Saturday, 10 November 2012

My School

 School guides us. It lays down a path that becomes the basis of all that we learn further in life. There is always a tendency to look back at what we were taught and relate them to situations that we witness today. To quote the obvious, the next step would be questioning the authenticity and validity of all that we wrote in our examinations towards the end of every academic term. My questioning though is quite radical; while basic values remain more or less constant, were those taught in school accurate?
Let me tell you what my school taught me. My school taught me to respect the word of elders* (that also included taking shit from teachers, never asking doubts, never offering suggestions, never correcting them in case their statements are incorrect and so on). I was told to respect people around me* (that included staying 10 feet away from boys, never chattering away with them, using separate staircases to walk in and out of class, never as much accidentally touching them forget hugging or even shaking hands, never dance on filmy especially romantic numbers with them etc). There were many other clauses to follow, including ones that said drench your head in oil* (never look pretty), tie your hair up* (don’t lure anyone by exposing a segment of your beauteous locks), wear pinafores of a decent length* (that extended way below your knees, almost midway towards the ankle), never question the duties of the staff* (even if it meant cancelling picnics or repeating the venue over and over again, assigning ‘secret monitors’, technically spies to check on student behaviour during recess hours, calling parents at unruly hours to scold them regarding the values that they passed on to their children and so on) and many more. Through the many undercurrents that I witnessed then, I also picked up few other hidden lessons: It is futile to engage in staff politics to try and stir up a revolution; it won’t work. Your questioning of the operations of the staff will only make you the black sheep of the family. If you are an average or a below average student, forget the fact that the teacher will ever help you understand the concepts better and improve in academics. If the class is being segregated in terms of rankings (grade discrimination), do not be shocked. If you pay 900 bucks for computer lessons that mostly deviate to watching Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Ramayan, consider that as your syllabus. Music means droning through outdated and repeatedly sung devotional numbers; PT is a theory subject. If you want a huge ground to loosen up, you walk up the stretch that takes you to the degree college* (only during sports week, meant to be dominated by top rankers). English language is meant for the privileged few who try to be grammatically correct, never for vernaculars or students weak in the language. Top rankers occupy the middle row and stick amongst themselves; average and below average students are arranged around the periphery according to their percentages (70 and above to the right, 60 and above to the left, the weaker ones at the extremities). Textbooks are the absolute word; there is no world beyond it and there is no room for creativity. Only top rankers can draw and paint; rest of the class is filled with no brainers. Those into performing arts merely sing and/or dance; they have no academic talent whatsoever. In intra-school music competitions, those having an upper hand with the teachers bound to win hands down. Scout/Guide camp obviously means a night at Suman Nagar. Answers are to be learned word by word; never make up stuff in your paper. Maintain good relations with the staff by having your parents greet them, enquire about them and invite them to social functions etc. Never support your fellow mates when they go against the teacher for a cause; the image of an obedient student works in your favour. Lastly, never remove your blazer at the farewell; while it lasts a sinful impression on everybody, it also implies winding up for the rest of the evening!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

                                             Personal becomes political?
Today I am convinced that nobody wants to be responsible- for actions and reactions not their own (may I add that it is the responsibility of one’s own actions that we first choose to ignore). Our excuses to get away with responsibilities become ‘rational’, ‘righteous’, ‘politically correct’ in other words, anything that spells out ‘safe’ in bold letters. I may have already spelled out the purpose of this outburst (which u can easily spot if you closely have a look at the title of this write up); when something similar is experienced at a personal level, you would be astonished to find that how evidently it affects the social and political framework of the society.
Before we jump to the legal system of the society (any society, none in particular; pardon my generalization and deliberate ignorance of differences etc), it is important that we question the notion of a system itself. How do we define the purpose of a system? We come somewhere close to explaining the same by stating that a system invariably chooses to be responsible for a certain set of actions for instance, the social and the political. We can then chalk out the primary function of the legal system as having to carry out certain duties and responsibilities to safeguard the social, political and if necessary, the economic well being of the citizens. Now where does the personal fit into this arena? It only takes an incident/a string of incidents to link it with the larger milieu. Let us consider for instance, a very basic incident where two young adults of the opposite sex are shunned from the premises of a police station while they are only engaged in a conversation! The reason for this is pretty obvious, more so when it comes from the horse’s mouth! ‘Kuch hua toh hume doshi mat thehrana!’
This puts a couple of things under the radar, not just the basic fact that the interaction between members of the opposite sex (forget the freedom to manifest one’s sexuality) is limiting because of a set of social, political and legal causes. This incident also puts to question the positioning of marginalized forms of sexuality, which paradoxically holds an advantageous one in this situation. Who would question or limit the interaction of gays, lesbians or even sexually sterile individuals? The rising awareness of alternate forms of sexuality has evidently not reached to the extent that such factors are also taken into consideration.
Finally, it is the fear of sexuality itself that is reflected in such issues; playing the devil’s advocate I would also defend the system by considering the importance of filtration for the sake of the younger generation (children etc). Censorship however, does not mean concealing and thereby substituting facts with euphemistic notions (playing safe, anyone?). It means I remind, to take responsibility for actions of the society that are natural, accepting them (which is so far the toughest task in the current scenario) and proper education by disclosing delicate and crucial knowledge at the right time. This could possibly lead to a society that is sensible in its functions, a world that is a better place to live!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The truth behind endurance

