Saturday, July 6, 2013

Follywood

During my teens, my family would religiously, go to first day last show Bollywood movie on Fridays; religiously. Bholu, our house help, who was somewhat of my age, would also come with us. Just after the movie, my brother and  me would talk in the coarse voice of Veejay Deenanth Chauhan, jump from the bed like Akshay Kumars and fight like Ajay Devagans. Bholu, would silently watch all this drama with a silent smile, which seemed to hold something more than an opinion. My brother, would push Bholu to join us while offering him a pillow that would be a bunker for an India Pakistan war. Though, Bholu would escape our calls and silently join my Ma for the house hold work. But our madness remained alive till Sunday night, when we realized that we missed our Hindi homework, then we were the common 'God fearing' men again.

My Ma was so mad at us, but she was sort of fine, as long as we were obedient common men the rest of  the five days. I wonder how difficult it would be for today's parents, with the arrival of facebook, where everyone is a hero all day and night. Just a picture with those shades under that tree, and you are a Rajnikantha. And its hilarious how everyone has a different personality on facebook. The same way, we chose the characters for the weekend after that Bollywood movie on Friday. All of my 20 dozen friends on facebook in some way behave like these stars.

1. Amol Palekar: They are harmless members, silently watching everything from the background, just liking your profile pictures, even if you look like Wiz Khalifa. They have understood the protocol to maintain healthy relationships, to like profile pictures. but, under the skin of their calm face immense information of who-is-dating-who, who-is-visiting-who resides. Still, they are harmless, as they would definitely check your wife's honeymoon pictures (with Polka dot chappals) but would not download it.

2. Rakhi Sawant:  The God has created the 'True love', only, for them. They launch their '20th true love' hubby like Punjabi singers launch their albums. So much, Band Baja. They would post 231 honeymoon pictures every quarter, and, every kiss would come via facebook walls, even if their 'true love' is sitting in the same room.
They feel blessed 5 times a day, for having love and nice red pillow covers that this couple bought together on their first date. They are awfully loyal and true, till they find their next true love.

3. Jagjit Singh: Since the facebook was launched they are posting depressing statuses every hour, they are always in the break up state, they would share random pages, which have relationship and life in it. This is the only information I have, If you are him, I have probably unsubscribed you.

4. Nana Patekar: He has a strong opinion on Egypt's political crisis, America's foreign Policy and what India should do to counter China's Ladakh's intrusion. On facebook they sound like Che Guevara, but in real life he is a 60 pound something guy who talks about changing the world, but does not even change his 7 months old pale yellow bed sheet.

5. A.K. Hangal: They are parents, who have created the facebook accounts, but still have not figured out the right place to reply and write status. They write anywhere, randomly. To his nephew who is posting his statuses of Mauritius trip, they would post - " How is Nita Bua's arthritis now? Eat proper food beta. GOD BLESS YOU BETA WE ARE PROUD OF YOU". This nephew is posting pictures of his wife in nightie and Hangal Saab is proud of him.

We all have a tendency to show case that we are larger than life. To show, we all have control over our lives. Sometimes it feels so annoying to see so called heroism on facebook.  After so many years, I understand why Bholu used to silently smile when we were fighting like Amitabh Bachhan on weekends. May be all struggles in his life had helped him to see more than all of us. He saw so much, more. Bholu, was already playing a hero, paying off his village loans for parents who saw him as monthly installment, honestly working and loving and bearing all that he got on the way. He did not require to wear shades, jump, sing to be a hero.

May be we all are living in a denial, just to be happy; feeling right than doing right is what we all do .It is so easy to sing love songs like them, but so tough to have a silent prayer for someone. It is so painless to beat someone but so difficult to silently bear because you stand for something. It is so effortless to laugh, cry and sing but so tough being silent. It is so heroic to be a common man. and strange thing is heroism can not be advertised; strength, prayer, love, all work in the background, silently.

Arey, my friend just posted pictures of his hot girlfriend and him, I meant, "him and his sweet girlfriend". I got to go.

And do not ponder too much upon on what I wrote above, I really do not care about it either. As, we all talk like Swami Vivekanand and act like Laloo Prasad; just to be happy and safe. No?


Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Lazy God

It’s been 60 days.60 days since I have come to Orissa on my first onsite trip. Whenever a guy from my team goes to US, seniors give directions to the strip clubs and casinos; in my case they told me about some temples and lakes with a dirty smirk. At departure time my Naani-Ma stuffed a 1000 rupee note and a list into my wallet. The list had the distribution of offerings per temple. Some Gods just managed to get 10 rupees.

