Winter had just set in, that evening it asserted itself profoundly to have Delhi in shivers and though I had ditched my car for the sanity of riding my bike to maneuver through that quintessential Delhi evening chaotic traffic, my pale blue hands, numb with the chill conveyed how idiotic my decision was. I immediately asked for a stiff Old Monk the moment I reached, I was sipping on rum and cola at a restrobar inside the deer park at Hauz khas Village and was joined by the friends who had hosted the meet up. Their son, a little cute kid of about three years and some wanted to see the deers, I wasn’t too sure whether the deers would just be here next to the restrobar’s hedge, we walked to the periphery and to my bewilderment the entire herd was there next to the wall gazing into the restrobar.
It just hit me, a thought, why were the wild right next to the watering hole of civilization, perhaps it was light, the light that wasn’t a norm in dark winter nights in the park which was left undisturbed. That restrobar was the only source of light in their neighborhood. Made me feel grateful for the light we have in our lives without much celebrations about its existence.
Something as ubiquitous as the daylight on a bright sunny day, something that we aren’t in a habit of praying for, thats just there and so it would always be and the haughty soul would just discount even a stray thought of gratitude for what’s a part of everyday living.
So is light, frame a day, a night without and you have the answer, need to be obliged for what’s given and we avail without much heed.
It wasn’t the light that lured the deers, it was the ” Paucity” and paucity sure is a giver, it’s a blessing in everyday life. Paucity is traumatized by our consistent maligning, man wouldn’t appreciate the goodness it brings, not many even understood.
My husband often narrated how good he felt seeing those meagre four hours of light on diesel generator at his Company Operating Base on mountains in wilderness, that was special after every taxing walk back to the COB from a Long Range Patrol or weeks out in deodar Forrest on an operation. He shook hands with paucity for a while, that paucity of a shelter, of comfort, of light, of cooked, spiced food, paucity of a damp cigarette, paucity of a basic stiff rum, of that hot water bath on arrival at the COB, he called that home, the home he had without mobile phone connectivity, without a Wi-Fi connection, without an electric line but paucity was omnipresent, generators provided that precious light and there was paucity of diesel, it ran only for four hours.
Man was wild, had no home, no hamlet no cities, no roads no technology, no vehicles to flaunt, fight for basic meal was the only chore. The city dweller I see everyday has all and yet not many I meet are indeed grateful for what they’ve been served for dinner in the comforts of their home. They aren’t gratified in the life they live, wouldn’t love to go back to the wild either. He’s got abundance and in abundance he’s lost his palate to savour what he’s been served, all his life the man ran from paucity for abundance and abundance killed his joy, his vitality, his frolics, his bliss, his elation. Abundance was an everyday killer, paucity just stood there maligned.
Abundance breeds cynics, critics, the fakes and the depressed, fortuneless, the poor knows nothing, he just savoirs what he is given, he owns paucity and that unknown to him is the source of his everyday joy! But then, he too would ditch her in quest for abundance.
Ungrateful, he won’t write a thanking note for what he has, abundance is a bliss, it’s an art to know how to live with it.
He was low on ammunition, fuel and his spirit was damp and then a stray streak of hope tried to flirt with him ; he hoped he’d still win and get back alive, hoped his cigarettes werent damp and broken. He shrugged off that hope, hope was nonsense. hope after all was just an industrial instrument wise men used to run the foolish world. Democracy ran on that hope of better tomorrow fed to commoners at intervals, Cosmetics ran on that hope of beauty, life ran on that hope of getting better someday semehow, dying ran on the hope for some more time while wise men sold their medicines.
He was a soldier , to him that hope was a bitch walking along that nosy, haughty , rich bastard , the wise! he wont be wise, hed just be alive.
And then, he hoped to be alive!
He was weather beaten, years etched on his skin, skin as parched as as the field he struggled ploughing, he had left a bottle of water under that banyan tree, he was athirst but he wouldn’t drink, that was too precious and he would rather save it for some while, he couldn’t hope for a lavish life, couldn’t hope for comforts, he hated hoping, that hope was unyielding. He knew she was an elusive bitch, he wouldn’t embrace!
He was a farmer, he’d rather just be alive, alive enough to see the rain pouring, see his crop alive. He fought his hunger, his thirst, his cravings, his hopes and did what he could do best, stay alive. He had seen days, years like these and knew he would succumb to that bitch, he didn’t own his fate, he couldn’t summon the rain.
He was tired and beaten of worrying about his children he’d keep alive even at a cost of his own, he needed an asylum, a cloak of comfort, a slumber of bliss where he could forget all his struggles.
