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Economics->MBA->Analyst->Business aaahh... Looks like a damn CV. Let me try again. Foodie-Moviefreak-Travel & Photography enthusiast->and of course a Blogger.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Kashmir: A Dreamland with million dreams.

If there is one place in India, every single one of us has wanted to visit at least once in our lifetime, it has to be the “paradise on earth”, Kashmir. And this is true not just for our generation but for people both older and younger. I guess our elders must have fantasized about visiting Kashmir after every movie they saw in their times just the way we have wanted to visit Switzerland after watching every Yash Raj movie. But owing to the political decisions or blunders if I could say and the circumstances, visiting Kashmir was always a farfetched dream for most parts of my school and college life. With the not so good ground realities and the icing done by the ever selective Indian media, most parents never took the risk to travel there. We came as close to Patnitop which 150 kms from Srinagar all the way back in 1998, but had to retreat and settle for Himachal because of the militant activities.

But thanks to forces beyond our control, the place has been relatively calm for the last three years. Mind you, the focus is on the word “Relatively Calm.”The regular feeds and beautiful photographs I received on my facebook page about my friends visiting this “Jannat” on earth added to my existing resolve to visit this place for once. Now if I were in college, I would have simply packed my bags and gone to this beautiful creation of God. But now that I am firmly anchored to my family, I took another step of calling up my senior who was posted in Srinagar to get some check on ground realities. He was more than helpful and even introduced me to his friend who manages a travel company in Srinagar. Anyways, I promised my wife a Kashmir trip on our anniversary given everything stays calm. After all the doubts and confusions and million changes in the plan we finally reached and enjoyed Kashmir to the fullest and even came back safely to now write this piece for my dormant blog.

Like any place worth visiting, Kashmir has its pros and cons. While its beauty is unparallel and comes as a very pleasant experience even after all the hype surrounding it; one has to be careful to not fall in the usual tourist traps in selected places. However, for me travelling to Kashmir ended up being much more than just enjoying its serenity.

The day we reached Srinagar, it was under curfew over the death of a civilian. You can imagine our utter disappointment when we came to know that it could be extended for another couple of days. But to our surprise our tour guide didn’t even bother. For him and rest of the population, curfew was a part and parcel of their lives. He assured our plans would remain unchanged, and he was right. The curfew was only restricted to the businesses being closed. The usual tourist spots were, as usual full of people owing to the peak season. While driving there, I asked if there was any theatre since I wanted to catch a movie may be late night. There came the first shock. Srinagar doesn’t have a single movie theatre. My instant reaction was “is it because a theatre is very susceptible to a militant attack?” I was wrong. “It is to safeguard our culture” came the reply. I tried hard to control my urge to react. So I enquired if they saw any movies at all. They did, on laptops and Television. I could hardly digest the underlying contradictions. Another thing I noticed was the dress code of females. It was surprisingly uniform. Not one exception to it. Irrespective of the age group, right from small kids to elderly females, everyone wore the same kind of clothing. This was once again attributed to safeguarding the culture. I won’t want to comment on this. In places where we live, seeing a Police, often erupts anxiety and bad thoughts. We often relate them to some unfortunate event having been occurred or about to. But there in Srinagar, Thanks to the Armed forces act,  I guess it’s a common sight to see army, CRPF and police holding automatic weapons and guarding the streets. Sitting in the front seat, I couldn’t help but ask our driver who seemed like an educated man from his demeanor, about his view of the heavy army presence. It was then that he seemed saddened and angry at the same time. The next hour or so, he spoke of the brutalities which we don’t hear very often in the news. He even showed his own bullet mark on his leg. He recalled about the torture his family had suffered and how his father was beaten in front of his family. He talked about people from his street that ran away to the neighboring country to the detriment of their respective families. He recalled how he and many others like him are seen with suspicion, wherever they go. He shared his plight on how they were tormented on the source of funds when he was able to construct a 3 storey house for himself. He mentioned about hundreds of missing kashmiri people. He showed what absolute power can do to a place. He went as far as claiming some of the famous names to be innocent and framed. When I asked him if people in Kashmir actually want to be a part of the neighboring country, he was crisp and logical. “Why would I want to be a part of another country, which itself is suffering from a major economic and socio-political crisis?” But he added, How long would I want to be a part of the country that treats us like an outsider and is ready to kill people just on a hunch or a doubt? He raised certain questions over the rationale of army presence to which I had no answers.

After the end of the discussion, some of his thought did seem to be farfetched; however, a majority of his grievances weren’t wrong. He like many others believe amending Article 370 is good for them even though their political representatives would never agree. He like many other knows, a lot of what happens in Kashmir has its roots in deep political and economic ambitions. He like, everyone else, wants and believes that Kashmir one day could be the place, it once was.

