Monday, July 31, 2006
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Lately, the rather amazing coverage of Prof. Matuknath, his lover Julie and wife Abha, served as fodder for many a conversation. Then came along the sorry tale of Manoj Prabhakars second wife and his two kids despite the presence of a first and her 18 yr. old son. Udit narayan, the singer whose voice has been associated withh Shahrukh, was caught dodging the press when his first wife showed up in front of the media to expose that he had deserted her and had married again.
Laxity of moral values or a complete turn around? Down the ages man has been a predator. However civility demanded monogamy. Therefore he was forced to adhere . Marriage played little or no role in curbing the instincts so deeply ingrained. But till a while ago, shame facedness, societal pressures, kept behaviour of the kind under wraps. Either an ever inquisitive media, its need to expose and ‘break news’, or then that the incidents have taken on a frightening regularity and impunity in their stance and attitude, but as of now, it seems sadly ubiquitous.
Have our folks from good ole Bollywood set a trend, which at the time may have caused an uproar, but now has served as a license if not a path breaking example? Dharmendra, Boney Kapoor, Aamir Khan (before the divorce involvement with the british girl and present wife) Saif ali Khan,off the cuff examples. There sure are a lot more, even if one leaves out the Muslim actors who by virtue of their religion invoked permissions have almost always adhered by this tenet of more than one wife, disregarding any other to do with Virtuousnesss.
What has emerged from this rather painful turn of events are two attitudinal changes, to do with the man and the woman.
First, the man it seems has openly declared his right to ‘love’ another, live and raise kids, with impunity, with total disregard to laws and judiciary. Several loopholes and lacunae, in our antiquated civil code totally in the dock here. Encouraged that the wife, at the mercy of a judiciary therefore who would in all probability squeeze her dry financially, emotionally and physically before even a semblance of justice is accorded to her, is a pawn in the hands of a patrarchal system and lethargic judicial and social structure.
Second, the woman notwithstanding, the round about route of justice, has decided to speak up and bare her sorrow via the media to the world at large. She has decided brazenly to give back as good as she gets. The unreasonability of hiding behind the confines of her domesticity in the name of ‘shame’ dignity’ propriety’ is not an alternative any more. If the sacrosanct institution of marriage has been thus trampled upon and abused by the man, then what good for the woman to morally hang on to threads of a bond, long severed?
Where will this lead us is anybodys guess. Either the denotation of marriage will have to undergo a radical re-definition. Or, marriage as an institution will fail to attract the coming generation as one which spelt, ‘settling down’ or ‘home making’ in its essence..
The writing is on the wall. Relationships are in a stage of transition. Whether or not it will eventually prove to be a wiser, practical and therefore viable resolution, is too early to predict.
A paradigm shift is taking place .. I for one, am saddened. Why is it so difficult to be committed in one's decision and flexible in one's approach?
On a different tangent:Does not the woman have a right to love another and hinge her claim to 'independence' irrespective of a home, marriage and kids? Sure.. What would be the end result then, if women decide to exercise their right in the same proportion as men do? Is the rearing of kids pre-dominantly a womans responsibility? Does the father forego his duty to provide a home, safe and secure for his children, the moment he 'is disenchanted' with his wife or enchanted with another? Does not moral uprightness fall within the ambit of responsible parenting? Will the sons/kids from such a marriage grow up to be dependable responsible adults, capable of living up to standards of a progressive civilised society?
This is not about divorce, incompatibility, or instances when separation is not only the way out but also advisable. It is also not about a marriage where all limits of propriety have long been forsaken and divorce the only option.
This is about disloyalty, bigamy , adultery! This is about sounding the death knell of 'marriage' in its universally accepted connotation. This is about putting ones needs before those of ones family. This is about arm twisting a womans lack of standing as an individual worth consideration. This is about overriding desires getting the better of wisdom and righteousness. This is about decadent moral values in a rotting festering society worshipping novelty over steadfastness. This is about proving once again that among all the creatures on the planet, man is the most unreliable and undependable. This is about defence of ones actions blatantly under the guise of "love" for another girl, younger than your son. This is about giving lust the name of 'soulmate' and demeaning a marriage of 26 years as a 'compromise'.
This is also about a warning to males and females to re evaluate ones priorities in the baclground of a harmonious ,just and fair world. Where 'Love' is a reason to make not break. Where passion is not a virtue if it dictates immorality. Where control over the base instincts is the Reason for marriage. Where your mettle as a human being is evaluated mostly on how you conduct your self as a man, in your role as father, husband, son and benefactor. Where curbing of ones passion is the key to being recognised as a successful balanced human being. Where both partners pledge and vow that committment is the basis of their relationship. Where marriage is a 'choice' agreement entered to with the aim of fulfillment and respect of its attributes.
