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Yes, Global Terrorism and all that… December 27, 2007

Posted by K in Abstract Ramblings, contemporary, Death, Life, Uncategorized.

How does one stop global terrorism? I know today I wrote a whole shpiel on how terrorism is a matter of who defines it and how we are all potential terrorists and how intellectually we can never be rid of terrorism…but all that seems so far away…theorizing and all is fine, but what does one do now, at this very moment, to stop people blowing up people? What concrete steps can be taken by the establishment to stop the most visible face of terror?

One thing is obvious; it’s all a matter of money. Goons need money to buy the AK-47s, to buy bombs, to buy the material to make bombs. STOP the flow of money, trace the lines of funding and cut it off! If anybody is serious about fighting this kind of violence, this is the very least that they can and must do! As for the deeper questions of what is a terrorist- let the bloodshed stop, and maybe we can take it up from there…


Guilt December 15, 2007

Posted by K in Abstract Ramblings, contemporary, Death, Life.
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Today’s newspaper carried a story about a train that rammed into a bus carrying a lot of school children. The story struck me as tragic at many levels. Not only did 16 people die, but many of those school children would normally not have taken the bus. Their parents had banned them from cycling that day because of the fog.

I’m trying to put myself into the shoes of the mother who lost two children because she sent them by bus. What must she be feeling? How long will it be till she’s able to forgive herself? Will her decision ever stop haunting her? Will she be able to go on living?

What about the siblings of these children? Not only do they have to bear the loss of a brother or sister, they will also have to carry the pain of parents who might be too guilt-ridden to be themselves, if not forever, but atleast for a very very long time to come.

The collision occurred because the children had begged the gate keeper to let them go because they were late for their exams. I know nothing can excuse the dereliction of duty, and one would perhaps be justified in condemning his action, but that still doesn’t matter in the present, does it? What has happened has happened, wrong or right, but how is he to reconcile himself to his action?

His 11 year old daughter too got on to the bus. She, however, was miraculously saved. The guilt he must be feeling must be two-fold. Survivors guilt; what I did killed other children, not mine. Joy that his daughter was spared, and guilt immediately after.

How does one live with oneself when one has killed/hurt a near and dear one, or even a complete stranger, unintentionally?

I remember an Oprah episode about such incidences. There was a mother who had accidentally killed some of her children by falling asleep at the wheel. A grandmother who had reversed over her tiny grandson. A boy who had rammed into his mother’s car, killing her.

The worst kind of prison has to be this. Self imposed and un-relenting. If there is one thing I never wish upon anybody, it has got to be this.

In Honour of Satyendra Dubey On his 3rd death anniversary November 27, 2006

Posted by K in Ablility, contemporary, Death, People I honour.
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Anything I say will be inadequate.

November 18, 2006

Posted by K in Abstract Ramblings, Death, God, Life.
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There are a few words that you never want to hear. Yet, at the back of your mind, you feel you will. And you do. Are you shocked? Or has that secret fear created an armour that allows you to take it, hardly batting an eyelid. That it turns out to be a false alarm changes little. You will play over that moment again and again, reliving that horror. The scene takes on unrealistic hues.Looking back, its like watching a movie- but the special effects come into play only now. The suppressed emotion, the put up bravado can now safely crumble. Its safe enough to feel the horror, because you know it no longer exists. It’s a moment of self realisation. You know how close you came to changing your life for-you don’t even know how long. The armour rests beside you, moment of weakness over, you put it on again. You can deal with anything. You are not alone, nor are you special. Why should you be special? Are the others exempted? Why you? You thank god that you are, but you realise once again that life’s a ticking clock. Every second knocks off a bit of life as you know it. What do you do? Stand back and watch calmly? Or jump in frenziedly, bare your soul, pour out life at those who matter? But what if frenziedly baring your soul has the same effect a sharp, rusted knife digging out chunks of your flesh? You go your own way, and trust and force.