I for one am a fan of Kashmir. I was humbled by their hospitality and helping nature. I was forced to reframe my opinion about the people of Kashmir. In my 6 days of stay, I was gently made to believe through my experiences that people there are far more respectful and accommodating that in most parts of the country. I firmly believe they deserve to be treated well. I shall certainly visit this part of the country whenever I get a chance to meet such joyous, helping and charming people. And I hope I get to buy a piece of land to build my vacation home in the valley of Kashmir. It’s beautiful and really underpriced!!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

After staring at the blank page for about 15 minutes, I finally did start scribbling or rather typing down this. I could even remember when was the last time I blogged until I saw the date of my last post. Time does fly.
Well writing during college was really easy and spontaneous. Not that I have lost the edge or that life has become mundane. But then there certainly has been a tectonic shift in the direction my life was headed. Though I must confess, it ain’t even close to a lame excuse for me being so lazy when it came to updating my blog. In the quest to find a reasonable justification for my laziness, I got hyperactive trying to analyze the content of my blog. And I realized it was hugely skewed towards romanticism and iconoclastic ideas and college life often acted as a fuel to fire up many more such thoughts. And not to forget the plethora of time I had at my disposal.
I often used a particular quotation “Life is what happens to you while you were busy making other plans.” Sometimes, I feel I am a literally living this line. Or, may be everyone feels so. Once upon a time, choosing between finance and marketing used to be the ultimate question other than of course which restraint to visit in the weekend. As life surged ahead, the complexity increased and n it became about company versus work profile versus salary. In due course, the inquisitive mind led to questioning of the lifestyle, dreams and aspirations fading in the heat of the reality. And then suddenly the bigger calling from family changed it all. And in a matter of days life took a u turn from Mumbai – Delhi route to home sweet home. Somehow I feel my family always knew that in order to anchor me down to the family business, they need to like really anchor me. And what better way than to make me meet someone so special that there is an instant connect and the romantic idea of a soul mate turns into a beautiful reality. And of what I expected to be a rough, dangerous and emotionally tumultuous journey, somehow turned into the most amazing lively and beautiful phase of my life. And somehow, I can’t really give the credits to me becoming a trader in steel & cement where none of what I read and understood in college really matters. It infact, made me actually act on an amazing line again overused by me in almost all my interviews. “Sir, I believe that my ability to learn, unlearn and relearn makes me eligible to be a part of your esteemed college/company.” Don’t know about them but I certainly had to perform all the 3 seeming easy task to be able to survive in this cut throat market.
Anyways, the point of all this was as usual me in a introspecting mode, about all these past months and my new resolve to get back to blogging. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Living a lie


When voices can’t be trusted
and the smiles are just a lie,
When ears turn deaf and
the heart is left alone to cry.

When promises are broken and
the world around seems to crumble,
Words appear inadequate
and the mind begins to fail.

When loneliness is your only company
Amidst all the friends, and,
the person(s) you love and hate the most
is no different but the same.

When memories are all you have left
and life begins to stagnate
When dreams and nightmares are the same
and insomnia appears desirable

When you begin to enjoy the sadness
and derive pleasure by hurting
When melancholy appears crowded and
crowds appear lonely.

When every pretty girl reminds you
of what you lost years back.
and you still desire the same lap
to stare into that pure and serene face

You know the time has come
When all you do is, sigh
its time to get a life
and stop living a lie.
---Sriram

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Serial Killer(s)


She couldn’t move much but felt almost every heart beat around her. She didn’t have anyone to talk to and was all alone in a dark place unable to see anything at all. All she could hear was some horrifying talks. She was scared but there was no one to comfort her. She wondered what harm she could possibly do to people who wanted to end her. She lay there gloomy and wondering if she will ever see the light of the day. She was barely fed and grew weaker by days.

Very often she could hear some noise unable to make anything out of it. Like a helpless being, she just waited for the moment. She had no to call for help, for no one but only the killers knew about her existence. She was just an unknown soul with no place to hide and run and didn’t understand why she was in the captivity of those merciless serial killers. And one fine day, suddenly everything around her began to heat up. And even before she realized, she was reduced to a piece of medical waste. One of the killers showed some superficial remorse in the camouflage of maternal emotions but deep down both had a sigh of relief.

And the world didn’t even miss a soul. Or, did it?



