Crushed by Reverence

On the most auspicious day of the most  promising and populous festival celebrated in Allahabad, what would you expect?

You would look for 100s of millions of people swarming around on the banks of Sangam, flicking water at unsuspecting passers-by whilst trying to purge their own selves, you would see lost kids crying and wobbling around among these throngs of zealots, hear an announcement every five seconds for someone to reclaim their grand-pa or mother. It would be breath-taking at night when all the lights are lit and reflected in the bobbing waves of the rivers, migratory birds skim the top surface in continuous patters(yes, at night) and loads and loads of unimaginable  varieties of wastes and clothing. You would find that if you were looking for that only. But all that is contained to the Sangam, innit?

Then what goes on in the city, one wonders.

Here’s a clue: People die.

They did. Expecting to come and atone for their sins by suffering hypothermia and leave off with a fresh start, these people never got the chance to follow through on their last desire. Just goes on to show that karma ain’t no loose kindergarten teacher. You’re gonna pay for what you did in your blood, buddy, and if others lose theirs too, that’s on you as well, you poor shmuck.

So let me just clear one thing, even if it makes me out to be a heinous person. I don’t feel any sympathy for those dead- exact count is 36. It’s probably because I never read the whole news report myself but had someone else do it for me(gah! newspapers suck). And I never trust them either. Because like  John Connolly says:

“The stories in books hate the stories contained in newspapers…Newspaper stories were as insubstantial as smoke, as long-lived as
mayflies. They did not take root but were instead like weeds that crawled along
the ground, stealing the sunlight from more deserving tales.”

And me being a connoisseur of stories and what-not, that’s pretty rational. But I digress. I think it would pull at the decaying heart-strings if I do see some survivors. Survivor’s guilt always does me in.

Imagine: A train station with a platform approximately 8 meters wide(I could always be wrong). The platform has the capacity to hold around a thousand people or so at a time. But here we have 1.5 lakh devotees crowding the junction, specifically Platform No. 3. Waiting for trains to arrive, of course. But they never do. And the poor, poor over-bridge strains to bear the weight of this pious mob. Then, a crack. Silencing everyone within a three mile radius(this is all my fabrication but it does read more interesting than those mundane, unfeeling newspapers, right?). It’s like someone shouting ‘Look, an untouchable’ in those temples of self-righteous villagers in the long-gone past. Everyone rushes here and there and where-ever not.

Lo, behold! We have a stampede on our hands.

Parents grab the kiddo’s hand, friends look their train-buddy, the old-aged seek out each other, but who is left to take along the loner? No one. They fall down, feet crush into them, little hands blind their eyes as kids crawl over the wretched fellow, they whimper, cry but who’s to hear them? Because lookie there- the railway police authorities and NCR officers are too wimp-assed  to jump in and save the day. After all, they were the ones who were partly responsible fot this ‘incident’. Oh, surprised? Please don’t put all the blame on the suffering infrastructure. See, the police tried to use small force after the crack to clear out people. Flaky management. I tell you, you put people in an enclosed room and drop the bomb-word, they wouldn’t react so much. But if someone throws a rock, it all goes to shit-land. There always is a catalyst to life.

Fire needs oxygen. Rainbow requires moisture.  Communication involves wires and transformers and ionosphere. Life won’t work without some on-looking bastard who lights the candle that burns down the warehouse.

Thinking of visiting here in another twelve years, or you’re happy with your river?

 

Play the blame

Huh. So is this the next boost of evolution we experienced on 21st Dec 2012, the effects of which are apparent now?

A 23- year old female was brutally raped by a gang of six rotten specimens of the XY-chromosome on 16th Dec, who later died due to the injuries suffered. This incident triggered on the most loud and widespread protests in the history of democratic India. Marches were organized, demands were made, complaints were had… none of which could alter the end result. She died. At least the death wasn’t in vain. The passing of this victim forced the overseers of our nation to finally encounter this gross violation of not only a person’s anatomy but her mind and persona as well, a crime that they had managed to dodge tackling on every chance, mainly because they also partook in it.

Rape has been a part of our history for as long as we’ve been a part of it. Every bloody generation has had its share of physical violations of a person; from Genghis Khan to Sonia Gandhi, from the time of the beginning of the Indus civilization to the far reaches of the Western Ghats , it’s all in there. The knights did their share and the king did as well;  to whom should the common man or woman complain? Our culture has always frowned upon the victims, not the culprits. Our society has mocked and ridiculed and blamed the innocent for their situation, which, despite being an atrociously incorrect and iniquitous(and no, there are no shades of grey here), is still very much part of our system- a system which is supposed to not inject its personal views into its decisions, and take action against the guilty, not violate the guilty part itself. Which is exactly most of the higher-ups are considering as of now.

