Saturday, April 30, 2011
I am free…. in a way you can never be
and nothing can possess me;
I am free…. like sun is, and moon rather wished it was
along with the waves of eternity;
I am free…. from whatever you say or preach
of all the things you want me to see;
I am free…. of the very bonds you tie yourselves in
but draw a stupid smile or an ambiguous grin;
I am free…. for I can breathe as long as I want
as even death defies me;
I am free…. to commit mistakes as long as I live
to unlearn the lessons of cyclical mystery;
I am free…. by the power vested in my lines
a bit of stagnant lies and ample honest signs;
I am free…. neither nonsensical everything nor sensible nothing
accountable to none and no one to me;
I am free…. under the stress named society
as well as indignant expectations and future almighty;
I am free…. within me, within you, within we
free from freedom plus heavier words such as these;
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
Once upon a time, there was a boy named Boy who loved tomatoes. Fondness of food ain’t a human novelty but not everyone falls for a tomato. In fact, Boy took a shine at a very young age and grew up stealing them from kitchen, if urge demanded. However, he remained a fidel for a long time ahead. But fate believes in surprises. And how!
And before Boy could realize his penchant for slipping tomatoes, he had become an infamous klepto. And before he could fathom the extent of his kleptomania, he found himself in a crowded prison on charges of theft. And before he could do anything about anything, the jewels he burgled from a local store proved costly.
No one likes crowded place, and least of all, prisons. Not only are convicts struggling for oxygen and privacy, they are also stuck with each other’s incivility. Hygiene is a far-stretched idea in such banal existence. You are no more you. Personal identity is reduced to numbers and the days spent enclosed. Individuality suffers the loudest. Conclusion: Life in a prison sucks big time.
Boy often reminisced his school days and how promising he could have been had he made better decisions. He realized how everything has transformed right in front of his nose except for one thing – his appetite for tomatoes. He still craved that plump red piece of nature like anything. He thought life is not THAT bad. At least he thought so.
It seemed the prison authorities loved tomato more than Boy ever did. The reason being they employed the vegetable in almost all the meals they cooked and served. One might have called it a culinary potpourri of La Tomatina minus the funfare. Needless to say, Boy wasn’t complaining. He relished whatever the prison was dumping on his plate. He never displayed a smug face unlike his fellow prisoners. He never sulked at the excesses of tomatoes or at the apparent lack of choice. He was content with tomatoes and vice versa. Just like he thought, life is not THAT bad.
Well, that was about to change.
As time passed on, he was growing tired of loneliness. The ironical element couldn’t escape the presence of loneliness in a place full of people confined against their wish. He started missing his folks back home who hardly paid him a visit. Sleep was the toughest part. Nightmares were longer than the minutes he kept his eyes shut. Memories of carefree days kept replaying in his insomniac mind. Ergo, prison was growing on him.
Out of sudden, he found tomatoes repellent. Maybe it didn’t happen overnight but he surely got a hang of his co-prisoners’ opinions about prison food. His intense liking for it was now replaced by deep abhorrence. At least, others, despite their daily cussing against slammer order, ate what was laid in front of them on the table. Boy couldn’t. He blamed tomatoes all his misery. At last, he found a scapegoat who was responsible in making him what he was today. And it was rather impossible for him to consume his enemy.
Friday, April 8, 2011
Lately, there has been a huge hue and cry over corruption. No wait. I mean, a huge hue and cry AGAINST corruption. As if someone shook us from an age old slumber. The point is people have started talking about it instead of just being privy. We’ve got to start somewhere, right? Of course, we are not entirely against it. After all, it’s a way of life here. Not a place in this country is untouched by this menace. Everyone is equally responsible as it’s a walk-in party. In such scenario, having a voice matters. And that’s where Anna Hazare chips in. He has a clean-cut image and is a staunch Gandhian. His call to the nation to rise up and fight against corruption is centered on the introduction of Jan Lokpal Bill. As of now, he’s on a hunger strike and won’t budge until the govt meets his (read: our) demands.
It sounds like a bit unusual for India, doesn’t it? Straight out of an inspirational movie! Well, it’s a sign of things to come. Whatever unfolds in the coming days is going to be an interesting episode of our post-independence history. On the funnier side, people are getting caught up in the brouhaha. They are frantically forwarding mails and SMSes supporting Hazare, liking Facebook pages dedicated to the *cause* and tweeting incessantly. Now, there is nothing wrong with feeling revolutionary once in a while. As one can sense, the Middle-Eastern rebellion is in the air and masses are bound to be lured by its call. Better stand up for something than not do nothing at all. Fair enough. Can’t debate with such pragmatism. But the trouble doesn’t lie in the passing of that hopeful Bill. It lies somewhere else.
If you think about it, corruption is just a stupid idea. Like most other things, it begins and ends with you. The ferocity with which it is practiced depends on the scale of power one holds. It’s like a business, not barter. All the parties involved are fully aware of the reach of their action as well as the consequences of their inaction. The purported Bill will certainly help in bringing the more powerful party to question. It’s more like obstructing the bigger cog wheel of an engine. You stop it and the smaller cogs don’t exist anymore. For the time being, that’s the logic. And that’s precisely also the reason why it’s garnering such lethargy from the corrupt idiots we elected all the way to the Parliament.
Now, the question arises: Will this Bill bring a round about change in our daily functioning and eradicate corruption once and for all? The answer is simple: No. Remember the Right to Information Act? Does every Indian make the best possible use of it? Or, is every Indian even aware of the kind of reach it vests in them? Or the number of RTI activists who were murdered thanks to their altruistic whistleblowing? Exactly. That’s what I’m trying to put forward here. These are basic doubts that have to be part of the anti-corruption Bill curriculum, too. The fact remains that Bills, legislation and eventual laws do very little to change an ugly picture like ours.
The onus falls squarely on the society. The kind of principle an offspring is imparted with is what makes a difference in the long run. Virtues like honesty, punctuality and humanity should be the cornerstone of change. Yes, we should be glad that citizenry is at top gear with people gathering and emulating Hazare’s fasting methods. That’s a good omen for a society which has nurtured selfish individuals for years now. Perhaps we’ll have our own version of Egypt or Tunisia soon. But then, corrupt babus are pretty keen on carrying forward the tradition of failure, without fail. So we’ve got to create a barricade against them. If you don’t indulge in the payment or reception of bribe, you’ve done your part. That’s that.
Speaking for myself, I'm trying to connect the dots between my hesitancy in standing up against corruption and a noble old man's insistence on fighting with hunger. Hopefully, I shall get somewhere someday.