The Tragedy of Aseem (Concluding Part)

Aatma stood still.

Nobody knew he was an angel. Nobody actually cared. Mortals are so busy with the trivialities of life that they fail to see divinity in motion along them. And after thousands of years of travelling amidst Man, Aatma had gotten used to living inconspicuously without raising any eyebrows.

Sipping tea in the marketplace, Aatma‘s eyes had fallen on a skinny kid darting around the maze of the marketplace. The kid was armed. And it was comical. The kid was nervous, but he tried masking his nervousness by adorning an ill-fitting mask of meanness. Full marks for trying though, thought Aatma. But his curiosity was piqued. He mentally tried making a list of occasions that necessitated an armed kid aping meanness. His mind went blank after one.

And then, Aatma was on alert. He wet his lips in anticipation of the coming excitement. Action was entertainment for an wandering immortal angel. And the irony, the target was another skinny man. The kid had chosen his opponent well. Alas, it was all over in a jiffy. Aatma had had his hopes of excitement blown cold. No shrieks, no blood, nothing. It was all over just like that. Glum faced, Aatma returned to his cup of tea. Suddenly, his ears were filled with a cacophonous laughter. The pain behind the laughter was something that only a greater being could identify. And this laughter was pure pain.

He looked up from his cup of tea, and saw that the robbed man was the one laughing. Lonely in a crowd. His divine sense told him that the man’s name was Aseem. And a pained soul he was. Funny, thought Aatma. Of all the hundreds of people in the crowded square, it had to be the laughing man who was robbed. He wished he could interfere and wave away the travails, but he knew the rules. Angels can not interfere in worldly matters. But the pain in the laughter now started to disturb Aatma. This was not like any pain that he had ever seen. And he had seen lots in the millennia of journey across the world.

Something shook up Aatma from within. At this point, Aatma decided to challenge the rule. For, what use are angels, if they can not spread happiness around. Without thinking, he let out a shout:

Aseem, Return Home…

Stunned were both – Aseem and Aatma. Our friend, Aseem, turned back laughing. He was in a daze – laughing hysterically. This sudden turn of events had left him completely disoriented. And watching a stranger shout random gibberish was probably the icing on the cake of a tragic day that his fate had cursed him with.

Aseem waved. He just waved. He had had enough surprises already. And he was vary of any more surprises. The stranger did not look like a money lender. His voice was not threatening. And his gait was not aggressive. Who was he? A part of his mind told him to ask the stranger what he meant. Another part of his mind told him to take flight. Aseem did nothing. He just stared at the man.

Aseem took a step towards Aatma. But Aatma had started dissolving in thin air. Having broken the sacred rule, Aatma’s time was up. Aatma knew not his fate. But he hoped to carry no regrets. Aseem could just stare. His laughter had subsided. And his pain was slowly getting replaced by confusion. Was he hallucinating? Were his senses – his eyes, ears and mind playing tricks? Had he finally become the loony that his society had branded him long ago?

Once the apparition had vanished, Aseem gathered whatever little control of his senses that he could and ran. Ran as fast as his legs could carry him. There was a way right through the mess of people and carts that somehow opened for a sprinting Aseem.

Huffing and panting, Aseem reached home. There he saw the most beautiful sight – his smiling wife. She looked hale and hearty. And she had a small pouch with her. Aseem needed no prodding. He knew what was there in the pouch. It was his pouch after all that had been stolen. Aseem wondered what turn of events had taken place? But wisely, he chose not to question. A man who never questions the maker for the pains wisely does not bother questioning any blessings. And though small was the gift of fate, the poor and the pained seek solace in tiny pleasures of life.

The sun had set by now. And as the stars shone high up in the night sky, there was a new star that twinkled brighter then all. Aatma had broken the sacred vow of angels, but his gift of smile on the face of a pained had granted him immortality in a different manner. He did not know the consequences of his act. But now he knew that a true angel is not bound by vows and rules when it comes to spreading happiness.

From up above, Earth looked brighter to Aatma, with one sad Aseem lesser. There were many others like Aseem, who still needed help. And Aatma trusted other angels to answer their conscience. Eventually they all would. And till then, the pained just had to laugh at their pains.