The world is stricken by terrorist activities. Who are these terrorists? Are they results of a broken home? Neglected childhood? After all they are humans, not aliens? They belong to our society. Is not the barbaric act of a husband who burns his bride, tortures her, demeans or betrays her, also not an act to terrorise another?
Its time we deal with injustice at all levels. There seems to be no dearth of atrocities within and without.
P.S. A generic stance had to be adopted for the sake of feasibility. There are several males who are lovable, monogamous, loyal, honest, committed..(on orders from a highly disgruntled hubby)
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
One wishes that this kind of alacrity and adeptness had been displayed in arresting terrorists and their nefarious activities, this past decade or more. Thousands upon thousands of innocent lives would have been saved. The humiliating juncture of having to curb/stifle the voices of well meaning citizens would not have arisen!
That the masterminds behind this censorship have failed miserably in pre-empting , planning and execution, yet again, is plainly evident from the fact that nothing has stopped me from writing and deterred you from reading the present post. If terrorism be a hydra headed monster as oft repeated, then the voice of righteousness can boast of the same if not more. Despite subscribing to the wisdom of compassion, patience, tolerance generally, this is one war Indians are willing to fight till the end.
A seemingly innocuous visual of a dappled railway map of Mumbai, indicating the blast sites, in reality speak of a horrendous massacre, which has to be the last of its kind in Mumbai, India and the world. In the war between Good and Evil, our scriptures decree success for Good..lets ensure it, once and for all.
The rationale behind this censorship is allegedly an attempt to curb terrorist communication, however ridiculous that may appear, especially considering that the bullet has left the gun. But also how does one then understand the interception of the BBC/NEWS HAVE YOUR SAY page which dealt with Mumbal blasts??
So , in other words when POLITICAL WILL is present even a daunting task of censorship to this level is made tangible. Whilst the absence of it has nurtured/harboured/encouraged terrorists to have sway over India.. to the extent of conducting proxy warfare, as and to their whim. If the powers who be think that they are pulling wool over our eyes by pledging innocence, then they are at best deceiving themselves into believing that the public is a bunch of jokers they can manipulate.
It beehooves one to claim with certainty that those who could have averted the MASSACRE of the train blast were either not allowed to perform their jobs with a free hand OR that it entailed a section of elitist individuals to be embarassed by the revelations which emerge. Either way it was the commuter, man, woman, child who was found lying dead, maimed, ripped apart, on platforms and tracks.
This incident has once again proven beyond all doubt and unreservedly that statements such as 'caught off guard' and 'despite best efforts' or such like by the officials are not as jejune as they appear. It is clearly a case of the Intelligence or those responsible, not having lived up to the challenge of providing Mumbai, the city with the highest tax payers and the economic hub, the security it DESERVED.
What gains can accrue from censorship at this stage is not only a fruitless exercise to analyse but an infuriating one as well.
If anything, the terrorists, languishing in jails for the past 14 years, cleverly manipulating the lacunae of the Judicial system and its laxity, should be publicly flogged. Where is the justice in providing justice to those who have broken every law
with impunity and irreverence? Justice, innately connotes, that the guilty be brought to book and the innocent be avenged. How can justice apply to those who punish the innocent and serve the guilty???
India has become a laughing stock, by virtue of dealing shabbily and ineffectively with the growing menace of terrorist and their activities. A phenomena which could have been snuffed out at the initial stages itself with finality. The shaming incident of a foreigner raped in Jaipur, captured the indignation of the citizen of India who spared no effort to raise a hue and cry in demand for justice. Within 15 days, the guilty was arrested, indicted and sentenced with life.
Now juxtapose this on a scenario where the convictions for those arrested for bombings of 1993, have been either freed for lack of evidence or are yet in jail, for the last 13 years, enjoying the snails pace of Indian judiciary which is adopted in cases where clout commands proceedings. Either that or the fact that the Judiciary is not as independent as averred. The Legislature,Political Officialdom has handcuffed Justice.
EXEMPLARY PUNISHMENT to the accused is the CRY of the hour. A signal needs to be sent out loud and clear to those who harbour plans of spreading carnage in India that we do not take kindly to insurgency. That heads will roll, if need be. That fighting against terrorism is the number one priority on our list . That progress will not and cannot be stalled . That an enemy will be hounded, and caught, no matter who its benefactors. That U.S.A. prove its uprightness by stopping supply of arms to China and Pakistan. That Pakistan stop shielding terrorists w.e.f NOW!!
Because India has risen!
This story is on NOW PUBLIC-EXCLUSIVE..whether or not my site is accessible to he readers is unknown, since I have to go by a proxy server as well.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Thereafter,how one wishes to categorise ‘opinion’ is essentially unimportant. Consider the words:, view, sentiment, feeling, belief, conviction, persuasion.. all narrow down to opinion.. is it not? Following this , usage merely relegates into a matter of justifications.
