A couple of years back, my life seemed to have jolted to a stop mid-track. Changing tracks and getting back to a smooth speed took some time….but looking back I am happy that the jolt happened when it happened. Life seriously has strange ways of working!
A lot happened in the last couple of months. It had everything the rest of the months put together did not have and I made a lot of discoveries about myself and others.
I went to Delhi after almost a year and suddenly the difference in the attitude became much starker and I found it difficult to have long conversations with people I know there. There are long traffic jams, crowds rushing to get in the metro (reminding me of the locals here), everything as or more expensive than Bombay and its becoming more unsafe. Bombay has given me much more in the past 3 years than Delhi did in a decade. I am not at all ungrateful but I do feel good when I am back here. Somewhere, this city is beginning to make me feel at home.
I always had this strange bias that non-Asians are superficial people specially Americans. Recently I got a chance to meet people from across the globe and found many as down to earth, philosophical and friendly as I would find my friends to be.
I also got a chance to go to the interiors of Maharashtra. Though the beauty always leaves me spellbound, it’s disheartening to see that nothing really is free from the grasp of human beings. They are everywhere. In a few years’ time even the little stretches of uninhabited land will go. This state is the most corrupt state when it comes to dealing with land. The way it’s being depleted of the eco-system leaves me feeling really hopeless.
I also got a lot of chance to talk to ‘educated’ people who felt that saving the ‘big cat’ (read tiger) is all brouhaha. They vehemently argued that wildlife conservationists including me are making a big deal by getting villagers to leave the jungles to the animals. They said humans have lived there for centuries. With shrinking forests and growing population, where will the animals go? Going by their argument, animals have lived for millennia before the humans came and uprooted them from their homes. It’s a long uphill task to get them to see why one needs to save the tiger. Hopefully it won’t be too late.
Found this on one of the chain mails. Wondering what would he say now….
Lord Macaulay’s address to the British Parliament – 2nd Feb 1835
“I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief, such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, such high caliber, that I do no think we would ever conquer this country unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage and therefore I propose that we replace her old ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.”
Signs on the back of the lorries.
Tata se banker chali kunwari. Muzaffarnagar mein sringar hua
Sair karon bagon mein, bazaron mein kya rakha hain. Katl karon nayanon se, talwaron mein kya rakha hain
Dekh saheli, tera sajan ja raha hain
Jalo mat, barabari karon
Ati hi aant ka soochak hain
Phir wahi talash
Sangharsh hi jiwan hain
Mehnat karke khalo, kabtak jahaj chalaoge