THIRTY

There is no charm in the rains in the city I now live, in comparison my home city makes me feel good when it rains. The rains in my current city are constant without a break and make the the sky dreary, grey and bleak, the streets are muddy and pot holed, filled with people rushing about with umbrellas not stopping for a moment. Here life goes on as if the rains are another natural calamity to be dealt with an umbrella or a raincoat and ignored.

When it rains in my home city, it brightens up the greenery, everything looks fresh and full of life, the dark asphalt glistens in the rain and is freshly washed sans dust, the sky is overcast but there is so much light too. The streets are empty, may be one or two cars pass splashing through the water. You can stare out of the window and be completely overwhelmed by the sight of the rain washed city.

Among the many things that I miss about My City Kolkata, rains are one, the other is the ease of travelling from one part of the city to the other, I miss the 15 minutes Rickshaw ride to City Centre Mall for a cup of tea with a friend. Don’t get me wrong, I can reach a few malls around Mumbai too but the bustle of the crowd takes away the charm of the open air ride I can have.

I miss being able to plan in one hour and make it to an appointment in Kolkata, unfortunately in Mumbai it requires to have a lead of 2 hours to reach anywhere. I have never romanticized train journeys, although when growing up I did travel in South Eastern Local trains but I have never liked them, so, I have absolutely no love for the local trains of Mumbai or for that matter their Black and yellow cabs. I like the Amby’s of Kolkata better, uncomfortably spacious and exasperating drivers, yet I miss them.

I obviously miss the street food of Kolkata which is not vada pao and not always vegetarian unlike Mumbai. I cannot feel satisfied to eat ghugni mattar filled tiny panipuri, nothing comes remotely close to the mashed potato with spices of fuchka, Mumbai has it’s sea side, swanky Malls, and a different lifestyle from Kolkata, but I like my laid back life at Kolkata any day, the quintessential lazy bum in me craves the stagnancy of Kolkata having been away for 10 months.

And despite what snooty NRI women may say about Mumbai street food and other so called careerist professional may say about job market in Mumbai, “I wouldn’t exchange my Home on the range for all of the cities so bright.”

 

THE END.

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TWENTY NINE

As a person who identifies with no political party or is not of religious bent of mind the shock of being attacked and called a right wing conservative is pretty shocking. Actually the term “right wing conservative” makes no sense to me because the apolitical view of life. It was like crashing into the reality of paranoia amongst a certain religious community who like to take the advantages of being a minority every step of the way yet are perturbed if termed as minority, when the census data will show they are spread across the length and breadth of the country and the world. President Obama may want to appease the Community worldwide but the truth is the rest of the population and his own vote bank considers them a faction which fuels separatist movements and as a result terrorism in some form. If one looks at the events where Countries have been torn apart by civil war many instances of the involvement of this community will come to fore. Not being a scholar or an academic mind there is no links or data that is part of this opinion mongering. What has brought this on is however an incident.

The recent thumping victory of a gentleman accused and later exonerated off communal riots in a state, in the General Election of the country has made a lot of people sit up and worry about the fate of the ‘minority’ (for lack any other subtler reference to it) community under the leadership of a political party which houses religious fanatics who are dead against the the supposed existence of this minority community in the country. There was a point of time during the preceding weeks to the election when my own opinion had been averse to the selection of the party and the leader. Yet there was a acute realization with the winds of change there was nothing that could stop the march to power. Upon the declaration of the results along with the media a few people went ballistic on the social media of Facebook. In this was an old classmate from college. In the entire duration preceding this event, my support had been for everything that was posted as status. On the fateful day of Election Result the individual in question parodied an ironical status update about the options of finding new places to live in a neighboring country – which was formed to provide a separate state for this community. The individual’s friend list jumped into the foray by condemning her for being negative and praising her to make her see the brighter side of her life. It was like being told, because you are a fashion designer of some repute and have a mixed community background you most certainly cannot and will not be forced to leave the country.