Do we consider our opinions an extension of ourselves? Is that why a contrary belief rattles us so? Are they..opinions,I mean.... truly a reflection of our inner being? Or a perception of the world and its issues we THINK we recognize and understand.
With the passage of time, our limited senses with their limited scope for assimilating data, and limited capacity to analyzing it, receives a further blow when all that we had vociferously declared, suddenly seems all wrong and undone. How many can own up then and proclaim categorically that a foul up has occurred?
No sleepless nights for a politician nevertheless, should a totally contrasting opinion need be expressed, a few hours later. If you choose to take his words as Gospel, its your naivete which needs to be put under the scanner.
The reason for this ramble is the almost ubiquitous display of provocative averments, angry outbursts, personal attacks, in the name of ‘opinion’ which pollutes even the most innocent of writings. Alas!!
Why is it important for some to have their beliefs validated, substantiated, accepted, corroborised, imbibed by ALL? Is it a phobic obsession? Or lack of self-esteem? Is Terrorism only another manifestation of this obsessive compulsive disorder?
Its not what we say that finally matters. But what we have become. The choice is ours. Pursue our ‘opinion’ to the last, irrespective of consequences or alternatively leave that for the lesser humans and pursue ‘OURSELVES’, in search of truth within.
It goes without saying.. My opinion is final on this:)
Friday, July 14, 2006
by Rabindranath Tagore
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection:
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is lead forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action—
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
“Lashkar-e-Taiba operative Mushir Siddiqui (37), arrested by the Anti-Terrorist Squad in January this year, had given his interrogators specific details of LeT’s plans to cause explosions on the city’s railway network.
Siddiqui, currently lodged in Arthur Road jail, told ATS officials in May that ten LeT sleeper cells in the city were awaiting orders to carry out explosions on local trains and buses.
Once the cells received orders, they would break themselves up into various modules and perform a ‘major operation at crowded places,’ he had said and identified the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) as a likely target. Also, the cells would avoid using car bombs and instead carry explosives in nondescript objects that would not arouse suspicion, he had noted. This paper reported in its noon edition yesterday how terrorists had carried the explosives in tiffin boxes.Lashkar-e-Taiba operative Mushir Siddiqui (37), arrested by the Anti-Terrorist Squad in January this year, had given his interrogators specific details of LeT’s plans to cause explosions on the city’s railway network.
Siddiqui, currently lodged in Arthur Road jail, told ATS officials in May that ten LeT sleeper cells in the city were awaiting orders to carry out explosions on local trains and buses.”
Despite this information given in JANUARY, why have the blasts taken place.. is the question plaguing our minds. Now that it is official, that LeT, SIMI and their newest modules are those responsible, as had been posted, in the first instance, the conundrum remains. Since Rdx, in huge quantities had been found in Gujarat and other places over the last few months, it had done nothing to stir the Intelligence out of its stupor of inertia.
It certainly does not help when Police commissioner A.N.Roy quips "We were caught off guard"..Does the police have a right to be unwary, complacent or off guard?
A discussion with personal contacts, highly placed, and news channels, certain disturbing truths have emerged.
The ATS (anti terrorist squad) and the Crime Branch have been at loggerheads for the past few YEARS. In a country where the two chief arms of security have a total breakdown of communication, what, in the name of security is offered to citizens is what happened on Black Tuesday!
Corruption is rampant even in the highest cadres of intelligence units , Whom does one trust?
The anti-terrorist act which would have granted teeth to investigative agencies and concerned officials, was never allowed to see the light of the day, and repealed even as a bill. Why? Who profits from this repealment?
What has the administration learnt from the carnage, or rather mass murdering of 7/11? If one is to go by the personal experiences of media friends, then ..net result is ..zilch. Consider this. On 12th, barely few hours after the bombings, journalists posing as ordinary citizens, freely carrying bags, packets and the like, boarded, trains, even at the yard, those stations, sensitive areas where blasts had occurred..NO checks. They walked freely in and out, merrily, with nobody present to give even a semblance of security.
At “Shirdi” a journalist entered with a fake grenade in his pocket and a Puja thali.. neither was checked.
While one can understand the magnitude of the problem, yet there is nothing that reinforces one to believe that 7/11 will not be repeated.
Lack of infrastructure, the constantly, growing multitudinous population, influx from other states, fluid statistics, all add to a picture of impending doom.It is as if we are on the brink of disaster. Spirit..for how long?? Mumbai, the financial capital has always been vulnerable and a soft target, in order to strike at the mind of India and get the sensex to tumble. So here we are sitting ducks, at the mercy of a weak intelligence and corrupt administrators, with our resilience, infallibility, stoic and strength, grit, bravery and whatever else our dear P.M. bestows on us.. ready.. for what? (btw the readers digest survey about mumbai being the rudest city goes limpingly redundant now, something I had mentioned in a comment in desicritics on the 11th as well)
Citizens ought to do this that and the other..ask not what your country can do for you..blah blah.. is all very well.. If anything, it was Mumbaikars who came together and help salvage a sitution when the administration fell apart. But can we wage a war against terrorism? Is that not the bounden duty of the state machinery to ensure safety for its citizens? Information is never forthcoming from these so called sleuths. One has to wallop it out of them? Dont we have a right to know just what is getting done towards further avoidance? What measures are under way?
