Dalgona and Democracy!

Recently I came across a popular informative video on YouTube which nonchalantly took me through the fascinating world of Plato-Socrates philosophies. Little deeper into the video I came to know that Socrates, the classical Greek Philosopher, a popular name who is credited to be the founder of western philosophy, disliked the concept of Democracy. I dug into this idea of him. Democracy, which has been known to be the most effective forms of government, originated in Greece, the birthplace of Socrates, was disliked by the father of philosophy? That sounded quite interesting and compelling at the same time.

socrates

Socrates – Know Thyself – source: Internet

India, a country of more than 1.35 Billion people, has been celebrating the power of being one of world’s largest democracies since decades. A system wherein the whole population votes to elect parliamentarians from different regions for them to choose a single person governing the country. Although, Socrates’ arguments about democracy sound weirdly perfect for the situation of a democratic country like India. In Book Six of The Republic, Plato describes Socrates notes about the flaws of democracy by comparing the society to a ship. If you were heading out on a journey in the sea, who would you ideally choose to be the captain or in charge of the vessel? Just anyone or someone who’s trained and experienced enough with the idea and rules of seafaring? The latter of course, right? Then Socrates argues so why then do we keep thinking that any old person should be fit to judge who should be a ruler of a country?

rally

A women in PM Modi’s rally. Source: Scroll.in

Let me explain that to you in simpler metaphors. The coronavirus lockdown have been hard on most of us, both physically and mentally. A person with extreme privileges too, can feel exhausted by just staying indoors with all kinds of luxury. Speaking of luxury, being able to afford a powerful internet connection lately has become a part of our essentials supplies. Internet then brings us to instagram and trends. We saw a surge in the trend of people with internet challenging peers to make a specific type of coffee, the dalgona coffee. Now it’s evident that not a lot of us knew about this type of coffee, (even when I am typing it in my MS Word, gave me a spell check warning) but when the uncle/aunt living in neighborhood who apparently haven’t had an idea if we were alive or not, tagged me in a challenge to make Dalgona, I was a little worried. This concept of internet trends and challenges has a good study of science associated with it, which is termed as “Herd Mentality”.

dalgona

Dalgona coffee. Source: BBC.co.uk

Coming back to democracy, in a country like India, herd mentality offers a huge backup on the flaws that democracy brings in. Humans are social animals, we prefer to live in communities, we want to take sides, there is a history of humanity being offered choices, yes or no, this way or that way, YouTube or tiktok, Hindu or Muslim? Choosing sides which we think are powerful and helps us to fit in a community, offers us hope. Hope of acceptance. We feel liberated and accepted when we’re in a certain side, a side where people could share and interact their issues, rather than finding solutions by indulging in thinking or introspecting perspectives. We might not find solutions in such herds, as perspectives are to be taken from someone who has different opinions that us, but we end up offering each other courage to get through crisis, with evident collateral loss of lives no doubt. If this didn’t make you think about the popular urban legend of “Religion”, then probably you haven’t observed the world enough.

Socrates talked about faults of Democracy by providing substantiations of in-built human behavior errors. Plato proposed that our lives go wrong in large part because we almost never give ourselves time to think carefully and logically enough about our plans. And so we end up with the wrong values, careers and relationships. Plato wanted to bring order and clarity to our minds.

voting

Socrates on Voting. Source: Chaaipani

He observed how many of our ideas are derived from what the crowd thinks, from what the Greeks called ‘doxa’, and we’d call ‘common-sense’. Plato believed opinions of people are driven by individual thinking, less into philosophical introspection and more into ‘how they felt’. Religion clearly makes us question less, talk less and act more, think less and conclude more, and reaching to unscientific conclusions with no evident proofs is religion’s old hobby.

From asking artist to listen to philosophers, to making common crowd follow wise celebrities, from trying to change the partner and work on each other’s flaws in a relationship to asking democracies to educate about the concepts and importance of voting (by forming schools which taught the art of voting), Socrates had it all sorted for an ideal government. India on the other hand, lacks a major part of everything to the idea of a superlative society.

 

Are you okay?

The only bummer in the life you live,
Is to never get bored and be stuck, through!
That may sound like a far-out view,
But it holds true, when anxiety gets you.

Remember when a bee flies flower to flower,
Collects life out to build a marvel.
Why are you fastened on the desk, oh human!
Get up, shake up and take a risk shower.

Look out, leaf through, there’s a struggling moon,
Shining brighter, than the Sun that is you!
The ghosts inside are way terrible,
We know its depression, painful to make through.

“Cheer up, man up”, this is all they say,
Underestimating mental health, every single day.
How could you be so positive, all this while?
Hiding insecurities, behind, “I am fine”!

I know you need help, talk to us,
We are no therapists, at least open up.
Cry louder, laugh harder, and break every glass,
Take out that frustration, it needs no rehab class.

The hound in your childhood nightmares, has long gone,
Lullabies are no more adorable songs.
Crying and screaming are now a daily routine,
Living alone in a crowd, what a life it has been.

Enough now, hold my hand, let’s get it sort,
I’ll listen, you must talk, losen the knot!
Beautiful memories, positive people, savor the fun,
Its a one life my love, share and give negativity a turn.