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The Tragedy of Aseem (Part I)

Aseem stood in the center of a busy street laughing. He had been robbed moments ago. And the thief was a kid. You might think it is funny, but getting mugged by a kid is no laughing matter. A knife wielding kid is a lot more dangerous than an adult. And you feel a pang of shame when you retell the incident. Aseem never dreamt that he would be robbed. Poor people like him do not dream of getting robbed. They dream of getting rich. But he was sure, if he had dreamt of getting robbed, there would be a mustachioed, scary-looking, burly dacoit at the other end of a pointed sword. No, make it two dacoits.

Aseem

Aseem laughed not because he found it funny. His laughter was a wail of desperation. The bloody kid has taken all the earnings of his life. And now he was penniless. He had no money to pay the rent of his shack anymore. No money to even bribe the noble policemen if and when he would go to lodge a complaint. He was a pauper who had once again been reduced to a pauper today.

Aseem’s wife was admitted to the hospital. Medicine that costs a lot to the poor (but would be worth loose change to the rich) was all that could have saved her, else today would be the last day of her life. He needed to put in every penny that he had earned into the hands of the Doctor so that he could save the love of his life. He had borrowed money from moneylenders. He had no job – no body employs a “nobody”. Friends, he had lost long ago. Now all he had were the clothes on his body. Such was the sad story, that even his enemies had deserted him, leaving him to fend for himself. They say that when the chips are down, even a dog will spit at you. The irony was not missing on Aseem – he had been robbed in broad daylight by a skinny kid in shorts wielding a knife that was as big as the kid himself.

Who was Aseem? Aseem was a poet. A writer. A thinker. Or at least that was what he thought of himself. An eccentric genius. He would have been a blogger, if there was internet in his time. You see, he lived in an age, where there was no internet, no cars, nothing. Just the simple tragedies of life in black and white. He would have been a celebrated writer, if someone published his ramblings. But who had time for a drunken poet. So he spent all his day doing odd jobs here and there, eking out a living one day at a time. And he would bring curtains to the day by entertaining anybody who would bother to hear him with crooked tales that would sound incomprehensible to a sane mind. Such was his life. It was sad, but rosy.

Today, it had all ended. As the sun set on the bustling street, the creeping shadows clouded his vision. He did not know where to go. He did not know what to do. His laughter – no one in the street bothered to even throw a cursory glance at him. He was invisible to the busy eyes of people. It was like he never existed in the eyes of the townsfolk. His eyes, they had been sucked dry off even tears. It appeared even tears had betrayed him along with his destiny. Would someone sympathize with him? And would their sympathies be of any help to him.

When he was born, the street astrologer foretold that Aseem would one day rule the world. And everybody had a good laugh at it. Especially the astrologer, he was paid in full. His parents slept hungry that night – with a smile on their face, mind you. Poverty can lead to strange sources of happiness.

What became of him? The answer stood behind him. The only pair of eyes looking at him all the time. Cold, emotionless, black kohl lined eyes they were. But the answer was locked in those eyes.

The Chaos Theory

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What is chaos? Chaos stands for disorder and confusion. People abhor it. But it can seldom be contained. It appears to be a natural state of affairs. Everything, from our society to our lives to our universe appears to be in a state of chaos.

First some theory. Chaos comes from the Greek word “Khaos” which means “gaping void”. In the Greek mythology, it was a void in which all matter existed in a confused and amorphous shape. Chaos stood for “nothingness.” Earth was born from Chaos. And so was the Sky (Heaven).

Some people have tried to analyze chaos. Learned people have tried to model this chaos using every available tool – maths to philosophy. But understanding of chaos is elusive. Mumbo jumbo quotes on chaos have made this a highly intellectual subject matter. Take for instance what Lorenz said:

When the present determines the future, but the approximate present does not approximately determine the future

Chaos has deep philosophical undertones. Many a mortal philosopher has found immortality in the annals of history by spouting random crap on the subject. But what about us? What do we consider of chaos in our lives. A sitcom had this quote – which made my day. It did not try explaining what causes chaos. Rather it contrasted our perceptions of chaos.