Where is the guarantee that criminals will be indicted? There is not A SINGLE instance of a prisoner being penalised for blasts, in any of the past incidents..even from 1993. There has always been a loud proclamation of arrests, as evn this time and years later he is Freed for lack of evidence. The police only hang their heads down in shame or in speak out in defense, when questioned.
One has deliberately not written of the goriness, gut wrenching scenes of anguish and misery personally experienced, since it will only add to angst and feeling of destitution and solves nothing. But today what is needed is a demand for answers. To make the administration accountable and answerable. To voice disgust and protest at the lackadaisical manner that security and anti terrorist measures have been implemented or rather not implemented.
While we can show our tongue out to the terrorists and continue to pretend as if nothing has happened, let this not be the message that the Administration receives. Our confidence is flagging, fear is gaining foothold and hopelessness is slowly setting in. From the looks of it, seems it wil not be long before, INDIFFERENCE replaces concern, and apathy replaces sympathy.
The channels are gradually relinquishing their infatuation with blast news by now opting for spicier stories and interviews. In another week, 7/11 will be another day featuring in the History pages..mentioned with a polite tsk tsk ..and onto the next topic.
While the average citizen waits with bated breath for our blogs to be read by the powers who be..
Or a Superman to take over the reigns of Mumbai.
Femmes Fatales Of Blogcritics has linked this post.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Kashmir valley was rocked with five blasts today.
Soon news came in that three blasts occurred one after the other in two local trains in Mumbai. One in Mahim, second between Khar and Santa cruz and the third between Mira road and Bhayandar.
Commuters were returning home at rush hours ..the compartments have been totally blasted.All the trains were fast trains from Church gate To Borivili – Bhayandar.. to attain maximum damage.. aimed at innocent people.
News of two further blasts on the Western Railway has just come in, while I am typing at Jogeswari and Borivili..taking up the count to five blasts in Mumbai..
No link to the story is available as yet..It seems to be an orchestrated plan, a serialised attack. All major metros on high alert.
This is the report received from Television news channels.
After the 1993 blasts this is the first time that such serialised blasts have taken place
Telephone lines have been disrupted in Mumbai..mobile and landlines.
Update: 8 blasts confirmed and more than a 100 dead.
Blasts occurred at Khar, Jogeshwari, Mira Road, Bandra, Borivili (2) Matunga, Mahim.
Eight blasts in 7 stations.
Possibly remote controlled timer devices and high intensity explosives were used. In a span of half hour and the similarity with the number of attacks in kashmir, shows indications of a terrorist attack well orchestrated.
Bags with bombs left on racks and on platforms appears to be the modus operandi.
Western railway is the life line of Mumbai and was targetted for the specific purpose of paralysing populace.
Horrendous scenes being shown on television. Even more exasperating are accounts of the common man claiming that the railway police was nowhere on the scene. Bodies, dismembered and in horrific conditions were extracted from the bogeys by Mumbai-ites and packed on to taxis and autos.
When will authorities ever decide to do what is expected of them? Why does not an average cop remember that he is a human being too? Why does the common man have to come to the rescue and manifest its spirit but not the officials? Answers are not expected but asking them seemed therapeutic.
Words seem an inept tool and inadequte to paint the picture of tragedy and helplessness I witnessed last night. If prayers do indeed work then they have been offered in sincerity. Blood donation and the like are too miniscule as acts worthy of lengthy depiction.
Vignettes from last nights experiences which define the social fabric of Mumbai:
Commuters stranded outside stations, with no possible means of transport to reach their destinations, offered to be dropped by car pools of residents, braving the rain and discomforts of snarled traffic.
Sights of injured and those grieving for the loss of dear ones..on the one hand, and samaritans slowly finding their way around offering refreshments, help and solace on the other.
A statement made by M.N. Singh ” Citizens should forget what happened today.. but the Police and Administration have to remember every detail”
Overheard: The culprits of the serial blasts of ‘93 have yet not been punished, despite 80 or more arrests, what hope is there this time around?
Train services resumed. People heralding a new day with renewed vigour. All schols,colleges and offices functioning.
Those injured were brought to hospitals by total strangers. Near Bandra, a predominantly Muslim area of Behrampada, the residents went all out to offer help and assistance and transported the injured to hospitals of the vicinity.
Blood donors, arrived in large numbers.
Indomitable spirit of Mumbaikars starkly represented by commuters never-say-die attitude, defying the terrorists to come out in the open..thus spoke a man who had extricated the dead from the carriage at Khar.