Letter to Indian patriarchy ! (Uncles, please read)

16th December 2012: A final year MBBS AIIMS student was gang raped (with an iron rod resulting in severe injuries to her intestines) by 5 men including a juvenile in a running bus in Delhi. Her friend was tied up and beaten and was forced to watch the crime happen in front of him. The incident stirred not just India, but affected a large number of people in the world, which in turn doubted their safety in Indian subcontinent. Since Indian law does not allow the press to publish a rape victim’s name, the victim has become widely known as Nirbhaya, meaning “fearless”, and her life and death have come to symbolize women’s struggle to end the rape culture in India and the long-held practice of either denial of its existence within the country.

22nd August 2013: A photojournalist was gang raped similarly by 5 men which also consisted of a juvenile, behind the compounds of Shakti Mills, Mumbai. Later the incident, another victim came forward who complained of being subjected to similar crime at the same place.

14th March 2015: Six (Bangladeshi) men allegedly gang raped a 71 year old nun working late in a hospital of West Bengal. The intensity of crime crossed every level of humanity marking a new low in crimes.

24 March 2016: A 17 year old Dalit girl was gang raped and murdered, Delta Meghwal case.

(Obviously I haven’t listed cases before, during and after the given dates, if I would have, it would take eternities to list and get over the dilemma of their brutality) (FYI, there were more than 1 lakh women who reported of being kidnapped and raped during partition, 1947)

Hey, take another look at the above list. You feel there’s any pattern? Similarity? Of course not, these wild pigs living around us, masquerading as regular men surviving and savoring a beautiful life, spare nobody! I REPEAT, NOBODY.

The Indian law prior to the “Nirbhaya” incident took into account only penile-vaginal intercourse within the definition of rape and forcible acts of penetration of vagina, mouth, urethra or anus through penis or an inanimate object did not fall within the definition of rape. This also means the Indian constitution took more than 60+ years and a brutal gang rape to just define “RAPE” in its law. This in turns also conveys that a large number of rapists would have been let off because there was no law to punish such acts.

I feel there’s a hidden “not so hidden” misogynist and patriarchal “uncle” living in every man (no caste, creed, religion or race to be specific, they are there) around us. He asks his daughters/sisters to behave more like a “woman”, dress to cover up even her elbows, speak in a lower tone and after every rape or assault against women, blames “HER” instead of teaching his kids about sex-education or consent. In a country that reports high rates of teenage pregnancies and sexual abuse, where sex education should be the highest of all priorities, the “uncle” ironically looks at it as offensive to Indian values, and concerns that it might lead to risky sexual behavior and promiscuity.

I came across a large number of such “uncles” and their narrow mindsets; they kept haunting me as a kid. Their mindsets are soo bigoted that the brainwashing sessions of “ISIS” may one day be able to influence them but teachings of open minded attitude and consents may never.

It’s been a while I have been reading and researching on this topic; and there are multiple conclusions I can draw about existence of harassment against women in our society through ages. There are rapes, gangrapes, marital rapes (still not included as a category of rape in India), domestic violence, violence for dowry, acid attacks, harassment at workplace, teenage rapes, child pregnancies, female infanticide etc.

From “Krishna” stealing cloths of bathing Gopikas to “#MeToo”, from “Draupadi Vastraharan” to flinging semen filled balloons at teenage girls on streets, we have come a long way.

Blood boils when these uncles around us then dare to say, “This keeps on happening. It’s better not to let our daughters/mother/sisters to step out of their home. It’s the safest place they would ever be at”. Well, respected narrow minded citizen of this holy nation, if the records are to be checked, in the year 2016 alone, India recorded 106 rapes a day! Large number of those raped (2,116) were girls in the age group of 0-12 year and 36,859 (94%) offenders were known to the rape victims. Turns out, nobody on this planet can be trusted, nor the people inside our home neither those who are allowed to enter in our home.
The same uncle then touches a cow standing in the middle of a street and asks for her blessings. He then calls her the “Holiest” of all animals and sticks to his (fictional) spiritual world where “Gaumata” has 32 million Gods residing in her stomach. Not just this, he also asks for a separate law for her safety and beats up people who deny believing in his ideologies. He claims of sacrificing every second of his life in chanting her name and protecting her, which he believes is a way to heaven. But, dear uncle with a brain of the size of a peanut, how about this; if the 2010 figures are to be considered, it works out to 60.7 rapes a day, 2.53 rapes every hour, or one rape every 23.7 minutes in a country of 1.2 billion people. Obviously, looking at today’s condition, there must have been a considerable rise in these stats, or to be honest, there is a women/teen/kid getting raped while I write this or while you are reading this. (2017 facts conclude of 277% rise in rapes in 10 years). I want these highly regarded uncles to ask their “Gaumata” to castrate these extremely aroused pigs, if it is possible with the help of the Gods residing in her stomach!

I have no idea, how long this will keep on happening but one thing is certainly clear, until and unless we don’t take these “uncles” around us out of the society or name them, call them out, we are growing potential rapists and insecure breed of men around us.

Surprisingly we can see these “uncles” earning a hefty amount in some MNC, flaunting their newly bought car and celebrated life along with their “lovely wife” over social media. Yes, they are on social media, asking for bob (boobs) and vagene (vagina) pictures to stranger women and forcefully sexting teenage girls on popular social media platform, openly. He might not let his daughter to wear a sleeveless kurti, or let her socialize but he would openly ask for nudes from stranger women or teens. He is awfully thirsty, he takes pictures of women he found haphazardly revealing cleavage in a bus or local train and laugh it over by forwarding it to “potential rapists” groups on social media. He “accidently” touches the flight attendant/air hostess in an airplane, grabs women by their waist, back, in a crowded bus, maybe that’s the reason he won’t let the women inside his own home to come out, protecting them from himself.