Sunday, October 23, 2011

ख़्वाबों के परिंदे


दिल में है एक अरमान
कुछ ख्वाब और कुछ सपने
कुछ कर दिखाने का एक जूनून
मगर दूर हूँ उनसे जो है अपने

दिन के उजाले में भी देखता हूँ एक सपना
रात की तन्हाई में भी करीब है वो अरमान
मगर इस ख़्वाबों की दौड़ में
छूट रहे है कुछ पल ज़िन्दगी के

डर लगता है उन गहरी रातों से
मगर हौसला ना हारूँगा कुछ ठोकरों से
उम्मीद कायम है एक नए दिन की
कभी तो छटेंगे ये काले बादल भी

सोचता हूँ कभी मैं भी उर पाउँगा
आसमान के पार चला जाऊँगा
देख सकूँगा परिंदों को अपने नीचे
सूरज से भी आँखे मिला पाउँगा

फिर भी एक सवाल उठता है जेहन में
क्या मंजिल तक पहुचना ही सब कुछ है
या फिर उन रास्तो में जिन पर हम चलते है
या उन छोटे छोटे पलों में
जो हमें ज़िन्दगी का एहसास दिलाते है
जो हमें जिंदा महसूस कराते है
--- श्रीराम

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Random Ramblings

It has been a long time I posted something here. I guess there hasn’t been any recent heartbreaks which could push me into my melancholy and surprisingly the area where I stay doesn’t seem to be blessed with any pretty faces either which could bring up the lost romance. After all one does need some kind of inspiration and a push to be able to carve a way out of the writer’s block. All I get to see or feel when I come out of my room is huge amount of dust Gurgaon has to offer. And I didn’t really want to be another blogger criticising the mismanagement of the city or lamenting the ridiculous extravaganza Mayawati indulges in while hundreds of kids die of a disease. I do not want to throw in statistical bullets on the government for its lackadaisical approach towards almost everything going on. I think Mr Rajdeep Sardesai is enough for all that. And I certainly do not want to step into the big shoes of Karan Thapar who ends up speaking for almost two third of the total time when he supposedly there to interview people. And even if I want to, well the fact is, they would probably not even allow me in their premises. So, let me not get too cocky for my own sake.

I tried completing a half written piece of poetry which I once scribbled after I saw a beautiful picture of a dear friend of mine. But, the mood just didn’t set in. So let me just share the 4 lines I did come up with at that moment.

“She sat there in a silence,
her eyes deep and moist.
As her hair fell down her serene look
She held both her melancholy and the turbulence”

Somehow, I have come to realize that it is insanely difficult to complete a piece which is left incomplete. The original mood and the atmosphere are just so difficult to be recreated. There is another incomplete one which doesn’t seem to be nearing its meaningful destiny. So I guess I will just share this one too.

“Just when I had turned sober
Thinking it might be finally over
In a flash it appeared once again
bringing out the long hidden pain.”

I think it wasn’t too much and over the board when I once remarked to a friend. “Do not look into my mind. You will lose your way in its complexity. Look into my heart; you might just want to live their forever.” At the risk of sounding cheesy and melodramatic, I somewhere can’t agree to disagree from this thought.
Changing the subject, last night I did come up with a thought to scribble on. I was going through my contact details on Yahoomail and came across some really funny, weird, alien, rebellious and innovative Email ids. I could stop laughing at some of those. Some were rock stars while others where heart throbs for some I even had to look up to the dictionary to decipher the meaning. I know what you must be thinking. Of all the people, how could someone who was specifically pointed out by the Placement committee and the interview board to change his email id talk about this. For all that matters he was even notoriously facilitated for the same by popular measure. Well, this is why I didn’t write a dedicated post on this. I didn’t want to give a dear friend of mine another chance to call me a “hypocrite”. :)
For now, I will cherish a onetime memory of having watched a movie alone in a theatre. And by alone, I mean, all alone in an empty theatre. And FYI, it wasn’t some shady movie. The Three Musketeers didn’t seem to be such a bad option either.

---Sriram

Monday, September 5, 2011

When Insomnia appears beautiful


As the life begins to lose its motion

I am stuck in the myriad of thoughts.

When the reality fades into oblivion

Only dried leaves welcome the springs.


When it is easy to look the other way

Or to not look at all

For the journey is often exhausting

And the truth is nothing but bitter.


When the nights and the days seem alike

Eclipsed by the shadows of past and future

Suddenly, the chaos seems to be

more comforting and desirable.


Just when I feel in control

The moment arrives

When it all starts to slips away,

Dropping me into the sands of time.


Day after day as the weeks pass by

I hang on to whatever I can

For when dreams turn out to be a nightmare

Even insomnia appears beautiful.

