A lot of things…

In the span of time when I didn’t blog and finally broke out with a tag, I remember asking to myself, “Why suddenly this Blogger’s block? Is it because of dearth of topics? Hasn’t the world moved in that time span? Haven’t a lot of things happened? The things said, done and witnessed, haven’t they left a scar in my mind?”

Well lot of things to think about, the Mumbai blasts, the ever-happening Bangalore city, about a little boy captured in a bore well and lots more.

Mumbai has seen different phases of destruction, most lately the blasts. As we all huddled in front of the TV, witnessing the NDTV coverage, I could sense the helplessness I felt in my own mind. There were friends of mine, who were so depressed with the Government’s passiveness, who felt like I myself feel that it is high time India take the bold step against Pakistan funded terrorism. We have preached peace to the world, but aren’t we showing heights of submissiveness here?

The editorials of Hindu sing about a nuclear treaty signed with US, which contains clauses that expose the security and secrecy of our very own defense policy. Pakistan has funded cross border terrorism for such a long time, but is it that every time in spite of being ditched time and again, we are willing to take initiatives for talks? Why is it that India's very own land illegally subjugated by Pakistan, “the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir” is an area never covered in any of the discussions?

I remember the pride I felt when Thomas Friedman mentioned Bangalore in his much acclaimed book “The World is Flat”. I’m definitely the part of this bright tomorrow that Bangalore offers. But a couple of assaults about which I have heard just make me wonder what really “bangalored” means. Most recently, my fellow project team member told me about one of his friends, who came to Bangalore in an early morning bus and was kidnapped. The guy was badly beaten up, fingers cut, robbed off this ATM and credit cards as well as the pin numbers. And most shockingly, it was not just one victim. There were 2 girls, with Wipro tags, gagged and tied in the same vehicle. And the vehicle took off with them, after dumping the looted guy on the road. For a few pennies, can we do this to another human being? "Human nature" surprises me!

In the same Bangalore, I frequently travelled late nights in a tough phase of my project. I befriended cab drivers, simple and concerned men who would drop me outside the apartment and wait till I climb the stairs, enter inside my flat after an incessant flow of calling bell rings, and give him a call and tell I'm in and fine. There were old gentlemen among these cab drivers who asked us to be careful while venturing out with laptops. People who always were Guardian Angels in our late night trips. And that too in the same city. "Human nature" surprises me!!

On my last trip home, I took an auto to the railway station. I knew that the auto drivers would greet me asking for "shocking and outrageous" fares. But I was surprised when one person just hinted me in the auto after I had chorused "Bangalore City Railway Station" to at least 10 people. The old driver promptly started his meter and started the trek. A happy me, relieved myself with some cracker sneezes. I was having a bad cold, you see :). The honest man drops me at the railway station, takes the meter fare and also offers me a cold tablet in goodwill and imparts a few words "really effective, no side effects". "Human nature" surprises me!!!

A nation’s eyes focused onto a tiny bore well in Kurukshetra when little Prince got trapped in. A whole country closed its eyes in prayers. A whole country’s focus brought diligence to rescue operations, romped in politicians who took center stage and drove the rescue mission, and most importantly unified this country to one God, in a partial realization, from whom we sought courage and blessing thru our own cultural and religious channels. Aren’t there thousands of issues enveloping this country, from child labour to social stigma, from infanticide to unemployment? Why isn’t the media able to bring the hype it brought to Prince’s case in all these?

Calamities have united us to God for split seconds. But haven't we brought disgrace to His name with Babri Masjid and Gujarat riots? Haven't we failed to understand that even with differences in our cultural practices, we have all tried to attain one and the same God?

Just some thoughts that played several rounds in the arena of my mind...

My first TAG!

Took this tag from an open invite at Srijith's site coz I have been passing my days with a fear in mind - that of an untimely blog death.

Most Desired Celebrity

I have been a witness to that proud moment when this remarkable woman catapulted India into limelight in the world beauty scene. She has been unique, unique in every gesture, in every word said and in everything done. Sushmita Sen is definitely the beauty with brains.

Want to visit this place

The Gift of the Nile has always enchanted me. A desert saved by a river has somehow always symbolized hope in my mind. A seat of ancient civilization and the land of pyramids, when'll I get a chance to touch thy sands?

Want to do this someday

A walk thru a dense canopy of trees, shrubs and grass in a forest, with my backpack of dresses and food, a notepad and pen, a camera and my thoughts. Spare some quiet moments to contemplate on creation, evolution, God, faith, people and the world. And gaze with awe at the wonderful sights that nature has arranged.

Random Favourite

From an old Reader’s Digest article that I read sometime in my school days, I learnt about this remarkable woman Waris Dirie, who rose from a nomadic life to being a super model adorning the covers of Vogue. She showed me the incredible strength personified as a woman, determination and perseverance in attaining dreams, and most importantly about giving back to the society and having a will to rally behind a cause that you are passionate about.

Tag Origin

Soorya, Nithin, Lochan, Shilpa - You guyz are tagged:)And also anyone else interested, feel free to give this tag a try.

The Hungry Tide

In our legends it is said that the goddess Ganga's descent from the heavens would have split the earth had Lord Shiva not tamed her torrent by tying it into his ash-smeared locks....there is a point where the braid becomes undone; where Lord Shiva's matted hair is washed apart into a vast, knotted tangle. Once past that point the river throws off its bindings and separates into hundreds, maybe thousands, of tangled strands...N this created an immense archipelago of islands, interposed between the sea and plains of Bengal, called the Sunderbans. An unheard legend for me. And the point that hooked me on to this book by Amitav Ghosh.