For all the last 60 days my Naani has been calling me at 5 a.m., yes five; bulldozing me to do ‘the’ Surya Namaskar.

4 a.m. Today:
Naani: Surya Namaskar time. Check out the God’s beautiful Sun.
Me: Na.
Naani: You are a lazy lizard, you won’t become more than a peon this way.
Me: Chalo Na.
Naani: Neither you are going to get that Krishna’s idol.
Me: Going.

Krishna’s Idol is my Naani’s last resort, for the last 25 years every discussion ends at this Gold Krishna idol which she says is lying inside the old ‘iron’ almirah. The moment she says ‘gold’ Krishna idol, I see my self driving a black accord and doing what the old lady wishes.

That idol is the reason I have soaked gallons and gallons of milk, studied at night and done everything, everything termed disgusting by a boy’s standards.

After a struggle of 15 minutes, I managed to grab a bite of God’s beautiful Sun. So true she was. The Moon was melting into the arms of the Sun. Every bit. Every bit of nature was witnessing and celebrating the play. After a while when the Sun sniffed off the stars and the moon, it stood clear, as an axle of this universe. Mesmerizing and hypnotizing each drop of blood on this planet. So beautiful it was. The God’s Sun.

The hypnotic eyes were cleared with Naani’s SMS.
“Now go to temple lazy lizard or loose the idol.”
The lizard was looking for his slippers with in a second. And the slippers hit the roads with in minutes. I swear to that idol, it was not the reason I moved my feet, I just wanted to see the Sun’s play.

Within minutes I had started to walk, I sensed, rather heard a herd, a herd of dogs following me with a joy. It seemed they had been waiting for their leader for ages. I was fine with it, as soon as they did not get the bite of my red pyjamas.

Dogs, humans, trees and fat people all seemed to be tied with the same string. Everyone seemed happy, may be the Sun gave them a reason to be. A lie told everyday to them that everything will be alright today. Just because they ‘think’ night has gone.The scene was nothing less than the “The Morning walk” essay I wrote in 3rd standard. I did not know that it was worth more than just 10 marks.

As if it was not enough for me, I saw some girls strolling on the grass, bare feet.
’Ah’, I just got a reason to ignore everything, everything and the God’s Sun was too giggling and touching the girls’ feet through the dew drops. I just wished that I were that dew drop. All the dogs following me changed the course and headed towards that scene. Dogs.

I had lost the leadership and ‘my’ girls to those dogs, so, the temple seemed the only asylum.As soon as I reached the temple I was dazed to witness a queue that could gulp the Indian Ocean with just one burp. Hunderds, they looked like lakhs, devotees were waiting for the glimpse of their God. I too, dived into that Ocean.

That queue was not less than the internet, auntie behind me was discussing about “Wake Up Sid” ‘s reviews. And a huge monster ahead of me was discussing IPL. And within 30 minutes I had covered China’s foreign policy to MTN deal to Kahani Ghar Ghar ki. Then.

Then something happened that I was dreaded of.

The noodles I ate in the dinner had decided an emergency exit. All the negotiations failed. All peace treaties failed. All cold wars failed. I had to come to my knees. I asked aunite to reserve the place in my queue and went in search of a toilet or a bush.God had some adventure in store for me, toilet was nowhere to my rescue and I had to buy a newspaper and I covered my body with the ‘healthiest’ bush at the back side of the temple.

I surrendered to those noodles and started reading the newspaper.
The Sun’s rays made little beautiful palettes on the paper while I looked for the most disgusting and stupid news, just to show its real place. A page said “A Political party wants job quota for mumbaikars”. I didn’t have a toilet paper.

I was completely mesmerized by the God’s Sun, and all the experiences I just had.
I started the back journey to the queue. As I was walking down the street, my eyes fell on a slum behind the temple. A lady with half torn sari was begging in front of her shabby accommodation. A little kid, may be around 3 was lying in front of her. And not surprisingly the kid was not in good state with some open wounds on his stomach. The mother seemed to use those to gain people’s attention to raise something for their stomach. They seemed indifferent to everything they faced and everything they were doing. While all this was happening the God’s Sun was shining through the child’s wounds and with each Sun’s touch the wound become more red and deeper. But the child was silent, not bothered by anything , So was his mother. And I could not see a single glimpse of tear in the eyes of the mother. Even with some coins falling in her bowl now and then, they seemed indifferent, just fulfilling their obligation.