September 25, 2006

Posted by K in Abstract Ramblings, Death, Life.

The pall of death.Gloomy, all-encompassing, terrifying. Everybody is dying, all of a sudden. Dying physically, mentally, ideologically… man kills himself (alcoholic, father of five, no money), woman, 33, hangs herself. From a hook in the ceiling, meant for a fan. The man or the woman? Doesn’t matter. The horror remains. Driver, owner of Santro car, murders Belgian employer. Stab wounds…22 of them. Knife breaks-broken bit stuck in body. Stops only because knife breaks. I’m supposed to be fascinated by these stories, according to some thinkers. Man is supposed to have some inherent streak of animality. The desire to kill is translated into a mad rush to cementify the world. I don’t think any of these murders could fascinate anyone. It could make them despair, and arouse in them the coldest of fears. What if instead of them, it was us? What if we had a family that we weren’t sure we wanted and had no income? What if I were an alcoholic, never mind how I became an alcoholic-if I’m an alcoholic, I’m an alcoholic with no way out. What would I do? What if someone I disagreed with decided I needed to die? How long have you or I in this reality?


There’s not much time left

I’m coming.

I Believe in God April 25, 2006

Posted by K in Abstract Ramblings, contemporary, Death, God, Life, Politics, Reviews/Rants.

I am inexplicably loyal to NDTV. It’s got nothing to do with the news they show; after all, every body in the business knows when there’s a blast or a fire, and they all seem to have enough moolah to buy a million Qualises that go zooming to the scene of interest. Its kind of stupid, actually, the way they are so desperate to prove that they and not the competition were the first to report the news. What do I care if NDTV flashed news of the Bihar air crash a few bulletins before Aaj Tak? If I were a relative, then I’d either have got the news directly from the scene(unlikely, but possible) or have had a few more moments of blessed ignorance. The mad scramble is sadly reminiscent of little kid fights, when children fight each other to be the first to present the days rose to the revered class teacher.

No, I think I like NDTV because of programs like We the People, Big Fight etc. True CNN-IBN is replicating some of those programs- after all, where did Sardesai come from? But NDTV had them first. Its their baby, and they get to keep my continued admiring glances. We The People is something every Indian ought to watch and be proud of.. True the audience is mainly made up of people who receive urgent phone calls disguised as YOU’LL BE ON TV! phone calls, but those people do get a chance to participate in a process of democratic debate. I am glad I live in a democracy. It might be a hollow democracy, a democracy of the elite, the mainstream India that is a part of the much boasted of ‘biggest democracy’, but it is still much more than what Nepal has of now.

This got driven into me by Maidenrays who posts on a forum I frequent. She’s from Nepal, and was naturally affected by the conflict raging there. She came online some weeks ago, and wrote that if things calmed down she would be able to go home that night; otherwise she would have to spend another night at the office.

Not a big deal, if one needs to come down to it. Many people spend nights at the office for whatever reasons. But atleast the democracy I as an individual, as a part of upper class India ensures that I do not encounter day to day in-your-face oppression.

Ofcourse this doesn’t mean that I sit back on my haunches and admire a job well done, for one needs only to be complacent to grab the poison leaves instead of natural toilet paper.

‘India’ is a non-entity. It cannot be a country. It is too diverse, but this diversity instead of fetching unity, fetches conflict, identity issues and, did I mention, conflict? To show you how this ‘unity’ doesn’t exist, let me ask you to look at Indian Literature. What is the ‘unifying’ factor between a Mahapatra and an Ezekiel? Between a writer from Meghalaya and Karnataka? Many people have tried to define Indian Literature, but the definition doesn’t exist. It is too vast, too varied for one to find a common ground, unless it be the ground of it being Indian. And I’m questioning the concept of India, aren’t I? For those who would like to read more about the problems of an “Indian’ literature, I would advise a perusal of Shormishtha Panja’s very interesting essay in Many Indias Many Literatures.