I saw it amongst the glossy that day; embedded within the glamour of spot lights,

Of jittery jewels and glittering props, there it stood within their circumvention

Perceiving it as beauty unmatched, I marched towards to get a better view

To clip it and frame it in the RAM of my mind

Only aspiring to stand on my feet to deserve that dress, evoking vulnerability with every glance

Its attractiveness justifying every bit of its class and polish

I am compelled but to walk away stealing glances, here and there.

The other day I went to this shop

Across the street, right next to my class

Hopping along to swoop down and choose

from mounds of restless clothes

I choose one anyway, a bright cheerful outfit

Knowing well that it should suit me

It was only then I realized

The truth behind endurance

The power of infatuation, oh how blind it makes one!

When the thirst for something narrows down your vision

And skims your enthusiasm for a broader view

And blinds you from getting what you actually deserve.

The one that fits you to comfort

with the surety that you are conserved in the best possible ways

As compared to that, which no matter how tempting it seems to be,

guarantees no convenience.

I looked at my choice and smiled;

To the past that taught me to live through few moments of fantasy and romanticism

And to the present that taught me to value things that deserve more than mere noble appreciation.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

The bird song

The main door was left open, the one made of wood

The netted one that opened to the outside remained closed.

There she stood, blocking ones way

waiting one way or the other

And here I was, hoping

that she stays, but not too long.

She stood there all day

her body as if nearly paralyzed

I would steal a glance once in a while

But with the hope

that i show no compassion.

I left as per my usual routine

Still not bothering myself with her thoughts

And I came back

to find her still

sitting at the doorstep!

I stared at her for a long time

persuading her to make way

so that i could get in

She seemed adamant

She budged no muscle,

made no movement.

Until a friend arrived

and took her in his arms

The miracle that followed was hard to believe.

She responded to his tender affection

and moved every way to portray the same

It was then that i took notice

of her and her miseries.

Her eyes were hidden

by puffs of white puss

Her head was shaved off her fur,

exposed in the worst possible manner.

I felt no pity but love

and hope for a speedy recovery.

And that she did exhibit

when she gulped in sparse food and water

And jump she did, on the stairs

To partake the joy of convalescence

with a stranger, unseen and unheard...

Saturday, 27 February 2010

The unstoppable journey

Disclaimer: The content is as insignificant as its structure, so please do not read with the hope of finding any unique element in this piece of writing. You can call it a prose or a poetry as per your convenience, but read through for the sake of joy, if you find any!

Two legs

Walking towards a destination

It is a twenty minute journey.

These limbs are affected

by the cold

and weakness the rest of the body has to bear

or has been bearing for that matter

The soles are covered by fragile slippers

new and already repaired ones

The slippers have already accommodated tiny pebbles

somewhere beneath the cloth covering them

It hurts

but the legs have to keep up with the rhythm anyway

The pain is bearable

but evident

Especially when the rhythmic march takes place

The time period between each cycle is too much this time

It is not the pain

but the numbness that is spreading across each limb that has reduced the speed to half

The legs have to continue to keep up with the rhythm anyway

Five minutes seem like fifteen

every minute passing by... with only half the distance covered of the usual

Calves sustain the strength

There is another five minute journey to cover

But the legs are now getting used to the cycle

and five minutes don't seem to be that long

Until the white building appears...marking the end of the journey

And the arrival of the destination.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

A hand that speaks...