Chaos Is A Ladder

Success is born out of the abyss of chaos. Indeed, life is chaotic. Chaos breeds opportunity. The fiery molten embers of chaos separate the ordinary from the extraordinary. Successful people survive and out-think chaos to come up trumps. They do now surrender to the depths of chaos. Thus, they see chaos as a ladder. An opportunity. But seeing it as a ladder alone does not guarantee redemption. Many people climb the ladder. The competition is fierce, and the climb is tough. People fall while climbing the ladder of chaos. The climbs are always dirty. There are no rules for climbing the ladder. If you can go up the next rung, you have won a battle – and another rung beckons. A fall can be back-breaking. Many give up before the climb is over. And others cling on to a rung, neither falling, nor rising. The climb is but essential for those who want to get out of the rut.

A nice way to see it would be from the viewpoint of a water molecule in a cube of ice. Heat induces randomness in the molecule. The subsequent melting causes the water molecule to re-position itself. It does not have to contend with the rigidity of the ice cube. As the state of chaos deepens, the molecule becomes even more excited. Ultimately, it finds freedom by escaping into the atmosphere.

So chaos leads to breaking of structures which inhibited growth of an individual. Rules change. And hierarchies loosen up. But some people see chaos for what it is – a pit. A pit of great pain and suffering. A pit which has to be avoided at all costs. And this contrasts those who see chaos as a ladder.

In terms of our economic world order, a capitalist would see chaos as a ladder – with individual progress the incentive. A socialist would on the other hand see chaos as an abyss – which brings people pain and suffering – thus to be avoided also collectively.

Just saying, that chaos is a different idea for different people.

P.S. The quote was by Lord Peter “Littlefinger” Baelish from “The Game of Thrones“. I strongly recommend you watch it for all the intrigue it has. Watch it here !!

May Day : The Day We All Forget..

International Labor Day just whizzed past us. A day not too different from any regular Sunday for many of us. But the day has special significance for me. It reminds me of the time I had when I was working in a site in Mahua Khera, a teeny tiny hamlet lost somewhere in the map of India. That was the time when I was exposed to a whole new world. I came in close contact with laborers.  I must say, whatever plans and policies we make, hats off to them, for it is they who – with their own bare hands ultimately give shape to the world as we know. All for a pittance of payment.

They create swanky malls, they build wide smooth roads, and they are the power behind the power plants. They build the huge warehouses and granaries. They put the 8 in your 8 percent GDP growth numbers. They are India’s greatest exports – building the modern engineering marvels of Dubai and other Gulf countries.

But not for him are the fancy Armanis or Lee/Levis. He will still settle for his own shabby cotton rags. Not for him are the BMWs and SUVs which will ply on those Expressways. He will smile travelling on a bus after bargaining for tickets with the rude conductor who would all the while be abusive. Not for him is the electricity produced from the power plants, which will power up your computers so that you can download your movies or lead the Conquistadors to the gates of the Huns in Age of Empires. He will have his own kerosene lamp, or the community bulb. Not for him is the exotic spread of Japanese or Lebanese cuisine in restaurants. He will happily gorge on his homemade food, which I know from experience tastes divine.

I must confess, the only laborers that I was exposed earlier were the fancy workers in Age of Empires, who would be obedient and work like machines. Somehow, the thought permeates our minds that the workers are like machines – and we expect outputs from them which are sky high. Thoughts like fatigue and tiredness of physical exertion are clouded by our cushy lives. I am glad, those thoughts were scrubbed clean by the wipers of life.

There were some lessons that the humble laborers taught me – which changed my perspectives and grounded all the high flying thoughts in my minds. Lessons like toiling hard, fixing a smile on the face, keeping it simple, communicating with simplicity, persistence and team work. If today I struggle with bull crapping on a topic, I owe it to them.

Many a time, I would stand in the shade with the drawing sheet spread out and telling a laborer what he has to do. He would not understand the technicalities; instead he would always ask the pertinent and relevant questions necessary for him to proceed with the work. Not for him were what the codes said, why the necessary details were needed etc. etc. He would have a simple view of life.

He would listen to all my whining of how crappy the weather was. But his smile probably hid the fact, that the weather had become his ally – and he could handle it. Indeed, I have seen workers slog it out in 40 degree heats, where steel literally burns and scalds. And also in freezing 5 degrees, where the limbs become too numb and stupefied to move.

