Sunday, July 12, 2009

The circle of freedom ...

A couple of rain drops through the window woke him up. The train was approaching his native town. It just started to rain outside and was quite chilly too. His hands went to his left pocket where he used to keep the cigarettes. But suddenly he realized that he already said a good bye to his dear companion. A month ago on a rainy evening he had his last puff along with his last peg.

He looked at his mobile to check time; it was approaching 7 in the morning. He saw two missed calls too, but don’t feel like calling her back. Something was wrong somewhere. His mind seemed more confused. His whole life was in search of answers. But when he seemed to reach close to the answers, some where he missed out the questions. He was never bothered about the paycheck or the promotion like many of his colleagues. He cannot be so normal; at least he believed so. He always believed that he was not just another normal guy, but one sent out here for a purpose. He thought someday he is going to change the world. He was always aware of a void around him, a lot of empty spaces. Always there was a feeling of imbalance. He wished to fill the spaces, make things in order. But he never did or he never could. All he managed is to stretch his head and have a look at the world from his arm chair, thinking and sympathizing about it. He could never get out from his thoughts and never from that armchair.

But somewhere inside him there was a one who liked challenges. He quit smoking just because of an old man who came in the Discovery channel one day. He told it’s impossible for a smoker to quit it completely. He thought the old man was challenging him. He went a step ahead and said alvida to drinks also. It was difficult to resist the temptation. But it gave him the feel of a challenge, which he was winning. He knew that as long as he can manage to resist that urge, he can at least feel a success within him...But now its almost a month. He needs something more to keep his spirit going, some fresh challenges. He was realizing that he cannot always keep himself away from the empty spaces. The spaces were taking the shape of a monster, enlarging in size and about to swallow him. He finds it hard to breath. But he was chained to a rod and his movement was always inside its parameter. Its one thing to challenge and win over yourself, but he wish to go beyond. He wished to break the chain, he wished freedom. But suddenly he felt some mist is covering him, he felt helpless and weak. He felt the chain is tightening on him on his every attempt to free him from it. There were a lot of people around, laughing at him. He preferred to close the eyes.

He woke up as the train stopped at the station. Giving a break to the thoughts he get down and started walking slowly to the exit. He was walking as if in a dream. Suddenly he noticed two little children walking in front of him. The elder one was about twelve years old and the younger one was about five. He saw those sisters many times in the train, singing those old Hindi songs for the changes that the passengers will throw to them. The little one was talking nonstop to her elder sister and a smile was never out of her little face. The elder one was in a sort of deep thought and occasionally was nodding her head as a response to the little ones questions. Watching the innocent children he also started to feel a bit lighter.

Suddenly the little one hit her head in a pillar. She started to look at her sister first and started to cry. The elder one was more tensed now; she looked around and then scolded the little one. Nobody in the station was watching them. Everyone seemed busy and was walking past them, never giving a gaze to those sisters. He felt sorry for the little one. He wanted to console her, do something to bring that smile back. His mind was telling him excuses for why he should not do it as he just stood there watching the elder sister taking younger one out of the station. He felt a lot of noise inside him, the noises of discussions and debates inside his mind. The noise was telling him that its none of his business. The sound was hard and sharp as usual. He felt the noise as deafening now. He closed his ears with his hands and finally opened his eyes. He could see a glimpse of light. Neglecting the words coming out of the noise from inside, he moved towards the light.

He bought a couple of oranges from a shop nearby and walked out of the station. He could see the sisters walking through the road outside and the small one was still weeping. He walked briskly towards them, handed the orange to the little one and gave her a smile. Suddenly there was a light on her face, that sweet innocent smile came back. The elder one was even brighter and surprised. He never told anything to them but just a smile. But it was enough. The little girls must be feeling now that there is someone in this big world to give them a smile, a token of love.
As he was walking passed them he felt that the light was spreading out from those little girls. He felt it was removing the darkness that was around him a while ago. He knew he was still a prisoner of chains and was still inside the circle drawn by them. But now he was relaxed, now his mind is clear, he seemed to find the questions and its answers. He was realizing the beauty of life; he was realizing that inside the circle, he still is a free man...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Who is destroying the Indian Culture ? – Lets hear them both