The seeds of this were sown by a political party candidate who happened to suggest anyone against their party will find their place in the religious majority based country who happen to be our neighbor. In my stupidity I made the mistake of mocking the friends of my classmate, telling her that the reason everyone was busy making her feel like a grand success is purely because their own insecurities and shameful self realization that although outwardly secular we do see a divide between the community. The mockery was for anyone who felt the need to pacify this person and remind her of her worth as if this one status update negated her. To me this mocking little piece was my way of supporting the classmate, who is one of the 2 people on my list of friends who belong to this minority community. Although my religious inclinations are nil and at heart I am secular, this comment I left had given me the opportunity to address the hypocrisy that goes with accepting people from the minority community. We accept only those who are equal to us in status and social standing or perhaps better than us. We do not shy away from mouthing anti secular sentiments within our own circles.

Having made just a strong mocking statement on the true state of our minds I went happily about my day, only to be rudely shocked by this same classmate picking up a very public insult battle over her hurt sentiments as a minority and the fact that out of all the comments mollycoddling her mine was by far the most scathing attack on her as an individual. Bewildered, I attempted to explain to her, but words failed me as i was continuously poked with sharp sticks by her. Finally I decided to leave the argument and be the more matured individual and apologized for inadvertently hurting her. Her adamant attitude reached its peak as she continued to attack me calling me immature and branding herself the adult, calling her scathing attack a discussion and exchange of opinions and my statement only an example of what she is scared will happen to the country and the likes of her, because I was the enemy now.

From being the one who came out in support of her sentiments I had suddenly been turned into a villain and all her supporters came to her rescue and pounced on me. I am not ashamed to admit that this drove to tears. I was bullied and heckled on Facebook by Karishma Siddique Roy [was tempted to add the link to her profile on fb, but refrained, because I do not trust the likes of her]  and her friends for no fault of my own.

After this a genuine concerned soul offered me some relief by stating that my mocking statement had been misunderstood by her on her first attempt to read it , only when I explained my words did she gather the real meaning. I thanked her for her kind words, or may be I didn’t because by then I was fuming and ready to break the neck of the next person who tried to bully me.

It took me sometime to settle down and I remembered why this woman was no longer a friend but merely a classmate although I shared 3 years of friendship with her, I remembered what a paranoid woman she was, and ultra conservative in her attitude and there had been an altercation with her because of a very silly reason involving some guy and a movie outing. The memories of the past reminded me of two things [both of which I had forgotten] one, never to trust a Gemini, the two faced people I have come across have left me feeling this and two not to be friends with people who have several hang ups, issues and doubts about their place in this world so they need to put you down in order to shine above,

I cannot vouch that I have succeeded in following my own lessons but after this sad event, I am a convert in terms of my religious identity. Yes, I am a Hindu and no, there is no category called Secular to mark under religion in any forms, so I am not Secular. Ms. Siddique may be the result of an union between two communities and herself now part of another mixed community union but she retains her minority mindset and fears and I refuse to come to out in her support ever again. In fact I say, that it is educated people like her who are fueling the anti secular sentiments in this country, why blame the politician?. The politician is smart enough to know his Vote Bank and will do nothing extreme so he can happily remain in power. Perhaps Ms. Siddique should try to fly into USA with a VISA or seek a job there and see how she is treated before pointing her fingers at the country which is her Homeland and the intentions of her well meaning secular friends. Because although she may think she doesn’t need this anti-secular , creator of the we and you divide, but something tells me if ever this country came down to deciding on the fates of the pseudo intellectual , secular and positively non religious fanatics that exist, it is people like me who will have a say.

My vote was never for the current elected premier however, I am willing to support the government he forms and give him a chance for the next 5 years. Although I know this country will never vote through a referendum to chase out the so called refuges and other community, (which has already seceded twice from the country, yet are land grabbers and infiltrators at the end of the day, the same community which issues fatwa against it’s women folks and intellectual leaders), I will definitely vote for the motion to ensure Ms. Siddique and the likes of her get a taste of a religious state and what it feels like to really live in a non secular country. Then may be I will be in the mood to revert back to being a secular. Till then I remain a petty minded, revenge seeking, communal Hindu.

 

THE END.

