Click here: Sown deep
This would be my last one here. Or the second last, technically. I would like to snap all ties with my beloved blog. For reasons more than one. Stealthily shall I bypass them. For me, this blog has been a forum for confessions slightly hidden away from the regular eyes hovering on popular podia like Facebook. Like books are to be kept in a shelf different from medals, ideas and thoughts of different shapes and sizes have their own place. This blog has been a source of immense joy for me ever since its inception, two years back. Probably two autumns is too short a life for any blog. But as theists would agree, the creator has authority to end one’s creations. If I ever feel like, I could give it fresh life, which at present I intend not to.
The purpose of a blog, as I discovered, could be manifold- but never the same as maintaining a diary. A blog need not be a chronological account of events. Instead, it could, as in my case, be back-and-forth trips down some cherished memory-lanes or dark alleys. Sparks from the past and speculations about the future merged into the present as my keyboard in close association with my fingers gave expression to the blood gushing between the heart and the brain. I tried not to “publicize” my blog as far as possible but I confess that the visitor meter ticking away faster than I would expect charged me with a “feel-good” factor and spurred me to my next post. I really do not know how people from Philippines or Madagascar or Turkey ended up visiting my page. I do not even know if this information is accurate. Still, blogger managed to keep me happy with these little rewards. Comments from random strangers and friends who I thought stopped reading my posts (to keep up with their busy schedule or in protest against my compromise of quality of posts in favor of quantity) cheered me up in the gloomiest of times. Thank You for all these.
Well, the blog had its “other” advantages. Like being member of popular blogger networks such as the Indiblogger and thereby being part of its very interesting meets where besides getting to know other bloggers, one has the privilege of having a sumptuous dinner or high tea at a posh Delhi hotel where otherwise one’s entry, as in my case on account of my tattered countenance, would have been prohibited! Add to that, this blog fetched me an award (hotel coupons and in turn a trip to Agra!) which I would relish for quite some time.
It is never easy to desert something which you’ve nurtured with such care. But “time” dictates me to take a prudent call on this. The memories attached with this blog better be interred right here (I can only hope) as I prepare to steer my life to a road probably remarkably different from the one I traversed so far. For those who want to come with me to the next ride, hopefully you’ll be less disappointed since I plan not to compromise on quality ever again. As I contemplate on how best I could transit my blog to a different place with a different name, which is to be announced shortly, I take your leave.
Thanks for following, reading, commenting, sharing, bookmarking, admiring and believing!
Panting haplessly inside a dark tunnel,
A boy in shorts wants to make it to the end
Before the punctual rail engine breathes out fire,
Crushes him to his pyre.
Is it the star, down at evening,
Generous and timid- its red laser
Or the butcher train and its burning yellow?
Frightened, he runs for life towards the light-
For he was told light was knowledge.
The science of probability, common sense-
All pointed to the exit,
The exit welcoming- either honest or satanic;
He'd never know which one,
Unless he reached there.
For education is important,
It is with pride I have received them,
Advantaged at birth, inequity's the game;
Sailing across for a place in the hall of fame,
Literacy for many or varsity for a few-
Who is to blame?
For education is important,
Plush jobs that follow, albeit dull, chased us;
All busy to board the already crowded bus,
Shoving the elderly co-passenger to win a better seat,
To disembark at the next stop-
To tell the world of our feat.
For education is important,
It was prudent to have a working filter,
That'd shun the waste and out of the gutter,
They're convinced that was better for the greater-
For they never thought that the best would someday
Join hands to write a letter-
“For education is important,
We lions saved it for us, let the cows munch on grass,
Extracted the gold, left the brass,
You might call us crass, we'll let those comments pass-
We built hospitals, invited patients over,
Without employing a nurse!”
The prayers had long receded
Into foul alleys of Oblivion or Karma's bliss,
Half-shut eyes, unprejudiced,
That demanded evidence of His,
Inquiring of the boy- deceased.
The white cloaked priest, the saffron saint
All resigned to 'Thee',
Your wishes, your want- they chant-
Tell 'em to open their eyes and see,
Breathe the air of logic and not lament.
Some complained it was his past life,
Others spoke of his parents' misdeeds;
How would I influence my fortune,
One that would be reaped by others' seeds?
Would I choose to work
If it were to be evaluated not any soon?
Prayers, albeit fewer, have golds flourishing,
The stakes are high, hopes diminishing;
You gotta respond before it's late,
Before they stop invoking your name.
