Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Life's your movie... but I can't act


The gloomy evening seems to enhance the boredom manifold as I wait, my smartphone loosely clenched, for one text. Just one! I'm agitated. My head is flooded with a million thoughts all about the same thing. Why is there no text?

Then it finally came. "Hi"

Now my mind is blank, all the million thoughts seem to have vanished. I don't have anything to say. "Hey," I reply. "Wassup!"

Another long pause. Thoughts populate my head once again. This is getting frustrating now.

After a while though, the conversation picks up.

"How u?" He asks.

"Good, how u?" I reply. "good," he says.

The texts go on a similar one-phrase path for another ten minutes. Neither of us wants to express what we really feel. We don't have the courage; at least I don't! The truth is, I'm afraid of what would happen.

In the not so distant past when conversations were more open, I did express what I felt to him. It was like a film. The drama, the action. "Was it real?" I would ask myself. "Can life really have so much drama?" In the end I concluded, "He's being fake!" But I still could not get my mind off him. I still deeply felt he was the most wonderful person I met; I felt there could be no one better in this world. I was partly right.

He was sweet to me, but only when he needed something. He would talk to me and make me sway, but only while being grateful for the favours I did to him. He would say the kindest words anyone would want to hear, but only when it was opportune for him to do so. But he was still my world, my everything.

It did not matter at all that this relationship we shared was all a game of pretend. It did not bother me though I knew he would change colour in a flash and disappear without warning. I wanted to be at his service always. I wanted him to be happy no matter how much I suffered to achieve that end. I persisted and I must say, I killed myself persisting.

I try to avoid, because I want to. I want to get away from this play, this film, this drama; whatever you want to call it.But I'm unable to. They say some people have a grip on you. They don't want you, they also don't want to let you go. That's where I'm stuck. I'm no actor, I can't be a part of this play!

His film is beautiful. His script, perfect. But I don't see where I fit in. Regretfully, I choose to soldier on. With a heavy heart I choose to continue despite these scars on my back, which are a gift for my slavery. I choose because I'm stupid, I'm trapped. I can't get out! I need help. But more foolishly, I choose to stay because I care even though I know he doesn't.

Can this goon forever? I'm sure it will. Because of his control. He is the puppeteer, I'm his wooden prop who he can control as he wishes. 

I still want to be his prop. I don't know why.

But I can't act.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The difference between secularism and tolerance

Whenever I converse with some tweeples who call themselves "staunch Bharatiyas," "nationalists" and so on, I hear the term 'pseudo-sickular' hurled at me often for questioning their faith in certain aspects of their ideology (read Hindutva). When I talk of carnage in the name of Hindutva like Babri and post-Godhra Gujarat in 2002 they use this term and bring in 1984, Kashmitri Pundits and some other riots where Hindus were also killed in large numbers.

Apart from being a logical fallacy to argue on those lines (two wrongs don't make a right) and the endless blame game (I'm only talking about Hindutva here not something else but we digress often because of this blame game), I am accused by the tweeples of being pseudo-secular.

First of all, secularism is a practice of the state, it is when the state or a country, separates itself from religion in all its activities. An individual is tolerant, he/she respects other's faith. This tolerance, however, does not mean that people ought to buy each and every tenet one's faith teaches. 

This game has been played by many of the so called "nationalists" for many years now, they have stolen the term 'secular' for their own selfish purposes and have played the role of a victim beautifully. 

I urge you to not fall prey to such peoples' jibes. Stand your ground. Oppose all aspects of violence in the name of anything, be it religion or politics.

India will be a secular state if people are tolerant. The state need not tolerate any of these atrocities in the name of secularism. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What is India to me?

Photo Credit: National Geographic 
When I turn on the TV to National Geographic, Fox Traveler or some similar channel, often enough, I come across a programme about India. Indian food, Indian lifestyle and the diversity of India is hailed by the presenters who go on to call India "exotic" and "mesmerising."

I asked myself the question, "what do I feel about my country?" And frankly I went blank. I could not find one answer. India, no doubt, is diverse. I feel it is this diversity that makes us rich. Geographically and demographically we are a conglomeration of so many different notes that come together seamlessly to form a chord.

Noted historian Ramachandra Guha calls India a "salad bowl" with its variety in colour, flavour and texture. Rabindranath Tagore epitomised our country's spirit in the great hymn Jana Gana Mana,  the first stanza of which was adopted as our National Anthem. In the second stanza, Tagore writes how the various religions of India come together weaving a "garland of love."

This was the India envisioned by our founding fathers. A country so diverse, where the entire landscape changes every few hundred kilometers and where so many cultures are intertwined, come together and sing that beautiful hymn by Tagore in their own way, but which combines into one voice which praises our unity in diversity.

The full hymn by Tagore can be seen in the above link.

However, when I ask myself if this the way India is heading today, I feel regretful. The natural beauty of India is tarnished by vandals for profit and the secular fabric of India is torn by religious fundamentalists who think India should belong to only a few. Some people have a problem with the way women dress and what they do. Evidently they do not respect our diversity
Photo by:

We see images of India's success story almost everyday. The growth and the way India has progressed is
being talked about all over the world. But still there is poverty. The divide between the super rich and the extremely poor is wide. We must look into these aspects too. Growth and development should not be exclusive to the rich and the middle-class but should include everyone.

India is comprised of over a billion people with over 70% of them living in villages. But all we hear in the 24/7 news and travel/lifestyle channels is about how cities are growing and how the middle-class is performing. This must change. We have to be inclusive of everyone.

As people of India, we must realise that all our compatriots do not belong to the same religion, have the same lifestyle, live only in cities and work in multinational companies. We must realise that all of us in some way are different and that is what makes India great. Finally, I urge each and everyone to ask themselves this same question. What is India to you?

I end this article by asking you to listen to this English hymn, 'I vow to thee my country.' Although it is a British patriotic song, we can learn from its lyrics that each of us owes a promise to our country to live in harmony.

Open the video in a new tab/browser and the lyrics are given here below.

I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.
I heard my country calling, away across the sea,
Across the waste of waters she calls and calls to me.
Her sword is girded at her side, her helmet on her head,
And round her feet are lying the dying and the dead.
I hear the noise of battle, the thunder of her guns,
I haste to thee my mother, a son among thy sons.
And there's another country, I've heard of long ago,
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.