He kneeled to hope, hope of rain and better days, he succumbed.
He was human, he didn’t own his fate, his entire existence was circumstantial, his everyday life hung by a slender thread, he’d hope that thread Stayed intact.
Hope was a haughty bitch he knew yet the man wouldn’t let go of the eroticism of succumbing to her asylum. He needed her by his side every day!
Hailing from a town of less relevance, living with a starry eyed dream of making a career someday on my own, growing in absence of extravagance and watching my parents enduring the chores which filled their everyday life, the life which tried preserving every little penny on a hope of a grandiose living, i never had time to spare for observing the town, the living, the trends and the rhythm that the nation was on.
That’s not just me, that’s the story of every middle class child as he grows by and by going through the rigmarole of school, college and the university. Always focused on making a career, equipping himself with ample academics to join the relay race his parents have been in for decades. Losing focus was way too adventurous and losing focus for the sake of making firm perceptions about the world around wasn’t worth the risk.
As an Architect making a niche for myself and slowly building up my career, marrying an Army Officer was a decision that changed me and the way future unfolded in more than just one way. Peers told me i was killing my career but then looking back i thank myself for making that decision everyday, it was a revelation traveling around the nation, observing and developing a perception about what happened around me. I owe to that one momentous decision the opinions i make and the anecdotes i share and the reason enough my writings have an “olive green” hue, cant help, i am wedded to the olive greens.
well then, there is something i always felt, always wanted to convey loud and profound ‘we the indian citizen are killing our savior’, now that statement might raise some hackles but then hackles don’t intimidate the truth.
Out there on mountains, in jungles leeches bite, frost bites, man and beast gasp for air as they pant climbing cliffs, they pant in togetherness yet they carry on, some say the patriotism motivates them, naah, not at this moment, the only motivation is to reach his post, the man has assumed that to be his home, he sweats, experience the stich pain but keeps moving. He needs to reach and he knows no heroes welcome or paparazzi chase, all he’d rather be assured and contend with is some hot roti and daal, some rest and then perhaps a sentry duty on a bad day. He is human, yes he is and he too has plans and ambitions though not pretty far fetched yet he does plan to take off his shoes and remove those leeches and hope for a bath on reaching, be assured his buddy would prepare tadka for his daal(theres no racial profiling either, he doesn’t know these fine terms, he may be a tall burly Jagtar Singh from Mansa, Punjab and his buddy an aao Naga from mokokchung, Nagaland or a yum Bahadur Subba from YUKSOM, Sikkim) he’ll expect that buddy to keep his food hot and wait for him to arrive, they are a family. He prays that the company havaldar major will spare him tonight’s sentry watch and that’s a major deal sir.
No, this soldier didn’t plan for this life, he wouldn’t, had he he’d not be here, yes he’s got liabilities back home, he’s got stomachs to feed, yes sir he chose a profession but hell yeah, it breaks him when he hears you question his decision to stand guard at the thin red line, someone had to.
Well as of now he’s not worried, he lives and dies alone, a paltry procession in his native village when he dies is all the publicity he’s guaranteed. He takes off his shoes, removes leeches, thank his gods that he’ll rest as he has not been detailed for sentry duty tonight, unroll his mat and sleeping bag. He’ll not let leeches affect. That modest, cheerful commoner is your “Savior” in flood, earthquake, drought, tsunami and yes in war. Yet the savior fears you!
Respect his flag, his anthem, the banner and his allegiance, that’s all we can do and the least we can do and many would argue they do all that already, no! collectively as a nation we don’t. What does he stand for, its the the cohesion, the resin than binds this nation together, the sanctity of its physical borders and the life of the common citizen governed by the constitution of this country.
That is what he stands for, he isn’t just guarding a thin red line on the political map of this landmass, nation means you to him. He draws his support, his inspiration from the sentiments that you exhibit towards him, his cause.
Every time we have a riot threatening the unity, the social fabric of the nation, you, the mob collectively deal a blow to the very spirit he stands for. Every caste, clan, religion biased political statement is a wound dealt afresh to him. Every time you hold his entire religion responsible for one rape just because some bollywood jester held a banner for his own movie’s popularity, you just hop into the vehicle of propaganda and share the banner on social media without realising what manifestation it would have.
The “celebrities” owing to their persistent ride on the minds of naive followers have the power of “trending” any nonsense and nonsense wouldn’t bother the commoner like me much but the sinister lack of responsibility does.
