Thursday, February 12, 2015

Step back a bit, perhaps?

I never intended to write a post on anything even remotely connected to politics because I have never been able to become an all out follower or a hater. Can a rational person (and I like to think I am rational, more often than not) possibly be a blind believer, this way or that? It seems childish to see things as plain black or white when the muddy greys are all over the place. I must agree though that I have been amused (or is it just embarrassed?) by some of the statements attributed to a certain scion of a political party in my country. It reiterates for me that politics in today's world needs brains. Power or connections alone shall not suffice unless supported by intelligence, charisma and at least the semblance of a vision. Monetary backing is a given in these circumstances. If one dreams of being able to govern well, then unfortunately, politics is the way to get there. Accept the fact that a prerequisite to offering good governance is that one needs to get elected. And more often than not, in order to get elected, one needs to play dirty. Anybody who claims they have a clean record are just plain deceiving themselves. Everybody who wades into the political minefield needs to accept that they shall have to make their own sweet deal with their conscience and/or their own gods/demons. So, let's step off the idealistic high horse and get real.

I am proud that ours is a democratic country. Democracy, especially when it comes to billions, has its pitfalls, but these are by far outweighed by the advantages. It is true that a lot more work needs to be put in to make the democratic process cleaner and more fair. However, once someone has been elected via a fairly democratic process, shouldn't they be given a chance to perform? For the last many months, I have been aghast by the irrationally strong responses put forth by individuals who I would have normally expected to stop and think first. Just as sheer blind faith is to be frowned upon, blind hatred and prejudice is also to be guarded against.

Sometimes I wonder whether all those who spout self-righteous judgement really have the right to sit in said judgement when they are unable to give their elected representative even a chance. See, even if we personally didn't vote for the person who has been elected, the fact that we are part of a democracy means that they are our representative. We don't have to stand aside if atrocities are committed or stay silent when we encounter injustice. We have the right to put forth our concerns but to outright spew propaganda of any sort is not rational behaviour. Do we even realise that by the sheer unwillingness to stop and listen and think for a bit, we are actually invalidating and weakening our own argument? There is much that needs to be done regarding true freedom and justice in our country. There is much that needs to be done for equality and our voice needs to count in this matter. But in order to be heard and be counted, perhaps we need to be able to step back and stop shouting. Anarchy may seem attractive but it shall only lead to more chaos. Perhaps we need to learn to speak up without screaming out allegations. Perhaps we need to grow up a bit. Just step back a bit. Once the crazy noise dies down then the voices of sanity shall hopefully prevail. And amidst the silence voices that speak up quietly may deliver a louder message, one of truth and justice and a free people. I have hope, I think I may even have faith, in the wisdom of a people that have flourished for so long. In the strength of a people that shall learn to not let prejudice cloud their judgement. I have hope for my country, that we shall not forget to be good human beings while we are busy being politically active social activists and/or avid followers. I have faith. Or do I?

Friday, November 07, 2014


वाऱ्याचा वेग आज इतका होता की खिडकीसमोरच्या झाडाच्या पानांना जणू मोह आवरेना. त्या उंच भक्कम झाडाशी आपले असणारे सारे संबंध सोडून वाऱ्याबरोबर उडत जाण्याची त्यांची इच्छा फारच तीव्रतेने जाणवत होती. का बरं असं वागावं त्या इवल्याश्या पानांनी? वर्षभर त्या झाडाने त्यांना जोपासलं, प्रेमाने लहानाचं मोठं केलं. आणि एक वाऱ्याची वेडी झुळुक येताच सगळं सोडून निघून जायला तयार झाली ही पानं? वारा काही हलकेच, अलगद नेणार नव्हता त्यांना. तो स्वतःच्या वेगात, तूफानीमधे हरवलेला होता. बेधुंद. बरोबर कुणी येतंय का नाही याची बिलकुल काळजी न बाळगणारा. आणि एकदाचा वाऱ्याचा वेग संपला की ती बिचारी पानं, हिरमुसलेली, वाळलेली, दमलेली, इथे-तिथे बिखुरलेली असणार. त्याच झाडाच्या मुळांशी.