We can go on and on over this topic and reach to no specific conclusion. From a developing country to being a third world nation for women, we are certainly going in the worst direction of progress. If this stays for long, sadly women will be the first to reach on the verge of extinction among humanity. The brutality with every age women these days also leaves us with a gawky conclusion, “They conducted female infanticide, they might still be doing it, somewhere in some corners of this country, but looking at today’s condition of women here, they were actually doing the right thing! (sarcasm) Kill them before they face the wrath and brutality of today’s creepy world!”

The key to our liberation is ensuring everyone has an equal chance at success and happiness. It’s consciously choosing to be open-minded and inclusive. It’s about starting conversations that make us uncomfortable. It’s about minimizing our role as oppressors, about rescuing apathy, as that inevitably hurts us too. It’s about viscerally understanding this simple truth, “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even if her shackles are very different than my own.” AND AND that my dear men/uncle/son/father, is a definition of FEMINISM.

(Facts and figures : wikipedia)

Traffic !

“Seema where’s my watch, I am already late! I hope you know, every second matters on my way to office. God please save me from the traffic today, PLEASE…” Mr. Sahni rushed out of the bedroom with his tie hanging on the side of his collar as he wore a sock and stuck the other inside his pocket. “Everything is on the table, your bag, mobile phone, car keys, (coughs) not the (coughs ) credit card and God will not save you from the traffic, waking up early in the morning might..!” his wife switched on the geyser and smiled at him while she closed the door of the bedroom.

It was a sunny autumn morning; Mr. Sahni took the shortest highway to his office and switched on the radio for some news. After driving for few minutes he eventually got into a smaller area which he thought would be scantily humanized as it was his regular secret way to office. Little did he know Murphy’s Law would find its way in his life and create the worst traffic, the area had ever experienced.

Until he could reverse his car, there was a long lineup of vehicles honking and making way out of the crowd to reach their bread and butter (erm, office?)! Mr. Sahni took a long breath and did what the characters from the last night’s movie asked him to in such situations, he touched his chest, patted near his heart and whispered himself “ALL IS WELL” while he raised the volume of his radio playing “ek akela iss sheher me..” as a remedy to accept the inevitable situation.

It was more than 20 minutes and Mr. Sahni had moved his car for almost 10-15 inches into the traffic. All he heard on the radio was news of being stuck in the worst traffic of the year the city has ever experienced. He put a hand over the side of his window and supported his head to contemplate about the situation. Soon after, he heard a knock on his window. He turned, cleaned his blurred spectacles to see a group of transgender people standing near his car asking for money. Without even sparing a minute he took a ten rupee note from his car store box and gave it to the person outside. Until he rolls up the window he heard the trans-women showering him with blessings, prayers and a life full of prosperity for his family. He smirked and gave thumbs up to one of them.

Meanwhile at some distance from his car, he saw people coming out of their vehicles and getting into dogfights followed by their very own customized swear words. There were traffic police screaming, cars honking, kids crying and lots of spectators enjoying the complimentary impromptu merrymaking. Meanwhile Mr. Sahni realized it was going to be a day stay traffic/picnic for him; he chose not to think about driving his car anymore and pulled the laptop out of his bag to type an email.

A few minutes later into the jam he saw a young 25ish guy with a colorful guitar hanging by the side of his right hand, wearing unkempt denim, scruffier haircut and a dark mask covering his complete face with a fixed deadpan expression, playing songs for the people stuck in traffic. He approached every individual, every vehicle in the traffic, knocked at their windows, asked them their favorite song/genre and played it out on his guitar. Some of them even joined him in his fun and sang along. Surprisingly he did not ask for money to any of them, some gave him rewards out of gratitude while some felt awkward even to ask. But he did not seem to care about any of them and continued his journey through the congested road.

“Hey young man! Here, hey!” Mr. Sahni shouted as he saw the guitar guy enter a lane near him, lowered his window and waved. The guitar guy waved back, signaled him to wait for 2 minutes and continued to play for a kid sitting on a bike along with his father.

“Hello sir, you want me to sing a song for you?” “Tell me your favorite genre!” the guitar guy spoke in a deep Santa Clause’s voice. “With that base in your voice would you be able to sing Rafi’s “Pukaaarta chala hu mai”? Mr. Sahni pointed to his throat with an intrigued smirk on his face. “Haha, minutes ago I was trying to convince the kid there into believing that I am Santa’s nephew! That was the only way to cheer that chap up.” The guitar guy strokes the strings from top to bottom to make a melodious variable sound to start with the leads of “Pukaaarta chala hu mai”. That managed multiple heads to turn and look out for the source of that melody.
“You have an amazing voice, young man! You should try for independent band or even… erm… the music industry we have, BOLLYWOOD per se! I hope you understand what I mean… You know… Instead of roaming around in a traffic…!” Mr. Sahni spoke in a fading tone while he pointed at the music system on his car’s dashboard. “Even you need not to hide your face there!” he tried to sound less rude by keeping the smile on his face intact. The guitar guy laughed, pulled a business card out of his jeans pocket and handed it to Mr. Sahni. He took the white colored business card, had a brief look at every corner of it. It had one word “Sangeetkaar” written in the center on both the sides along with a contact number at the corners. “You may not know me, but, when you reach home today, tell your kids about your meeting with “Rahgir” in traffic. They might force you to stumble into each and every traffic of this city!” “You think I would have had the stamina to stand in this chilling morning and play music for fellow irked strangers, without even eating a piece of bread?” the guitar guy added.

