Thursday, 18 July 2013

House of Hearts

We go about our daily lives, doing the same chores claiming that it is the essentials of life. Somewhere along the journey to end up where we dream we are lost among the sea of struggling mortals, all seeking peace that comes with achievement. But sometimes along the same path we space out, quite randomly. Sometimes sitting in a bus, or while waiting; basically whenever time needs to be spent idly.
We start wondering more about meaning than benefit, of memories than time.  That's when we reflect back on the lives we've touched.
             What happens in the end, what happens when you have gotten everything you worked hard for? What happens to all the time piled up at your disposal then? Yeah, we can live it up. But by then a few factors have slipped out of your hands. Age, relationships, and definitely your comfort zone. All you can do is reflect again. Here's another way to look at the same path, starting now; not later.

Measure your life in terms of something that can't really be measured. The smiles you've created, the role you've played in lives, the timely help you've been... the hearts that you still live in. Touch as many hearts as you can on your struggle up the ladder and when you reach the top, you'll have an unspoken family of people who silently smile for your happiness. They might have spotted you only once, but if the impact you made was good, your face will be remembered. In this busy world, where everyone is running for their gold, if you stop to lend a few words, a shoulder it would be surprising, as that is where we are at this point. We have lost our humanity. "Let the doctors to their work"," oh, let the family take care of them",  "They have other people"
         The other people we so often assign the helping hand to probably are using it to point the finger at you, and so the person is forever alone in his life; thus the circle goes on. But what if we take time out from the countless moments we space out in and made them feel special. A gift without occasion, that felt like it must be made for them, or perhaps even cherishing the small things they've given. Let them know that whether people or no people, you will remember them. And just with that one sentence you are closer to their heart, deeper in their memory.

We encounter many people, in so many different ways. Start today, to cherish what they've done, or what they mean to you. At the end of the day, give yourself the count. Keep adding to it, and when you've become what you've wanted, see your total. And continue to live in the house of hearts.

Monday, 1 July 2013

India and Its Grave

When my mother decided to shift our home back to India, I'd have to say I was pretty much thrilled about going back to where I was born. The change from same robotic life I led, the urge to get lost in a crowd of natives and to feel safe in my country were my hopes. As for my mother, she wanted me to imbibe the rich heritage and traditions that thrived and differed from every state. Can I say the same now? Well, I'd be lying.

           Mumbai attacks in 2008, Guwahati bombings in 2009, the Pratapgarh stampede in 2010, more scams and scandals, traitors and bombers. And all this over what? Power, money, vengeance and competition. Sigh, if we followed the Chinese idea of naming our years, well this would be the epitome of all the 'glory' and named as 2013- the year of rapes. Frankly, I don't get what's happening to our country nor the agendas in store. Rape after gang rape and only 24, 206 were reported. Not even quarter of that got the hearing. I point to the TV running such news and announce to my mother- 'The rich heritage and traditions we came back for huh, mum?' She nods her head away and ignores the news. That's pretty much what every one's doing as well. What with candle marches and NGO's screaming their lives out, the bottom line will always be in vain. That's why I stopped reading the news papers long back because I just don't want to start my day with this sort of negativity. And by chance as a media student if I happen to see some news, its about the parliament fighting it out in front of the media, or the progress on cases that's been going on for years without any judgment. I might as well call myself a psychic, predict such news and make some money out of the confusion. That beats watching the south Indian channels(named after political leaders), recapping the same clip of how two opposing leaders tore each others white shirts at a conference. And the media flourishes in all this tragedy; if no deaths, scams and whatnot, no future for them. Such irony.

The other day, I looked towards the people instead of the country runners and was shocked again. National Anthem goes on in a theater and the guy in front of me is busy with his cellphone. The one next to me is blowing bubbles with gum. Another heaved sigh I let out, and watched the movie addressing the political issues with a filmy solution. Play it like that in real life and you'll realize you won't even reach to the climax situation of the movie without bribing to be heard. Must I even start on the respect we have for our leaders? No no, that's all silently understood. How can we rise from our third world crisis if the regulating bodies don't have respect, let alone support from us? Some, fly free and ride like they own these roads. Those, 'some' might be having the tag of political background. 'Might'.

Another aggravating issue is the whole idea of copying cultures from the west. I've seen both so I have the bad habit of comparing. I stand at a hypermarket decked with imported goodies and our local things as well. 'That's comforting. Import export policies are functioning well' I mutter and check prices. 'Hmm, I don't see our pickles being sold at such big numbers in US as much as this bottle of their mayo here'. I think. I conclude by saying that international politics is not for me and go to the billing. What's frustrating here is that the minute the cashier sees a foreigner, in flows the Indian spirit of good host and he calls them over to the front, jumping all the customers waiting. No, this isn't Indian spirit. It's just buttering and trying to draw a good impression. If I remember correctly, the impression I got from foreign cashiers doing their rightful duty was more than this display of falseness. Then the basic problem struck me.
            We have this impression about other countries and we have some vague opinion about ours too. That goes more or less like 'if we imbibe cultures from there, we can be awesome too' and in the name of imbibing you pick up things that can't quite gain acceptance from all masses. Why not punctuality, equalizing irrespective of caste, creed, career? Instead we choose the partying, the live ins and attractive tags. And we go on and on about how we are such true Indians and how our ancestor's blood boils over injustice. When elections come we crib and cry and with natural disasters we donate.We even make it through a lifetime like this, passing to be true Indians. But what do you call someone who does not represent the world he comes from?

All my 6 years in US, I proudly carried Indian lunches to school and wore that red dot on my forehead even though everyone thought I was bleeding. No matter what names I was called, I smiled and said 'Yes, next to Pakistan is where my country is, but you can't generalize because of that.' And the more I was myself, the more I felt Indian in a land where I wasn't born. I realized people all over the world like to know about our cultures, our traditions and food especially. They love our brown tinge as its the perfect tan they strive for. We have so much to educate them about if only all of this wasn't at the disposal of greed. And now, in my own country I feel alienated because it wasn't the way I had described. The fear of 'what will remain to call my country' haunts as we dig our own graves. Although I don't react much to the happenings in our country, I represent it anyways. I call myself an Indian.

What do you call yourself?

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