---Sriram

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Dear Sis

There are relations of blood and then there are those of matrimony. There are relations of romance and then there are those of friendship. For each of them we have probably a long list of festivals and associated traditions and rituals. Each comes with a certain degree of rigidity and unnecessary expectations at some level. And then there is a relationship which exists at two levels; both social and natural. Among the hundreds of festivals, this is the one free from most mythological stories and gender biased rituals. This is one day when the males of the society, for a change, promise something to the females and I would believe they mean it. This is one day which promises purity of relationships in the world where this word itself is rapidly changing its meaning at a very existential level. This is a reason for one of the strongest bond between two people who often fight each other as much they love.

Growing up in a joint family, I was blessed with 3 elder sisters who still love me like a baby brother. They are the ones who still find me more capable and believe in me more than I myself could. They are the ones who still love me and scold me, irrespective of how old I am. Back then it was just about exchanging gifts and having good food on the rakshabandhan day, but I could realize the more important things only late growing up and missing them every single year.

I still remember those times in school when every year, guys used to literally run away from the class during the recess fearing that they might be forced into the brotherhood. It was weird funny and strange at the same time. There was always one guy in class who would have had alteast 10 rakhi sis in class and a bunch of others who made sure they got only friendship bands a week earlier on the friendship day! Sometimes it seemed fun while at times it did look ridiculous. At the risk of being hated, the fact is a friendship or an amorous relationship might be temporary, but not the one which symbolises the most delicate and purest relationship, man has ever known.

I never thought when my childhood friend (Shivani) tied rakhi around my wrist way back in 2001 that our bond will only grow stronger. But today, I am a proud brother and consider myself lucky to have her in my life. She is someone who has always stood by me in the best and worst of times. We may not talk for weeks together, but whenever we do, it just feels like we were never away. But, while I was coming back to my place after meeting for such a long time, my mind was perplexed as usual. I was happy and yet some thoughts kept coming to me. It would however be unfair to those who have loved me no less than any sister could possibly. It would be unfair to someone who has always treated me like a brother and a great friend as well, even though we may not be biologically related. But who can possibly stop the tide of thoughts which come and take you unaware.

I have always wondered if only I had a younger sister of my own, how it would have been. May be I would have been the usual possessive brother who would have irritated her to the limits or maybe I would have been her best friend. May be she would have kept all her secrets away from me or maybe we would have shared every single thing happening in our lives. May be I wound have been conservative and hypocritical when it came to her or maybe we would have been each other’s biggest strength. May be I would have been jealous of my dad loving her more than me or maybe I would have loved her more than anyone possibly could. I don’t know. Life would certainly have been very different. But, then there are times when that void seems to make its presence feel. And it gets more and more visible whenever I see two siblings fighting like cats and dogs and then again fighting for each other against the world. I guess it is just natural and inevitable to feel this way.

Sriram

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I see you

Every time I see you

I find a reason to smile

Every moment that I miss you

I still walk that mile.


Every time it rains and the cloud thunder

I can feel my “heart” ponder

You call it love; you call it imagination

I still see you mesmerized; in all the admiration.


I may not be a romantic

I may not be a star

But, as I look up, standing in the attic

I still see you like the way I want you to.


And yet, I wonder when days turn into nights

What if,

I hadn’t lost my sight

Could I ever, have seen you at all?


(In honour of all those people who still find life beautiful even when they can’t see and to remind the lucky ones how beautiful life is only if you could open your eyes to the beauty around.)

---Sriram

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

We- D poor people of the Corporate World

A few days back, while I was talking to a friend of mine, we actually ended up talking some real stuff after we were done with our weekly updates of the gossips and usual inconsequential conversations. It has been quite some time I left my job and partially joined my business apart from a little academic pursuit along the way. But I still do remember my first few conversations in my hometown with a plethora of acquaintances and total strangers who often enquired about my job for a number of reasons both genuine and devious. Well more about their intentions and ingenuity sometime later.




Statements, such as, “A man is worth only his pay check” is nothing new. It has been actively been the epicentre of a lot of decisions people make right from choosing or leaving a job, venturing into business and even while choosing their partners. But what makes it a topic to talk about is how the conversation folds up in a usual middle class family in a rural or a semi urban setting and occasionally even in the urban settings. Probably, it would be a lot easier to go by classification of the mindset, attitude and mental horizon of the people than a geographical distinction. As I write this, I get a feeling that I should have written this at least 10 months back. It would have been much more recent and relevant then. However, in those days, I was way too occupied handling my crushes and one sided affairs. :D Damn. I can be hard on myself sometimes! But still I will write it now. (Will try to keep my ramblings short enough)

For the time being, let me go back to July’2010 for ease of including myself in the collective group with whom I still can connect and feel the emotional turmoil and so that I can take the liberty to write in the present tense. I call myself and all my bunch of friends who completed MBA last year as the “Poor people of the corporate world.” It is not just because most of us do not pay tax @ 30%. But also because we face the entire hardships one could in this mean selfish world where people climb up the ladders of success on the corpses of others. Well, fortunately, as of now we aren’t really the corpse, so no need to panic. But we are damn well poor.

