Black and White Semi Colons

Player a: Salesman, restless, worried, draped in sweat, hopeful and uncertain. Terminate.

Player b: Beggar, hardly dressed. Inactive limbs. Focus on next meal, vigilant of human behaviour. Helpless but creative. Denied of essentials but gifted of persistence. Indifferent of global warming, worried of the cold night. Terminate.

Player c: Prostitute, Undesired object of desire. Social stigma of undying social needs. An element of strength. Alone, un-pleasured, afraid, faces red, bodies black, hearts transparent. Terminate.

Player d: Middle aged woman, a mother, a wife, a daughter-in-law, a friend and a lot more. A life full of roles. A lost self, still has full meaning for herself. A dependent being, for survival, for recognition for existence. Terminate.

Player e: A girl in love girl, sparkle, spring, smile, ecstasy, wait, sweet pain, fiddling with time. Terminate.

Player f: Young kid. Naivity, clarity, faith, love and deep sleep. Nothing else, unadulterated smile and unfaltering belief in all. All questions, no answers. Terminate

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Player g: Hypnotized youth, energetic, powerful, blinded by misread faith, misinterpreting the rules of religion, ignoring the teaching, hatred, guns, bombs, blindness, pain. Terminator.

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Mumbai: Ajmal Amir Kasab, the Pakistani terrorist who killed scores of people during the attacks on Mumbai in November 2008, was on Thursday sentenced to death. “To be hanged by the neck till death,” said Tahaliyani after reading out each count.

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Game Over. Really?

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(Picture: Bangalore, Sameer Morey’s Flat)

I am still alive

13th September, 6.45 PM: I was with my parents at the crowded ISBT when I received a call from mausi, she sounded worried as Delhi faced a series of blast. There was a pinch of silence in my head followed by a brief hallucination of seeing ISBT getting blown up, and there I stood helpless, thirsty and sad. Scared, I am not sure if I was scared or not, but I was too numb for a lot of feelings.  I was not allowed to travel back that night to Gurgaon, and I was denied the opportunity to see Manchester United Vs Liverpool on TV (i know its sick and inconsiderate of me to do that anyways) as there were news from all over the blast places.

On my way back next morning, the atmosphere was calm, silent and nauseating. The tall, dark and handsome India Gate was in shock and so was Yamuna and Vikas minar at the ITO. All that while I was revising places. I was thinking about Ahmedabad, Kalupur, yes I had been there, not only once but many times. Then Mumbai, yes, I loved the local trains, and I so much love them today as well. Bangalore, Forum et al, what not have i seen, yes I have been there. And Delhi, I have been all over the place. I have visited all these places, time and time again, but that is not the only thing common in these ‘now’ historically important. They have all been shattered by bombs, killing many, leaving many physically challanged for rest of lives and thus changing the world for a lot of us.

I am unaffected, yes, I am alive, my family, friends, they are all alive, sigh! And thus sunday’s dinner at Pizza Hut was amazing, spirited away is such a wonderful movie, Pearl Jam – I love you eddie, you are the spark of my life. My beautiful life! Ah, my beautiful life, until I suffer that loss. I will wait.  This is sickening feeling, risking lives, creating divides and doing what not.

I don’t see much that we can do suddenly to make it all better, it is a huge and crazy country driven by politically defined desires and a powerful mob and clean shaved well dressed leaders. But for sake our lives we can try to keep our open and make sure that we put some value on our lives, take care of it by ensuring that we support all the checking procedures that happen in crowded places which are susceptible to blasts. We can assist those who are taking care of our security and we can question those who should but aren’t.  We can keep our eyes open. We can still keep ourselvess strong against the communal bias that these attacks aim to created. This is not the time to make stupid and irrational judgements against a whole community, this is the time to keep faith strong and make sure that all this isn’t converted in some communal riot.

And we can hope, we can hope that things will change for the better. Religion never preaches what is shaping up now, killing is not religion, nor is hating or giving pain.

Man has created all the religions, god just send us here with one religion – mankind.

Asmita – Asmita ki khoj mein

Venue : Indian Habitat Centre

Date : 31 May 2008

Time : 5 PM

Event : Asmita Group presents street play

It was a long Friday, stretched longer till Saturday morning in office, assisting Ankit in his work; 2 hours of sleep and up I went to greater Noida for some work with Prabhakar. Here goes the whole day. Tired and sleepy I request Prabhakar to visit IHC as we have Asmita group presenting street plays today, ah, street play, and I see those pictures in mind, kurtas, loud throats, social message, aggression, amazing actors, stunned audience, an observant director, many questions, few answers. Nostalgia, the word ‘street play’ triggered nostalgia.

