Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The guest who wasn’t spared

While the politicians were busy with the blame game for upcoming elections and the media in boosting their TRPs, 20 year old Nido Taniam fell prey to the insensitivity of the capital city.  Nido, the 20 year old student from North East who came to Delhi for a better life, was robbed of his life, thanks to discrimination in his own country. What and how is something we all know. Perhaps it’s time we wake up to the “why” and take charge.

Somewhere or the other, we all must have witnessed the increasing rash and rough side of Delhi, a side that was nowhere to be seen a few years ago. Since lawlessness prevails, anti social elements do not think twice before catering to their selfish interests.

The media is buzzing with several accounts of the incident after Nido is gone, and the officials have woken to come up with a justifiable answer. But the loss of a young life, its hopes and aspirations is irreparable.

In a state where people with political connections often get away with almost anything, it’s surprising that Nido was not spared, despite being from a political background. Sad, the city only understands the sound of the red beacon SUVs flaunted by self proclaimed powerful someone’s. Had Nido been the typical red beacon flaunting rash son of a politician, would the story still have such a tragic end?

 I sometimes wonder, what prompts the people of Delhi to become self declared law makers and not approach the official system? Is it the lack of trust in the law, the lack of fear of punishment, or both? In any case, such incidents show total disrespect towards the official machinery by the trouble makers. Coz in countries of the west, one would think twice before even hinting towards something racist.

During my trips to the North East, I have found the people to be warm and hospitable. By looks, we might look the odd ones out in their state, but seldom do they mock or comment about one’s ethnicity.

However, when it’s time for my city to reciprocate the hospitality, such incidents bring shame. No amount of money or progress makes sense unless the citizens here learn basic civic sense.  Until that happens, the city faces national ire for being a lawless place that can’t secure its guests. Its time, the law makers gear up and spruce up the system, and its time, we the common people, learn to welcome guests with open arms.
Nido, may your soul rest in peace

Stubble made him an uncle

It happened on a chilly morning in January 1992. Groom hunting for Misha didi was at its all time high. Every Sunday, ma and papa would scan the matrimonial section of newspaper to filter out the groom with the right age, profession, caste & looks (the height weight mentioned in ad). Internet was an unknown feature those days. Meeting the boy himself, or waiting to receive a studio made pic via snail mail were the only options available.

In this case, Ma and pa opted for the blind date. On the designated date and time, we reached the coffee shop. Sharma family and white Maruti were the only details I knew and with that I began looking for any and every white Maruti that passed.

After sometime, a white Maruti stopped. Out came an aunty, and a man with thick glasses, tall, thin frame and a healthy crop of unclean stubble. As they drew nearer the designated spot, I became anxious, for we were supposed to meet the groom and his parents; not “just parents”.

“Smart Alecs, they wanna meet the girl first without showing the guy”, I whispered to didi. “If the father is like this, I don’t have any high hopes from the son either. Look at him, I hate that unclean stubble. A girl wants basic grooming atleast! What if the son follows his father’s trend?” Didi sounded very disappointed.

Within seconds, the lady walked up to papa and said “Namaste bhai sahab, this is my son, Akhil”

My face turned red, “Oh, so this uncle is the prospective groom? Look what an unclean stubble has done to a 26 year old!”

Protest Against Unclean Stubble Activity in association with BlogAdda.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Book review – Potluck

Author: Various (compilation)
Publisher – BecomeShakespeare.com
Pages – 181
Price – Rs. 195

When becomeshakespeare.com sent me this book for review, I didn't hold any great expectation from the book. For, of late, I have come across so many short story compilations that left my memory as soon as I finished reading them.

But, this book surely proved me wrong…

So what sets Potluck apart from various short story compilations floating in the market?

     1.     Potluck is a result of some serious brainstorming by a set of writers while attending creative writing courses at Xavier’s Institute of communications, Mumbai.

