain point.  

When people leave this world, they just go. 

At times I wonder what happens to them. How everything one builds in life vanishes in a single second, a single breath. What is left is memory. And memory, fades. 
But sometimes, out of nowhere it comes alive and that one thought, that one memory triggers something inside that stirs your soul.

I know somewhere deep in my heart that she watches me even today. She sees me falling, getting bruised, getting back up and then falling again. She sees me confused, wondering about where I am and where I could be. 
I know she’s here and even though she is not physically around to make the ceramic jewellery she promised to make for me, she smiles that big smile as I think of it. 

Dear LA, I miss you when I need someone to tell me, that it will all make sense sooner or later. 

And I really hope it does.


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