Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Thoughts from memories

It felt nice to see a familiar face after many days.
Being surrounded by strangers is peaceful in a way.
They know what they see of you.
If they like you, you are popular.
If they don't like you, they leave you alone.
Both ways are comfortable.

I am learning a new language.
Conversations that don't concern me are my teachers.
I listen - I learn.
When I find words difficult, I ask for help in translation.
Sometimes I feel I ask for a translation almost unnecessarily. The people crease their eyebrows wondering why I would be concerned with a personal conversation.
They translate anyways.
I never feel like an intruder. They never make me feel like one.

I am not in touch with a civilised world.
But today I am.
I do not reply to emails, because I am beginning to feel out of place.
Left behind probably - like the people in the hills?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

... are beginning to make me miss the hills even more

back to the world of cars, televsion and mobile phones.
im in delhi for a bit...
...but the muggy weather is beginning to make me miss the chill of the hills even more.
...but the crowded roads are beginning to make me miss the lonely wide winding roads of the hills even more.
...but the cows, with bones showing, on the street and the dogs, with scanty hair, that wander the alleys are beginning to make me miss the organised animal husbandry of the hills even more.

So for all this and more i am taking that bus journey in the state transport bus to haldwani and from thereon Govinda's lift to my ne home in the hills.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

And it has been a long holiday

Chennai, Kerela, Bangalore, Mumbai...
I now head to Uttaranchal waiting to make the most of my education, experience and skill (which of course is not much in any case)
Wayanad was beautiful - green - with drops of dew and traces of mist settling on your fingertips each time you decided to mingle with nature.
I saw a tusker - he came out from amongst the bamboo groves to smile for my camera - the forest guide said he was a mad elephant. To me he looked fresh and young, full of energy and strength.
I ate jackfruit, drank lots of chaaya and coffee. Stayed with an Iyer family and learnt to keep my shoes outside the home and sit with my feet together.
A man on the street commented on seeing me giggle and Mridula rebuked him in his language.

Bangalore was hot. I walked the streets of this city that is soooo much like Mumbai - crowded, always in a tearing hurry, hot and with a lot of money, yet with an obvious streak of poverty. Visited the malls, a pub, the Valley School and Maitreyi's home - it reminded me of my Delhi house - the large windows, the big backyard, the open terrace with a jhoola and a double ceiling. Her dad cooked us yummy dinner - soup and rice. There was ice cream at lunch time.

Mumbai is humid. When I sit at the sea face the air makes my face sticky. The sea is dirty, but still a pleasure to watch. Sometimes the water comes up all the way to the bank and splashes up beyond the barrier.

I await the monsoons. Back in the mountains the monsoons await me.

Friday, March 09, 2007

When life sets steps to your choreography

This is what you would see if abstract art came alive on stage.
She leaps from right to left, high up in the air and lands on the ground in a twirl.
There is no connection between the series of her movements, but yet they have a graceful flow.
Danseuse Revathi Salunkhe always spoke about the freedom of movements in contemporary dance. Her performance at a cancer survivor's fashion show, explained the core of her statement.

At first I wondered why she was jumping from one part of the stage to the other. She swirled and bent forward and backward. She held a pose for a few seconds... I had absolutely no clue as to what was happening. But as she came to the end of her presentation, with expressions becoming more vivid, the story she was narrating stood out more clearly. All of her movements made sense.

Revathi's dance makes you feel that each movement of yours - whether you jump, sway while you walk, switch from one stool to another or even sleep or sit in an awkward position - is a step in dance. And this I am guessing, is what she means when she says, "I pick my steps from the everyday movements in people's lives!"

Revathi, you suddenly make me want to dance - and I think I will make a brilliant performer (if not for the stage fright).

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

When morality sends rationality for a toss

I was quite upset about the whole reaction to a rave party bust-up in the city. The police acted illegaly, leave aside unethically. Even the newspapers refused to take a stand. Somebody once told me, you can't bring about a change if you don't a stand.
Of course the world is happier playing diplomat... but is that for a greater good?
Here is something I wrote...

Know the facts, before you opine
Know the law, before you accuse

A sword dangles on the minds, futures and most importantly the reputations of almost 280 individuals (80 per cent of whom range in the age group of 20 to 35 years) who were arrested on Sunday March 4, following a rave party bust in a farm near Sinhagad.
While one half of them plead innocent on the grounds of being present at the venue for the mere love of trans music and without the knowledge of the circulation of drugs, the other half awaits their medical reports to prove their innocence.

Unfortunately what makes them more apprehensive are the media polls on their morality, photographs of their helplessness being flashed in the newspapers and the police authorities gaining support of the public as they expose one by one the drugs, the syringes, the condoms and the expensive gadgets found at the venue - where a few hours back lay their happiness.

