Sunday, December 7, 2008
You learnt all your life by learning what the newspapers told you, what your parents mouthed, what your friends chose, what your neighbors supported, what your music advocated, what your colleague declared, what your teacher predicated, what you heard, saw, breathed, felt.
So, now, hear me out.
Cut the distaste, leave the apathy, forget the frustration, fuck the anger.
Move on. It sounds brutal in the wake of bringing the very politicians you elected down; of putting down the very media you consume everyday.
Move on. It sounds insensitive in the time of honoring the very dead NSGs whose existence surprised you, the coming together of the very citizens with whom you were trying to compete with for jobs and admissions.
What else can one do! We are trying to be constructive here! We are learning from our mistakes! People are coming together through rallies and marches, people are caring once again and the citizen’s movement is reawaking.
I am all for it. Just hear me out on this last one.
You want to do something, change yourself, embody the values of someone who is just, sensitive and strong. Participate in the political process. Hold yourself accountable. It sounds like I am simplifying the matter – but on a basic level, it is about “being the change you want to see in the world.” Live the very exemplar in yourself.
Sometimes the strength is not in numbers, it is in the sentiment, it is in you.
I rest my case.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I am scolding myself about why I had not been to the Madh Fort all these years. I am also grateful to that Air Marshall with a generous heart who called me last evening to let me know that there was a film shoot at the fort and it was open to civilians today. I am also berating myself for not enjoying this immense, forsaken, and dilapidated architecture and thinking about other random things.
Reality claws its way back into me as a nasal overbearing voice booms into the air. A full-size woman dressed in a sickly yellow gown with a tattoo of an eagle running into her breasts swimmingly settles into an ancient wooden bench from a 16th century British landscape. She is mouthing a ballad for an overgrown man who runs towards her dramatically and..
I am on top of the Madh Fort. I can see my city trailing the ocean. I am pure, unsullied, undefiled. I am virginal again. This city is nothing the way I have seen it ever. This city I call my own is beating to a different heartbeat that I never heard.
It is late evening and the sun is melting away into the sea. To add to my wonder and elation, it is a full moon night and the moon appears into the twilight – bright and orange. The big bunny in the moon is napping away. The lights are appearing, a flicker here and there and in a few minutes everything is illuminated. The city is like a vision. Everything that exists is a dream. A dream that the big bunny dreams.
The shot has changed. The lights are slipping away. A few shots here and there and the director wants to call it day. His assistant is screaming on the microphone, his cap twisted the other way on his head. There is a Labrador that the crew boys adore. He is creating havoc on the sets running around with the actor’s headdress in his mouth. The crew boys are running behind him. One of them catches up to him holds him tight, rolls on the wild grass with him and it is all calm again. The location has changed. The crew hastily moves down to the lower part of the fort.
There is a lonely canoe near the shore. No one to claim it. It is blue, pretty and free. The bigger boats are into the deep sea. The smell of dry fish invading every single pore in my body. It feels like me now.
The city is aflame. I can see my building. If I imagine it, I can even see my house. If I imagine hard, I can see myself. I am ordinary.
The fort is all-stone. Its rugged, its old-world, its green. There are parts where you cannot distinguish the fort from the shrubbery. At the entrance is a tree aloof and calm suspended mid air growing through the fort walls. The windows are barred and limiting like a viewfinder on the camera. The midget-sized gates are bolted with huge locks. The fort is under the control of Indian air force. No civilians allowed, but for a shoot.
Madh is happy. It is like a friendly community where beggars laugh with the locals. A group of villages, it retains and celebrates itself. Boats in the sea fishing away, middlemen trading with the Kolis is the middle of busy streets, children with bruised knees playing in alleys, young armed men from the Naval base sitting in cozy groups, women in all sorts of attires parading the streets, young underground rockers walking their stride, old men sneering at me, a huge buffalo steering traffic, hostile film vans barricading the bungalows, rickshaws which do not follow the meter, a small city within a city. Madh is untouched.
So am I.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Finally, the green light comes on and the bus begins to turn at the junction. At the same time, the paan man decides to spit. He slightly raises himself from his seat and shoots a jet of crimson red semi fluid onto an unassuming suitably well dressed man.
Now, imagine you are that man. You are probably heading somewhere important - a meeting or office. You are livid. You are annoyed. You are fucking pissed off.
You look around you to assess the situation. You shirt looks like shit now. The vehicles are edgy and moving quick to make the most of the green signal. The bus is filled to its brim. The paan man is confused and apologetic. The only thing you can think of is to call him names but the bus moves on steadily and the paan man is gone.
This happened yesterday. It got me wondering – What does it take to pick a fight with someone? Grit? Gumption? Opportunity? Stupidity? Or the privilege of time?
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Hearing that makes me uneasy. It makes me want to say – “I empathize with your problems and I respect your hardworkingness. But it seems like in your situation, your working hard is not serving anyone well. Why do you work hard? What makes you believe you work hard? Do you want to work hard?”
I throw this volley of questions because I understand that people’s motivations are different and often justifiable.
To me, ‘working hard’ just sounds like a huge effort and if you enjoy what you do, you wouldn’t need all that effort at all. The things one enjoys hardly require any effort.
In that sense, working hard and having fun are the same things, aren’t they?