Probably one of the most discussed and debated topic in these days.  And most of the times the accused side will be filled with the youngsters – the so called modern guyz and gals. Yesterday we saw the hippie culture and today we are hearing the Pub and the IT culture. We can see different voices around, some supporting the new trend and some others opposing the change. Let’s try to see various perspectives. 
An incident which triggered it …
One of the main incidents that ignited the discussion recently is the Mangalore pub incident. A group of ‘Moral police’ attacked a pub or in other words aimed their attack at the women folks out there. And of course when some men folks came in between their business they gave them their share too. Well let’s try to figure out what each side would have to say, 
Note: The below conversations is a pure work of fiction and imagination. This is derived purely based on what a normal person might feel from what he/she see around them.
Interview 1 :  Moral Protector's version 
(Q) Why were you targeting the women folks?
Moral protectors (MP): We attacked the women because they are not supposed to come to the pub and drink along with their men folks. This is against the Indian culture 
(Q) Then according to Indian culture what is the role of women?
(MP): (Looking at the interviewer with a sarcastic smile as if “u doesn’t know it yet??”) Indian women are supposed to sit inside home, prepare the food and wait for their men late at night. 
(Q) Then what about the men? Are they allowed to go to the pub and drink?
(MP): Well men are the one who is working hard and earning the daily bread for the family. So there is no fault if they relax a bit at the end of the day. Even in purana’s you can see the divine men drinking Surapanam, which can be considered as alcohol. But we can’t see any where any divine women drinking any think like that!!! 
(Q)But beating women in front of TV camera’s … is it a right thing according to Indian culture?
(MP): Ofcourse its right. For us aim is important and path is always insignificant. You know what happened to Shoorpanaka in Ramayana. This is not even close to that. TV camera was used so that we don’t need to repeat it every where. Now every one know what we can do (A smile on his face , more like a grin) 
(Q) So according to you who is actually responsible for destroying the culture here?
(MP): These youngsters who thinks this is America. Just because they have money or job in some big IT company does not mean they can do what ever they want. This is our country and our culture and we have our own rules here. We have some family values and moral systems here. We won’t allow these freaks to destroy the age old system and values here. (temperature raising) 
(Q) But what about the fundamental civilian rights? This a democratic country, isn’t it?
(MP): We have a war out here man. And we don’t need to tell you that at the times of war civilian rights are insignificant. We are having a broader outlook and individual freedom is our least priority.

Interview 2: Youngster's version 
(Q): Do you think the pub culture is suitable for our country?
Youngster(Y): Why not??? It’s a matter of individual right. This is not any Taliban. We have a constitution and we have our rights. If pub culture is against the Indian culture then let the government have the balls to stop all the pubs here. (follows up with naughty smile)
 (Q): But is it right for the women also to follow this culture?
(Y): Which year are you living dude. (a little sarcasm) Women sitting inside house and cooking food can only be seen in old movies nowadays. If you say going to the pub is bad I can understand, but if you say just woman going to the pub is bad…..Then I would say you are not defending a culture, but you are defending your petty complex. 
(Q) But what if I say that today’s generation is blindly following the American culture?
(Y) So what’s new in that? We always did just that. Every fashion and every life style here were influenced by foreign countries. Let it be the European style brought here by British, or the hippie culture from US or even the Elvis Presley’s style. It’s a global village now and we have the right and we have the sense to know what is good for us. 
(Q) So does that mean the future family system and values in India will also be similar to what we see in US?
(Y) Look buddy, a family is ultimately built by persons. We youngster’s following western style does not mean we are all turning ourselves to a westerner. A civilization is like a river, which is not built by staying where it is. But it will grow by moving and accepting different cultures and different civilizations along the way. A change of lifestyle is a part of life. If we were not doing it, we will still be living inside the caves. 
(Q) So what do you want to say about the attacks aimed at you people?
(Y) We believe it’s nothing but some dirty politics. It is an attack of some organised people against the unorganised. People who have nothing to loose against the ones who have every thing to loose. This is a slap on the face of the democratic India. (Hmmm a little rush of adrenalin !!!) 
Hmm so you have seen both sides of the story. I might be no one to decide who is right and who is wrong here. We got our freedom some 60 years back from the British. It’s been a long journey since then with a lot of changes. When we look at this whole thing the question is not about who is right and who is wrong. But the real question is whether you can say YES when you look around and ask yourself the question “Am I really free?”