It is perhaps impossible to shut one's ears to the public protests going on all over India, and Delhi in particular, in response to the medieval act of brutality meted out to a young lady and her friend. Impossible, unless you are the Prime Minister of this country, or so say some. I would rather say that the Home Minister and his likes have been responsive to the situation in all the wrong ways; unresponsiveness probably would have served somewhat a better purpose. (The last statement was made out of an inherent respect for Dr. Singh's above-the-average academic achievements and not for his failure as the leader of world's greatest democracy.)
I am not here to discuss what the Government should or shouldn't have done. Having studied in a public university, I am well aware of how government officials are expected to react in such turbulent times that hurt their slumber; as a rule of thumb, this is what they do: buy time! This is not difficult to see given that the mass suffers from 'short-term' memory. We've seen that in recent cases of protest against corruption and in the past, during protest against reservations. The current rage is all-pervading, except that it is likely to die down very soon, that the media now already has other breaking news such as Sachin's retirement from one-day cricket or more ridiculously, the success of Dabangg-2. This is not surprising, especially because the ones protesting are driven more by passion and less by thoughts. Let us assume the ideal situation where as a result of the huge participation in the nationwide protests, the case is fast-tracked and all the accused are sentenced to death. The country will rejoice, come down to streets and the media will be somewhat relieved at not having to figure out what would feature on their cover page that particular day. What would hurt me most is that my Facebook news feeds would be flooded by the same status updates, slightly varying in some cases, some teary-eyed, others full of pride. Case closed- until the modesty of another woman is outraged the very next night.
Some people complain that the Government has been too complacent about the way it carries out its duties, others say that the policemen are worthless pot-belly haggards, good only at accepting bribes. True, to a large extent. But I still fail to understand how an efficient policeman would have been able to prevent the crime in this country of ours. How would a policeman know what's going on inside a moving bus? Does one realize how many cops are required to keep a firm vigil on all vehicles- public and private- moving across just Delhi, with so few security cameras at our disposal? One might call the Government's failure to install security cameras a total disappointment. But unlike popular road-signs “accident-prone area”, one does not expect anything called a “rape-prone area”; atrocities such as these could occur in the remotest corner of Rajasthan to the posh locale of Mumbai. Does a government go about installing CCTVs everywhere? Even with an incorruptible system and higher taxes deducted from your salary (which again has the potential to start a fresh round of protest!), this would still not be feasible.
As has been oft said, punishing the criminal serves no purpose unless you look carefully where exactly are things going wrong. When people say “hanging” the criminal would deter others from doing the same crime again, think again. I can readily provide the example of Dhananjoy who was hanged for the same crime, after his mercy plea was rejected by the then President of India, Dr. Kalam. Probably it 'brought justice to the girl' and her family, as they were quoted to have said. But justice wasn't brought to the millions of women who come so close to have escaped a similar fate as that girl, every day. Most readers would by now be thinking that I am here to discuss that there's no solution to this problem. Well, there is. Investigate further. How does one decide whether or not to commit a particular crime at any give moment? Since I am neither a criminal myself (really, believe me or not) nor a Sigmund Freud, my vision is limited. But from what I understand, there has to be some spur- a catalyst- some lightning-fast life-altering decision driven by an unsettled mind, wanting to break free of certain customs fettered by one's upbringing. What they lack at that moment is perhaps control of the self.
Education, I would argue, largely takes care of this problem, except in certain physiological cases. By education, I don't mean literacy. Literacy certainly forms the big chunk in education and could help curb these crimes to half the current number. I cannot but agree with Shashi Tharoor when he points out that if there has to be one solution to all the problems in this society, it must be: Educate the girl child. By educating the girl, we are educating not one person, but a family. An educated mother would mean informed decisions, better family-planning and broader outlook that would disseminate to her children (both male and female). Educated families would mean an educated society. An educated society would mean greater respect for women and reduced crimes- not just against women. It would also mean not accepting dowries which, as one of my seniors rightly pointed out on Facebook, originates from the same misfortune (or so shall we say) of considering women as “objects”. It is thus no surprise, as Amartya Sen argues, that the states of Kerala and the North-eastern states, which have an above-the-Indian-average literacy rate, registers extremely few cases of crime against women while states such as Uttar Pradesh presents horrific statistics. An interesting point to note here is that abundance of wealth has no role to play in this context. An opulent state like Punjab or Delhi could be put to shame by the poverty-stricken Nagaland, if their statistics of crimes against women were to be compared. While there is no comparison as to which states are better and which are not, there certainly are lessons that the rest of the country can learn from the so-called disadvantaged states; they deserve utmost respect and applause, simply because they need not drive Audis to learn and respect the basic principles of living in a human(e) society.