“So you’re a singer?” “No sir, singer less, composer more!” the guitar guy cut Mr. Sahni before he asks another question. “I make music for the “Bollywood people” (Double quotes with his fingers) as a nine-to-five and sing those compositions for my stranger friends in traffic or street or a local train out of passion, to freshen up their mood and lighten up their frustration!”

“You are an inspiration man. Who does that? I have always had this dream of being an eminent sketcher! I used to sketch every corner of my books. Finished a pile of diaries during my board exam preparations but later when I had to appear for the reexaminations, I knew sketching isn’t going to help me get through this! Since then, the thought of picking up a charcoal never came to my mind!” Mr. Sahni cleared his throat, “I also had this dream of making my own Artwork exhibition hall, where artists around the world would bring their masterpieces and showcase it in front of connoisseurs! A room full of art lovers and appreciators!!” Mr. Sahni looked up to picture his younger self with a smile of satisfaction on his face. “Time never let me pass its hurdle. I always stumbled and tripped over the fear of losing my dignity among the people who knew me as a hardworking class topper! I was stuck in a traffic of competitions, exams, peer-pressure, promises of extremely orthodox parents, their unbound expectations…! I overheard my father once say this to my mother-Do you think anybody would ever marry a person who sketches the life out of every page he breaks into?” Mr. Sahni nodded sideways and tried to imitate his father’s voice.

“You remind me of my son.” Mr. Sahni took a long breathe, “He too was passionate about his music thing, though I constantly forced him to focus on academics. The music, sketching, dancing can be pursued whenever he wants, but, at least make sure you have money coming from the government treasures. Ironically I myself knew, the “whenever he wants” is actually a huge lie we and our ancestors have been telling each other through ages!”. The traffic was filled with chaos and hustle of vehicles honking and screeching, though, there was dead silence in the space between both of them. Mr. Sahni tried his best to hold back his tears and the guitar guy looked down with a smile on his face.

“You sound as if you have crossed the extremity of frustration sir! Let me tell you something”, the guitar guy takes a long breathe, “There is never a traffic in ART, nor will ever be in any “tense”! It’s your own damn expertise. You are not stuck in it, you are blessed with it by the love of god, and not everybody is blessed with this “traffic” of yours. It’s upon your honesty and extreme hard work which takes you to the zenith of success. Who cares, seriously-tell me, who cares some x person singing, sketching, or playing a trumpet better than you? In the entire life of human race, for nature’s sake, there is at least one thing to learn in every second and every nook and cranny around us, and mind it sir, these artists are the souls who can spot such learnings!”
“It’s never ever about how many people know you, the number of people follow you by just a click on social media, and it’s sure as hell not about the way you market yourself! Art was never meant for making money, it was supposed to be felt and adore about.”

The guitar guy adjusts his guitar bag, “Tell me something! Have your regular 9-5 job ever made you feel nostalgic, typing 1000+ lines of codes ever helped you dig into the past and feel the presence of your first love from school right in front of your eyes?” Mr. Sahni laughs, “Funny, isn’t it?” the guitar guy points his finger towards him as a notion of eureka! “OR, OR, managing the bank accounts ever felt as if you are sleeping under a huge mango tree on a sunny day in the lap of the love of your life?” “Oh MY GOODNESS, I am on fire today!” they both break into laughter and start giving each other high fives. “Well that’s what art does to you, it makes you reckon the stuff which a mediocre life could never! By the way, if you are able to make money out of it, it’s CHRISTMAS every day!” they both smile with myriad hope in their eyes.
“You sound certainly like my son. I wish if he was here today with us, he would have hugged you for this gripping speech of yours!” Mr. Sahni smiled and moved his car ahead as the traffic in front of him moved a little. The guitar guy walked a little and came back to Mr. Sahni’s window “Oh! I… I…m am really sorry for what happened with your son. I hope he rests…!” “Oh no no… He is all okay… Well I hope so… He left home two years ago in search of his position in the maze of music industry…soon after we had a terrible fight… calls his Mother daily… prominently says three sentences, “Hello Maa. Khana khaa liya hai, aur music bhi achha chal raha hai, milte hai!” the otherwise looking healthy and lively Mr. Sahni had already shed two tears while he talked about his son. The guitar guy gently kept his hand on Mr. Sahni’s hand and said “Don’t worry sir. I really hope he is doing well, or he will do well nevertheless. You have my card, ask him to get in contact with me. Let’s see if I can be of any help! Achha sir, ab mai chalta hu. Milte hai, kisi traffic me ya fir kabhi aapke bete ke saath!” the guitar guy adjusted his bag and kneeled down to tie his shoelace, “Okay Mr. Inspiration!” said Mr. Sahni with a bright smile.
He gets up, walks all the way to the other end of road against the traffic and disappears in the underground metro tunnel.
The traffic eventually started to open up after more 45 minutes of wait. Mr. Sahni reached his workplace as faster as he could. He barely could think of working and managing his daily records in office. Every time he thought of taking up a new task to work on, the words of the masked guitarist would haunt his mind and force him to think about whatever happened with his son. He knew he needed a day off and quality time to contemplate things. Mr. Sahni went home as soon as his office hours got over.
“Seema, Seema bahar aao toh… Jalddii…!” Mr. Sahni shouted as he parked his car in his garage. He opened the door on the driver side and sat on the driver seat facing outside. “What happened? Are you okay?” she came running all the way from their backyard garden with an axe and a water can in her hand. Mr. Sahni called her up to the passenger seat. Narrated the entire incident and his meet up with a musician that morning. They both discussed about everything and reached to a conclusion of calling up the Guitar guy home for helping them find their son. After hours of discussion and debate Mr. Sahni picked up his phone, dialed the number on the business card given by the guitar guy and called him. After two rings he picked up and Mr. Sahni broke into tears when the soft voice on the other side said, “Haa Papa! Khana khaa liya hai, aur music bhi achha chal raha hai, mile to hai aaj hum. This is my new number. Save it as “Rahgir”, aur haan, Sunday ko ghar aajau?”