वाऱ्याबरोबर बेभान उडण्याची मजा काही औरच असावी. क्षणिक इच्छेच्या भरात वाहून जाणं हे काही त्या भरभक्कम झाडाला कळणार नाही. आणि कायमचं वाऱ्याशी झुंज करत ताठ उभं राहणं काही त्या पानांना मानवणार नाही. प्रत्येकाने आपापल्या नशिबात जे लिहिलंय तेच आयुष्य जगायचं हेच सत्य. शेवटी म्हणतात ना, everything tends to chaos. तसंच काहीसं असणार.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Were you always this way?

You meet a person in a given situation and you see an aspect of them under those peculiar circumstances. It is then so easy to decide that this person is just what they appear to be to you, just exactly that... no more, no less.  They may appear kind and loving or calm and balanced or bitterly sarcastic or mind-numbingly boring or brilliant or modest or so on and so forth... ad infinitum. But you choose a set of characteristics and you apply them to said individual and that is it! But you forget, that these same people may be seen differently by others. They may actually be different with others. You may be missing out on the inner turmoil of a silent, apparently calm person. You may be missing out on someone's creativity just because your experience of them has been of the mundane. Or perhaps, you never expected them to be creative. So you never ventured to explore those aspects. You may never touch upon the seething resentment within the soul of a person who appears carefree. Or the deep-rooted romantic within a person who is apparently always strong and unemotional.

And worst of all, you pass your judgement. And then you rest the case. You don't stop to take a second look, or even a third one. You miss out on so much! Someone you think you know really well may actually appear a stranger to you if you ever saw them through another person's eyes. Or even through your own eyes, but without the curtain of expectations and preconceived notions. Don't you find that, oftentimes, perceptions are coloured by expectations? Do you think that sometimes you tend to judge too quickly? As if it makes life simpler to categorize people into sub-sections in your mind? And then, don't you lose out on the rich diversity that even that one person has to offer you? It is not easy to keep an open mind, to be non-judgemental. It means that you have to let go of your sense of self-importance. You have to step down from the pedestal that you placed yourself on. The one from where you gave yourself the right to pass judgement about others. To say that someone is mean, to say that another is an idiot, or someone else is selfish. Yes, everybody is flawed. And unluckily, perhaps, you have been exposed to all their unique flaws. But surely, each one of us is more than just the sum of our flaws? There is some good in every person. And sometimes, do you stop to think whether you bring out the worst in another person? Perhaps, they think the same about you? Perhaps... perhaps... perhaps.

If you just take the risk and decide to look at one other person in your life from a different perspective, you may discover a hidden poet or an angst-ridden soul or a hilariously wicked sense of humour that sends you into absolute fits of laughter. It takes a bit of trust. And some self-deprecation. Some letting go and some letting in. But its do-able. And then, even if you have just one friend, that friend may suddenly seem to be a different person. All the comfort of the known but flavoured with the excitement of the new. If only we were so brave...

Sunday, November 17, 2013

विश्वासाचं नातं

मी समोरच्यावर पूर्ण विश्वास ठेवायचा असतो कि समोरच्याने आपल्या प्रामाणिक व्यवहाराने, वागणुकीने माझा विश्वास मिळवायचा असतो, जपायचा असतो? कोण ठरवतं हे? सुरुवात कुठून होते? कशी होते? माझा तुमच्यावर विश्वास नसेल तर त्यात चूक कुणाची? माझी? कारण माझी डोळे बंद करून विश्वास ठेवण्याची क्षमता नाही म्हणून. का तुमची? कारण तुम्ही बेधडक विश्वास ठेवता येईल असं नेहमी वागालच याची खात्री नाही. किती खेळ खेळतो न आपण, एक-मेकांच्या मनांशी? मनाला नको ते ओढताण. खरंतर आयुष्य सोप्प, सरळ असावं. जे मनांत असेल त्याप्रमाणे वागावं, त्याप्रमाणे बोलावं, त्याप्रमाणे करावं. नाही? मग यात डावपेच नाहीत आणि कसलंही गणित नाही. जे समोर दिसतंय तेवढंच सत्य! अगदी face value! नकोच तो मनाला त्रास. 

