Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Grey Areas:

M’s wife did her higher education from a university in the US. She told me about how the American economy used to promote consumerism by being in debt. ‘Credit worthiness’ is what they called it. One couldn’t get a loan until he (or she) had a good history of his credit card usage. Which meant that one was forced to do all shopping through credit cards….which in turn meant being in debt perpetually.

This just opened up the Pandora’s Box for me. I began my diatribe about how irresponsible the world power was. How it’s senseless ‘I, me & myself’ policies have ruined the world economy, ecology, climate, political ties, destroyed countries and made the whole world such an unsafe place to live in. Their bad points far out weigh the good. Why can’t everybody be more like the European countries…..culturally sound, economically stable, politically neutral and ecologically in a better situation than the rest?

I hate to admit but what M’s wife said made some sense – where else can you get that personal freedom, the basic right to life, the choices as an individual and equality among human beings which lacks in so many ways in other countries. Being a fancy free person myself, I would love to live in a country like that only for this reason.

But then even I can’t justify thinking about oneself without thinking about the rest. I, the individual, my life, my family, my caste, my religion, my state, my community, my country! Sometimes I think there should have been life in other planets, only then we could have risen above these petty issues and said my Earth.

It’s easier to follow bad examples than good and given the state of the world, I think we are way past that line where we could have pulled ourselves back to the good.

In the last couple of months, I have realized that there is so much of goodwill that exists in the society. Everybody wants to do something, even a little, if it helps somebody else or makes the world a better place. And there are so many organizations that have been working diligently for years to make some sort of a change.

But why is it that the deeper I look, the grimmer the situation seems…be it environment, children, education, women, human rights or wildlife. Sometimes I feel that the people we want to help are so used to external support that they don’t want to get out of their situation. Or perhaps we don’t know what ultimately the cause will end up doing. There’s always this….. ‘then what?’ question that remains.

Like education for all children. Once you fulfill it, then what? Are we capable of handling giving all these educated kids a dignified life, a decent job? Chances are lots will be frustrated at the lack of it….so they will go back to doing things to get quick money.

Like community development and infrastructure in the hills. Roads bring people, development brings money. With money comes consumerism, branded clothes, tv, car, tourists. Beautiful locations see mushrooming of grotesque buildings…then there’s pressure on availability of water, pollution and the list goes on.

Seems like a vicious circle to me….with no real time solution for it.

Near Mumbai Central, I saw a cat sleeping curled around a dog. At Nariman Point I saw 2 cats and 3 hens feeding from the same dish containing fish and rice.

Why can’t we be more like them?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lost World:

Aankhon mein jiske koi toh khwab hain
Khush hain wohi jo thoda betaab hain
Zindagi mein koi, aarzoo kijiye
Phir Dekhiye…..

I am happy to find my perspective back….
It’s been a long journey.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Just Another Day: Train

Most of the girls have their ear-phones plugged in, with the wires disappearing inside the purse, and staring blankly ahead perhaps lost in their own thoughts or just the music.

One girl is standing and reading Sidney Sheldon’s Rage of Angels which she had picked up from a library. She’s a college student. I was in school when I had read that. Nice novel….nostalgia floods in remembering those days.

The girl next to me dials a number and starts talking to a Yogesh in the typical fashion which clients uses to screw their vendors. She didn’t care how, but she wanted her work done Now. I remember the number of times I had used that particular tone and shuddered. Poor Yogesh, his week is going to go really bad.

A woman-hawker gets up selling hairclips, rubber-bands and other stuff which she distributes amongst the passengers. The stickers sell like hot cake….most girls pick up the ones with cute little hearts in various designs and colours. Romantic fools! I look up at the second class compartment. The hawkers there had more interesting things to sell. They don't come to our section…..I wonder why.

I find a seat near a girl who’s talking seriously on the phone. I catch snippets of her conversation. “This is the last chance I’m giving you” “Listen, I have told you that I can’t do it”. There goes another love story all the way downhill. It seems to be happening way too often.

I lean my head against the seat and close my eyes. A fast train rushes past….how I love that sound of speed and urgency, the sound of long journeys. Vaguely I sense a girl leaning to take her bag from the overhead rung.

Soon, the movement lulls my senses and I’m lost to the world.