Asmita

The stage was set, and then there was this explosion! The first street play talking about road safety had around 25 artists, and the sudden outburst of energy shook the awaiting audience. ‘Gaddi jaandi hai chhalanga maar dee, ho mainnu yaad aaye mere yaaar dee’, the play very subtly talked about how indifferent everyone is about road safety in a highly crowded city like ours and how we deny to take control of whole situation. Be it the drunk truck driver, politically shielded bus driver, a young biker or just one of us walking on the road, it makes no difference to us whatsoever, until we become part of the victim list. Lack of thought, that’s all, traffic is such a wonderful example of the great Hindustani instinct of ‘we can but we won’t’.

The second one was called ‘Rahul Boxer’, and displayed ego VS ethics, how all of us want to prove a lot of things all the time. That urge to win, to exceed, to leave the world behind, irrespective of the ‘how’, we keep aiming. It’s a different world these days, more competitive, more needs, more desires, higher aims, lower reasons! We are living it, kind of. This was done by a few novices, and considering this, it was wonderful.

The third one, again by a few other novices talked about a young rape victim, a ten year old school girl, who was raped by her tuition teacher. Time and time again, questions have been raised on the respect rape victims must receive from police, judiciary and the society, still many unanswered questions revoked. Let alone successful trials of rapists, I am not even sure if the number of rape cases registered are even a fraction of total rapes that happen in a society which feeds everyone with dignity and pride, teaches every man to walk with high head and broad chest. They say the world is nearing its end, I say it hasn’t yet evolved fully, and it’s still a man’s world.

Nukkad natak

The fourth and the last play again talked about violence again women, and primarily talked about eve teasing and domestic violence, about the grand male ego and their ‘needs’ from their woman. There are times when people compare American marriages to Indian marriages and feel proud that we have such a small divorce ratio, I believe that this isn’t something to feel proud about but to worry about. The main reason behind all this is lack of aggression from the females, their acceptance, and their diffidence! Things may be changing, and changing for the better, but even today, girls are fed with the thought that their husband will be their god, I never heard somebody telling a guy something even similar about his to-be. Had there been any more resistance and a little less acceptance from women, the divorce rate would get higher, but again the dependency matrix and the ethical grooming keeps them away from any revolts. Evolution is not even mid way.

Thanks to Asmita theatre group and Arvind Gaur jee for such a day. It leaves me sad at the end of all such events, thinking what am I doing? I know I am lazy but I know that if I keep looking I will find the way sooner or later, back to hunting!

What the … media!!!!

Every time there is an important news hovers around on our television screen, it give me an unavoidable muse to pen down some agitation on media, and now its high time for both media and my part to get it done. ‘Arushi Hatyakaand’ is all over the place on media. A teenage girl was suspiciously killed a few days back and police was investigating the whole issue. But the judiciary of this country has moved out of the courts and now stays in cameras owned by few television news channel and in mikes of few young (they call themselves) journalists and news reporters.

It is wonderful to see the rise of media in this nation, and I would say that it is good luck for both the media and the crowd that today media is so strong, but what is this strength being used to, where is the focus pointing towards. All the news are not presented as news or something which should help people one, get aware of what is going around in our surroundings and in wider geography, second, helping people, police and judiciary to arrive at conclusions which may help in solving tricky issues and third, awakening the crowd to the things they have been blind so far (certainly not the scare-them-all-sansani way). The focus is on handpicking news which can be converted into ‘stories’ (and this word is as literal as metaphorical here), adding a lot of drama in it, music effects and picture effects to a sense shaking effect (this is what we call technical advancements, futuristic technologies) and most importantly they are able to hit the market, they have their money, their advertisements, their viewers, and above all their TRP. Kudos, you are such winner in life.
And sadly enough, a tired day worker, a young school going kid and a frustrated housewife ‘follow’ these news closely with a presumably intense sympathy, which isn’t anything but sheer curiosity. And, no better example of the same but ‘Arushi Hatyakaand’, everyone wants to know ‘kya chal raha hai?’ with this story getting new twists and turn every now and then, everyone is so curious about every minute detail that is being investigated. This surely sets sky-high expectations for the police and others working on the issue.

