Monday, September 28, 2009

To Ishrat Jahan

There are not too many things that move me. There was a time when I would often sniff while reading a novel or some work of fiction on a quiet afternoon. Now the afternoons aren’t quiet. They pass by in a dizzying blur. But then that’s not the point here. I was surprised at myself when reading current affairs brought a sudden sob. It was grossly inconvenient to express those feeling as I was alone and travelling on an airplane.

I was reading the sad tale of Ishrat Jahan’s family. Mr Modi’s state machinery targeted them instead of being their protectors as per forensic reports as submitted in Justice Tamang’s report. How must it feel for a poor woman with so many young children to stand up to the mighty Mr Modi and his corrupt police force. What kind of courage would that have required? Just when my feelings were brimming I happened to look out the plane window and saw the beautiful horizon a great distance away and I felt God’s presence. What troubled me was that he seemed as far away as that horizon. That moment was intensely personal between me and my God.
I was painfully reminded of how God can put you on a spot and challenge you to use a resource you thought you never had – Courage, which brings me to another thought. Power is difficult to handle for mortals like us. The usual laws of too little or too much are not applicable to power. Power corrupts. Simple. Maybe Mr Modi and his police force believe that they are one step ahead of the law. Maybe they are. But there is another court waiting for them. Universe has a system of balancing out things. What would it take to balance the power Mr Modi carries? Loss of Votes, court cases.. and what have you.

I hope Ishrat Jahan’s mother and siblings find justice and peace.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Satya - The truth

I have fallen for this word.....

To me it means the struggle of life against death, light against darkness, peace against turmoil.

If I had another name... this would be it....

I am amazed at how I never looked at this before, my disbelief at its impact on me. The world may percieve me as crazy for having these thoughts. I am seeing - Satya - for the first time and feeling it in me.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Farewell Notes

The usual clutter prevails between the ears. I am trying to make up my mind on which colony of thoughts I should write about.

A is leaving town. He is a much loved colleague and we decided to give him a send-off party. He would continue to work with the company but in another town with other people. He is a valued member of my direct team and is honest, reliable & diligent. Not once in the last few years have I heard a "no" from him for any work asked of him no matter what the time lines. So, its only natural that I am sad to see him go. But this is what he wanted. He wanted to be closer home to his folks. Am happy that we could make this happen for him.

I had left the city two years ago and only visit the branch when meetings are scheduled. This send off party brought back the old sense of security one feels amongst old friends. Surprisingly this is one branch where inter/ intra departmental politics have little space. These guys believe in having fun together. I haven't laughed as much as I did last evening for months. I thought about what makes one set of people stick. Maybe, it has to do with the fact that one always wants to be with those where one has most fun. What makes these guys unique is not the absence of things needing correction; rather its the atmosphere where light humor (and sometimes heavy humor) is used to convey precisely what is being objected to. I was offered a box of sweets by the office boy. I enquired about the occasion and the person who has taken the initiative for the same. Was surprised by B when he said - "S Madam is quitting, so I am distributing sweets". I laughed and blinked at the outrageous audacity of this guy. He laughed back and said - I have announced this many times that when s Madam will quit, I will distribute sweets. Every one was chuckling and I was trying to imagine the scenario being repeated given that the lady in question has put in her papers for the fourth time (as I was told amongst peals of laughter).

However, at A's farewell party B chose not to drink and saved himself from being the butt of many jokes and kept quiet. Deathly quiet. Strange fellows. I can't understand them. Then there was this other guy who never said a word since he arrived. Promptly had three stiff ones and then suddenly when we had forgotten he was around, he got up and in that small bunch of people looked straight at me and said - Madam! you know... I love Bengalis!!! I am not saying this because my boss is a bengali but I really love bengalis. Madam I am from bihar but when I take leave from work I first go to West Bengal. You know why?? Because that is the only place in the world where a man can eat a full meal of fish curry rice in ten bucks! But madam I am not saying this because my boss is a bengali. (His boss - another good friend - was sitting right next to me and laughing.)

In all this tamasha someone called A and said why don't you sing. A who is usually rather shy, agreed almost immediately and sang that old fav - "Baat niklegi to phir door talak jayegi". More than his voice it was his expressions and body language that took me by surprise. He was so totally into it. I had a face-splitting grin on the whole time. Of course A didn't stop at one song.

We had stuffed ourselves with starters but now it was time to eat dinner. Later the good byes and farewell hugs and speeches got longer, Eyes were watery, more hugs and more sweet words, more stories of episodes in drunken stupor in other parties and then it was time to perilously ride our bikes back home!

I was horribly beyond the curfew time. But you know what they say about home - when you come home, they let you in.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Changing the world

Did you know that four crisp toasts with melted butter are therapeutic at 1.00 AM !!

There are two kind of people in the world. Those who accept the world as it exists and those who want to change it. Which one is the hero? The revered ones are the ones who see things that don't exist and go about creating them, the ones who fight against something that appears much bigger and overwhelming than them. We can't stop writing about these people. Can't stop being in awe of them.

So what makes a hero? I think the hero (read true leader of the people) is careful about what he chooses to change.

Hitler too was a leader. But it was either his way or the highway. Gandhi Ji was a leader too. But his style was different.

You can't be intolerant of other peoples choices and expression and simply expect them to follow you without selling your idea to them in the first place.

You can't be a good leader if you are low on sensitivity to the very people you lead.

By force a leader can have a perfectly synchronised set of building blocks. But it will take very little to bring it down. People don't like being forced to do things when they don't agree with them.

Anyway... so what makes a good leader?

Is being firm with people same as being loud while talking to them? Does firmness necessarily have to come with a crisp tone and a rude set of statements or a decree?

I had read somewhere - be very nice to people but carry a big stick.

That made sense to me.


So anyway.. I was talking about the kind of people who want to change the way the world exists. So what do they want to change? ...I figure, you definitely can't be on the right track when you are changing window frames of your neighbours' home.

Conformity is good and desirable. But it lacks creativity and freedom. Each has its own advantages. I figure both need a space ... in varied degrees.