TWENTY EIGHT

We are capable of various forms of deceit but what bothers me the most is the conspicuous attempt made by individuals to manipulate a person or a group of persons for no meaningful end or gain. The betrayal is harder to digest when it happens within a group of close friends. Sometimes we come across an event in our life which reminds us that we were correct in our assessment of the said individual the first time around. Our first impressions are rarely wrong, especially if we are capable of feeling a sense of empathy with the people we interact with. It is understandable when a person is faced with a surprising turn of events that he may need to share the same with his group of close people, be it friends or family. It is also part of his expectation that the listening ears will be sympathetic towards him. If the people he talks to really do care about him, they will always stand by him no matter what. But the individual must understand that he cannot manipulate their responses and corner them so they are left with no choice but to only remain formal with him.

Some news in our lives take us by surprise and yes we take a little more time to perhaps digest it, or wrap our heads around the truth of our lives. It does not give anyone the excuse to make a conditional statement and ask for a verbal agreement to accept whatever he says and only make positive comments on the issue. The idle mind is truly a devil’s toolshed, because the more the group thinks about it the clearer it becomes that the said individual was orchestrating an event of telling the truth or confessing up to a fact in such a way so he can manipulate the rest of the audience into a certain response of positive or negative nature as he desires. It is like the attempt made by the prosecutor or defending lawyer to push the jury’s verdict one way or the other.

It is always an assumption that within the sacred boundaries of close friendship, judgment is always lesser than in other places yet to manipulate a group of friends into accepting whatever we say so that they are left feeling suspicious of the conversation that they have had, not as a general flow of events, but as one dramatic dialogue written by a cunning playwright. By all means we may ask for sympathy and understanding but we cannot make a serious allegation against people close to us by assuming that there is a need to ensure positive responses by any means. That’s just being selfish and childish at the same time. We may take some life changing decisions, or some life changing events may be thrust upon us, but to defend against the feeling of alienation if we decide to manipulate the people who are there to give the black and white of the scene, and always see our actions with a feeling of empathy, then we will only feed on our paranoia and end up being alienated for real.

Ask for unadulterated support, ask for sympathy, demand understanding, expect optimism but do not try to manipulate the response of close friends, because they will eventually see through the little plan to modulate a conversation towards a topic in a group. They will see through the insecurities, attempts to gain sympathy and we will drop down a few notch in their esteem. We must never forget that our past doesn’t really remain forgotten, someone always remembers. And although over the years people may choose to forget indiscreet communications full of melodramatic life events – sometimes conveniently time delayed terminal and very much real diseases, they may return to haunt people’s memory in case of failed attempts to manipulate that lacks creativity and discretion.

The worse outcome is of course when having achieved the manipulated response, the individual is so confused or perhaps addicted to melodrama that he constantly negates the positives mouthed by the polite and concerned friends in order to continue to remain negative himself and continuously expect each and every one to come to the rescue of the subject and inject optimism into it.

It is after all your life, and if you are having trouble dealing with your decisions, after all they are your decisions – choosing not to do anything is also a decision – ask for support but do not give out mixed confused signals after having pretty much blackmailed your close friends into a ‘line of controlled thought and opinion’. If you are paranoid and do not want to be fed by other’s frenzy learn to avoid or filter things and if you can’t, then at least don’t play the helpless waif who has no one to listen to him or take care of him and who is left to fend for himself on the road side. Being a manipulative person does not suit the pretentious – holier than thou – innocent little thing in distress – the self-confessed un diagnosed sufferer of OCD and other non-terminal diseases – persona you have so carefully created over the years.

You have made a choice live with it, please don’t badger others with your negativity and expect optimism and silver linings,

 

THE END.

TWENTY SEVEN

The moment I had stepped into the Domestic Terminal of the city airport, I knew this trip was going to prove to be the most relaxed trip and perhaps the most fruitful of all my trips since last year. The reason for it being a relaxing trip was I had no agenda chalked out for this trip. I had no plans, no schedules, no commitments to keep. I was free from everything, I was free from my own expectations. They seem to be the biggest hurdle to our happiness, which is my personal observation. The trip would also be a a creative break because although the new city has given me time to indulge in my writing, it is my home city which fuels my creative upsurge, As I sat squeezed in between two well behaved but very broad men in my middle seat of the flight, I dreamt of the posts I would write, the incidents, the opinions triggered by them, the need to vent mostly, some purely judgmental stuff, others overload of opinion. 