In stead of tackling this problem, I’m sorry I’m being far too insensitive, this sin, our politicians are playing the censure-card against women. Now I won’t be taking names- oh what the hell, I am taking name: Andhra Pradesh Congress president Botsa Satyanarayana, Kailash Vijayvargiya, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat, Abhijit Mukherjee, Banwari Lal Singhal, BJP legislator from Alwar city, Congress MP and son of President Pranab Mukherjee. These vermin are suggesting that there is a certain limit women shouldn’t cross, or they deserve what is doled out to them by testosterone-jumped, cowardly freaks.  Following the common rapist motto,”She wore a short skirt, therefore she wanted it?”one of these politicians(douchecanoe no 2) proclaimed,”One has to abide by certain moral limits. If you cross this limit you will be punished, just like Sita was abducted by Ravana”. Another one blamed westernization of India as a possible cause, because we were all so fucking clean during the medieval times, right? The last one referred to female protesters as “dented and painted”. One said that wearing short skirts has led to the recent rise in rape cases. Yeah, right. Because wearing short skirts is what provoked those sex swines into raping, beating and throwing the victim off a moving bus along with her male companion. Their collective verdict is that girls shouldn’t venture out in the dark, girls shouldn’t wear modern clothes, and our country should make no progress towards another era but fold back into the dark ages, when you could be sexually harassed and no one would give a shit! Off with their heads, is what I think. Where’s the red queen when you need her?

None of this has taken place yet, the culprits are being brought to justice and everyone’s either happy or shitty for now. But this at least shows the consciousness that ruling us. Teaching not our sons about the evils of such crimes of hatred and power, but covering our daughters. Our country’s people and her citizens are all too ashamed to admit to any such thing and trying to tackle it by acknowledging who or what is at  fault, so they blame the girl for provoking.

Rape is everywhere, in every newspaper of everyday(I checked), in every other alley we’ll find a person harassed, in every other home we’ll find a child abused. Rape continues to occur not because we let modern notions creep into our head, but because we continue to ignore the transgressions of our past and so it continues.

If only wishes were fishes…or even horseshoes

I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of wishes. Wishes are desires and hopes we will to happen. We relate our wishes and open them to  something, someone else- someone whom we know not but believe has the power to grant them. We like to believe in the illusion that someday, somewhere, somebody will accidentally set off in motion a chain of events that will fulfill our wish, if we just desire it so. Wishes are the hand inside the glove of hope. We hope because we wish, we desire.

Even when wishes aren’t supernaturally or serendipitously granted, just the act of wishing brings us that much closer to our heart’s desires.  Wishing brings to attention our previously unexpressed or unacknowledged hopes and dreams.

Wishes have been a part of cultures all around the world. From breaking a wishbone to wishing on a shooting star and eyelash to blowing out a candle and splashing a penny in the wish-well. There’s the wishing tree and wishing kites; there’s Santa Claus and first dandelion and dandelion; not speaking till you’ve crossed a bridge and picking up a penny; the more realistic, Beggar’s Soup and the more recent, teeth for a wish. There are countless customs and countless views on wishes- the fascination/obsession with the notion of wishing is not universal.

Dum spiro spero

“While I breathe, I hope”

I, particularly, am most familiar with the art of wishing on eyelashes. I have a long history of plucking mine and stealing others'(imagine that- a new kind of theft!). I would try to tear mine out until one of my friends’ told me that deliberately trying to gain wishes is a no-no. It never works. Also, stealing wishes is just plain wrong. Not like it has stopped me- I still do it! Sadly, you can have only one wish on an eyelash in a lifetime, according to my then-third-grade-wish-expert and I believe I wasted that lone magic eyelash on a fateful day in third grade when I lost my eraser(it was terrifying, being as how it was the fourth eraser in as many days and my mom had made it clear she wouldn’t supply me with another one unless this one lasted for a week. And I was giving a test!). I guess since I’ve used up my share so I’m gonna do my damnedest to ensure no one does. It’s for your betterment, folks; you’ll probably use on useless, trivial things.

It’s heartrending that we’ve imposed so many rules and restrictions on wishing as well. It’s seems that the self-confining nature of our collective consciousness has managed to get a rein on our individual sub-consciousness. We have to follow steps; we have a bloody manual to guide us through the process of wishing. It seems rational, though, if we want our wishes to be magically fulfilled. It brings an old adage to mind:

“If wishes were wishes, we’d all be throwing nets.”

But the truest kind of wish is hope itself. Hope brings wishes to reality. Is it not the glove that protects us when our hand dive into a fire to weld that piece of glass into a masterpiece? Wishes granted through magic or genies or even a horseshoes are frugal; they are not the product of our sweat and blood, hence they are not bound to us in any way. After all, in the end, you can really only count on your blood.

“Wishes are false. Hope is true. Hope makes its own magic.”