He would be raring to get to work, so that he could at the end of the day, earn what can be described as the lowest salary possibly payable by the builder. All so that he can eke out his living and ensure that his family lives to see another day without starvation.

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But the most important lesson that I learnt was – faith. The humble laborer does not trust contracts. He does not care for what the rule book says. It is the power of your words – the reassurance and empathy in your tone which comforts him. I had workers risking their lives while working for me, all for the timelines to be met – which were made up in the air conditioned confines of an office over copious cups of tea. It was a power which I, in my ignorance at that time, did not fully comprehend. Thank God, no accident took place under my careless watch. I will forever be grateful to god for his benevolence. For the worker, the only thing that matters is your word. Hell hath no fury like a laborer scorned.

It is scary for me to think, how people can exploit labor. It would take a really, cold, merciless and possibly dead heart to play with the humble labor. There have been many laws made to preserve their rights and impart dignity to their lives. But somehow, the managements still find convoluted loopholes to service their own greed and satiate their desire for power at the expense of those who are the lowest class in our society. There is a view among the corporate czars, that labor rights and development can not go hand in hand. And that the labor class exists to service their whims and be exploited. A very colonial kind of mindset it is.

The poor workers know not, that May Day is their day. But I hope that this year we all, in our own small way, strive to make the world a better place for them. All they need is respect and reassurance. Not too demanding are they! With an empowered workforce, we will surpass all projections of growth and progress. May the force be with them!!

P.S: I worked at a power plant in Uttarakhand, on the foothills of Himalayas.  At one stage, I led a team of up to 50 workers – an experience for me like no other. It will rank as the steepest learning curve for an urban brat like me. The “He” above, can as easily be replaced by “She”, who were a lot more persistent compared to their male counterparts. Respect, definitely earned by them!

Why Chennai can’t and won’t speak Hindi !!!

I have observed a post become very popular. Many friends have been raving about it. I thought it would be wise to analyze the post and see if it really is a good stand. It is about this one dude, who says that Learning Hindi is pointless for people in Tamil Nadu, and it is because…

Chennai

I have produced the text of the page verbatim (spelling mistakes included), and my elementary response alongside:

Recently, I’ve been barraged on Facebook with status messages from my friends who when to Chennai for their summer internships. (Not on FB, but yes – I do get a lot of feedback from my friends too). To summarize all the status messages in one line, (A single line generalization can often reduce truth to absurdity. Devil always lies in the detail) people weren’t exactly happy with Chennaites not being able to speak in Hindi. (I have never met anybody who has complained that people not speaking Hindi is the only reason why they are having problems in Chennai) To all those people, let me ask you a simple question –why should they? (I pray that they speak some thing which an outsider can understand – it is common courtesy)

People who can speak only Hindi expect that everyone else in India should speak Hindi (I disagree, they do not expect – but wish. In an ideal world, if everyone spoke the same language – a lot of miscommunication could be avoided) and this is based on the assumption that Hindi is the national language of India (It is the Official language) and it should stand true to its name by being spoken across the country (Well, official languages should be spoken – at least in matters of Administration). Allow me to correct such beliefs by quoting that as per the constitution of India, Hindi is not the national language. In fact, India doesn’t have a national language and it doesn’t need one (Whether it needs one or not, depends on how you define a “National Language”)This fact acknowledged by Gujarat High court as well (See, even the High Court mentions that Hindi is an “Official Language”) So it would be prudent to lower the expectations which were supported by a myth rather than a fact. (I do not see anyone forced to speak in Hindi. As long as no one gets hurt, what is wrong in having expectations?”)
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Now to the most important question. Why won’t Chennai learn Hindi? (Why is this THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION ?) There is a two edged answer to this.