There are so many unsaid stories, forgotten people, parts of our country to which we ourselves have become alien. India for us, does not go into the deltas of the Sunderbans where there is no separation of fresh and saline, where numerous islands emerge and sink in a matter of hours, the abode of the Royal Bengal tigers. Nobody knows to whom, the uninhabitable islands belong to, whether to the Govt of India or to the Govt of Bangladesh. Not a soul ever cared about the people who lived there in one of the many islands where human habitation existed, no party raised their problems and they lived their small uneventful lives in this land of interwoven shore and tide in the Republic of India.

And suddenly when a group of homeless and helpless refugees, victims who fled from Bangladesh at the time of communal riots, inhabit one such island and try to make a living in uninhabitable conditions, there comes the Government with allegation of unlawful subjugation of land, social groups who feel that the abode of the Royal Bengal Tigers have been encroached, the big men of the world who felt that the wonderful ecosystem of the Sunderbans were at risk from this group of hapless men, women and children.

A wonderful story, seen through the eyes of Kanai Dutt, a man of the modern world and a translator by profession and Piya Roy, a young NRI cetologist (one who studies of whales, dolphins and related mammals). I have just captured some insight given by the book and unsettling thoughts that beat me when 50 odd pages of the book still remain to be read.

Three Couples

A quiet train journey from home back to Bangalore is always something I relish. Even though not as much as the stay at home, but still to a good extent, as it gives me sometime for retrospection, a quiet time for me and my thoughts, at times it shows me some interesting people, sometimes some interesting incidents too…:)

I couldn’t help thinking about 3 different couple who captured my thoughts in 3 very different ways in this home trip.

On Friday, the best couple of my life captured one of the most scenes I have ever witnessed. In the midst of our shopping spree, in a crowded Kalyan Silks showroom, Achan forced a reluctant Amma onto the escalator. Amma is very scared of escalators. I had a tough time convincing her that it is one of the easiest things to do. But ultimately her man had to firmly catch her hand and force her onto those moving steps. He must have been really worried about her health for she gets those nasty aches and pains after she climbs steps. She was panicky as expected. But he held her with the kind of firmness that gave her a sudden spurge of "guts". No one assures her like Achan, and no one ever will/can. And people around watched them with an amused and happy curve on their faces. I could just look on and think of how lucky they were to find each and on how luckier we were (I and sis) to have them as the best couple in our lives…

On Saturday, I had one of those small outings with Amma. Well its something I relish. When on shopping with Achan, we have to take into account his impatience. He hates spending time on selection. For him its always pick up the first one you liked, bill it and walk out. For Amma and me, its having a look at everything, even the ones we have no intention of picking up and the ones which we know is not within our budget, and then make a few selections, then some reselection and rejection, before the process of finalization. Well Achan cannot stand it most of the time. Even though Amma gives her certificate that he has changed a lot and often remarks how much patient he has become in these 25 years…:)

So Amma and I walk around the crowded Thripunithura roads. Well we have a couple of shops in mind. But at last we enter Leela Stores. Like all women will say, “Just like that”. I could feel the suffocation instantly. Well a very old textile showroom. The lack of modernization in terms of AC and lighting were glaringly visible. Also the lack of those young mallu faces, hair tied in the much seen kulipinnal and a chandana kuri adorning the forehead, and a “May I help you?” smile. Well there was a regal looking lady, old and stooping. A Tamil chap who didn’t even know to measure cloth and an imposing old man, the owner probably who sat behind the cash counter with a fan circling above his bald head. It took only a moment for me to sink in that the old man and the regal lady were husband and wife. She was probably Leela after whom the shop was named. The Tamil guy soon displayed his ignorance with the whole shop stuff. So we moved on to our old regal lady who showed us the cloth, measured, cut, and provided some expert answers to Amma’s questions. I moved ahead to help her pull the huge bundle of cloth from the shelves above. She was so exhausted and weak, a big bandage on her feet for some diabetes-related-injury.

The shop suddenly sees a rush of visitors. The old man starts yelling from the cash counter, urging the regal lady to service the other customers also. He gets agitated when she can’t do the things in the expected speed. He shouts at her. He says as to how terribly she messed up the counters while servicing. The regal lady does not even show a trace of emotion on her face. She just goes around doing everything that he wants her to, even though it all comes at her own pace, which she tries to speedup, but sadly can’t.

On Sunday, an old couple, Tamil speaking, come and occupy the seat beside me in the train. They bring in huge loads of things wrapped in sacks and fill the whole space under the seats. Everyone stares at them, even me, with just one obvious question in mind, “Are they really intending to travel by 3rd AC?” Well none of us voices out. They discuss in hushed tones of getting down at Palghat. They ask me the timing when the train would reach Palghat and then settle back in a quiet contemplation. Years of hard word lined their foreheads and some concern showed over their faces. Two weary travelers with a huge load with them.

The ticket checker soon makes away. The man produces a crumpled ticket from a purse tied up in his mundu. The woman shows respect and reverence on her face.

“Ithu AC ticket allallo? Randayiram roopa fine aavum. Enthayalum coachinte veliyil poku. Njan angottu varam.”

The sudden panic of an unexpected blow strikes their faces. They gather their things and speed out, without glancing either way.

In this world where people break the rules knowingly, two old couple who don’t know the difference between an ordinary and AC compartment in a train are caught and might end up being fined off their hard earned penny. And like kd says even I do feel sometimes that there is no justice in this world. Well the 3 couples have given me 3 entirely different insights.