We are made to slog for long hours and our skill sets are exploited to the extreme. And in return all we get is a salary which gets exhausted in no time. We can’t even afford a simple furnished 2BHK in a decent area like Bandra or its counterparts in other cities. And if we dare to do, we end up losing more than 33% of what we get as underpaid people. I still can’t afford a car. Who would pay my EMIs and the parking charge? (Delhites are lucky here. They park it on the road itself! ). I am forced to be crushed in the maddening crowd of the locals with all kinds of people (who stink) and the unbridled homosexuals with their new found freedom. (No offence to any of them. I sincerely respect your choice, but strictly abhor any non consensual act of seeking pleasure taking undue advantage of the crowd.) I say this because some of my poor, innocent friends were taken for a ride. (Again delhites are lucky to have a metro equipped with an A/c!!!). I won’t even get to the chances of having your dream girl with this kind of poverty. To add to it, when we go home, the people (acquaintance and the strangers) give a damn about your work quality. In some cases they do not even know the name of the company or the designation and work profile. (If you do not believe, try becoming an Insurance Broker in an MNC: P ) So much for running after a particular kind of profile! What hurts even more is, we wasted our precious time trying to understand the intricacies of corporate finance, derivatives and corporate strategy. I could have very well spent that sitting on the marine drive or riding in Leh and Laddhak. (Do not know much about the marketing people. They certainly had a relatively better life. Atleast my roomie never had to go through a 200 page book.) And this doesn’t end here. Some of my friends continue to inflict pain upon them by sacrificing that little hard earned money for another degree, innocently believing that it would make their life any easier. And here I am, pouring out all my blocked emotions here while I try to chase my own set of dreams by putting a complete end to even that small amount I used to get on every 26th of the month. True. Poverty and Unemployment are a part of a vicious circle and they take away all the wits you initially had.

P.S.: No offence to anyone! It was a fictional narration. Any resemblance to anyone living is purely coincidental and unintentional ;)

We all are very happy people J

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Balcony Cricket !

Monday is most often the most difficult day to do anything, be it work or study. To add to it, a relatively pleasant summer evening is just not worth to be wasted on something boring and serious. So, as an addictive observer, I was as usual gazing outside my window. If I would have been in my hometown, I would have probably got a view of the entire sky, clouds, birds and even the dusty roads. But, when you are in a city, all you get to see from the ground floor is the balcony(s) of the opposite building. And, honestly, it isn’t that bad, for on lucky days, you get to see some really beautiful girls in their hot pants! But today wasn’t one of those days. All I could see was a bunch of over enthusiastic kids playing “Balcony Cricket.”

Well, I am not sure if there is such a term, but basically we all have played it without a doubt. It is probably a very prevalent form of cricket which you play incase you do not have access to a playground or, when you are domesticated on a hot summer afternoon, or when the parents are too protective to let you go wander with the not so polite older kids of the colony who have their areas demarcated.

But do not be under an impression of this being a simplified form of cricket. It is not. Rather, if I recall correctly, there is an entire set of exotic rules and regulations governing the game and on some days it garners so much of enthusiasm that the only way the game ends is when you lose all your Cosco/Plastic balls or end up breaking some window panes and then being punished.

The charm of batting first is inherent in us, be it the Team India or the kids in colony. But to decide the order we had devised our own ways. The kinds in the balcony here played a round of Rock, Paper& Scissor to come to a conclusion. And of course, hitting a window or losing the ball was always considered ”out” and so was hitting the ball on the roadside, if you are playing on the terrace. The worst was one tip one hand where I used to disappoint myself every time. But then, being a pathetic bowler as well, i got quite a lot of wickets as the kid on the other end could never not end up hitting a six.(Which invariably landed on the window panes or the roadside :P ). Needless to say that the one who owned the bat did exercise some special privileges. It used to be a game open to all ages though we did discriminate on the basis of gender and there used to be a strict “no entry” for girls. After all who wanted trouble if they get hit and start shedding bucket full of tears. However as we grew a little smarter, they were always welcome in host of other sports. All said and done, it always was a time of fun during those summer vacations, except for times when everyone used to fight like cats and dogs and then not talk for atleast a day or two. While I was drifting among those days, I heard this strong appeal for LBW across the window. And I though, we certainly didn’t appeal LBW in our times. Probably, they want to keep it more real and entertaining !!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Burning Coal

As the sun set across the horizon
And the sky grew darker
I was stunned by something so beautiful
Wondering if it was just an illusion.