One – Love of Tamil. (Love of Tamil translates to hatred against every other language – that is no love, Sir) Do you know that Tamil is the only classical language (amongst the eight in the world) still to be in practice? (We are proud of that. Hats Off! So how is the language being promoted in other states of this country. People globally should be exposed to the wonderful works of Tamil) Being more than 2300 years old, the language has stood its time and is currently spoken by more than 8 crore people across the world. It even has official status in three countries other than India (It’s actually 2, but that’s off the point – Singapore and Sri Lanka). Sanskrit, India’s oldest language and mother of Hindi couldn’t do that (Is there a competition? Sanskrit has influenced dozens of Languages.  Sanskrit evolved, mixing with many other languages, such that today we nonchalantly use many words which have a base in Sanskrit. Also, is there a rule that languages which are more used as “Official” are greater or better?) Why? Because People just love the Tamil language. (Incorrect, if people loved Tamil on the scale that you are trying to paint, your friends would not have spammed you on your wall.) Fortunately or unfortunately, (Why say unfortunately and be apologetic?) the language is very close to the people than you can imagine. (How does one measure if a Language is close or not? If its your mother tongue, its fine. Be proud. No one asks you to prove it.) And this reflects in being supportive any to Tamil community outside the country irrespective of what is right or wrong (Irrespective of right or wrong? Blind support?? That is downright condemnable. And as for the support, broad consensus is that most of the support is only lip service. Frankly, it would be nice if the support translates to action – and leads to uplifting. And why be so myopic and support the Tamil community only.) Read this article (Sorry, the link provided is not working) by an American Professor why he thinks that Tamil deserves the classical language status. (Why would his opinion be more valuable compared to your own friends, who in a very obscure way – are indicating that something is wrong with the way the might of a language is being projected)

Two – Fear. (Aah, maybe this was point number one) The more you love something, the more you’ll be afraid that you’ll lose it one day (The solution is to lock up the valuable thing and avoid change?) And you’ll do everything at your power to protect what you love dearly. (Is everything in your power being done?) That’s what people in actual power in 1960s did by opposing point-blank to the proposal of making Hindi as the national language based on the fear that nationalizing Hindi will slowly erode Tamil. (By launching a violent agitation and point-blank decimation of other languages – especially Hindi – from the cities) A fair and a justified fear. (I do not see how it is fair and justified? Languages like Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada and Telugu – etc etc, have all survived. People speak multiple languages, and that projects an openness which is very warming to an outsider)

There are several points that I can put forward to enforce my side of the argument. (A few logical ones will do :P)

If you travel to Tokyo/Beijing, do you expect people to speak in Hindi? (I do not expect, but yes – it would be great if they did) Obviously not Hindi when you can’t expect them to know English either! (Well, I expect them to know English at least. Else it will be really troublesome. In fact, their Governments understood this , and took up English education on a war footing.) Will you complain that English is a global language and they should have known it? (Well, I would definitely whine about it to my friends) On the same note, why should you expect someone in Tamil Nadu to do so? (Not expect, but desire! And “Something” does make people in other states pick up more than one language.) Because, it is a part of India? (That would be stupid. The expectation arises from being a part of a more open society, less hard-nosed, and less adamant. In fact, ask your intern friends if it would be cool if people here spoke even a smattering of English) The greatest strength of India is its diversity in languages and sustainable cultural diversity (Sustainable – what gives us the Idea that Tamil culture is not sustainable if people speak more than one language?). Don’t try to nullify that strength by expecting the entire nation to speak in a single language.(If people speak more than one language, they weaken the nation??? OMG !!!)

If you are moving to a land that doesn’t speak the language you do , the onus is on you to learn the new language (and the people who do move to a new land eventually do learn to survive – it is called adaptability) and not the other way around.(Incorrect, it is a mutual responsibility – throw in a few words in his or her tongue so that at least they feel a little welcome in a new place.) When I moved to Hyderabad, I knew neither Telugu nor Hindi, but I managed to learn a bit of both. (See, you adapted. And that is important. It is a very good trait.) And even in Mumbai, I managed to survive with the half-cooked Hindi I knew. (So, Hindi became a sort of common platform for you. You could survive in Hyderabad and Mumbai with it. It is important to have THAT common platform – be it English or Hindi .) Most importantly, you should have sorry-i-don’t-know-please-help-me attitude and not something like god-you-dont-know-hindi. (It would be nice for some reciprocal warmth instead of the OMG-YOU DONT KNOW TAMIL”) The latter will get you nowhere.

And finally it comes to personal choice. Nobody in this country stops anyone from learning Hindi. It’s just people don’t choose to. (True, and that often leads to many complications. But hey – free country Zindabaad!! Democracy Zindabaad!! and Free Speech Zindabaad!! Where would we bloggers be but for these gifts.)