The electronic media market has expanded like the universe, and there is no stopping to this big bang, this has openly called up for work force, a very large number indeed. And all this has been quite sudden from a nation’s point of view, but the nation has responded very well at one of the two layers of this need. Layer one, the people who are going out finding news, they are eager and jubilant people, got lots of energy and they want to use this adrenaline rush to very actively do whatever’s being told to them.  But, Layer two, the decision takers, the ones telling these young people to do what they are doing, where the hell have they drowned their brains. How do they come up with idea of showing ‘mera Khali ghar aaya’ or ‘Chhat par billi chadhee’, while you are doing all this, doesn’t this thought ever click you ‘what the fk am i doing?’, if one is so blind to the things he is doing himself, how do we expect him to be a sane eye which shows us the world.
Few of these news channels are giving a bad name to media and they need monitoring, journalism is still one of the most meaningful occupation one can get into, every day of your life adds value to this world, it is so different from something mundane like software engineering (come on diwakar don’t say that, you love your job, don’t you!!!), and with such an opportunity at hand if you let it go, its sad for both the giver and taker. But, this shall also pass by, as we know that ‘Change is inevitable’.

News Channel!

Losing sleep over your dreams

I so much wanted to do this, now and ever! Sit at the centre of a crowded mall and brainshit. And its a dream come true. Here I am, at select citywalk and its 3 PM on a Sunday and I sit alone talking to myself. I have been a little insomniac lately and I can feel it in my head. Here I am surrounded by people, many many many people, many colours many countries, many styles, many tastes, they are all there. But I have a feeling that all these different looking souls have one thing inherently common in them; they are all desultory. Purposelessly walking on the marble which would shine like a mirror, drinking coffees costing more than a poor family’s unconsumed meal for a day, spending easily minted money on senseless movies and coming out laughing but unsatisfied, or they could be just trying to beat the heat in this comfortable, breathe easy temperature when its killing hot outside. Whatever could be the reason, it is pretty much clear that there is no reason at all and thus we have this extraordinary centre of commercial and social activity blossoming with targets, read people.

This place is pretty well designed to titillate all the senses. Its so full of colours and beauty that one’s eyes can’t deny a sparkle, for men and women there is a lot of organic and inorganic pleasure muse available here. There is music all over the place, and there will be places where it is of your taste, if you have any descriptive taste in music, then on an average if you stay here for 2 hours you will definitely find 9.5 songs of your choice being played at different corners of this mall. No need to mention the aroma, everybody who enters here tries to make it pretty sure that he or she doesn’t become the reason for any aberrance, everybody smells good here and the rest is taken care by the air conditioners and the sweet smell inducers installed all over the place. There would be probably a million cuisines that you can find here, perhaps ever more. For an illiterate vegetarian foody like me, it is even difficult to understand more than thirty percent of stuff that is being served here. Anyhow, I would surely mind spending my easy earned money on things I am unsure about. Did I cover all the senses yet, ahh touch! That’s something you have bring with yourself, like most of them did here. Come with your girlfriend or boyfriend, stay close, giggle, cuddle and this is world we wanted to live in. For unwanted singles like me, nothing much that can be done, the total romantic happiness on earth is constant and with the way sex ratio is decreasing in India, it is expected to go down only.

Hmm, good to see the changing face of this country, to see this phenomenal emergence of the great Indian middle class, the greatest army the world has ever seen. Thirty Five crore of them constantly looking to change the face of this world, and all this possible only by an individualistically driven motivation of each one of them. I am so much a part of this pool, perhaps somewhere at the centre of it. At times trying to run away from it, loving it, hating it. But this has created a lots of hysteria and a lot of imbalance. People have started running a lot, wanting more, as everybody’s dearest and electronically omnipresent king khan would say “thoda aur wish karo”. So, here we have these 35 crore people running faster wishing more and loosing sleep over their dreams!!!!

It may all be good for the world, I would have no problems with dreams but the world must have some sort of balance to sustain all these dreams. As long as the kid who sleeps on a sever pipe gets food everyday and is happy about his life, as long as no farmer suicides because mother nature denied the most hardworking of her sons food, as long as the world of a girl is not forced to end in a womb, as long as no one in a far village dies of a mild fever only because he could not buy a crocin, as long as all this happens I will not find life gloomy inside these malls surrounded with great babes with deep cleavage and hot dudes with yo hair styles. Otherwise, this hysteria will keep haunting me, more because of my inability than their disinterest.