Confusing Adults!

Parched weather, warm winds – when inhaled, it literally felt like drinking fire! It might burn my throat sometime soon. Standing by the window at 2-18pm, the summer holidays were like a game of “letsPlayTheHumanStove” for me. Taking some time from staring at the huge unnamed-lifeless tree outside my window I looked into our room. I saw my family members sleeping on the floor and the chaarpai and the table. For a second I thought I was the only living being observing the world around me. I never saw Baba, Maai and my elder sisters sleeping in the afternoon.
Even Shiva, my 1.5 year old dog was resting with all peace of this world on the terrace. Shiva was the second most loved thing for me – after Maai. A year ago while returning from school I found him lying on the road, that half dead kid drank all the water from my water bottle. He was thirsty, terrified and feeble. I took him home. Gave him one of my breads and more water.
In few months he was accepted as the sixth member of my family. My two elder sisters loved him, even Maai used to talk to him, though he seemed uninterested. Baba on other hand never talked to him. Never even held him and cuddled. I heard Baba once talk to Maai about Shiva. “We are unable to feed a family of five already, tell him to drop the dog back to where he found it. The more he will grow, the more he is going to ask for food now and then”. These were his exact words. Since then I used to take him and hide him on the terrace once dad came home from farm.
Shiva was my only friend in our entire village. I had few friends before I got Shiva but they went somewhere far away from our village. Maai said they were not getting enough money from farming so they shifted to other city to get work. Since then I always wondered how money was anywhere related to farm! Farms were supposed to grow food. Maybe they never got the seeds to grow money crop, but we too never had any Money-seeds to grow them in our farm. We were still in the village, surviving. These talks of adult people were bewildering. Adults are boring. Though Shiva never talked, he never let me feel sad about their absence.
That year I felt this strange aura in my family. Maai and Baba barely talked to us. My sisters left school. They were helping Maai to wash dirty dishes and cloths at the sarpanch’s place. This Sarpanch guy was the hero of our village. Every villager used to salute him or folded hands in front of him. Though, I never saw Baba doing that. He even told us siblings to never do it. This sarpanch guy had a wife. She was glittery and shiny all the time. She had gold all over her body. I loved how she used to put on a fancy goggle and walk through the village road. The last time I saw something like that was when Baba took us all to the Mela of our village. There were these clowns just as lustrous and colorful as her. Maybe she was a clown. But Maai never loved the way she pulled that look off. No wonder Maai was scared of clowns at the Mela.
This sarpanch guy had a son. He was also like a clown, a small clown – but was rude. He never let me and Shiva play in his farm. Not even with his vibrant and fancy toys. I wondered clowns were supposed to make us laugh but he always shooed me and Shiva away. He also had a dog, healthier and handsome than Shiva but all he did was bark and eat.
Our village seemed like a dead place. Dry soil, lifeless trees, stories of cattle eradicating and migrating people. People blamed the Sun for being too harsh. They cursed the weather. They used to call it as Drought. Yet another confusing thing about adults! Why were they swearing the sun for no water in their farms? Water was supposed to come from the well not the sun? Aaah ADULTS!!
One day this sarpanch guy had a grand fest at his Wada. Maai and my sisters went at his place early in the morning. Fests were supposed to have a lot of food and dirty dishes too. Maai and my sisters were washing all the day. They even had work during the night hours as the fest was about to last for two days. Having worked for more than 13hrs my sisters were hungry and tired. Maai told them to go home and have something to eat. They refused to leave Maai there alone as the workload was about to increase. Maai couldn’t watch those trembling hands of her girls and she told them to sit in the corner while she arranges some food from the sarpanch’s kitchen. She went straight to the kitchen asking for some food for her daughters. She was kicked out by the other servants. They cursed her and warned her to not to enter the backdoor ever again. She was restricted from going home until she’s done with all the dishes. Maai came out and went straight to the unfinished food left on the dishes. She took a spoon and collected the uneaten part as much as she could and gave them to my sisters. As soon as my sisters started eating the stale food the sarpanch’s most trusted servant saw them. He went straight to his maalik and narrated a story with all the spices he could. Furious sarpanch came to the back porch and dragged my sisters into his house with the help of his two other servants. Maai was washing clothes in another part of the Wada as she couldn’t hear them scream.
The next morning when Maai came home, she was numb. My sisters were all jolted with fear. They were crying but there wasn’t any sound. Just tears. I never saw anyone cry that was before. What could have ever happened inside the Wada? When Baba came home from a tiring day in the farm, Maai broke down and narrated whatever happened at the sarpanch’s place. Baba was shattered. He sat on the floor and held his head in both his hands. I went to Maai asking about the incident, she pulled me closer and hugged me tighter. I was surprised again. Why are adults so complicated?? When a rich man drags you in his wada which is full of food and toys why would someone cry at it? I would have gone happily in there!!
This morning Baba was surprisingly happy. He bought some sweets from the market and gave it to Maai. She promised me to serve it with the lunch. Baba even spoke us about taking us all to the mela in the evening. I rejoiced. Shiva and I danced on the terrace. Yaay!! I was excited for the lunch. It was like a festival. But May month never had any festival before!!
Maai was cooking khichadi after a long. In the morning the smell of Sheera woke me up. Baba was having Sheera for breakfast. He called me over and gave me a plate full of it. I suddenly felt like being a Sarpanch’s kid. I went on the terrace and gave some Sheera to Shiva. He ate it like a king. And yet again, this altered air at my home kept me thinking. Yesterday all six of us were crying and today morning we are having sheera and khichadi for lunch! Adults are harder to understand. Shiva was easier though. He ate and played. I kissed him and went back to Maai.
I sat in her lap and saw her cook with utmost dedication. At 12pm Maai called us all for the lunch. I and Baba sat together. Maai served us on the banana leaf. Oh the essence!!! Baba gave me some tilak to put on my forehead. We prayed to God. Though I never knew what the prayer was yet I said it till the end. Suddenly I realized Shiva never had a lunch like this before. I took my banana leaf and went straight on the terrace. Shiva was overjoyed!!! I kept the leaf in front of him and went down to take my glass of water. As I went upstairs I saw Shiva eating the sweets baba got this morning. He ate it all, without even leaving a grain. I finished my khichadi and went into the kitchen to see if there was any sweet left in the box only to find it empty! I was heartbroken. It was the only sweet baba got for us after a long and my taste buds sobbed like never before.
It was 6pm already. I was still standing at the window, thinking about how confusing adults were. But then I realized no one but me was awake. I stormed upstairs to see Shiva; he was deep into his sleep. I tried waking him up but he didn’t even move his tail. That was surprising!!! I ran downstairs. I went near Maai. I shook her but she too didn’t respond. I felt like crying. We had planned of visiting the mela and no one seemed interested. That wasn’t fair at all!! Firstly I didn’t get the sweet and now the mela plan was about to fail. I was about to cry out loud but someone was knocking at the door. I wiped my tears and went to open. Our neighbor taai came to ask for some flour. I told her to talk to Maai as she was sleeping. Taai was surprised. She went in and after few minutes came out crying louder than me. She took me in her arms and hugged for long. Well some more confusion to add. I hated adults even more then. They don’t talk, they cry, they are happy now and devastated then!!!
Few days later I went to live at a new home. There were only kids just like me. We had a Didi but I missed Maai and baba. There were girls but they were nowhere like my sisters. I was told my family went to God’s place. They took Shiva with them. I never said the meal prayers right, maybe I was punished!!!!!!!! I even heard Didi saying something about the sweets my Baba bought that day. She even said I was lucky for not eating it. Those words of Didi confused me again!!!
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Hairband!