    2.    The diverse backgrounds of the writers (working mums, single women, a catholic priest, an ISKCON monk, executives)…Potluck is a beautiful cocktail with each writer adding his/her own distinct flavour.
    3.    The melange of different styles of writing will ensure you are glued to the book till you haven’t read the last page.

    4.    Crisp, simple language, sans redundant details…goes without saying it can be owed to the workshop.

With each story, I felt as if I was meeting a new person, with a new perspective towards life and the situations it throws upon us. Each story left me with a message about life.

True to its name, the writers have ensured that the reader gets a variety of sweet, sour and spicy. So, while you have a software programmer talking about the essence of sportsmanship, a newly married psychologist tells a beautiful story of discovering love in an arranged marriage. There is also a techie turned ISCKON monk talking about the path to self discovery; a catholic priest telling the story of surviving life’s crests and troughs from the eyes of a high profile escort girl.

True to a Bollywood movie, there is drama, suspense, humour, emotions, romance and tragedy. As my fingers itch to write in detail about each story that I loved, the mind also warns me from giving away spoilers.

After a long long time, I enjoyed reading a short story collection this much. Without giving any more details, I suggest you grab the book, for each story is bound to leave its mark on your perspective towards life, as we know it.

This review is written forBecomeShakespeare.com

Friday, 7 February 2014

Musings of an old Dilliwalla

Delhi is a city that has welcomed friends and foes with open arms. A city where I have grown up witnessing the best culture, mannerisms and heritage. A city that boasts of its stories of brotherhood. Ask any second or third generation Dilliwalla about the Delhi they have seen, and pat comes the reply – the city that celebrated Id with as much fervour as Diwali, where adab was a piece of jewellery every Dilliwalla wore with pride. I remember as kids, we would walk down to India Gate late at night to savour an ice cream without any fear. Evening drives meant so much fun as the old Fiat sailed through the spacious roads of Lutyens Delhi.

Sadly, over the years, Delhi is losing its sheen that made it the jewel in the crown called India. While it has become the epicentre of forever happening political eruptions, the culture has also been cruelly eroded.

Flamboyant first generation billionaires with strong political connections, zooming SUVs with loud, thumping music, zero patience on roads, abusive language, intolerance at its best, licensed guns looking for petty excuses to prove their mantle, crowds outnumbering the capacity almost everywhere, women security at its worst…the list is endless and the hearts of Delhites like me bleed as we see our city succumbing to cultural pollution.

Who does it or who instigates doesn’t matter anymore. People who stay here are part of the family and as family members, we all ought to take onus. It hurts to see the bad impressions the city holds with people everywhere, of being polluted, rash and unsafe. Who makes it unsafe? It’s the people among us. Everyone is in a race to be ahead, and in that race, we often miss the basics – if we want peace, we gotta live in harmony, else the whole system goes crackling. For, when there is dispute amongst the family members, the neighbours enjoy the show!

Disappointed by the increasing cultural pollution in Delhi, I have often been tempted to move to greener pastures. However, to avoid is to be an escapist. I remember a scene from the movie Rang De Basanti, where a determined Madhavan tells his dejected friends that it is easy to criticise and abandon the house. But, it calls for courage and responsibility to clean up our house. Being citizens of Delhi, it is our responsibility to remove the tarnish and give it a cultural face lift.

When Delhites visiting elsewhere can follow the rules, why dirty our own house? Let the beasts be chained behind and let the responsible citizen in us take charge. Winning is not about outnumbering or outshining, it’s about bringing a smile on faces. Enough of litter in our culture, its time Dilliwallas do the cleanup act!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

The joy of sharing

In a world where a man is another man's worst enemy and everyone is ready to pounce on one another's share, here are these innocent animals. I saw these pups yesterday, happy with their gunny bag shelter, and whatever little food that they get. They might not have the best comforts a dog can have, but they know the essence of brotherhood - to love is to share. How I wish we humans could learn a thing or two from them...