Silently, I joined the queue. Now the discussions about U.N.’s Kashmir policy was on full bloom. I decided to remain silent. That was the only thing I could have done at that moment I guess. I had just witnessed the darkness of the Sun. Meanwhile the queue moved faster than the thoughts in my mind, and here I was inside the temple, witnessing the God. The God, as my Naani says is the creator of the beautiful Sun, the beautiful earth and the beautiful Ma. And I was standing with the 100 rupee note that Naani-Ma has allocated to this God.
May be I could have given that note to that mother sitting behind the God’s back. That note would not have made much difference to that mother’s soul, but by giving this to God, my Naani’s fear for God could have subsided atleast. So, I pushed that note into the donation box, ate the prasaada and got flown with the queue.

On the way back to my hotel, neither did I enjoy the grass hoper girls, dogs or the Sun.
I was completely devastated with what I had just witnessed.

Naani Ma, I know God has created this beautiful world but I just saw that didn’t complement with what you have always said. I am not troubled by the ragged piece of cloth holding the dignity of that mother, neither I am perturbed by the open wounds of that child nor with their sheer poverty.

As all holy books say, I know it is because of their ‘Karmas’. I know they deserve this, with all the deeds they ‘may’ have done in their last life. But atleast they deserve a lie to be told, a lie like you tell me every time about that Gold Krishna’s idol which ignites my soul. A lie in the form of a story you tell me before I go to sleep, that I will become robin hood one day. A lie , A dream , a will you imbibe in me every time I come to you that life will be more beautiful and happier.

Naani, I don't ask your God to give that mother food, I don't ask him to heal that child's wounds. Just tell him to give a tear in the mother's eyes at the sight of his childs wounds, just tell him to make the child cry when he's hurt. Tell your God to not induce that much pain in human's life that he forgets to cry.

Your God has created this beautiful world but has forgot to sell his humans a lie, a dream and a desire.
Just tell your highness to turn around and sell humans a lie that everything will be fine one day. Naani-Ma , I know I am lazy, so is your God.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

An Orphan Belief

In one parents teacher meeting , my sports teacher told my mother to put my energies in sciences, because I played football with hands and cricket with feet. 4 minutes later, in the next hall, my science teacher told her to focus my energies on sports, she thought my 12 brain cells were not enough to understand the Newton laws of motion. On the way back to home, I could see my Ma’s face turning pale as an ostrich’s egg.

“You look worried” , I said with a face that was holding the shame of a man and innocence of a boy.

She was silent as a squirrel, resting on the tongue of a lion. The abysmal, “I wish I could grate you”, look she gave me that day traveled through my thick skin and ego and rested in my heart. Years aged, but that look has always remained inside me. With shattered ego and pride , I was just a piece of meat, holding her sari and drifting away with the fuel burning inside her conscience. C grade and “Can do better” on the report card meant more science tuitions and some sports classes. Parent teacher meetings are enough to kill a man inside a boy.

She had decided ; Math’s, French and a Judo class.

“Are you sure, Judo?”- I asked with the body which seemed to have already taken the beating. No answer meant she was sure. I was put into a judo class, with little mercy and hope. There, inside the judo hall, it looked like Israel was on a war, I had never seen such an aggression outside the human‘s body.Initial days passed with exercises and warm ups. Then , the day came, first fight was on the cards. I was up against a skinny man , of about half my body weight. Before I could calculate the probability of my wining , I was lying on the mat with my jaw and eyes wide open. His right fist was resting on my chest to resist the last drop of fight left in me or to celebrate the vulnerability of my will. As I stood up with help of the coach, I checked the other players sitting on the periphery of the hall. I had seen those eyes before, filled with mockery and disgust ; Whenever I had lost in life, those eyes always came free with the loss. Though right leg and chest were burning with the pain , my ego was still to realize the pain of losing. Till I saw eyes of a girl beautiful enough for the boy inside me; she was sitting at the corner with eyes questioning my loss. Only then I realized that I had lost my first fight to a ‘thinner’ man.