Heavy  rain  was  washing  the  highway  and  coloring  it  with  a  brand-new  life.  The  sound  of  rain  onto  the car’s  windshields  composed  natural  symphonies.  Trees  alongside  the  road  were  already  into  their original  wardrobe.  The  traditional  green.  Sometimes  you  get  out  of  adjectives  to  describe  the  way  this color  struck  your  nerves.  Or  maybe  nature  never  wanted  itself  to  be  described-  in  human  language.
With  that  precious  (Yeah,  girls  tend  to  love  it  more  than  anything  else.  And  when  it’s  the  last,  its  nothing less  than  their  only  kid)  hair  band,  she  tied  her  playful  long  hair  behind.  She  somehow  managed  to  get hold  of  her  hair  playing  on  her  face.  I  cursed  the  stupid  wind  coming  through  her  side  of  the  window. Basically  whatever  disturbed  her  in  7  years  of  our  married  life,  was  among  one  of  my  arch-enemies.
  Our  toddler  on  the  back  seat  was  busy  focusing  on  the  chocolate  wrapper  in  her  hand.  I  cried  inside. Bachha  look  out.  This  is  the  first  time  you  are  experiencing  such  an  amazing  weather  with “jab  koi  baat bigad  jaaye..jab  koi  mushkil  pad  jaaye..”  on  the  radio.  She  was  probably  in  love  with  her  Shmitten. Anyways  I  was  glad,  because  someone,  whom  I  called  as  my  Shmitten,  now  had  rested  her  head  on  my shoulder.  PERFECTO!!!!
It  was  a  heavy  downpour.  Those  teenage  prayers  I  had  were  all  set  to  come  true.  DRIVE  IN  RAIN-EMPTY ROAD-A  BEAUTIFUL WIFE-A  DAUGHTER-and-A  LIFE!!! “I  think  we  should  stop  somewhere  until  the  rain  calms,  Sushant”,  Swara  lowered  the  radio  volume  and said  that  in  the  softest  voice  she  could.  “Or  maybe  we  should  enjoy  these  and  make  a  memory”,  I  pulled out  paper-wrapped  Pakodas  from  the  backseat  and  handed  them  over  to  her.  She  nearly  jumped  from her  seat  with  joy,  kissed  me  on  my  earlobe  and  diverted  all  her  focus  on  those  Pakodas,  which  I  took  at the  last  Dhaba  we  had  stopped.  She  curled  herself  on  her  seat  and  ate  them  one  by  one,  just  like  our daughter  who  was  still  licking  the  hell  out  of  her  Shmitten  wrapper.    “LIKE  MOTHER,  LIKE  DAUGHTER”  no one  said  ever.
“Hamee tumse  pyaar  kitna  ye  hum  nahi  jaaanate..magar..  ”,the  radio  did  his  best  to  add  to  the  charm  of the  situation.  I  lowered  the  volume  when  I  saw  Swara  was  humming  with  it.  Rain  on  the  other  hand  was turning  insane.  I  turned  and  looked  at  the  backseat  to  make  sure  my  daughter  wasn’t  feeling  cold.  But she  was  already  into  her  deepest  sleep.  I  wondered  how  kids  look  so  satisfied  with  their  life  whenever they sleep???    Swara  took  a  baby-blanket  out  of  her  huge  purse  and  covered  her  with  it.  I  saw  the  way her  smile  widened  in  her  sleep.  I  wished  everyone  in  my  office  was  as  satisfied  and  happy  as  that  baby was  then.
  Life  suddenly  seemed  gratified.  The  feeling  was  eternal.  Something  every  human  being  would  have  ever dreamed  of.   But…
I  heard  a  thud  on  the  front  right  wheel  of  our  car.  I  immediately  pulled  over.  “Take  this  and  cover  your head  for  God  sake”,  Swara  widened  her  eyes  and  handed  me  a  towel  as  I  was  about  to  get  out.  I  stared at  her  purse  as  it  even  managed  to  occupy  the  complete  towel  inside  it.  
Purses and women have a lot of things in common. They hold a lot and yield stuff at the right time. That must be another reason why women loved and carried their purses with them. ALL.THE.TIME.
Women shared bond even with every heck of a lifeless thing.  I covered my head with the towel and got out of the car in the safest way I could. The heavy rain was piercing in my back. When I looked down, I saw the second saddest thing of my life (The first one was watching my dead dog Steve after returning from school when I was 7y/o).The tire was badly punctured. Eventually it turned me into the most grief-stricken person on this planet.  I was about to get back into the car to open the backseat, to look out for a spare tire. I was hit hard on my head.  I fell on my face in the heaviest rain of my life. I could clearly listen to Swara crying out my name even though the rain was at its loudest. I managed to turn myself on the road. Four armed men (Faces covered) were standing around me. They were all shouting in some weird slang. Swara tried getting out of the car but one of them caught her with her hairbun. I couldn’t control my tantrum. I gathered all my courage to get up and save her but this time one of them blew my leg with a gunshot. I saw my blood mixing with every drop of the rain falling over me. I cursed the rain as it appeared to help my body lose more and more blood. And I fainted!!!
Mr Shushant.. are you okay?? They were all terrorists. Hiding in the jungle besides the highway.  The cops reached for help in less than 10 mins. Your daughter was unharmed”, the interviewer said and managed to calm me down. “Yeah, but they couldn’t find my wife!” I smiled at the interviewer as that sentence of her had already filled me with enough courage which I had recorded in my mind since 10 years of that incident.  “I’m really sorry for whatever happened Mr.Sushant. ”, she said that by wiping her tears. “Yeah that’s okay.  Melancholy did never manage to hit me. As I named my daughter Swara… and….” 
“And Mr. Sushant??” the interviewer moved to the edge of her chair.
“And I must be the only man to preserve this HAIRBAND for 10 years now!!”.