A hand must never be compelled to work for the heck of it; hollowness is all you will find. It must be allowed to explore, experience and embrace that which is in avail around. A hand must love what it feels and must therefore continue, if and only if it loves to do the same. Let it not be imposed or enforced upon an object, an instrument or a person it is not inclined toward. If it chooses to remain silent, then silence it is that permits the best out of it. If it shivers in vigour, give it time to get back to what it is meant to be; self will always welcome it with open arms. Never push it to a path that leads to an aspired destination, so much that it should lose its sense of direction. Let it flow like blood in your veins, perpetual and uninterrupted. Make it your companion, not your enemy. Encourage its talent but never detest the impulsiveness that it reveals at times. Listen to what it says when it does, hear it out and respond to it as a friend for all that you wish for is happiness and contentment that you would get through your faithful mediator-your hand.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Today I shall write...

Today I shall write, with no definitive affirmation that I should ever write again although I look forward to doing the same with every minuscule attempt. I am probably not making sense at present but I am sure I will as and when this narration unfolds. While I am doing this, I shall focus my energy toward the personal self, what the self within me truly feels, only hoping that this attempt does not go unnoticed and futile. It must not be necessarily taken as an inspiration (the attempt to which, to my opinion must be avoided) but simply as an easy read, for I shall bear in mind that this piece of work must contain fewer complications. Therefore, I promise you a simple read but that it should be straightforward cannot be guaranteed. Today’s narration is an attempt to achieve something hazy and indefinite, yet a goal that ought to be accomplished to clear my conscience. Call it an idle mind or liberal uninterrupted thoughts; I can only hope that this one grabs your eye till the end.

Human mind is webbed amidst a closely entwined network of thoughts and feelings. There is no beginning or end to that, but there is definitely some substance that explains the purpose of its existence, in other words, the ‘how’ and ‘why’ behind such a traffic. To follow a structured pattern throughout to organize such a haphazard network is next to impossible for there are external factors that are in constant attempt to choke the uniformity, some of them including time, situation and reasoning. One cannot exactly slot such influences into one single category because these influences may or may not be related to one another. Talking about influences, there is another inevitable factor that enhances further entangling of thoughts: Relationships.

I don’t remember mother swaying me in her arms and telling me that she loves me; I always felt I was the neglected one, being the second child of the family. But I do remember her staying up for nights to ensure that I slept well, adding onions to potatoes just because I hated them plain, buying my favourite brand of edibles and clothing and at times, watching movies and sitcoms that I truly like. She has always been lenient and calm, yet her cool and reproachful attitude towards things she detests is a sight one would regret having witnessed. She worries, not to the extent of expressing them; she hates it when I spend more time with my friends and less with family members. She complains of my ill health and lack of immunity but keeps it to cribs and murmurs. Like every worried Indian mother, she fears that I may trip off the track and lose my sense of direction if I involve too much in peer activities and relations. But there are too many things that resist her fears and stand as a hindering obstacle between us: the generation gap and our obligations toward the roles that we play in our respective lives. As helpless as it leaves us, there is nothing that can be done to ease out things between the schematic mother-daughter relationships.

This is as much I care for maternal relations, as also other relations that I consider important. The word ‘maternal’ itself implies to very touching emotional aspects of nurture, love and care. Imagine when you have lived to this day where every moment of your life apart from your responsibilities and obligations, has been spent in nurturing a relation as tenderly as that of a mother and her child, the latter who grows to be an individual from a delicate infant. To this aspect of motherhood I empathize, but I must also point out aspects of it that often reflect in non-maternal relations for instance, friendship. For people who have witnessed profound emotions while sustaining a relationship as close friends, it is a fact that must not be overlooked. Relation is like a seed, it has to be nurtured; its sustenance has to be taken care of in order that it grows into a closely knitted one. This sprouts to what we term ‘unconditional affection’ between the people involved. However, such relations have weaknesses embedded within the strength and its essence. A delicate cord that it is, once snapped into exact half, takes greater time in either healing, or burying the past. The trouble hovering is the aftermath of such phases, a searing pain that resides in memories painful and even otherwise happy ones. So, no matter how hard you try to move on, one leg is stuck in the quicksand of past and the other dangling, struggling to live up to the future. You may either accept it or you may not; you are the mother and your once best friend, a child who either cares little or is not aware of the fact that you still care. Such is the tragedy behind your benevolence and your futile affection that is unseen, unheard and perhaps, even uncared for…