Posts Tagged ‘India’

It’s a hectic Diwali!

October 25, 2011

It’s Diwali.  I will be in the office tomorrow from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Hope all work gets done by then.  The next day, Thursday, a full working day, and in the evening I will be leaving for home for Bhau-beej.  I have applied for leave on Friday and Saturday.  Sunday will be an off.  Again, I will have to get back at work on Monday at 6:30 in the morning.

In between,  on Thursday night I will be leaving from here; will reach home on Friday morning.  Friday Bhau beej.  I will have Saturday free; planning to spend some time with Master; may be we’ll go on a little walk by the riverside, or a bike ride.  Again on Sunday, I will be on a way-back journey.  The trains and buses will be fully loaded, it’s a festival season.

And the distance–it’s about 328 km from here–to and fro 656 km; return journey may be by bus (yaack!! buses make me sick), just to reach office Monday on time.

It’s Diwali.  It wished there were no Diwali this year; I haven’t even done my shopping and I have literally nothing to wear tomorrow and I’ll have to reach office at 6:30 a.m.

Happy Diwali 😐

Vijaya Dashmi of an iconoclast

October 6, 2011

Today is Vijaya Dashmi, one of the most important festivals of India.  It marks the victory of Rama over Ravana in the battle of Ramayana.  It is celebrated all over the India with burning the effigies of Ravana.  Huge 10-faced effigies are burnt in grand spectacular ceremonies.  It would be reasonable to go over some facts around this issue on this occasion.

Rama is considered as an avatar of Vishnu by millions of Hindus.  For them, Rama is not mere a character of some epic tale, but an incarnation of God.  He is referred to as Maryada Purushottam, i.e. the best limit of the man.  Ravana was a demon king of Lanka.

Ravana kidnapped Sita, the wife of Rama, and this provoked a war between Rama and Ravana.  This is a common consideration.  But what made Ravana to kidnap Sita?  Did he really kidnapped her only because he wanted to marry her?  Or because he just wanted to take animosity with Rama?  Was there some other reason?  Was the animosity started by Ravana alone?

We should not forget the story of Shurpanakha in this context.  Shurpanakha was a sister of Ravana.  She was widowed.  She saw Rama in the forest while the latter was in exile with his wife and brother Lakshmana.  Shurpanakha got attracted towards Rama and made him a direct proposal to marry her.  She was a demon lady, she was a widow, and her act was not totally against the customs then, but what Rama did with her was totally mischievous and something that we would never expect from a Maryada Purushottam.

Rama told her the truth that he cannot marry her as he is already married and is with his wife; but at the same time, he referred her to Lakshmana saying that he is young and handsome and is still unmarried (akrit daara अकॄतदारा was the exact word used by Rama in Walmiki Ramayana).  Rama certainly knew Lakshmana was married too, still he cunningly lied to Shurpanakha.  Even if we cannot justify her attitude towards Rama, we should not try to justify Rama’s behavior towards her too, especially when we call him the Maryada Purushottam.  Lakshmana too talks mischievously with Shurpanakha and finally cuts his nose with his sword.  Can his act be justified?  Shurpanakha was straightforward in her demand.  She had asked Rama directly about her wishes.  One would really expect Rama to make an honest rejection in such a case, but he played mischief and Lakshmana cut her nose.

In consequence, she went to her brothers complaining about these two brothers, and then unfolded the further story of Ramayana still the battle of Lanka and defeat of Ravana, that’s not a topic of our discussion today.

I just want to state that we should stop deifying Rama and should see him as a protagonist of a wonderful epic of India.  He even can be a superhero, but not a unquestionable God.  He was as good and bad as I am, as you are, at least not a Maryada Purushottam.

This elaboration may seem out of context, an act of infidelity to someone, but the cruel use of Rama’s deified image over the recent decades in India makes it necessary to be told to people.  Rama was a human being, if he ever existed.  If we chose to worship him, let it be for our good, for our spiritual exaltation rather than to create animosity between two communities.  In the present context, the cry of “Jay Shriram” reminds me of nothing but some crazy young people demolishing a mosque standing upon it, some sadhwi (female ascetic) dancing joyously in front of media after this demolition, common Hindus of Gujarat made insane with this deified image of Rama killing their own brothers in mobs, some Varun Gandhi making belligerent gestures on a public platform.

Hope the day would come when I won’t need to be an iconoclast anymore!