आणि हे सगळं संपतं कुठे? कारण अविश्वासात केवढा धोका आहे! पूर्ण नातीच्या नातीच उध्वस्त करून जाऊ शकतो हा अविश्वास. कधी कधी एखाद्याचं पूर्ण आयुष्य देखील बरबाद होऊ शकतं या सगळ्या खेळांत. किती नाजूक आहे नाही हे विश्वासाचं बंधन? अगदी जीवापाड जपण्यायोगं. पवित्रता आहे यांत दडलेली. तुमच्या देवाशी तुम्ही नातं जपणार नाही इतकं हे माणसांतलं विश्वासाचं नातं जपलं पहिजे. कारण समोरच्या माणसावर, त्याच्या माणुसकीवर माझा विश्वास नसेल तर कुठेतरी माझीच माणुसकी हरवून जाईल, संपून जाईल. हो ना?

Monday, October 07, 2013

A moment in time, a moment out of time ...

There is something so liberating about living in a new place, a place where nobody knows you. You can keep all your personal baggage aside and start afresh. And if you are lucky enough to land up in a place where people hardly bother to judge random strangers for being unexpectedly different, then you are in for a good time. You can be as frumpy or as glam or as silly as you please and nobody really cares. You can just be yourself. You can wander all over town, enjoying the solitude amidst the teeming masses. Nobody looks at you pityingly or judges you as being unsociable or unpopular or just plain old sad and lonely if you sit down alone at a roadside table with a book and a steaming cup of hot chocolate.

Don't get this wrong. Living among people I love and care for is simply brilliant. Nothing can come close to the comfort and warmth of family and friends. But when I am identified as a certain kind of person and am expected to always abide by people's perception of how I should behave and the kind of person I should be, then it becomes very difficult to be anyone else, anyone different. If I were to take the plunge and decide to ditch my career, or take up some crazy hobby or insist on solitude or just decide to change the entire pattern of my life, I may have to live with well meaning friends and family taking me aside and telling me that my life is going off track and that I should buckle up and start behaving like myself. But how can I be myself and not myself all at the same time? Whoever I am, whatever I am at the present moment is all me. It may not be the me that you know, or expect, but it is still me. In any case, I am not normally carefree enough, perhaps not courageous enough, to be that wildly crazy.

In this land, where few people know me, or know what I am supposed to be like, it is a delight to redefine myself. No, that's not true, I am not redefining myself, more like, rediscovering myself and my capabilities, my likes and dislikes. Discovering all those things I used to love... reading for myself. Reading a multitude of books together, in random order. Not just books for relaxation but books for their sheer pleasure. All at once. As the mood may strike. Wandering aimlessly about town, gazing at ancient buildings and into the endlessly blue windswept sky, imagining patterns in the various cloud forms and the fuzzy white lines of airplane exhaust crisscrossing the blue sky. Browsing through stores, window-shopping, people-watching, losing myself in the melodies of the street-musicians. Deciding that I do indeed love cooking. It relaxes me, rejuvenates me. I know that modern, liberated, independent women are often supposed to look upon cooking as a chore, forced upon them by the chauvinistic elements of society. But I love the planning of a meal, understanding a recipe, shopping for the right ingredients, and putting together a delicious, hot meal. I love the melodious blending together of spices and flavours. I love the smells, of chocolatey-gooey cupcakes and cinnamon-topped apple pies, wafting out of the oven. I love the visual treat of colourful food with different textures, creatively presented. It almost feels like a form of art therapy.

It is fun to connect with myself, as clichéd as that sounds! I miss my people. I miss the everyday traditions of families. But I am re-learning so much about myself instead. Perhaps, this is a rite of passage. Perhaps, it may not even be a question of a different place. It may just be a matter of time. Like I am on vacation from my own life. Something that everybody should go through. A time to find yourself, to lose yourself, to just be. To find out whether you are a person you can really like. A lot. Without the baggage of expectations. With all the freedom that comes from knowing that you have a loving place to go back to. A time to live for the moment, live in the moment, carefree, mukt :)