With the tired feet, I sat besides a same aged Sikh boy, with good built and eyes honest enough to befriend a stranger. He had also lost his first fight and that was enough for me to put faith in him. “Sometimes a loss unifies your belief more” - he recited in Urdu. I was irritated to the core; after being thrashed like a dog I was in no mood to be the ear for his philosophy. I felt like stuffing my red socks into his mouth and seal it with coal tar. Though I always had the uneasiness to listen to his poetry , but still the profoundness of his initial words, “Sometimes a loss unifies your belief ” imbibed a little respect for the boy, Angadh Singh. He was the only son of a famous heart surgeon, and was born ,as his dad said, to become a finest fighter pilot. Their fascination with the air and speed was so evident from the huge collection of books, jet models and a ‘painful’ Mig-16 tattoo on their shoulders. Off the Judo class, every second word in our discussions was related to fighter planes or speed, and gelled with other words with Urdu philosophy. Though I was not sure how much calculus and fight I was learning, but I knew, by just listening to their discussions, passion and belief was growing on me. I was stupefied by how their passion had defeated the human’s basic tendency of deflecting towards ‘ just being happy‘. After listening to his dad, sometimes I wished I were Angadh.

Though I was doing good in math’s classes, Judo class meant defeat and that too from a ‘thinner’ man, day by day. Once after a fight with an obvious outcome I was resting besides Angadh, and he was prompt with Urdu , “Every man inside each being, is the same, with same ego and love, its that some of them are playing in the right arena, that makes them”. The moment I knew it wasn’t my arena, I had lost respect for the rules; I knew next fight would be my last fight with the thinner man. During the fight I bit him twice on his shoulder, pounded my fist on his left eye. He was lying on the mat, and after a hard beating from the coach , I was expelled. Before leaving the hall I looked into the eyes of that corner girl, they looked calm, so were my shame and ego.

No Judo classes meant no Urdu philosophy and no Angadh. We only used to meet at ‘Ankhand Paath’, recital of GuruGranth Sahib, holy book of Sikhs. One day, Angadh got an admit for defense academy program, So, he had to leave the city. Seeing my faded eyes,while staring at my weak thought, he again murmured into my ears -"Sometimes a loss unifies your belief ". I was convinced again.

For people I truly respect and love, I try to maintain a vacuum in between; so , as the ugliness of a human does not dissolve the love for them. Angadh is one of them. So, we talked sparingly , only when there was something worth sharing. As I was busy cuddling with the sciences , there at the academy his passion and dream was turning his body into a human weapon, everything was ready , just the time was keeping him away from being the finest fighter pilot.


8years after the day I left Judo classes, last Sunday, when I was browsing books in a store, my eyes caught attention of a girl standing across the rack with a confused grin. “How are you?” - I asked abruptly , while lending the risk of being stupid. “How are your teeth?” - she said with a wider but relaxed grin. She was her, with the eyes exactly same as on the day I had left the hall for the last time, but with a healthier and confident plum body; the girl who sat at the corner of the Judo hall, she was her. “better than his shoulder” - I answered in a low but extruding tone. She laughed, with each iota of her healthy and beautiful voice, a deep feeling of remorse seeped inside me for not being with her all those years. We planned to meet next.

Now this was the news, I rushed to call Angadh. His Dad picked up, and invited me to Akhand Paath on next Sunday with a low voice. May be he didn’t recognize me and Angadh was nowhere in his talk. I called Ma with a muddled mind.
Angadh had lost his life during a flying drill in Faridkot, 7 months back. I was numb, numb and I wish I had cried that day.

For Akhand Paath, the Guru Granth Sahib was placed in Angadh’s room, which was still filled with fighter jet models, aviation books. His dad was sitting at the front wearing a white kurta, which was hiding the ‘tattoo’ on his shoulder. His face was clear of everything, everything a man can hold onto in his mind. I had never seen him so silent , without a cause.Thoughts of Judo classes, Golf club discussions and Urdu poetry were weakening my bones.In our lives, we come across, dreams , love, beliefs that starts defining our lives, and with just one blow, they stand alone, orphaned not connected to anything but a lie. The lie that we need to keep telling ourselves to justify their identity, a lie we need to keep telling ourselves to stop wandering why they ever happened. That unanswered true love, that intense unfulfilled dream, that unkept promise all remain alone,undefined and orphaned.Today, I again wished I were Angadh, only he could have understood his dad's silence and put a drop of dream and belief in him.I so badly wished I were him.

Angadh, I don't know how true your words "Sometimes a loss unifies your belief " were. But right now siting in your room with your dad, all I can say is that sometimes after a loss, you are left with just an orphaned belief.

Friday, October 3, 2008

~Made in China~

" - Dad Says - Nothing less than Black Label or drink mosquito repelent " - Sudipta's words or his Dad's.