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Reading People ~ (Journey)

Initially I apologise to all those people to whom my post is aimed. I feel sorry for taking a stand for you all after a long (even the rail budget is out and gov would barely react to my pled ). Yes I took 3 months to voice you out. Though as the quote goes “better late than never” I am writing this post to whatever I experienced that day. (PS:- readers can frame it as an open letter/personal experience blog or whatever they think of.)
I request you all to please go through the complete post and feel free to judge me accordingly.(cause that is what we all are good at? )
I am a student of Electronics and Tele-communication engineering from Pimpri Chinchwad College of Engineering, Pune (TY)
For the purpose of educational tour our department had organized an industrial visit to the electronics industries of Delhi and Jaipur. Industrial Visits are mainly carried out to survey the production and making of electronics stuff plus a recreational visit to historical and sight worthy places around the city. On 4th of December I and 80 of my friends including 6 faculties were all set to board our train for Mumbai (dadar) from Pune. We reached Dadar at around 8pm on 4th of Dec and by booked travels we reached Bandra railways station, from where we were going to board our next train, Dehradoon express, to Hazrat Nizamuddin Railways station-Delhi. At around 12pm we were into the express, off to Delhi.
The journey had to take around 29 hrs to reach as the train stopped basically for most of the main stations in its way to Delhi. Skipping to the important part of my post. We were at the Ratlam station in Rajasthan at around 5pm on 5th of Dec. As the train stopped, there were around 50+ people (later identified as local workers like teachers and officers) who got into the train (without a ticket for sure) and pleaded us to let them sit on our seats till the train reached Kota junction. Kota junction was at a distance of 2 hrs from Ratlam. We agreed to let them have a seat on our reserved places as they looked hell lot of tired.
Eventually few girls from our group informed us about the educated looking passangers were watching porn and sharing each other openly. We looked into the matter and told few boys among our group to sit next to the girls who were into a pool of insecurity then.
We were all mad at the behavior of those retards and decided among ourselves to not to let anyone else sit on our seats hereafter.
We were later informed by the passangers that there will be more passangers, mainly ladies getting into the train at the Ratlam Station and they will do anything to have a place on those so called reserved seats of us. And yes that is what happened as the train stopped at Bhawanimandi junction.
The ladies figuratively looked like professional actors, as they had an amazing expression of kindness+guilt pleading us to rest their tired day on our seats. But as we had collectively decided to not to let anyone sit on our seats we stretched our legs and slept off. It went on to around 15 mins of travel I realized all those ladies weren’t tired of their acting skills (which sadly seemed genuine) and were still standing around us. I told my friends that I was going to let them sit on my seat as I couldn’t hold on to the excitement of talking to them and figuring out the scenario. (travel freak plus rajasthani people).
The conversation between me and those 4-5 ladies was among one of the most memorable moments of my life.