The above arguments are not only for Tamil. It stands true for other regional languages such as Telugu (another language that I’m very fond of), Kannada, and Bengali which are much older than Hindi and boasts of richer literature. (Saying Hindi literature is poor – is false. When you have not read the literary works, you are going on hearsay. I have heard Hindi speakers say Hindi literature is rich, and Bengali speakers say their literature is richer. The fact is – both are rich. You and I can simply not judge which is better. Literature is meant to be enjoyed, not judged.) These regional languages have stood their time too and I would watch with glee when they make it to the classical status as well. It’s sad that Indian government has done nothing to further the growth of the regional languages across the country. (There are two ways you can look at it – Say thanks to the Govt that they have ensured we have not degenerated into a thousand states, and we see unity in our diversity. Or chide the Government for the millions of things they have not done regarding – like say poverty, corruption, law and order etc etc etc.) And the state governments take it upon themselves to protect the language and their actions sometimes come as being fanatic (sometimes they really are!). (So, we do agree on something at the end of it all. Only, I hope we stand up against such fanaticism of both – State as well as fringe elements of the society)

I do agree that not knowing Hindi does add to the communication problem when people from different region interact. But I would prefer the solution in the form of English rather than Hindi. (Depends on who the people you describe are. Migrant labourers – they don’t know English. Hoping them to learn English is too tall a task. And the educated folks, they already are going to be happy if people speak in English in Tamil Nadu. No special effort to make them comfortable is needed. Practically, there are people opposed to that too.) My rationale is that English is already the language of the world and it has reached almost every part of the world. (If you speak to  a French or Spaniard, they will disagree with you. Just goes to say that  the love for language depends on where we stay and how our culture is.)  So why can’t English be the unified language in India? Why Hindi when it’s penetration in India is less successful than English? (How is English’s penetration greater? Hindi has more speakers in India than English. It would be a logistical nightmare to get 1.3 Bn to speak in English, when Hindi is what people are more exposed to) Think and think hard! (Time to think…….)

And remember both our national anthem and national song are in Bengali! (On a closing note, Tamil people do not speak Bengali either. People from Bengal do speak Hindi)

All Hail God !!

Beware! There is a new breed of fundamentalists at loose in the society. They are aggressive, they are abusive and they tolerate no dissent. I came across them in the Republic of Facebookistan. They apparently are also a very vocal majority in places like Unites States of Twitteristan and Republic of Rediff-ia.

I always think of paying obeisance to god before starting with a post. I have ample choices in this regard. At last count, there were 33,000,000 Hindu gods, one Muslim god, and three Christian gods – bringing the grand total of my choices to 33,000,004. I could choose any one of them and proceed with my work. But then it hit me. There was a new entrant in this elite club of 33,000,004. And it was essential that I bow my head to this new entrant irrespective of my faith or whim. Presenting Sachin Tendulkar..

The God

The God

This universal fact – Sachin Is God – has been thrown on me all over the country. From the seedy bars of Moradabad to the glitzy pubs of Bangalore, from stinking beaches of Madras to dingy alleys of Delhi. It is a non-negotiable fact – because duh, it is a fact that is universal. My stupidity has been exposed time and again by the devotees of Sri Sri Sachin baba. After all, statistics prove that Sachin is our God. And religion is after all, a science. Faith needs numbers to back it up.

I always thought Sachin was a great athlete – a prodigy. Or a once in a generation cricketer. I think his superhuman miracles have been eluding me because I have been sitting huddled in a cave. My Bad!!

I still remember, the day he decided to retire from one days. The frenzy of the fans – they declared “Cricket” dead that day. Trillions of devotees declared that they would stop watching One Day Internationals. Billions declared that they would stop watching cricket altogether  Never mind, if IPL is the only cricket they have ever seen.

But do we remember the day when Sachin was booed in Wankhede? And do we remember telling our friends that it is time that Sachin should retire and make way for youth?? Do we remember arguing in favor of his retirement? No, our memories are so loyal. They only exist as we want them to. We only remember what we want to remember. In extremes.

