Friday, August 29, 2008

Where democracy has no meaning

There are identities we walk with everyday; beliefs, faith that our life depends on and around which our psychological framework is built. We believe them to be true, whether or not we can prove them, whether or not we bother to find proof.

Like the one that says ‘I’m a part of a secular country’ – Yet we refuse to listen when a muslim woman is raped in Gujrat or when a woman missionary is burnt to death in Orissa. Another one that says ‘India is a peace loving country’ – We refuse to believe that India sponsors terrorism in other countries just like they do in ours.

As Indians, we wear our peace-loving badge so proudly that we shun any show of aggressiveness by another country as atrocity. And yet, we will go ahead and state on record that Tibet is China’s internal issue and India will not interfere. Did that make you cringe? Did you hope – just a tiny tiny bit – that as a country you had, instead, condemned China? On the other hand, we did accept China’s applauds on our stand and continued to wear our peace-loving badge as if nothing really happened.

Oh well, why should we condemn it in the first place? That would expose our double standards now, wouldn’t it? On one hand we have occupied a territory we have no business being in, we have converted a beautiful valley into one of the world’s highly militarized zone, we have destroyed the independence and peace, committed atrocities against three generations of Kashmiris… So much so that the Kashmiris have loud and clearly (or in India’s own words to China – clear and consistently) told us that they would rather be a part of poor and economically under-performing and military ruled (and in our opinion terrorist) Pakistan rather than prosperous, ‘generous’ (the way we believe) and of course ‘peace loving’ secular India. Now - we definitely do not have the right to speak against or condemn another country when right next door we commit the same crimes on an everyday basis.

Arundhati Roy writes very eloquently and in her own landmark style in this cover story for the Sep1, 2008 edition of Outlook. ‘AZADI’ screams the cover page and the sub-title for the article goes thus: ‘It’s the only thing the Kashmiri wants. Denial is delusion.’ The article hits you below the belt, squashing every delusion you’ve had as an Indian. Brace yourself – for we are no less inhuman than the Chinese soldier against the non-violent Tibetan demonstrator or the Nazi follower against an unsuspecting Jew or the Chechen rebels against innocent Russian children.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Being me

I know; it’s been a while. It’s just one of those phases that turn you reclusive, if not anti-social. It’s been more almost two weeks and I haven’t stepped beyond a kilometre from the home. Yesterday, a few girls around the block got together for a movie. I’m usually the one to jump at the opportunity of socializing and getting together; instead, I took a rain check on it. There are umpteen phone calls on my to-do list: friends who are visiting the country, newly made friends, vacations waiting to be planned, friends I left behind and never called, a long lost friend I met on Orkut, brother-in-law, school friends, ex-colleagues... There are books waiting to be renewed: Yes, I'm still stuck with Lynne Truss and her semi-colons; there’s one book I haven’t even opened yet and it’s past its due date; another that seems to serve solely as a sleeping pill. There are mails begging to be replied to: I’ve starred them, red-starred them and exclaimed them too – nothing’s worked. Then there are friends who keep buzzing me on chat. Even visits to the super-market have been sporadic; the campus store, in spite of all its shortcomings, seems just sufficient. I let go of the opportunity to go to (the absolutely amazing!!) Q-Mart over the weekend. I’ve even been putting off those weekly meetings at the professional body that I’m a member of.

It’s not reclusive in a depressing way; I perfectly love it, in fact. Sitting down to work; looking out of the window; and watching the world go past. Standing in the balcony; watching the rain trashing; and sipping a hot cup of tea. Looking at a blank canvas sheet and imaging the colors on it. Cooking up a dish and listening to my ‘200 best songs’ playlist. Watching a movie all by myself; and munching away some ‘chilli-surprise’ popcorn. Taking a walk around the campus; holding hands with M and not saying a word.

Like all good things must come to pass, one of these days I will shake off my reclusiveness; till then… let me be.