(Three ladies aging around 45-50 were on my seat. I was on the window side. Two ladies were in front of me. Nearly of same age. I took my travelling diary out and started taking points of the situation.)
Me:- Bhawanimandi se Kota aapka harrrozka aana jaana hota hai kya??

Lady1:- haaan. Harrroz.. hum sab log yaha kaam se aate hai. Koi shikshak hai, koi bank me karmachari, koi kahi aur..

Me:- koi local transport ya local train nahi hai kya Bhawanimandi – Ratlam se Kota tak???

Lady(2,3,4):- are bhaiyya hai naa… lekin bass aaneke liye. Subeh 7 baje hoti hai kota se local. Gharwalonke liye subeh 4 bajese tayyari karnipadti hai. Khana banao, bachhoko tayyar karo, gharka dekho aur 7 baje barabar train pakdo.

Me:- 4 baje uthkar khaana banana ????

Lady1:- bass khana nahi sabkuch beta!!!

Me:- aapne aapke gov se koi sifarish nahi ki kya?? Ke aapke liye ek local train manage karke de. Ye rout ke liye. Hamesha aapko express train ka risk lekar baithna na padega. Kabtak sahoge??

Lady2:- sifarish to bahot kii thi. Application bhi likhe the. Lekin bass subeh ke hi local ka bandobast ho paya bhaiyya. Bass yaha aaneke liye local janeka humehi dekhna padta hai. Uparse koi aur facility bhi nahi hai.

(I started writing it in my travel diary. Each and every word of her. )

Lady(2 to other ladies):- Apne anubhav likh ke rakh rahe hai bhaiyya!

(I smiled at them and carried on my further part of interview)

Me:- aap log proper Rajasthan se ho kya? Ya fir kaam se yaha shift ??

Lady(2,3):- are nahii,, yahise hai. Rajasthan.

Lady1:- aap kaha jaa rahe ho betaa?

Me:- mai aur mere 80 se zyaada dost delhi agra jaipur jaa rahe hai. Ghoomne. Engineering ke students hai. Industrial visit ke liye ye tour hai.(I took a pause, looked outside the window) Aapne aapke CM ko application likhni chahiye. Mahila hai wo. Mahilaonke liye kuch na kuch karegi hi?

Lady2:- ha subeh ki local ho payi hai abtak. Dekhte hai kya karti hai sarkaar.

Me:- (I smiled and wrote it down in my diary promptly. I never took notes that seriously even in any guest lecture.) mai agar aapke liye kuch kar sakta hu to zaroor koshish karunga.

(lady2 smiled while she picked up a call probably it was her daughter. Asking her when she will be returning. She spoke something in her native language and took a bag full of fresh oranges from her bag)

Me:- meri mummy bhi teacher hai aapki tarrah. Lekin unka school thoda paas hi hai gharse.

Lady2:- bahot padha hai Maharashtra ke bareme. Savitribai Phule ki wajahse hi hum mahilaonko aaj shiksha naseeb hui hai. Jyotiba phule, Babasahab sabki kitabein bhi hum bachhoko padhate hai.

Me:- haa meri university ka naam bhi unhise prerit hai. (I smiled with pride)(I felt proud of my university for the first time in 2 years of my course btw)

Lady1:- Nagpur ke bareme bhi suna hai. Bachpan me mai apne parivaar ke saath gayi thi. Santre(oranges) bahot famous hai wahape. Maharashtra ki dusri rajdhani hai shayad??

Me:- haan dusri rajdhani. Pehli Mumbai. (I was stunned at her geographical knowledge of maharshtra. I wondered she must be a geography teacher in her school for sure. )

Lady2:- Bhawanimandi ko orange city kehte hai rajasthan ki. Jaise Nagpur ko Maharashtra ki.(she smiled with confidence. Eventually every lady started talking about oranges. They were all filled with pride. Bhawanimandi was now known to a lot of maharashtrian youngsters sitting in that bogue.)

Lady1:- chalo beta shayad kota 5 min me aajayega.( She peeked out of the window. It was a regular route to these ladies. She might have guessed that by just looking at the running trees outside.)( the train slowed down. She was right. Everyone started to pack their belongings. All the ladies were giggling in their native language. I wondered How could someone maintain so much energy in spite of one heck of a retiring schedule which involved waking up at 4 and getting prepared for a hectic routine??.  I saluted them all in my mind and started thinking about all the ladies I have ever known going through the same scenario.)

Lady2:- bhaiyya ye lo. Oranges. Rakhlo. Dosto me baatdena. Please na nahi kehna. Aapki mummy ke hi umra ke hai hum sab. Khayal rakhna jante hai.(I was hesitating like kids in India hesitate when relatives returning home offer money. But I took it with guilt. My friends who were then faking a sleep, got up and were too guilty of the situation)(btw it was a bag full of oranges which she was offering me to have. )

Me:- mai aaapke liye kuch kaar sakta hu to zaroor karunga. Atleast in oranges ke badleme ek local train:). (They all laughed and stood in the aisle to get out of the stopped train. I sat at my window seat and waved at them to say goodbye. I knew we might never meet.  Maybe??)

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