Some facts about Sudipta:

1. Sudipta is "A" 23 year old boy.
2. Sudipta has a Big Dad ; literally too.

I am holding a drink at Sudipta's birthday or 23 years , 9 months far from the day when his Dad conceptualized him.

With each golden drop is drenched by my keen throat, Sudipta's thoughts accrue in my mind.It pays to be just an observer sometimes, i guess.
He has everything what a guy can aim for. An Accord, an IIT
degree, 3 girls.
Sudipta is filled with hundreds of stories of his achievements and affairs and is game to spray that all on us. His last night story, his college medal, his gifted car, his flirt, his promotions, his frankfurt vacation,his dad.

For every dirty car ride, For every girl he slept with, For every wrong he did, he has a single excuse "And the Life Moves On"!

Droplets of whisky might have evaporated from my throat but the impressions of Supdipa were still fresh in my mind. As I scrub his business card and roam on deserted roads of Chandni Chowk to get a ball point pen. A 10 year old boy carrying bucket full of pens screamed in my ears."Painnnn".

Me:"What?".
Penwala : Red,Blue,Green Painnnnn. After showing me the glittering pens in his hands.
Me:"Saale its PEN".Kitne ka hai?
Penwala: "2 rupaye". "2 Rupaye"

My eyes glowed and i felt an adrenaline rush in my whole body after hearing the price and glitter of that pen.I can feel the excitement on the tips of my toes.

"Its Chinese, Use it untill it gels well with you or throw it in the dustbin.And the life moves on. But uncle don't buy chinese condoms.My father is still paying the price for the same." - little penwala.

I handed over a 2 rupee note to him and placed that glittering red machine in my pocket with elegance.
On my way back to home, Sudipta's "Life Moves on theory" was still juggling in my head.
As i try to write something for the blog with the new bought chinese machine,a rough stuffed feet came in my view of writing. It was Ramanujam's.
Ramanujam, a driver by profession, is my cook's eldest son.His dad left home while he was 4.It was Ganesh chaturhi. 20 such Ganesh Chaturthis have passed and his dad never came back to give them a shade. Still he is standing tall with the responsibility of 4 sisters, an ailing mother and village land loan. A talk with Ramanujam is rains of management knowledge for me.How he manages his finances, how he puts right amount at right voids. Amazing it is.

The only thing he wants from life is a day on which he can live for himself.Only thing.
The uncertainity and insecurity is not enough to fade away the big smile on his face when we discuss the future.The past means being proud for himself and not pity or pain.
May be pain gives you that strength and belief in yourself.
As i try to write down a number on paper while talking to Ramanujam, the glittery red machine surrenders. I threw it in the dustbin as that little guy instructed. "And Life moves on."

Ramanujam sits beside me with hundreds of hopes for his sisters' education and a huge contentment.Contentment. The reason for it can't be adjudged.Specially when he doesn't own an IIT degree, an Accord, girl(s) or "a" Big dad. This stuff give us high.Isn't it.

I asked Ramanujam about the stem of his contentment.

"Its been 20 years i have been constantly struggling with the life.20 whole years i have waited for the day for myself.Each day has brought sense of responsibility and sacrifices with it. Every moment unfolded Unpredictability and challenge for me. Crafting 4 lives with my amateur hands has been tough but always gave me a high.I wish these lives never miss their Dad's shade. Ameen".

As Rama starts repairing my 8 year old cooler, my eyes got stuck at the "Made in China" red pen lying in the dustbin. Isn't it, we have changed the way we measure things and people. We measure people on basis of what we want and not what is good.People have become like chinese stuff. They are shakky but are saleable. Hundreds of Sudipta's are selling themselves in this world with loose ethics and stupid theories. And Ramanujam fighting each moment in other's battle is standing alone. Craving for a human hand.Human heart.
Sudipta dada, you need millions of dollars stuffed into your boots, hundreds of girls hanging onto your balls, big degrees in your pants, dad's big finger in your nose to define you.But Ramanujam just needs three words.Survivor,True,Human.
Sudipta might be having world full of things and assets;Rama has got less. Struggle,Moments of highs,Brotherly hug,Restless nights,Tears of humiliation.Ma's hope.
But what he has got is true.

No matter how much we ponder upon these measurements, we all will continue to imbibe the stuff what we want. We will keeping buying millions of Sudipta's for our lives. daily and every moment. I wish in 1000 years a day comes when we start measuring people with humanity,truth and substance; And not look for a brand like "Made in China" for humans too.