Looking at those unrestrained laughter
And the hair gently blow across her face
I floated in my own dream world
And feel my heart race.

I tried but my voice choked
Helpless I was, amidst the minty smoke
I gazed at her as she spoke
With every possible movement of her hands.

I wanted to bend on my knees
But all I did was to eat that cheese
In those few moments all my senses got mixed
As I smelled her smile and saw her fragrance.

I looked up at the glowing moon
And suddenly it felt as if,
that moment would pass away too soon
While the icy breeze brought her closer
The burning coal made it all so warm.
---Sriram

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Anonymity

He sat in his room all day long

Amidst the scattered pages and his books

Always listening to that same old song

He cared neither about the world nor his looks.


Woke up with the first beam of the sunlight

Every single day, challenging his own might

Never had anyone, had the courage to step in there

Neither did someone ever, even thought to care


Kids of the colony were scared to death

With stories about his lost might and wealth

For those who had tried to get inside

said, “It is like going to a dark hill side”


He never came out of the room

Be there a flood or a doom

He kept talking to someone unknown

Nobody knew who that soul was


And one morning, as the sun rose

Everything happened the way it always did

Yet, something was different, something missing

Still I could not figure out a thing.


Years later, as I passed by those lanes

A sudden jolt of curiosity engulfed me

I somehow wanted to know about that old man,

Though no one really seemed to know


Looking for some solace, I strolled in the cemetery

Reading the random names, who once, lived.

In a corner, it stood distinct from all others

For it had no name engraved, nor any dried flowers.


Probably, the old man passed away alone

With no one to hold his hands as his heart gave in

No one would ever know who he used to be

No names, no story, and absolutely no legacy.


Neither was I a consanguine nor an affine

Yet drowned in melancholy and yet something divine,

I sat there silently in the grave of anonymity

Trying to fathom life and its (lost) dignity.

---Sriram

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Reminiscing with Water Balloons

Today, as I was walking back to my room, I got hit. And not once or twice, but it felt like there was an entire platoon of army kids waiting for the vulnerable, unarmed and unguarded people like me who walk lost in their own thoughts unaware of the surroundings. And it was only after the almost after being hit almost 5 to 6 times totally drenched and yes in a little pain as well, that I realized that Holi is just round the corner. For all those who have not really experienced it, please do not be fooled by the size of the balloons which appear to be small and harmless. Even the kids throwing them are small and mostly cute little Punjabis. But the balloons and the kids happen to be way too smart and certainly not harmless. I literally ran, saving myself from the other planned attacks and everytime they missed, I was so damn elated. After all I still could manoeuvre and save myself from those little goons. J

As I reached my flat safe and sound, I couldn’t help but remember those graduation days. As a matter of fact, it is not the kids alone who are into this tactical balloon game. Even the adults enjoy it as much as these kids, only under the camouflage of those innocent faces of their kids. The 3 lovely kids, staying right opposite to me are a little lazier than the others. They do not take the pains of filling in the balloons and so use a Pichkari instead. After all its much more efficient when it comes to wetting people. And surprisingly, they have a strict code of conduct as well! I heard the eldest among them scolding his younger brother when he tried to wet a man on the scooter. The only ones they target are the people on foot or on rickshaw for they are safe.

I couldn’t help but smile, for we had our own code of conduct. No balloons to be wasted on Men. Not even a single one. I was a blessed soul to have a flat, 3 sides of which had girls hostel. And I need not say anything about the DU girls for it would take me away into some dreamland... Almost 10 days before the real Holi, a lot of us used to gather at my or friends place with hundred of balloons. Those with not so good target practise were made to fill them while rest of us had one sole objective. To wet as many beautiful hostel girls as we could! Hitting men and those on vehicles was a strictly prohibited. And just like all the platoons needed a safeguard as well, we too had ours. After all, none of us want to be caught by the Delhi Police. So there stood 2 female friends for no one really bothered to complain when they look at girls standing and laughing on the top floor with balloons in their hands. And the best part was, the girls rarely used to mind, except a few weird ones who always had a reason to crib and complain. After all they never spared us when we strolled down their hostel. And we never complained either. J I guess, some things never do change.

---Sriram

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

International Women's Day: A day alone isn't enough

SIGMUND FREUD once remarked, “The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is “What does a woman want?”