Taxis and autos refusing fare from stranded commuters.
Such a blur of images one after the other.All proving that the bond between Mumbaikars in times of crisis is exemplary.
Municipal Corporation has offered burial and creamation free of cost. Chief Minister offers free treatment to the injured.
Official release of those dead at 172 and injured at 450. However, on speaking to eye witnesses,its clear that numbers are much higher.
Finger of suspicion on LeT as yet..perhaps with aid from SIMI & Al qaeda
The timing of the strikes read as 6.24, 6.25, 6.26, 6.30, 6.31 and the ones at Bandra and Mahim between 6.25 & 6.30. Speaks of impeccable planning . These trains were chosen with the specific purpose of derailing relief efforts and putting Western railway majorly off track.
The Sena considered their strongest opponent was kept busy with the defacement of ‘Meenatai’s’( Bal Thackerays deceased wife) statue!! Does seem like a possibility.
More alacrity was needed by police, post blast apart from sharper vigilance from intelligence,pre blast, whatever they may claim on hindsight now.
The ire of the citizen of Mumbai is apparent from the resentment it holds against the advent of the political bigwigs timing their arrival in Mumbai amidst this mayhem. Apart from the fact that security and police duties get split, onus for the propriety of their stay being incumbent on the agencies, it also amounts to blockages in traffic. On Tuesday night when the arterial roads to and fro the airport were already facing bottlenecks due to heavy traffic load and rains, the cavalcade of Ministers cars further added to the devastating situation. It has been rumoured that deaths occurred in Ambulances stuck in traffic jams.
What purpose do they hope to solve with visit at such times is debatable. Unless media attention and glare is under consideration.
Two bytes from a news channel that stirred up emotions:
First was a segment of relatives holding up photographs of their dear ones who had not returned home. Some of them could hardly verbalise even the barest details..all they did was hold up the snaps with pleading in their eyes..tragic!!
Second was a scene from Khar Station, where the first blast had taken place..commuters asking for permission from the anchor to pass on a message to the terrorists " Unko bolo hum darne wale nahin hain..woh log bewakoof hain jo mumbai walon ko itna kamzor samajhte hain.. hum aise hi roz train me jaayenge".."Tell those terrorists that they cannot cower us down.. they are stupid to believe that they could frighten Mumbaikars.. we will continue to travel by train as before"..
Latest news on the identity of terrorists is as follows:
A gang of 15, possibly from SIMI. The leader is a certain Zaibuddin Ansari from Malegaon who has since disappeared. The bombs were planted at Churchgate and were operated through Remote and timer. The gang had fled form the scene before blasts..which eliminates the theory of suicide bombings.
Update: Total number of dead reported 200 and injured 750..officially
Intelligence agencies suspect that Rdx had been supplied by LeT, while the execution was carried out by SIMI. They point out however that members or groups are in fact a blurred demarcation today. easily interchangeable.
Message for Terrorists from Indians all over the world:
When the going gets tough, Mumbai gets going
WE are a country of 1 billion, How many bombs do you have?
You may blast us but cannot beat us
Cross posted and updated at Indianpad
Unbelievable..yet it professes to be true. Question that seems uppermost however is WHERE does it show, account for and mirror?
According to a recent survey India still has the world’s LARGEST number of poor people in a single country. Of its nearly 1 billion inhabitants, an estimated 350-400 million are below the poverty line, 75 per cent of them in the rural areas.
Just how was the calculation and wealth figure arrived at, beggars explanation. A possible rationale would be the fact that it is the GDP figures which have been considered instead of the more realistic per capita income. How can the population numbers not bear relevance? Simultaneously,it does need to be shouted at from the roof tops, especially with the inflationary trends and oil prices having peaked the highest in the last decade. But who is it targetted to impress??
Try convincing a weakened to the bone, barely alive human, fighting starvation, or the harassed to suicide farmers of Vidarbha, with this piece of paper information.
What good really? If the report is to be taken as Gospel, then how and where are the resources being flagrantly misused, disused or underused for the results to be in stark contrast to the findings?
Beats me...Good for laughs though..
Monday, July 10, 2006
Sometimes a staid, boring, oft repeated phrase catches your eye as if for the first time. You sense the subtleties and suddenly its as if a 'eureka' kind of glee takes over. It happened today when randomly the term 'spread cheer' appeared, out of nowhere as it were.
How true'..I said to myself. If there is something in short supply and abject state of solitariness, it was good ole 'cheer'.. Not in fashion and certainly not in parlance of the accepted kind. Resultantly even lesser in application! When last do you recall encoutering a 'cheerful personality, who was consistently so, out of choice and not play acting. If you have, then hold on to him/her for dear life.. believe me he is a gift from the heavens and a rarity, fast disappearing, as rapidly the Tigers of India.