A Letter to Master

July 31, 2011

Dear Master,

Getting you less on twitter, and nothing at all on mails, calls, etc. It has really been a hard time, I can understand. You must have your reasons not to keep regular contact. I too have been less on twitter for the last few days, I have my own reasons, I understand, you must have yours. We didn’t have a talk in the last few days. I guess our last talk was when we talked about “The Catcher in the Rye” and “The Idiot” and then we came to the conclusion that one cannot be a “well-read” man by reading mere 600-or-so books. It must have been a couple of weeks.

I saw you on Facebook today. You wrote something on the wall of Santosh Tayde. As I saw you there, I thought you must have at least tweeted for me as you were in network for a while. I checked twitter and found nothing to my despair. And I tweeted “:Twitter must not die.” I really think twitter must not die. I don’t mean for Twitter as a social networking, but for the way of indirect contact it provides to us. I have already cleared that I have my own reasons to be a bit away from twitter and you must have yours, but I will be there regularly in a week or so! Hope I won’t miss you there.

Today, I have a special reason to mail you. Something is going on in my mind that I feel I must share with you. You are single and will be marrying to someone most probably the next year. I was thinking about what does marriage really mean to you when you are single? If you just want a girl who can cook for you, wash your clothes, and just be with you for the rest of your life, then it confirms you are a normal man. This is what we do in India. And the girl in turn wants a man who can be with her, provide all her needs, bring a month’s wholesome grocery, and that’s it. But I know this is not the case for you. This is not the case for me!!

I know you are a man of great potential. You have a great understanding of things. Sometimes even I feel awed with what you have. I know you have a constant feeling of incompleteness, and I am afraid if anyone can ever be able to fill it. It is not a simple task to be with you and to take care that you remain alive. It needs the other person to be of at par understanding., and in our society, it is almost an impossible task.

Indian marriages work. You just need a girl who can cook for you, wash your clothes, and be with you, and you in turn give her what she needs–the month’s grocery etc., and the marriage works. It does not take any special efforts. But if you expect something else from marriage, the question becomes dire. When your heart is full of feelings, eager to burst and shower, and you know the one, your life partner, is going to understand nothing of what is filled in you, what can you do in such a case? You just keep yourself calm and damp yourself in it. The worst thing is the knowledge of there is no use to fill full, and slowly and steadily you lose the essence of your being; you do the monthly grocery stuff all your life, just thinking of the poor soul that once used to be you.

This happens often with love marriages. Arranged ones work; they don’t have much out-of-track expectations from life. In contrast, people come together in love marriages, they think they are the best-suited for each others, and hence expectations are high. Once you go some further in your affair, you think of marrying. And why to marry? – because he/she is the person with whom I want to spend all my life. Why? Because we love each other.

I think this is the most fragile explanation. This is the base why the marriage doesn’t work. You don’t have any agenda other than you want to marry each other, and what after marriage? Just love cannot be, and can never be, a bonding factor for all of your life. Unless you get the answer of why we love, why we want to marry, what do we want to achieve with it – every attempt towards it leads to failure.

A very strange example occurred to me – it would be like the rebellion of 1857! You are full of valor, fully devoted for a win, but you don’t know what to do if you win the war at all! The celebrations of a win cannot go for long. You must have some plan and you must have that plan ready before you plunge in war. Another a very strange example, and I accept the rules of nations can’t be applied to human beings, but what happened to Pakistan after independence? The East and West Pakistan were bonded with only a thread of religion. They had nothing common in it. How long could the celebrations of achieving a separate Islamic state keep the both fractions together? About 10 years they took only to create a constitution, and within 24 years of independence, Pakistan got divided and Bangladesh came into existence. Twenty four years is a pretty little time in terms of national history. In case of human beings, it gets still shorter. On the other hand, India constituted her constitution assembly even before independence and the constitution was ready within three years of independence. Even before that, our leaders knew what kind of state they wanted. They had a dream of a social, secular, democratic state that would ensure social, economical, and political justice. They had a plan and they worked on it.

We behave like overenthusiastic rebels at the time of marriage, but fail to look for the goals that we mean to achieve with it, and it leads to a failure. We don’t even get time to realize that it is failed. We engulf in responsibilities, job, children, their education, etc. But one day certainly comes, when everything else is taken care of, we find ourselves almost alone and the same incomplete as we had ever been.

A friend of mine told me a story of a couple who after 40 years of their marriage, when they are retired and the children have gone their way, they had nothing to talk with each other even for four minutes. For forty years, they had talked about career, children, school, medicines, grocery, jewelry, and now when they raise above everything of this, they had nothing to share with each other, and they sought for a divorce after a successful (?) marriage of 40 years.

I am really not sure, where are we heading?

Yours, Ganesh