Probably, if only Mr. Freud would have been born a century later in the era where, radical feminism of all kinds seem to have been growing and setting in the internalized character of women, he would not have had to remain in this unsolved mystery and the pandemonium surrounding the enigmatic nature of women won’t have existed to that intensity. Of course the enigma as propagated by the literature and mass media will continue to exist for it has its own capitalistic manifestations in helping the bourgeoisie. And so would for those who claim to be treating depression among the so called poor innocent male members of the society caused by the so called shrewd, self serving female members. Pardon my generalization, for I too stand firmly against it, but at times I take a little liberty to be a hypocrite. After all it’s still a debate whether it is a virtue or a vice. More on that later.

Now, the reason I quoted Sigmund Freud apart from the fact that he is one of the most amazing thinkers, I know a little about, today happens to be International Women’s day. Call it a manifestation of patriarchy, self defence mechanism with a flavour of my ignorance, the first thing I did was to Google. I wanted to know, if there’s an International Men’s day as well. To my pleasant surprise, it does exist. If I recall, it is 19th November.

Now, ignoring the reason for the initiation to have such a day, which is somewhere related to all the socialist movements and the revolutions in the Western Europe, I rather pondered about its relevance and affectivity. Is it relevant? Yes, it is. Is it effective in terms of serving the intended purpose? I am not sure.

Talking about the effectiveness of this day, there are certainly some beneficiaries. One of them without a doubt is the bourgeoisie, who always stand to gain with commercialization of any kind of feelings or for that matter even a possible movement.

I am not very well versed with the affairs all around the world so would abstain to venture in that. However, taking about the Indian scenario, it certainly is very much in need and relevant. And I am not just thinking about the general oppression of the incapacitated rural women and the hardships they suffer ranging from violence to exclusion. Neither am I, focussing on the urban sophisticated women who are busy climbing the corporate ladder on one hand and still subjected to domestic violence and very much a part of the society involved in female foeticide. Case in point, we have south Delhi which happens to be one of the most developed regions and have one of the lowest sex ratio and increasing cases of female foeticide. And, hence the only change or the so called development and liberation is from infanticide to foeticide. Probably we all know about it, even if we might not be aware about its intensity. But what concerns me more is that we know it and yet we are not even close to a visible mobilization. Or else, we would have had a pan India women’s movement by now.

To all those who call themselves (radical) feminist, I only have one question. Do you expect to achieve any kind of equality be it financial or social until you do not stop bashing the men folks. And more than that, do you even think about the majority of the oppressed who happen to be domesticated in the rural hinterlands and have no idea what does the word feminism even means. Or is it just a page 3 chaos where, you look forward to sit on the highest corporate throne built on the corpses of the existing family structure and the very foundation of the social fabric. And for those intellectuals, who find the family the biggest oppressor to the cause of women, ask the mother in laws about their significant roles in the dowry deaths or of all those mothers who knowingly or unknowingly teach all the socially construed feminine values to their girl child. And lastly, is the liberation of your womanhood possibly only at the cost of the total chaos at an individual family level? For your actions, do not give me any hopes either.

You really want to bring a change.

Stop treating the children just as boys and girls. And I do not mean it only by sending both of them to school and letting them work and inherit property. It is only a symptomatic cure and just waters the roots of capitalism without actually addressing the real problem. The very first gender divide comes in the family when a boy with tears is laughed upon as being a little girl and the girl with short hairs and dirt on her face after a dual is asked to be only elegant and soft. The only real difference is how one does it. Totally ignorant families do it with strict enforcement of rules and compulsory domestication of women. While, a little educated ones do it with tact, stores and a book of morals describing the expected behaviour.

It is not enough to show some superficial respect to women on days like this. Would a friendship sustain, if the only time we show it is on the first Sunday of the August? Would a relationship sustain, if the only time we kiss or hug or care for our loved one is in the second week of February? Or is it justified and enough for a kid to respect his parents and teachers only on a Father’s day or a Mother’s day? And imagine how we would have had grown, if the only days we were loved or cared as a kid were our birthdays and the children’s day? It is great to have a day to express one’s sentiment on a given day. There’s isn’t any harm in that except that a few die hard Marxist would degrade it to mere commercialization. (I did too, but I am no way a Marxist. There does exist some element of truth in what they say).

But the fact remains, only a day isn’t enough. The present condition is a manifestation of centuries of misguided thinking and actions and which today is still deeply engraved in the minds. It is easy to learn new things. But it is a herculean task to unlearn first and then imbibe new ideas in practicality and everyday life. We need more than a day. We need more than an organisation. Probably, what we need is a new thought new idea, a new plan and all of this to be internalized by the 1 billion Indians. Yes, it is not women alone who can, or rather, should fight the fight. It has to be a fight for the mankind by the mankind.