Why is it so hard to come by? Cheer..I mean..Imho, we tend to live in the future carrying the burden of the past and neglecting the present. Whilst good cheer would arise out of faith in the future, gratitude for the past and joy in the present. A trifle noteworthy..dont you think?
If stories of personal dilemmas are anything to rest arguments on, then one can safely conclude that fear, insecurity, wariness, trepidation of obdurate circumstances leads to the wilting away of the capacity to cheerfulness, slowly but surely. Perhaps, accepting the axiom that the misfortunes hardest to bear are those which never happen..Imbimbing this to the fullest, might help..Worth a try..
So spread it around.. it sure has a way of getting back to you! Lifes like a rubberband..you get back equal or double the propensity of whats been sent out..
Look out for the person who only stands and cheers..He too serves a certain purpose.
Lastly.. this verse
"The world will never adjust itself
To suit your whims to the letter,
Some things must go wrong your whole life long,
And the sooner you know it the better.
It is folly to fight with the Infinite,
And go under at last in the wrestle.
The wiser man shapes into God's plan,
As water shapes into a vessel"
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Kitaro playing..aroma of parathas waft in from the kitchen along with an agitated babble of arguments between the son and the maid on choice of spices, proportion of cheese, and addition of butter on insistence of son while maid confused at whether it was a preparation of parathas or pasta that was being discussed!
Hubby on phone with colleague..pacing the room, leading on to the terrace..watching the monsoon lash the plants with all its fury.."No way that I am going to venture out..yeah its me saying that.. I know.. I know..nothing keeps me from getting to the office but today nothing will get me there...declare it a holiday.. Its insane expecting anyone to turn up..the city is on 'High Alert'..let them take leave till the situation is under control".
Me.. getting the table ready for breakfast.. nodding vigorously.. inwardly thankful that he needed no coaxing to stay back.. putting in a word.. whenever possible.. edgewise..heaving a sigh of relief that hubby had decided to be cautious. "Whats surprising "? you might ask.. Not if you knew hubby..come hail, storm or high water he never cancelled appointments. So how was this day any different from previous years. Well.. it wouldnt have been had 26/7 not happened to Mumbaikars and to us as a family!
Cut to 26th July 2005.
Mild rains .. heavily overcast skies.. me.. packing hubbys bag.. readying for the flight he was to take at 9.30 p.m. to New Delhi and onward to Nainital..he insisted on last minute detailing for the staff whilst away, so left for a few hours. Son at school in Juhu..
Something.. premonition .. I cannot say for sure.. kept me back..also the fact that hated to drive in monsoons.. and driver had not turned up.
2.30 p.m.. noticed dramatic and extreme darkening of skyline.. and a torrent of rain that seemed to unleash all of a sudden..I rushed out to the terrace.. 'Cloudburst" was my first reaction..waited hopefully for it to wane.. Sonny had extra classes and would still be in his classroom.. Called up hubby..he sounded apprehensive.. said something like .."Its weird but there is a traffic jam and I am in the midst of it at Juhu." his tone of voice made me sense that all was not fine on the roads. Asked him if he could turn back towards Sonnys school and pick him up. He said it was impossible.. traffic was inching forward and the downpour was torrential.
Now panic began setting in slowly.. Sonny, had taken on the services of an Auto rickshaw for these extra class days.. which meant by now he would be en route and alone. I called him.. His mobile was responding indicating he was out of school.. His first words' Mama.. its bad .. the rain..stay home..dont get out.. I'm Ok.. wheres Papu?".. apparently both were less than half a kilometre away from each other, but there was no way they could get together.. Both were just a kilometre away from our residence.
By the time it was 3.30, situation had changed from grave to very grave.. Mobile calls were jamming because of heavy usage. Hubbys call to me said said in the calmest of tones but which had me paranoic and panicky informed 'water is upto my waist in the car and it is seeping through continuously.. there are a 100 cars in front and behind.. I am stuck..If the doors jam I wont be able to get out.. the air conditioner duct has water in it.. I have had to switch it off..cannot open the windows.. its a storm outside" I kept my voice modulatedly stoic..asked him to try and get out of the car.. abandon it wherever it was and head home walking..When he came to realise that sonny was on the perpendicular junction he said he was going there to check on all the rickshaws.. which was not such a good idea since it meant he would be walking against the gush of water.. coming in now from the high tide at Juhu.. I dissuaded him amidst failing signal and indecipherable words.
Here I was all dry and at home while my family was facing a situation unimaginable, even an hour ago.. Just not fair. After this ALL efforts to speak them came to zilch.. Hutch service had crashed. Its not difficult to predict that I was wailing.. no way to get in touch with them.. all police lines were unavailable.. off the hook.. the t.v. channels were of no help.. there were no helpline numbers..in short.. no one seemed to care and there seemed no saviour.