Fate that resigned to faith,
While overcoming both sloth and mirth,
Birds that guide me to silent hills,
And bards goad me for a thousand drills,
Prepares me for the uniqueness
In acceptance and in rejection-
For I don’t have to ask for rewards,
Which are preserved in a covert safe,
Securely hidden from the searching eyes,
Just for me, at the end of the weather
I embark to brave.
Over the last two years of my stay in the Delhi-NCR region, I have, along with my friends from my native state, been overwhelmed by the differences in culture that exist between the two regions. The difference is sometimes surprising and at other times shocking. One of the many conflicts that succeeded in evoking “shock” in me is definitely ‘parenting’. Although I have literally no access to any of the households in my current neighborhood, the observations on the road or the playground, to an extent, enable me to sum up the attitude of the young parents of this generation.
Every evening, when I return from office, I see parents- the father and/or the mother (in most case, a mother) - pushing their children around in a perambulator. Certainly, while the gentle breeze in the evening is the closest today’s children get to, to be part of Nature and the temperature at dusk might just be conducive to the baby’s health, there is something else that worries me. Consider a couple of scenes from my daily observation:
1. The mother chats with her friend over the mobile-phone, while driving the carriage around. She is not to be blamed because pushing a carriage around for an hour or a half isn’t the most interesting job in the world; ennui drives her to play with the keys of her smart-phone. She might as well stop to talk to a neighbor physically- a welcome break in the baby-carriage marathon!
2. The lady is lucky to have her husband with her, while pushing the child around; so, she has someone to talk to by her side. The couple enjoys a nice evening-walk, while also taking care of the ever-widening waist size. Dual purpose served! Other purposes might also include buying grocery.
Now, in each of the above scenarios, I haven’t talked about the baby- who should have been our prime focus. What does the little thing do all this time? Doesn’t it get bored? Does it “learn” all this while? Does it ‘evolve’? How does it react to the external world i.e. outside of his/her family?
I get a feeling that these are not important questions for the young parents of today. Educated that they are, MS-Excel troubleshooting allures them more.
Recently, I saw a couple traveling in a rickshaw (i.e. a tricycle). For those who don’t know, rickshaws here have a front seat that accommodates two people and faces in the direction of travel; there is another seat at the back which faces the opposite direction. The couple I am referring to was sitting on the front seat and the child was made to sit at the back, which essentially means that the couple was sitting with their backs facing the back of the child. The kid was definitely not more than four years old. The father was holding his son with one hand; all the while busy gossiping with his wife as the child precariously held a rod to support him, while questioning my gaze!
If I compare the situation with the kind of parenting I have received or observed in the area I come from, the difference is a wide gulf. A pram is something I rarely see there, one of the many things I don’t miss. The advantage of living in a simple middle-class neighborhood is that mothers do not need to worry about spoiling the paint on the face and can keep their babies close to the bosom. That way, I believe, albeit not supported by any scientific study, babies feel safe and comfy. And comfort partly is a result of this safety. After all, you won’t feel comfortable sitting in a BMW, with a gun held against your head!
Moreover, the child learns from it being in the parent’s arms more than it would in a lonely well-decorated carriage. This is precisely because it can now observe more closely with its cute little eyes, try to comprehend the way parents talk, react to a situation or laugh at a joke. Certainly, the baby might not be cognizant of all these aspects and emotions, but unconsciously acquires ‘experiences’ from the world, continuously adding to its kitty bricks that are vital to the building of a human being. The kind of perambulators used here prevents eye-contact between the child and the parent for most of the time. The touch of a parent’s skin is always the most assuring one; they constantly nourish me with courage and confidence and propel me to strive to reach the zenith to this day. Surely the babies of today miss them!
The attachment between parents and children is extremely important in deciding what the child grows to be. To strengthen this bond, my view is: parents, especially mothers, should care less often about whether the baby would wet the clothes or louse up her make-up; instead she should pick the little-one up in her arms, throw it up in the air and catch it back while it falls, to make it realize where refuge exactly resides. Also, it’s always a better idea not to bore the child because it still can’t indulge in philosophy; instead one should let him/her participate, laugh at the innocent toothless giggles and respond to him/her. And although the parents might be doing that at home, there’s no reason why they should behave differently when outside!