Dec 25, 2012

Of Malls and Murders....Examining My City

What can I say about Delhi? It is a city of myriad types of dispositions.  It is a city of nonchalance which embraces people across the country as much as it shuns them away. Even though its skyscrapers, flyovers, malls and metro continue to awe strike others, the unlawful, scandalous incidents still shudder them.

In the past three years I have spent in different cities, all that I craved for was to spend a weekend with my family in Delhi; perhaps go shopping in lajpat nagar , meet chums nearby or visit gurudwara bangla sahib simply to savor the ‘kada prasad’ with copious amount of ghee dripping from it. Being born and brought up in New Delhi, I have spent 23 years of my life here; So, one can simply understand my romance with the city.  However, now I feel petrified of it. The city is sweltering with pretense, rage and malice. People tend to lose patience at the drop of a hat. They will push each other aside without apologizing while walking on the road, there is unnecessary honking by people behind the wheel, too much of ‘middle-fingering’ , too much of testosterone oozing out of men and what all has happened in the city lately, a walk in the colony even at seven is jeopardizing to life. Everybody think that they rule the city; even the cleaning lady or the ‘ raddi wala’ will easily acquire the knack for terrorizing others. All that I have been doing since past few days while talking to my gal friends, is to request them to be safe and back home on time. I have been alone and completely on my own in different cities since past three years but never have I felt so scared of anything…Ghosts, perhaps ( :( ) but robbers, rapists, and frenzied people behind wheels…Never!!! As much as my parents are worried about me, I am equally worried about their well-being, given the city is zeroing in to mayhem.

Seriously, how ‘inappropriate’, ‘easy’ or ‘loose’ would a girl be to land in the arms of such perpetrators, to be subjected to such a heinous, abysmal act of brutality, a lucid re-enactment of all the psycho movies we saw in childhood. I have literally put aside my newspapers since past one week and didn’t read it, not because I didn’t have the time to read or was uninterested but because I didn’t have the nerve to read the painful ordeal the girl had gone through, raped and pulverized. In the city where people fly into a rage over spilled chicken tikkas and bumped cars, one wouldn’t expect anything else.

Like everyone else, I have been following news diligently and expectantly since past one week.  Lame statements by the government like “We are trying our best ”, ” we have daughters too.”, “ we will pray for her speedy recovery”  are like blows on every woman’s face.  To her, it can be roughly translated to, “Hey Lady!!! You
dress up smartly, stay out till late, are independent, hence, you shall be raped and shall be held responsible, directly or indirectly, for the consequences. And the prosecution of such perpetrators shall be so difficult; you will give up and go into exile. You shall be stigmatized by the society, no employer will ever take you back, no guy will ever marry you and you and your family will become social outcast. But we are giving you enough options:  poison, rope or pistol. Or maybe,  a slow, torturing death.”  The girl has been on ventilator since past one week, her daily dose of nutrients, aka “food” is given intravenously. The only food that she has tasted since one week is water or perhaps juice. There are talks of intestinal transplant, fast-track trial etc but those promises seem to have been put aside. The rape has been termed as “rarest of the rare” but government says that laws cannot be amended in a jiffy. So, what shall we expect? A few unscathed years in prison or the criminals let loose again because of no forensic evidence. On top of it, self-proclaimed reigning kings like baba ramdev emerge out of nowhere to gain public appreciation, by supposedly supporting the cause but creating digression and menace.  As usual, the opposing party will blame the ruling government for incompetence in maintaining law and order. And already, the whole issue is being replaced by other major public concerns like Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement and cricket matches. Is that the only level of social or political stir we can expect?

Whenever my colleagues threw accusations on my city, I would vehemently answer them back. Now I feel like a mother being paraded in front of the teacher and shown the red-marked notebook of her child; all that I can think of is my head hung down in disgust in front of the teacher.

I want to feel safe in my city again. I want to defend and support my “child” in front of the accusers. I want to experience pride on my day’s hard work at office after I reach home late rather than be scared of the lust-infested minds watching me on my way back, and most importantly, I want parents to feel happy and proud on birth of their girl child rather than feel terrified of her being subjected to this level of cruelty once she blossoms into a strong, confident woman. That is one of my ideas of a pristine, heaven-like place on earth. I hope that I wouldn’t have to wait for an “Armageddon” for something like that to happen.

Oct 10, 2012

After the rain...

Beautifully crafted umbrella with lacy border and pretty, cheerful flowers as the backdrop…one glance at it and I start missing monsoons. I couldn’t help buying it (and also the fact that my face has become ten shades darker than my body due to tanning). So, what’s with the dehradun monsoons? I have a love-and-hate relationship with them. And why not, when there’s daunting, bloodcurdling thunderstorms throughout the night, upturned umbrellas due to intense downpour, thick dirt splattered all over my clean jeans, getting stranded for hours in the middle of the journey and finally, broken sandals v/s umpteen cups of coffee at god-knows-what hours, frequent runs to the nearby samosa vendors, scenic splendor to the sore eyes, enthralling greenery at the backyard and needless to say, intoxicating monsoon fragrance wafting from the soil….