My thoughts have been on the fence when it came to the disappearance of the MH370 and I have neither written about it nor felt comfortable voicing any opinion on my blog. In fact, the truth is I have restricted myself away from  any controversial topics. But the fact is I am not a person who is shy of voicing my thought. Yet for some reason I have kept the current blog impersonal, almost like this whitewashed image of me, so I come across as this very different person than I really am. There is a lot of my persona in the blog and it’s content yet, my writing has been only an academic exercise and not writing without reigns.

And since this is a venture which I am really devoting my time to, it is important that I add something, a little more personal, to this. Be it a controversial topic like the disappearance of MH370. The day the news broke about the disappearance of the flight I was ready to believe the initial speculation of the media about a terrorist activity or a horrible mid air catastrophe. As the days passed and there was no trace of it, my mind turned to the TV series by ABC, LOST. It aired from September 22, 2004 to May 23, 2010, over six seasons which contained a total of 121 episodes. This has a similar case of a commercial passenger jet Oceanic Airlines Flight 815, flying between Sydney and Los Angeles, disappearing, all passengers, assumed dead, survivors of the crash end up on a mysterious tropical island somewhere in the South Pacific Ocean, from which they can’t seem to find a way out.

The story is told in a heavily serialized manner. Episodes typically feature a primary storyline on the island, as well as a secondary storyline from another point in a character’s life. Lost was created by Jeffrey Lieber, J. J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof who share story-writing credits for the pilot episode, which Abrams directed. Due to its large ensemble cast and the cost of filming primarily on location in Oahu, Hawaii, the series was one of the most expensive on television. A critically acclaimed and popular success, Lost has been consistently ranked by critics on their lists of the top ten television series of all time. 

As the search for MH370 led the rescue teams everywhere across the World’s Ocean, I wondered whether the passengers of the ill fated flight were surviving on some uninhabited island, unable to communicate with the rest of the world. As the final declaration of the loss of the flight was declared to the world media, I quietly hoped for the passengers to be alive on a tropical island somewhere, from which they would one day return after many years and cause a worldwide frenzy. Hope springs eternal in the Human heart, does it not? Even in the smallest of events around us, we see signs. So, why not believe in this story?

THE END.

Reference Source: Wikipedia

TWENTY SIX

This Blog was my attempt to be a writer who doesn’t just type out her opinions, thoughts and day to to day life as part of a Online Journal. I have spent over 10 years doing that on my other blogs, on other blog hosting sites. This blog was meant to be a beginning and an attempt to write about a variety of topics about which I had an opinion or interest. So, I have brought to the readers of this blog everything from a movie review to a book review, authors, directors, celebrities, fictional characters, TV series and what not.

Over the past one week I haven’t posted anything, the longest dry spell for me with this blog. I have been fighting with my inner “opinionated” self over whether or not I can or should let out a few of my niggling opinions and thoughts which aren’t so academic in nature. Recently over a chat with a fellow [and a much better ] blogger, I complimented her on the ability to write about her opinions and views on everything from politics to kitchen affairs with such ease. I confessed to her that every time I read her blog I felt this desire to lapse back into the good old days of talking crap on my blog, which I always did. But having set myself a challenge where I would only write a blog post based on a certain topic which wasn’t about recording an event in my life or bitching about an acquaintance, I could not bring myself to write about the tidbits that came to me unbidden.

After a long dilemma filled week and a trip back to my Home City, I am filled with this intense hope that may be I can indulge in the little bit of opinion-mongering, as I like to call it, in the next few posts. So, my readers will now have to satisfy themselves for the next 3 weeks with my opinion-mongering.

This post was my attempt to introduce a couple of new categories under which I shall post on my blog, Opinion, City Life, Confession etc.

I really do hope the readers will continue to enjoy these posts.

 

THE END.