Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Birthday!!

October again..Another year goes by..

I am at home after a very long time...And For the first time in years, I had a plan for this day..I had a real grand plan..Of celebration, of joy, of love..I was looking forward to it..I had hope in my eyes, a certain warmth in my heart which was new..I thought there would be smiles..I thought there would be laughter...I thought there would be fun..I thought there would even be some happy tears.. 

But as it often happens, things in my life hardly go as planned...I am right in the middle of happiness and sadness, joy and tears, frustration and helplessness...It is funny that it had to be this day..I don't know what hurts more - the pain itself or the joy of my people on this day inspite of the pain.. 

It is not the best of my birthdays..But it sure reminds me of the fact that I exist. And as it goes with existence, you will get a mixed bag..And the funny thing is you are blind folded and so you don't know what you pick is good or bad...

Thanks a lot everyone for your wishes..Thanks for remembering me..Thanks a lot for reminding me that this day I should have a blast for it is my day..Your wishes mean a lot, even if they were just a scrap on facebook or a one line email, specially today..It not just filled my heart with joy, but also with the sweet warm feeling of knowing that I have some relations which stood the test of time..I am sure some of you are disappointed with me or wondering how much I have changed in these years. But we will work on it..Birthday hai yaar, come on,  maaf kar do.. :-)

I am accepting wishes for this birthday this entire week..Please keep sending them in cash/kind etc!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Din hua begin!

Waking up in India is one of the most beautiful experiences. I have always tried to be an early riser with varying success results. Now that I am in India and heavily jet lagged, I can’t help but be up in these "unearthly" hours and notice what I never bothered to see before. I look out of my balcony (it is not called patio in this part of the world), I see so many things waking up and getting alive at about the same time, ready to see another day.

It is 5-15 am and the first sounds I notice are those of Salah from a nearby mosque. And as if Gods are trying to prove their unity in diversity, I hear the temple close by starting the morning bhajans as well. Which makes me wonder how many families around me must already be up and ready for their first prayers of the day? I see at least 5-6 houses having at least one light on. Yeah, you get those sorts of views from the balcony. I am pretty sure there must be a few where a young man/woman is trying to study for an Engineering or Medical entrance exam. I remember how my mom used to make me a fresh cup of ginger tea every morning without fail just so that she could see me become an Engineer one day. The result of her efforts – I became an Engineer and a long time caffeine addict. She has of course now stopped debating the utility and futility of it all.

The other active lots are paper wale bhaiyya, newspaper delivery men. Our newspaper is delivered sharp at 5-30 AM. In about an hour, my dad will be skimming through it with utmost concentration with mom made ginger tea in one hand. It is still pretty dark outside, but the street lights have been shut off. And I wonder how hard these delivery men work just so that people like me and my kind stay educated. I also wonder, if they really know what they are delivering. Sometimes it is a sad world out there that they bring to my dad’s hands every morning.

And then there are some smells which you can never smell in any other part of the world, me thinks. It is the smell of morning dew. It immediately takes me back to my school days. I used to get up at sharp 5-45 AM to catch the 6-30 bus to school. Of course we did not have mobile phone alarms in those days. My dad would wake me up. And the way he used to do it, every other child in every other home in our community would be up! Because I am sure he must have been in military some lifetime and he has still retained his voice! But now my dad has gone quite. He does not have to wake up anyone. The voice is still there, but all the kids have now grown up. No one needs to catch the 6-30 bus anymore.

Soon enough the honking of milkman and auto rickshaws becomes louder. You know, honking is not a bad thing in India. It is just a means of making your presence felt in this vast ocean of humanity. And sometimes it works as an alarm too!

It is time for me to make a fresh brew of tea. Dad and I will have it – he will read the main newspaper and I will skim through the supplements. The world is normal again, if only for another 15 days!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

CWG 2010 - Hum to aise hain Bhaiyya!

We Indians thrive on masala. Spice is in our DNA and drama Ekta Kapoor style is our staple diet. Nothing proves this cliché like the recently concluded XIX Common Wealth Games.

It really was a representation of quintessential Indian way of things. First we take up a grand ambitious project in hand – a sport event which, in all honesty, not many care about. The rampant corruption which is trademark of Indian bureaucratic politics and red tape becomes the star of the show with Mr. Kalmadi playing the part to a T. And since it is a sport event, we need to have an anthem, right? So we give the job to Mr. A. R Rahman, just the right person to do it,  one would imagine. And Rahman "sir" comes up with a sorry excuse for a CWG anthem with stale lyrics (India bula liya – what kind of Hindi is that!). Like we all know, no Indian drama is complete without divine intervention. This drama had the great Indian monsoon doing that bit, only this time instead of helping, it created further chaos. The Indian Army comes to the rescue for doing a thankless job. After all isn’t protecting Desh ki aan what the high defense budget for? The games start in grand style, thanks to trusted veterans Mr Shyam Benegal, Mr. Javed Akhtar and Mr. Prasoon Joshi. That is not a surprise at all because we, as a nation, are better artists than sportspersons. Delhi gets a makeover like an Indian bride inaccessible to the very people dear to her – the aam aadmi of the city. A Rs. 40 crore big helium balloon flies high for one day. Kind of stuff, fat Indian weddings are known for! We are the emotional, sentimental people. And DD commentary does not fail us dishing out crap like “Khiladiyon ko zindagi ki hassi mil gayi”! The closing ceremony was a collective sigh of relief with lame Bollywood performances and lamer “thank-God-the-games-are-over” kind of vote of thanks!

And in the middle of all this drama, the Indian athletes hit hard and run harder, without complaining and without cribbing. In an atmosphere where they get treated like this, they play for samman, pride, for there are no monetary rewards, hardly any fame, just a medal for which they sweat day in and day out. While the standard of competition in CWG is not something to swear by, Indian sport still tries to breathe for life, in spite of everything our nation of a billion does to bring it down.

Whether or not any good CWG 2010 has done for athletic sports in India remains to be seen. Indian athletics will face sterner competition in Asian Games this November where traditionally, we have not had many reasons to cheer. It would give a better assessment, or honest insight, of where we stand in face of genuine competition. But I sincerely hope there are more who take up sports as a career and not a means to a career in Railways and sport quota government jobs. And I hope we see more frequent display of determination, grit, encouragement and support like this in the coming times!

And against all odds I hope that the corrupt get punished! Maybe that is too much to ask for, for if that happens, would we still be what we are – all forgiving Indians?