The police however, seems to be taking much pride in the fact that they landed up on this party with an accurate number of police force and add to it selected media persons too. The hype was not be missed by anyone! Procedures and work ethics seem to have taken a ride as the police ruthlessly collected these persons and shoved them into the premises of the chowki, allowing cameras to click and names to be given away, with no consideration what so ever for their right to privacy. Not just that, but when people who are half not in their senses, because of the influence of drugs and music, are rounded off in a rough manner, little choice do they have but to give-in to what they are asked to do… AND ALL THIS IS PASSED OF AS 'FANTASTIC TRACKING BY THE POLICE FORCE.'

Incidentally all papers in the city carry this as page-one news positioning it right at the top. The matter too is identical - only facts are laid down at a low-down from just one side. No prizes for guessing which one? Thereafter people begin to run morality checks. Letters, telephone calls and opinions flow into the office from various ends - what is, however, placed before the world at large are the FACTS… selected facts which tend to reflect bias, a bias towards the INDIAN culture, values and upbringing. All this versus the implied: the Gen-X, which has a lot of money, also a lot of time and absolutely no clue on how to utilize either.

For heaven's sake people, trace the history of the event, consider the defences of those involved, crosscheck the facts and look at the number of rave parties that still see the daylight of the next day, even as they span over weeks and not just day.

A rational thought on the bust-up
"Someone was not tipped off," says Rohit Jha, who has done the rounds of the raves and even figured solutions with a cop at a private party where dope was circulated. "They told me to give in to their demands, or else they would charge the women with prostitution!" And so what if the women went scott-free thereafter, they would always carry with them that accusation, even though it was empty.
"How else do you think rave survives in this country," says Sahil Arora from Mumbai. "Everyone gets a share; there are bigger stakes in letting a party carry on than in busting the fun! - in this case it is all about revenge and getting back," he states plainly.

A legal rationale
Section 27, Chapter 4 of the NDPS Act, 1985, says that any person who is found in possession of drugs for personal consumption and not for commercial use, shall be penalised with imprisonment and/or fine.
Advocate Satish Mane Shinde, who represented some of those who have been held in judicial custody in the racket, says, "No one has been found in possession of the substance. Moreover, even the reports to check for presence of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substance in the blood streams of these individuals will take a month to come through, until then nobody can be said guilty."
Moreover, the modus operandi adopted by the police was absolutely improper. "You cannot land up with media persons at the spot of crime and allow them to take pictures of the faces of adult-individuals, without having conducted any formal investigations," says Shinde.

A medical take
Even if the psychotropic substance is found in the bodies of these people, they aren't necessarily into habitual consumption of drugs, because the same can enter your blood stream even through passive inhalation.

And irrespective of the above, sending drug addicts to jail is not going to help. The police are incapable of dealing with withdrawal symptoms of these individuals. "Case studies have revealed that many a times the police give these addicts the substance so as to escape the headache of the withdrawals that they undergo," says Namrata Ghosh, a student of TISS who works with drug addicts off the streets.

The unfortunate bit though is that people have not verified the facts before setting forth an opinion. The newspapers too refuse to take a stand. How else do they plan to become a tool of social change?

This entire article has been written for YOUR knowledge. To let you have the opportunity of setting forth an INFORMED choice of opinion.

As and when the court finds people guilty, we are with the court and support the prosecution of such individuals. But until then, we are no one to decide. But our opinion counts, what we say makes a difference - a difference in society at large - a difference in the environment that most of those 280 youngsters will return to.

So lets not form an opinion until the evidence is strong and the facts are proven… because the law says…
INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY (beyond reasonable doubt)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Untying Knots

It was a wonderful evening.
We read together. I read to him my experiences of the village.

We hadn't had a pleasant evening the earlier day. But that didn't seem to affect today's experience. It was looked at with completely new perception. He criticised the story... "Where in this do you recollect YOUR experience, YOUR interaction and YOUR happiness incidental to the trip?" he questioned emphasizing each time on the importance of 'my self' as the centre of my narration. "It makes memories more memorable," he explained with a tenderness to his voice.

I then read to him from the book, the pages of which had been consistently filling up ever since the first evening. There were random occurences, a mention of a loving look, disconnected thoughts weaved to suit my reading and fond remembrances of looking at the stars. "Very poetic, yet not right enough to suit a writer's eye," he pointed out, noting the change in style.

He went on to speak about space and its relevance in a person's life. He placed one of the characters from my story in a different situation. An intense elaboration of time and space! My thoughts lingered...