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26/11

December 6th, 2008 2 comments
Its always a bad idea to vent when you are angry.

I was in Bangalore when the terror strikes in Bombay happened. I flew in the next day. I saw the events of the first night unfold on the telly. There was no reaction i guess it was the numbness of seeing something like this happen. The next day while flying into Bombay the mood at the airport was sombre. Nothing obvious among the pasengers but there was the underlying apprehension that was in the environment among the people who were flying to Bombay.

Surprisingly enough i couldn’t wait to get on the flight, i couldn’t wait to be in Bombay, even though i knew that the situation was very very volatile and a bomb had exploded right between my home and the airport and i would have to pass through the same roads. I think i breathed a sigh of relief as soon as the plane touched the tarmac at Bombay.

Knowing that there was carnage happening a few kilometres away. A carnage and an event which nobody had ever seen in India ….. ever. Knowing that this was probably a time as bad as the 1993 bomb blasts to be in Bombay.

But i was home. The wheels touching down on the tarmac, the palpable apprehension outside at the airport and the quiet roads on the drive back home so unnatural of Bombay. All of this and still this was home.

I don’t think the anger really surfaced until the third day. The impotency of watching nonsense on the television for more than 48 hours. The frustration of seeing a few psychopaths rape my city’s heritage and peace was mind numbing and too much to bear. The soul silently screamed out in anger and frustration, it had had enough.

The news that we as a city have lost some of the finest policemen in this massacre, that we as a city have again suffered innocent deaths, that we as a city have again been targeted, that we as a city are again mute spectators to some idiot extremists trying to inject fear in us …… just wasn’t sinking in.

It went on for two more days after i got to Bombay.

The stillness in the city on Sunday morning, after it ended, was deafening. There was momentary jubilation that it has all ended ….. but only momentary. The magnitude of the incident had started to sink in.

The only sounds were the indignant news readers on the T.V. channels in all the houses around screaming out self-righteously for every bit of information that they possessed, baying for blood, they were the only ones who were giving an outlet to what the city was feeling …… though they were highly misguided.

The next day it all started. There was a resolve in everybody, there was a burning desire and an unimaginable need within each and every person who saw the carnage to do something about it. Nobody knew what …. all they …. all we needed was some direction to our anger. I think if the army was on a recruitment drive that day they would have seen the maximum number of volunteers enlist at any given time.

Then came the SMS’s, the social networking chatter, the twitter messages about the peace rallies which were being organised.

I made the resolve to go.

Never have i seen anything like this. Never in my life have i seen such a big gathering of youngsters anywhere. Never have i seen such resolve and such a raging anger in any group of people ….. ever.
Never have i seen my city so united. I felt proud just being there, too stunned to even be a participant. All i could do was be a mute spectator.
Suddenly among the melee i saw an old couple walking with the crowd, heads raised high …. silently saying … Proud to be a part of this. Then suddenly a group of photographers carrying their camera’s with them rushing after this whole gathering. Walking behind all of them i suddenly reached a group of youngsters holding a huge banner which read. “Terrorism has no Religion. War is not a solution.” ……. I just stared.

Walking along i reached the back of the Taj.

I could see the sea from there … dotted with policemen all around. The whole street was cordoned off and nobody was allowed anywhere near the Taj. People were lighting candles near the end of the road. The whole scene was eerily quiet, Even among all the noise.

I looked up at the Taj, that was when the goose bumps came.

This was the sight i had been seeing on the television for the last 60 hours. This was the building that was burning. This was the building that was Bombay. Its difficult to explain how it feels to somebody who isn’t from Bombay. Its difficult to make an attempt to symbolise the Taj as a part of Bombay.

It Just Is.

I couldn’t look long enough ….. i had to take my eyes off it. I could see the blackened windows, the damaged facade. and the look in the policemen’s eyes who were gaurding the Taj. The yellowish orange light all around the street from the street lamps. The guns all around and then the people with the shock etched on their stunned faces.

This was where two days back Hell was recreated on earth.

Suddenly there was noise behind me, motorcycles quietly coming up. I turned. There was a group of kids about 12-15 years old holding hands with smiles on their faces and skull caps on their heads, followed by youngsters on motorcycles two on each the pillion rider holding placards, they were followed by adults and older men. The street went quiet seeing this group. Everybody in the group was wearing a skull cap. It was a statement.

“Declare Pakistan a Terrorist State”
“Lets show Pakistan we will not take this lying down”
“United We Stand”

This was what the placards read.

There was appreciation in everyone’s eyes on the street, for an islamic group to come out like this and show support in such large numbers showed what Bombay truly is, the clapping started after that.

Suddenly a car stopped bang in front of the youngsters on motorcycles ….. everybody thought the worst and got prepared for something to go wrong. The motorcycles stopped, a man got out from the car with something in his hand and stood in front of the motorcycles and then the guys on the motorcycles smiled, they raised their placards even higher, The man took photos with his phone and then went and shook everybody’s hands. The smiles all around were of a feeling, of an emotion that is difficult to explain.

