Saturday, 23 October 2010

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Autumnal reflections

'The only constant is change'....Heraclitus

My city was gripped by the Durga Puja fever, the sound of the dhak reverberated at every street corner, swelling retail footfalls, an air of anticipation engulfed my city....the festive season for me meant a break away from home...and the workplace which is increasingly going chameleonic. Huge budget cuts and uncertainty ('change' as it is fashionably called) make the workplace quite stressful. Every other day you bid farewell to a co-worker or one gets a goodbye email. The stress makes workers and colleagues complicated. They behave strangely. People feel persecuted and their behaviour makes others feel isolated. It becomes a vicious circle. But it was good to be away for 5 days at my sister's place at Bengaluru, the sexy destination in the Indian business lexicon. Weather was perfect, less of crowd and pollution and of course shopping...saris, salwar suits, table linen...the works!

My people observing skills were also put to good use. I watch couples closely and how they behave when the partner is around and how different they actually are when the other half is not around. In each others' presence they parrot and talk a common language and seem unrecognisable from their real selves. In the presence of the partner, they even start believing they think the same thoughts. So which is the real self...the one with the partner or the one without? Maybe the self which is more comfortable....

I love being the observer. I am the backroom girl....

Ciao till the next post...

Friday, 1 October 2010

In the name of God, have we come of age?

Its been such a long journey. I came back to humid, sultry, crowded Kolkata and have slowly got into my usual routine. But life is much lighter now. I now have to look after one child instead of two. That leaves a lot of time on my hands. And I brood, feel low and bounce back after conversations which make me feel special. Such is life.

Four things have happened since I came. Matinee idol Sallu bhai's latest offering 'Dabangg' crossed the earnings of '3 Idiots' one the first day itself. Its rambunctious item number 'Munni Badnaam Hui' has become the new national anthem and the pjs of the rocking Hindi heartland have become the talk of every conversation. But now its the turn of the iconic Southern idol Rajnikant's latest release 'Enthiran' in Tamil and 'Robot' in Hindi which has the makings of the biggest grosser in recent times.

But as I hung my head in shame with the filth and corruption associated with the CWG, I felt proud of the restraint my fellow brethren exercised after the verdict of the Allahabad High Court. ...Is the verdict going to be the turning point in India's democracy? Is the country now mature and restrained that we can proudly say we are a truly evolved population? Will Tagore's words 'Where the world has not been broken into fragments by narrow domestic walls' come finally true? Is the 8% and above GDP growth for the last so many years, now showing its real colours in a vibrant, restrained progressive population?

I hope I have not spoken too soon. Are we leaving a permanent tinder box, a mini-West Bank of Gaza in the heart of the country? We need to wait for the Supreme Court verdict. We have been prisoners of history. But this challenge could be a golden opportunity for us to break free....

Two more things: Riots do not happen in India, unless the political parties want them to and secondly I am happy to witness a silent revolution among the brethren in my community. The community of 1992 is no longer visible. Even the ghettos are talking progress. Young women are getting educated,independent and choosing their own husbands. Milads and majlis are now less about faith but more about connecting and networking. Aspirations and competition in the generation next seems palpable. They have more 'constructive' things to bother about rather than building a place of worship.

On this postive note I close this blogpost. But please take a look at the picture. Some may find it pseudo secularist...but I can relate to it. The heart has no religion. Love has no faith. True friendships have foundations in absence of fear and firm understanding.