We, the 1.3 Billion, the nation, yes that landmass isn’t the nation but the 1.3 Billion dwellers. We, the fourth most powerful nation in the living world, the nation which is probing Mars and we choose our heroes, our icons way too sloppily, we choose some bollywood harlequin to go after and follow .
A commoner’s opinion springs from his everyday fight for the basics that he has to earn for his family, real memoirs are soaked in blood, sweat and some broken dreams. Memoirs are never made on a vision through a pair of “Louis Vuitton” peepers, real walk of life can never be on “Jimmy Choo”. How then, one can expect that gumption, that honest, real opinion from those cocooned in air conditioned niche of theirs. Every campaign by them has to be seen skeptically, they are dangerous creatures in the era of social media, would go to any neighborhood for furthering their commercial goals . You, my countrymen would do well to just enjoy the frolics and not become groping followers, you are being used as vehicles of evangelism without you even realising it.
Lets put things in perspective now, do you even distantly realise the effect of every social media post that you share or comment upon? India is a nation of billions and quintessentially a case study of diversity. Name a country which has as many religions, clans, tribes, castes, ethnicity and divides, i am sure you cannot. With diversity comes the burden of preserving the unity, bridging the fissures in society and healing the fractures. Every state in India would have some or the other fracture line of varied intensity and we in the age of social media have been on a relentless campaign to exploit every fracture line to the hilt, “Bhima Koregaon” was a non issue blown out of proportion and a riot manufactured damaging the goverment’s property and costed the exchequer a fortune but yet that damage wasnt as sinister, as threatening as the damage to the unity, the bedrock of the national survival.
We have our heroes studying in government sponsored universities, heroes who are career politicians even before they pass out from the same university they organise their campaigns in, universities arent meant for political agenda pushing, are they?
India has fought five wars post independence, none has been as threatening as the damage to the unity posed by irresponsible hero worshiping and agenda pushing on social media is.
There is no relevance of a strong army guarding your frontiers if you eat your nation from within and that’s what our collective naivety does. Every wound inflicted on the integrity of the nation by irresponsibly becoming an instrument of exploiting the fractures within our society, our nation is death of the “Savior”.
Choose your heroes responsibly India, don’t kill your savior !
Man craves for festivities, festivities he creates to dance in trance, let himself loose in frolics, festivities he creates to let himself forget the toil, the vagaries of his everyday being, what’s a flip of that last page of your calendar, just a flip yet the naive would drink to it, drink they do and that won’t be sane, not sane at all while he watches over the very voyage to his end, but then sanity is death, sanity is the end of vitality.
Kill that sanity, jump, hop, dance, kiss, hug, drink, eat and know no limits.
That’s what the man needs, festivities let there be many and tonight let the reason be just a flip of the calendar.
Be credulous, get drunk, sway to the favourite track in trance, let it be happy, insanely joyous new year. Let me wish you a happy new year, please do keep me in that insanity as we celebrate it. HAPPY NEW YEAR, stay insane
Well, one meets people, the people counterfeiting class, read books
and don’t watch tv, come on that’s brute pretentious trivial prattle
after all, oh you watch tee vee?
Well, my friends that booby little box tell some realities munching on your flesh as you lay faking that slumber.
Then there are others faking sagacity, “oh come on the social media is designed to play with your psychology, writing stuff on these platforms doesn’t really stir up a coffee cup”
Well again my friends, consistent overawe won’t unsheathe some opinion either.
Wise ones would stick out the billboard saying stay out of social media and news channels and the world is all at peace, then again my wise ones, that’s not your original one…………..way back there was a pigeon who closed its eyes as the cat approached, pigeon was as sagacious as you are today. Alas ! Pigeon was original.
Society changes and the change manifests in a way to meddle with our everyday lives and certain changes are so under the surface that one wouldn’t notice until it stares in the eye and there is no escaping that. Social media to me is a vehicle of propaganda, evangelism and some marketing yet the significance of it cannot just be wished away, it represents every little idea whether sinister or noble and gets you the fair enough perception of whats brewing under the surface, fair enough provided one is sane enough to differentiate reality from propaganda yet you get an idea of the “undercurrents”.
Inherent anonymity that certain social media platforms proffer is enough for people to come out with their genuine inside opinions which they otherwise would not dare to let out in open for the sake of political correctness. This makes me respect social media platforms as effective tools to read the trend, that’s the barometer of the society. Media, whether institutionalised or free bus like twitter can only be ignored at our peril. Even nuclear technology has peaceful noble purposes, media is too unpretentious in comparison, responsibility and gumption are the keys.