And because India as a country is such an unviable concept we have singular disparities arising out of superfluous things like caste, class, gender. See, I have this little pet theory. I think man has this primal urge, greater than even that of sex, to rise above other men. Everybody wants to be different, and this difference translates into many facets of one’s personality. Because man wanted to be different, and better than the person next door (a twisted form of survival of the fittest? A chronic state of competition?) he invented religion; gender differences; class differences; infact any and everything is enough to drive home a difference. Really, sameness is not so much ignored, as brushed under a humongous carpet. You rarely have a bunch of people celebrating humanity; atleast not the bunch that has the power to change all our lives. And it’s a strange, vicious cycle; the ones who are different change when they rise to a similar position. Sorry, Mr. Premchand, But Algu and Jumman don’t seem to exist in the world I live in. But-I’m straying from my topic.

What I mean to say is that larger the boundary, larger the competition. Larger the number of differences, larger the number of conflicts. Countries should be created purely because of administrative needs( I DO need administration; I rather believe in the chaos theory) and the basis of division should be similarity and most definitely not far-fetched, exotic, intoxicating concepts of ‘diversity’. If India would split up into 26-wait,now, how many states do we currently have?- countries, there would be less and more conflict.

Sigh. I’m rambling, but I do have a point. Sad thing is, too many prickly issues in the world today stands at a stalemate. Do the right thing, yes, Michael Moore, for what else can one do? But really, the Kali Yug needs to end. Most religions seem to agree on that.

Straying YET again, Kierkegaard has a point. Too many issues, and too much news can be destructive. It can lead to intellectual, empathatical, ideological burnout. You can be pulled by 5-6 different strings at the same point, the result of which would be that you are where you are when you picked up the newspaper-eager to make a difference, but unable to. But please do not pick an issue randomly. That is stupid Mr. Kierkegaard. If you have no reason to pick an issue don’t. Stay issueless.

And if the title of this post seems unconnected, it isn’t. It’s what gives me hope and truly lights my way.

Hell Hath no Fury like Nature Spurned February 23, 2006

Posted by K in Calamity, Death, Nature.
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You would think that in todays world it is impossible to be cut-off from civilization. I thought so too. But Nature is Boss. Trees uprooted,many falling on men and women running here and there. So much rain, like long knitting needles, scarring you maliciously. A sadistic pleasure, almost, in proving that anything can be unmade. The relief started coming in, but ours was a small place away from the lime light.

In a little shelter. Beds,cots, mattresses all thrown together. Still people sleeping on the floor. Sweat, tears, even love. A man next to me, always doing things that made people hate him. Why? It was as if he needed others to punish him for being unable to save his family. Even his oldest son was not spared. The old woman next to me, the orphaned girl, bother equally besieged by hysteria. Madness,madness! And why not? One devastating second- and suddenly, people dead everywhere! No warning, no time to prepare; how can you prepare to lose loved ones? Emptiness clawing at you. You want to believe. It agonises you that you cannot .An overwhelming sense of being all alone, even when you’re forced to share your blanket with two others.

So much activity, suddenly an avalanche of cameras. A donated radio tuned in to the local news-nothing but endless warnings about the turn of the weather .Experts predicting other such disasters in the near future.

I like your concern. Thank You for Feeling For Me.

Death: A Poem February 23, 2006

Posted by K in Death, Poem.

What is Death?

But another phase of spiritual life

How do we know to be scared of it?

What do we know to avoid it?

Who has come back

To tell what lies

In that stage which remains

Beyond the living man.

For all we know it could well contain

All that we seek’d before

Perhaps it is the Eden

Perhaps the Devils Abode

Who knows where the soul travels after Death?

Or if it does at all .

What happens to the lifeless body?

Is it just left to rot?

Is the flesh meant to feed?

Satisfy the microorganisms?

Is that how Nature desires

To maintain the balance of life ?