It surprises me how the basic elements of life: earth, water, air and fire can create the most spectacular natural wonders!!! No wonder we all have forgotten to lay back and enjoy all this as relaxation and rejuvenation seem to have become forbidden these days… There are umpteen times when I feel terribly homesick at dehradun but certain things always recompense the pain I go through:  clouds afloat so low that you can actually touch them, many mesmerizing rainbows in a row, vintage houses build on the distant hill tops, bike rides along the twisting contours of Mussoorie amidst the hushing trees and whistling winds, walking barefoot in the cool, gushing , crystalline river streams with my feet touching the cold, hard bed of rocks with an empty cola bottle in my hand, trying to catch the school of tiny , psychedelic-colored fish swimming past my feet, Little, cherubic kids with rosy cheeks and stout nose, perhaps from the villages straddling the hills, giggling at me ( and sometimes just for fun, hurling stones at me , :)  ) .

 No wonder that I suffer from serious adrenaline rush in monsoons as I feel utterly dreamy and romantic and wholly depressed to have nobody around to coo with. So, sometimes, I end up getting cosy inside my house, drinking countless cups of tea and watching random sitcoms or doing other random things on my laptop. My laptop, ah….it has literally become my only confidante these days and I get mind-numbingly anxious that I will end up marrying it one day. 

Countless times, these monsoons have spilled beans on my plans. Just the very moment I step out of my house to go out somewhere, clouds spew volumes of water on me. It is somehow similar to what you experience during the festival of Holi: kids from floors above throwing bucketfuls of water on you and shouting “Holi Hai!!!” in unison, only that it is worse when you are nicely dressed and ready to go out.  Even those huge umbrellas, big enough to give shelter to the entire DEAL colony, don’t do justice to the drenched souls during those days. So, in the next onset of monsoons, I am going to make a quick visit to the local shop and buy a raincoat (with ducks on them, to add more to fun) .

Nevertheless, monsoons at Dehradun also bring along their very own herd of natural terrors since Dehradun is an endless boulevard of natural diversity and home of myriad species of insects, reptiles etc. Just a few days back, I witnessed long, silvery snakes (alias nagaraaj) gyrating, just outside my office building, two days in a row. It was a long-awaited realization of my dream ever since I laid my foot on Dehradun and no, I don’t aspire for such things anymore!!! Another day, a big, fat pompous spider crept through my bedroom window and only I know how I ran for my life and straight into my mother’s outstretched arms!!! 

Now that monsoons have finally bid adieu to us and winters are almost impending, I am missing all the fun I used to have in the pretext of torrential downpour :( . Hehehe...., I have actually downloaded some sound clips of thunderstorms and rainfalls to soothe my heart-wrenched soul. Boohoohoo,, And I have only one thing left to say:

“Don’t be afraid to lose what was never meant to be
After the rain washes away the tears
And all the pain
Only after the rain
Can you live again…”-

After The Rain
Matthew & Gunnar Nelson / Marc Tanner / Rick Wilson

Aug 27, 2012

Consensual Writing- How social disapproval led to asphyxiation of my thoughts?

“I'm the one that's got to die when it's time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to.” 
 I always carried around this notion that since it is my blog, my page, I can write anything I feel like under the sun. To me my blog is my very own manicured garden where I can promenade as and when I like but where others are most welcome to come and take a stroll around. Lately, I had quite an interesting yet heated argument with a friend of mine over how important it is for us to write consensual, agreeable stuff…A stubborn soul I am, I prefer to blog anything by whose means, people can rendezvous with the real ‘me’, my thoughts, my contemplation. He gave an interesting insight, though: Blogs are passé now, they aren’t in trend anymore and nobody reads them, so, why keep making incessant efforts to update them? In turn, why this sudden urge to express your feelings when nobody wishes to hear them out.
With due regards, I love writing. Of course, I haven’t been blogging since quite long, to my own utter disappointment. Blame it on my work overload, my laziness or my habit of making excuses; I just couldn’t gather all my senses together to write. The actual reason beneath all this facade of excuses, perhaps, is the need for acceptance: The incorrigible need to write something which people would agree to or would not mock at… There are countless issues culminating in my mind about which I would have written in my blog: Relationships, workplace, future plans, needs, abandonment and desires. However, a candid account of such issues seems like a Herculean task to me. I have this innate fear that people would become aware of my fears, peeves, longings etc and I might end up becoming an outcast amidst my own people. Now, isn’t all this exactly conflicting to what all I had been blabbering about in the last paragraph!!!  Trust me, without any trace of diplomacy, I been too outspoken about my viewpoint, neat and crisp, positive and vicious, for certain people and things in the past. However, by the time, the story comes back to me; it is simply a twisted, nasty concoction of what I have told at first place. Weirder than this is the fact that people have this incurable prejudice bred in this heart which forces them to conjecture contradicting conclusions about me: I say something and they take it otherwise.
In my college time, I was very diligent and punctual when it came to updating my blogs…I would spend hours beautifying my blogs, thoughtfully choosing words, themes and applications to add “ chaar chaand” to my page. My elation level would reach soaring heights to find comments on my post each day. However, now blog is bawling like a baby, crying for some sort for revival, not in terms of how it looks but what it says: To speak my mind; to be forthcoming in terms of my viewpoint, to write or say things I actually mean and not what XYZs wish to read or hear…This might jeopardize my readership but I might rise an inch taller for my audacity in the eyes of my own herd of good friends . So, in the end, I dedicate this post to my dear blog...Here’s my toast to the new beginnings!!!