If I was Sachin, I would probably sit in the corner of a cricket field and weep. Weep out loud. Weep at the IQ of my fans. Weep at the replacement MY loyal devotees brought – a certain Sir Ravindra Jadeja. Weep at the blindness of fans to not see true genius. Weep at the whimsical nature of fans, which makes them make a god of a mortal, and which then makes them trash the same god. Weep at the stubbornness of fans to lose faith in their gods. And weep at the illusion of power the fans have, that they control time.

While I decide whether to accept an imperfect god, maybe the devotees can start looking for their next messiah. A few already have hopes from the Son of God. Till you make up your minds, let me begin…

Long Live Lord Sachin!!

While Heroes Rise And Heroes Fall…

The Words Of A Book

So we meet again. We have met before. Don’t think I am a specific book. Think of me as any book that you want me to be. I maybe the fantasy book you read as a child. I may be the Textbook you open just before the exam. I may be the self-help book you read when you are low. I may be the Holy Scripture that you don’t read and wish that you do. I am me – in different forms. But I am – at the end of day a book. And I and you share a bond that is deeper than you would have thought of.

What am I? Contrary to popular perception, I am not the bunch of paper – stacked and bound. No Dear. I am the idea that I carry. Beneath the cover, and hidden in the maze of black and white – I am an idea. You are my creator. I was born in a head like yours. I sustain myself by your interaction. I was born to spread the idea. Once I am read, I don’t die. I evolve. I live on in a tiny corner of your brain – slowly influencing your life. I interact with the many other thoughts that you have imbibed. And we all subject you mind to a constant state of churn. I have a life of my own inside the reader’s mind.

I have caused wars. And I have caused peace. I am the cure for many a disease. I have chronicled all the progress from the day your kind remembers. I have caused a million mutinies and I have heralded many a revolution. Some cultures worship me. I am the unsung hero behind every successful person. I have spawned movies. And I have spawned plays. Internet is my ally. It has made me more popular and accessible.

Image Courtesy: Abhinav Sethi @ Bookworm, Bangalore

From since you were very young, I have been with you. You are what you are – partly because of the lovely genes your parents gave you, and partly for how you built a relationship with me. I have been used in many ways alternate by you – from a trophy to a pillow. For some, I am a friend. For others an enemy. I have seen your eyes light up when you see me. And I have seen your mouth go “YAAAWN” too. Some of you accept me as I am. Swallow my idea whole. Some of you fight with me. Fight with each and every word that I am. And I love those battles. I just want to tell you, I love you all. I evoke passion in a few of you. And in few, I evoke a sense of awe.

I come in all shapes and sizes. I am sold for pennies – and I am auctioned for millions. I come in hardcover  and I come in paperback  I come with colorful photos and images. And I come in dry black and white. I am found in premium book stores. And I am found in dingy alleys. I am found in libraries. And I am found in barber shops. I am your companion when on a journey. And I am the partner you end up sleeping with in the night. I am loved by people when I am fresh white. And I am valued when I am old and yellowed. I come in many genres. I am read by the young and the old. The black and the white – and the browns. I am adored by the rich and the poor. The boys and the girls. I am the weapon of choice for the right wing and the left. The capitalist and the socialist. I do not discriminate. I am omnipresent. Oh my God, Do I sound like God?

I have feelings too. I am not disappointed when you blurt “What Rubbish” after reading me. I am not hurt one bit when I get torn. I find it fun when I see you look at my price tag and haggle with the uncle at the Bookstore. You leave your mark on me when you make your jottings on me. They are like scars of the battle that I fight with your mind. And I adorn them proudly, showing off to the other readers what I have gone through.

I find it annoying when you tell your friend “not to read” me as I am full of gibberish. That is the biggest disservice that you are doing to your friend. For now, he will never be able to experience me – and I might just have changed his life. You fail to understand that though both of you are humans, the dissimilarities in the ways your minds function outweigh your commonalities.

I came into existence for a reason. I exist to spread the idea. Like you, I too look forward to the journey of life. But many of you imprison me. Lock me up in your cupboards  I was not born to adorn your shelf. Set me free. Give me your friend. Let him experience me. And let him pass on his friend. Let her experience me. A bookshelf overflowing with books resembles a prison to me. I am not a trophy for show off. Respect me. Show me your love by allowing me to go on the adventure that I have always longed for. You will find a book more special than me, if only you were to look.

Hold my hand. And let us walk on the journey of life… Amen !