Thirty five crores of us, could we ask for a bigger number to make a difference. We could not, but we are free to make choices, isn’t this a great feeling to be born a democratic country which allows us to do what we want, at least it allows us not to do what we do not want, and we have decided not to do anything.

Cheers to our beautiful lives!

Ghalib

I have to now find out the real drivers that force me to write. Last time I blogged, it was kabir and now I can’t stop myself from typing a few lines about Mirza Ghalib. Thanks to the few songs sung by Jagjit Singh, I can say that I have some idea of the all time classic shayar Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan, or as we all know Mirza Ghalib.

Har ek baat pe kehte ho tum ki tu kya hai

tumhee kaho ke ye andaaz-e-guftagoo kya hai

Ragon mein daudte firne ke hum naheen qayal

jab aankh hi se na tapka to fir lahu kya hai

jala hai jism jahan dil bhi jal gaya hoga

kuredate ho jo raakh, justajoo kya hai!

I must mention that this guy is simply amazing. Almost all of his work was his depiction of love and his poetry was driven by the explanation of the beauty of his beloved, the pain of infidelity and the similar feelings. Of all his stuff that I know, this is the one I rate very high:-

Unke dekhe se jo aa jaati muh par raunak

woh samajhte hain ki beemaar ka haal achha hai 🙂

sabko maloom hai jannat ki haqeeqat lekin

dil ko khush rakhne ko ghaalib ye khayaal achha hai

In one phrase, he unfolds such bewildering truth of life, this mere achievement of packaging the reality with such subtleness and reality does amuse me. And it has been over-used after he wrote it down.

Hazaaaron Khwahishein aisi ki har khwahish pe dum nikle

bahut nikle mere armaan lekin fir bhi kam nikle

mohabbat mein nahi hai farq jeene aur marne ka

usee ko dekh kar jeete hain jis qaafir pe dum nikle

There isn’t much I can say about him. He is a legend.

Hai aur bhi duniya mein sukhanwar bahut achhe

kehte hain ghaalib ka hai andaaz-e-bayaan aur

Bhatak Maro Mat koi

“saat janam ke saat pher hain…saanp seedhi hai bhai….yam ka dand mund mein laaage, dharee rahe chaturai”

These are lines from a song called Kabira(Agnee) .From last 10 odd days I have been listening to Kabira and Sadho re from the same band and it just doesn’t leave me. After I have heard the song kabira for some 20 times I realize that I am not getting all the words, let me find out what is the media player singing. And I noticed this line, specially the second half of it – ‘yam ka dand mund mein laaage, dharee rahe chaturai’, and it gave me Goosebumps, I listened to it again and again and again, as it was constantly pulling me towards itself.

What is there in this one single line makes me feel so twitchy? Is it the words, is it the subject, is it the music that runs behind the words, is it the voice, is it the death scare, what the hell is this? While writing this I am still pondering over the possible answers to these questions. And the closest I can get is this:-

I feel that in spite of the ‘self-defined’ heights we reach, irrespective of the mammoth size we attain and the amount of achievements we grab, steal or earn, the inherent reality of our existence hides itself in the fact that we are still miniscule components in the over all scenario. Miniscule, when compared to space and to the time line on which we exist. Do we even need to give a thought to this, I can’t say.

The other song ‘Sadho re, ye murdo ka gaaon’ speaks about all this. It laments over the whole concept of death and it does it with eyes settled on the roads, in a market, in an office, in an apartment. It sees them all, walking, dancing and drinking fresh orange juice and vintage scotch. The song says it all, and the whole ambiance speaks it as well, only if one decides to convince his mind to open up for it.

‘kahe kabeer suno bhi sadho, bhatak maro mat koi’

Bhatak maro mat koi! The whole wail is not actually a wail. The meaning is clear, absolutely plain. The whole game of life, death and existence isn’t mechanical and meaningless. The noetic quest is the fuel, understand it! As long as one can fuel it with the urge to know about it, life is on, else, innumerable species of mammals, birds, reptiles and other creatures also respire, everybody got their mechanism, you have yours. And the famous 1960’s dialog ‘It’s all about the choices you make!!’.

Bhatak maro mat koi!

I found one more missing part of the jigsaw, Thanks Kabeer, you rock!!