I just could not sit back and not do something..armed with my windcheater, mobile and umbrella I left the house, with a paranoid maid begging me not to..I began walking in the direction of the two.. I had to find them,.. By the time I reached the end of the junction, I was thrown off my feet by the force of what seemed like a River.. a spate of deluge.. I had lost my slippers by then and found myself walking against the tide...I realised for the first time, first hand what was meant by the term 'raging flood waters'. By this time a bunch of men began screaming out at me to turn back..I had tried to keep to the middle of the road.. but soon I found myself in almost chest high water and unable to get a firm foothold..I was alone in the middle of nowhere.. One from that gang, came up to me and literally pulled me away..constantly asking.."do you want to die?.. you will drown.." He pulled me , and we reached the other side..Needless to say my mobile had got lost..I went up, swam would be more like it, to a nearby store.. and tried calling..No avail.
It is difficult to describe the walk back home the helplessness and the fury of feeling impotent in a situation such as this.. the astonishment that this could happen to us in a city like Mumbai, the hopelessness that could engulf you in a matter of hours and turn your life topsy turvy. And all you could do is .. WAIT..
That is what I did for the next most excruciatingly agonising FIVE hours of my life..WAIT..I had by then called my friends.. each one consoling me that all would be fine.. but none able to offer any solution...Unbelievable.. What should I do?? Where should I go??
My puja temple was the focus of my attention and gaze..I had nowhere else to look..literally...
Finally at around 9.00p.m. the doorbell rang.. I rushed out.. It was my son.. looking almost blue..I rushed down.. he was with the auto guy..No words were needed.. He had brought back my son from neck deep water, holding his hand and carrying his school bag on his head..He said it was his responsibility to do so..Crying is so 'filmi'..I felt these words thronging in my mind.. but here I was crying unashamedly, profusely thanking him blessing him and thanking him again.. all at once..Whoever said there are no angels??Or that there is no GOD??
"Wheres Papu?".. I had no answer.. kept distracting him.. pushing him to the bathroom to have a shower.. asking him whether he'd want hot soup or milk.. chattering all the time.. what could I answer?
I had faith in the Supreme.. half hour later.. the doorbell rang again.. It was hubby.. drenched.. and smiling.. 'Its Okay".. In the meanwhile I had cancelled his ticket with the airlines.There was no way I was letting him out of my sight.. in any case the flight too did not take off due to bad weather ..
The car had been abandoned like so many others.. but that seemed the least of our concerns..we were together again..
Next morning.. we walked off to get the car..but could not get as far, since the waters had not receded. But what I saw brought a lump to my throat.Those who werent living close had to spend the night in their cars..in conditions which were frightful. Most cars with central locking had the system dysfunctional so in fact they were prisoners in it ( There were cases reported of deaths in the car due to lack of oxygen) Houses lining Linking road were privy to the situation and residents braving the weather had spent the night going from car to car offering support in whatever manner possible. This was a side of Mumbaikars I had hoped to see but never witnessed. The "spirit of Mumbai" was visible in times of calamities as these. Mayhem exposes virtue. And the Mumbaikar had risen to the occasion splendidly.
The following days saw various such deeds being written about in the media ..but sadly not to the extent one had imagined. Why is it not as important to expostulate on stories of gallantry and bravery, goodness and positivity in as much footage and glare of media attention as the sensational ones depicting debauchery of a rape, murder and assault? How is it possible, in the absence of such stories, to reinforce the faith in one another as humans? To assure that the milk of human kindness flows as energetically? Chivalry is not dead.. it only needs to be re-awakened, re-kindled form its slumber of dormancy into active expression. What better way than a real life story which depicts its presence, in all its glory?
Cut to ..4th july 2005..Any wonder then that hubby and kid are at home, like so many other Mumbaikars? While the citizen may have learnt his lessons, the Government seems a slow learner. 400 crores they claim has been spent on Mumbai and another 100 crores on roads..(yawn)
Trivia: Is Mumbai the only city in the world which has POTHOLES even on its RUNWAY??..Asked with a wide-eyed genuinely quizzical expression!!
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Its monsoon time again. While nothing can and does deter one from indulging in the above pleasures, yet a glaring change of scenario has, as if put a spanner in the delightful joys of rainy days, which dont cost the earth but feel like heaven.
Culprit.. BMC.. How utterly boring to even bring up the mention of it. The indescribable frustration of flooded streets, overflowing gutters, stranded life, and inability to even consider travel, by any mode, save a chopper, has taken the wind out of ones sails.
Incorrigible.. after the debacle of 26/7 one would have hoped,aspired, that if anything a re-play would never occur..The officials had received lavish flack on their non-performance last year form all quarters. But .. Incorrigible. The constant passing the buck from MMRDA to BMC is an old as the hills ploy, used effectively down the ages, as well as currently.