Or does the soul strip the flesh

And travel to an unknown lair

Is the soul then given another job?

Is it given a new life to live?

What is Death?

What happens after death?

Is there something beyond Death?

The mystery of death

Shall so remain

Till a dead man writes a diary .

I don’t cry February 23, 2006

Posted by K in Death.

I remember an incident that occurred when I was in class 8. I think that was the first time I gave a serious thought to death and what it means. Not that I hadn’t thought about it before…I was a death obsessed child 🙂 Death has always fascinated me. Actually things that people hated, abhorred or plain ignored always fascinated me. I think that was the beginning of the emergence of the non-conformist streak in me.

Anyway, one day we had a special assembly called in the middle of classes, as far as I remember. We filed in, class by class, building by building, and the Central Courtyard was soon full. Down below we had, surprise, surprise, our principal and head of senior school along with some other senior teachers. All were looking grim. I forgot who took the mike, but we heard that a little boy in the Junior branch of our school (which was situated in another campus) had fallen to his death the day before. I don’t remember my reaction very well, but it wasn’t an intense one as far as I can recall. I remember feeling mildly disgusted with the Principal as, while speaking, she squeezed out what I thought were crocodile tears. I thought it was ridiculous the way she pointedly wiped her tears while talking about the incident.

What bothered me about the incident was that a) I’m sure she barely knew the child. Even if she did know the child, I thought it was ridiculous for her to publicly cry, it was as if it was suddenly about her and not the boy. It seemed to scream out LOOK AT ME I’M SO UNHAPPY I HAVE SUCH A BIG HEART.

We spoke about that boy that day. Just the usual, ‘Oh my sister is in his class…’ ‘He was adorable…’ ‘Poor boy, so young….’ ‘I feel so sorry for him…’ Some even shed tears for him. Some declared it spoiled their mood for the day.

I think I shocked a few people when I said I didn’t feel sorry for the boy at all. I was barely affected by the incident, as he was just a name to me, a name I had heard that very morning. I said whatever little bit of sorriness I perceived in my heart, it was for the parents and relatives, for they would be the ones feeling the anguish of a missing love. The boy was dead, he was gone. He wasn’t in this world anymore. And from what I had thought out of the other world, I didn’t think he would be particularly unhappy. The astral planet is enlightening anyway. Besides, chances are that he wasn’t a very evolved soul. HE would probably inhabit the planet for a few moments and take birth again. He wouldn’t remember. The parents would though.

I remember that led me thinking…what is it that causes us to cry and feel terrible when people we know or love pass away. It is complete selfishness ofcourse- we feel sorry for ourselves…that we wouldn’t see them any more. We feel deprived. I would also think that sometimes, we feel terrible because we DON’T feel terrible. A terrible sense of guilt assaults us. WHY am I not feeling sad? How can I be having fun now that he/she is no more? Shouldn’t I be acting differently, isn’t something supposed to change now that he/she is gone…? Ofcourse the reaction of our dear fellow members of society compounds the problem. If I react, rather don’t react to a death I know I will be called all sorts of things. Heartless..selfish…strange…didn’t love her…shame on her…just wait, a time will come when even she will be forced to cry… How DARE you be different? Society doesn’t like you to be different.

I remember likening a human body to a battery operated machine when I was very young. There are two ways for it to go kaput. One, if the juice runs out, which is what happens to old people and in the case of natural deaths. The second is if it breaks-accidents would come under these.

It doesn’t bother me that I don’t cry when people die. I don’t cry. I cry when I feel sorry for myself. Which is seldom. I’m an incredibly selfish person. But I love people, so I cannot convince myself that I’m heartless. I’m not. I feel an incredible love for people; I feel warmly about strangers I don’t know. But it’s a love that doesn’t get torn by death.

I have never had to face the death of a loved one. It’s something I don’t even think about. Consciously. But if dreams are anything to go by, I will be one crazed human being. But even in my dreams I don’t cry.