Friday, March 4, 2011

आखरी सांस



ये काले बादल, ये घनघोर घटाएं

दिलाती है याद उस हसीन रात की

ये कड़कती बिजलियाँ, ये बहती हवाएं

भूलाये न भूल पाता, बातें उस आखरी मुलाकात की


हम तो समझ बैठे थे प्यार को भगवान्

दे दिया उनको, अपना दिल अपनी जान

मगर देखो उस खुदा की खुदाई

सज़ा में मिली तो सिर्फ दर्द-ऐ-जुदाई


नादान थे हम जो ये समझ बैठे, कि

हमसे जादा प्यार न कर सकेगा कोई

मगर क्या पता था इस नाचीज़ दिल को

ऊपर वाले की मर्ज़ी से, कभी जीत न सका है कोई


कहते है हर रात की सुबह होती है

हर दर्द की एक दवा होती है

मगर ऐ खुदा पे भरोसा रखने वाले बन्दों

एक सवाल था, क्या होगा जवाब आपका...


जब खुदा ही छीन लेता है ज़िन्दगी की वो हर रौशनी ?

जब अँधेरे और रौशनी के बीच का फर्क, फर्क नहीं रहता

और जब रौशनी की वो आखरी किरण,

अक्सर ज़िन्दगी की आखरी सांस होती है

---श्रीराम

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The disillusionment with infidelity


The other day, I accidently overheard a discussion between two ladies in the Delhi Metro, who were conspicuously talking about a couple who were still staying together and decided to continue their marriage, inspite of the fact that the husband was caught in an extra marital affair. The tone of their conversation displayed their hatred to the entire community of men who according to them were dogs and lacked any loyalty. They detested him even more because he was a father of two. However, they were all in good words for the wife who had showed supreme sacrifice and decided to remain in the marriage for the sake of their kids. So while, the husband represented the lows, the wife epitomized the highs of life.

It isn’t any news as such. Probably, with the passing days, such incidents are becoming more and more common, giving a big boost to the disposable income of the ones who were smart enough to spend their parent’s money on getting a degree in law. Infact with the relative ease of divorce laws, they are having a great time so to say. But somehow amidst all this, it still made me think on certain aspects of it.

Is infidelity always wrong and unjustified, no matter what the circumstances were? I had a chat with a female friend of mine and I sought for some answers and a point of view. What if one is not sexually satisfied either due to lack of it or incompatibility in the current marriage? Since she was relatively in the so called categories of people with modern thoughts, the way ahead, accordingly was to first seek a divorce and then venture for the sexual gratification mission. I ignored the sarcasm and asked what if you have kids and thus divorce would mean ruing their future? This time the way ahead was to compromise. Now my point is why didn’t she suggest compromise at the first place and secondly, why compromise at all. Two things come out. The so called list of moralities, values and ethics which we keep using the way we want are very much conditional and can be easily used to prove either side of the debate. But amidst all this I only ask why does an individual have to suffer because of the deficiencies of an inefficient and corrupt system?

In a free market, when you try to bring in restrictions in form of a floor or a ceiling, more than often, it results in unexpected distortions and emergence of black market or a parallel economy for better use of words. And it happens at the first opportunity one gets. So in case of an absence of a black market, may be its just not yet discovered or may the right opportunity hasn’t surfaced. I would abstain from explaining the analogy I was intending to present.

Also, why is infidelity always measured on a sexual parameter? How different is a man (or a woman) who seeks sexual gratification outside marriage to a one who seeks emotional support which ideally should also be present in the marriage. And for all those dreamers who talk about marriage being a bond of two souls forever, please get over it. As much as I myself would love to live this dream, which the literary figures created and made us internalize from the time we were born, the hard fact is, that marriage is an institution created by the society to tame the unbridled human sexuality in the pre nomadic and nomadic phase of life to a rigid structure, and then adding the function of economic co operation and child rearing and bearing to pass on the property from one generation to the other. Well it is a different matter that with the stroke of a pen, the process of metamorphosis began and thus the reason for varying levels of sacredness and romanticism attached to the institution. But, being rest assured, the degree of indoctrination is so high that, there is rarely a scope of an alternative line of thinking. So, no qualms against those who by now, would have been offended and may be already judged me. For what I know, judging shares its own place in the list of the basic instincts of human beings, which rarely get eliminated. They just lie dormant at the best.

As a matter of fact, I do not intend to stand for the cause of those poor bastards who were caught cheating. Like everybody else, I too despise the act of cheating. But I despise it in all forms and do want to restrict it to mere sexuality. But more than that, I despise the hypocrisy surrounding the human sexuality and the act of institutionalizing it. It is relatively easy to close your eyes and remain ignorant or remain disillusioned with eyes wide open. After all, I too am standing on the peaks of disillusionment, desperately trying to figure out something which might not even exist.

---Sriram