Ah! well.. some more sms'es, empty talk of Janmats springing up to make the powers who be 'accountable', an interview with the Municipal Commissioner eulogising the strides his department has made, a beaming Chief Minister, reassuring that all is well, with rail, road and air travel, close up shots of water pumps to clear logging( pumps submerged too in almost all low lying areas, is besides the point)helpline numbers( never available) being flashed continuously on t.v. channels..In other words a perfect damage control exercise of image resurrection is about the single area of endeavour, diligently worked on, the past year.
Any point cribbing..Naah
Net result.. Oh as usual.. Hubbys decided to cook one of his Shah Jehani recipes.. the one which was Mumtaz Mahals favourite, supposedly.. son's joined in.. maid and me relegated to chopping, peeling, marinating, assistant like jobs( btw if that suggests that I dont know how to cook, its as fallacious as proclaiming BMC efficient..I am a superb cook who hates to cook..presently) and the fight is on for the choice of DVD..post lunch.
When you cant beat them join them..relax n chill!
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Prof. Vilas Athawale of the reputed Wilson College had to face the wrath of students, have his face blackened, a 'garland' of chappals around his neck, and then paraded thus to the nearest Police station. Cause? An alleged molestation of a student almost a year back!! As if this is not reason to raise ones eyebrows at the sequence of events, the media was informed and had therefore thronged the college precincts in all its force, ready with cameras and scribes, to capture the gherao of the Biology Professor.
A sea of questions.. Why now, almost a year later? The professor was in charge of admissions and quota reservations..a possible fallout of students denied admission? Why did the NSUI resort to this almost barabaric act without a serious effort to judiciously settle the matter( the case is sub judice while the parents reportedly have agreed that there was no harassment) or in fact permitting the concerned authorities to mediate?
If the man is guilty, then law should have been allowed to take its course, especially in the circumstance when no further complaint necessitated the aggravation to this degree.
If he is innocent, then a gross violation of Human rights has occurred here. He is due to retire next year. A lifetime of deication and perseverence at bringing up generation after generation of kids and imbuing them with knowledge deserved merit and recognition. A hypotheticl dialogue would ensue thus:
"So what?!!..Guru..Respect..Deference..Haah!! We know better..Freaked out ideologies..Gimme a break...The guy is loony..Who can stop us from voicing our opinions... we know our rights.. We will punish those we think guilty.."
The fact that he is a senior professor, who has a multitude of students, parents and members of the faculty willing to back him and proclaim him innocent, is telling enough. Some even go to the extent of stating that he was a bachelor who had sacrificed his life for social welfare.
The professor was later released on bail after the college authorities and other supporters of the Professor collected at the police station to protest against the alleged ploy to malign him.
"Students unions have become like a mafia. If they can't have their way, they resort to force and coercion. They enter colleges without permission of principals and create trouble. The government must curb this dadagiri, otherwise the unions might get bolder," Dr Sirwaiya, Principal of wilson college said, adding that the college had decided to discontinue classes till action was taken against the NSUI.
As happens most often in such cases, truth lies hidden under feelings of embarassment or shame, while lies finds backers who worship at the altar of anarchy then encouraged and emboldened with multitudinous support raise hell in an effort to stymie the 'decent lawful' efforts of truth to vocalise its claim .
But truth prevails... Question is WHEN? Wont it be too late then? Are the students union not crossing all borders of ethical, moral and legitimate behaviour? What is the future of a country where misguided youth have been permitted to take law, manipulate it, probably being manipulated themselves by vested interests and playing cluelessly into the hands of those to whom human life and dignity holds little or no value when compared with the gourmand appeal of success!! Has education served the purpose it intrinsically denotes? Or is creating an uproar a fashion statement of the 'truly liberated'?
Thursday, June 29, 2006
On my way to work and in between deadlines received this mail, by this truly amazing writer..Swati,informing me of my story, sent a while back, published on the NDTV website,by process of elimination
Just a quick one to let you know that I was overwhelmed by your composition
eulogizing your dad. I lost my father in Nov 2000, quite unexpectedly as
well and I was in Delhi then completing my Grad. But i do remember that car
journey to dehradoon where I knew I'd have to go and face the inevitable and
pinching myself hard every few minutes hoping as hell that this would be a
Life's amazing isnt it. We all think our parents will be there forever and
you feel almost embarrased of being robbed of them. It feels like God's put
you in the naughty corner and all eyes are on you feeling sorry.
Your writing is brilliant and I felt like you were putting in words what i
feel when I see my mum being brave for us two girls.
I pray for your Dad and am sure he'd be very proud of you. Here's wishing
your mum and yourself alll the best for the future.
Thanks Swati..There is nothing more fulfilling than the sound of your echo resounding in anothers' heart.
The pain of losing a parent was brilliantly put in her words.. "It feels like God's put you in the naughty corner and all eyes are on you feeling sorry."
Story published on NDTV