We gave one final look at the Taj and turned and walked on towards Cafe Leopold. The crowd there was humongous. That is the only word to explain it. There were heaps of people outside taking pictures of all the diners inside the Cafe. There were Indians and Foreigners standing shoulder to shoulder outside and lighting candles, shouting slogans, holding hands and doing whatever it is that people who are overwhelmed with emotion do to show support and comfort.

We stayed there and watched. There was something in the eyes of every single person who was there. Something unique. Something common to them all.

I watched.

The chanting of slogans continued. Suddenly a loud voice screamed …. “Vande Mataram” and the whole crowd picked it up. It went on. Loud and Clear in the night, the cry carried.

This was surreal. The only thing that came to my mind was … This must’ve been how India was during the years just before the Independence. This is how united the people would’ve been. For a moment i was transported back to the era, not visually but definitely aurally. I was finally a part of it all. I smiled.

I wish nobody has to go through what Bombay went through in those 60 hours. It is not human. It is not even animal. It just isn’t us. Let us end this before we all lose whatever little shred of humanity we have inside us. The anger that this fosters has the means to consume in entirety everything in its wake. That is a scary thought. Let us not be the method of our own destruction.

Enough Is Enough

why

June 8th, 2008 2 comments
One thing that i have noticed is that “why” features a lot in all that i write, it isn’t a conscious thing. I don’t strive to ask that consciously but over the last few months i’ve started to realise that i am obsessed with the why. I’d rather prefer to worry about the “how” consciously but it is the why that torments me all the time consciously and subconsciously, in everything i do.

For most of my posts i try to use a single word heading because i like to keep it simple. the single word heading sort of focuses me on what i am trying to talk about.

Why do i act? Why do i react? why do i go through a certain emotion? what is it that drives that “(re)action” – i need to be able to understand that.

For me it is about why “I” am who i am, what makes me me. It sounds a bit conceited but it isn’t. Its more about a journey towards self awareness, towards Sentience, towards understanding myself.

I find that it gives me more insight into people i meet and interact with. Questioning myself for whatever i do makes me less judgemental about others and their actions.

Sometimes the search for the why is overwhelming because it unearths answers which i may not like or shows me a side of myself which isn’t how i see myself or want to see myself.

But that search is something which is an unchangeable and prominent feature of “how” i think.

Now i just need to figure out “why” i think 🙂

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cricket…

June 8th, 2008 2 comments
Today i was going through all the drafts i have saved in my blog, all those unpublished things that i have written about and surprisingly found a few gems in there 🙂
Here’s one of them . . . a bit late now but this was written just two days after the actual incident that i discuss in there and if you do manage to get to the end then you’ll notice that i never got round to finishing it because writing about it was making me more angry than i cared to be at that time, but here is the unfinished one . . .

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Whew! what a week it has been for cricket and its fans. Sledging, racism, poor umpiring, a good match and all hell breaking loose at the end.

I was very much tempted to come and rant the same day that the match ended but i held back because i believe it is a very bad thing to vent when you are angry.

I saw the whole match, i saw each and every ball on the last two days and i was angry, very very angry, right from the first moment when India stepped onto the field for their second innings and started playing defensive. There is absolutely no excuse for a team which can boast of having Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid, Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh in its line up to not go and attack from the first ball and that too a measly total 0f 333. People have scored more than that in one dayers and i just couldn’t fathom why we were playing defensive … at this stage of the game, the last innings and almost a full day to bat and we go out and play defensive?

Absolute rubbish.

Already i was peeved at the pathetic umpiring decisions on the previous days, but in all honesty Indians are used to umpiring decisions going against them and this has been happening for a while, in fact so used to it that we wouldn’t have even noticed them after the match would’ve finished. Add to this the whole fiasco on the last day with Dravid and Ganguly’s wickets and us losing the test match and then the complaint against Harbhajan. Call it what you may, the opening of Pandora’s box or all hell breaking loose or the biggest crisis to hit cricket since match fixing … whatever happened was huge and it definitely got people to sit up and take note.

How often do we play a game and not lose our temper while playing? and this isn’t just for professional players it holds for all of us who have ever played any sport with a little bit of feeling. Things happen, we lose our temper, say things and then after the game possibly after a couple of days we are all back to normal and itching for another game. But the trouble in today’s politically correct world is that anything anybody says can be picked up as offensive and then everybody goes on a massive witch hunt. Our sensibilities are more sensitive than a new born baby’s backside and as much as a glance can be construed as offensive.There has been a lot of discussion in the media about all that happened, Harbhajan racially abusing Symonds or the Umpires not giving the right decisions or even the Australian team’s post match celebrations and their behavior on and off the field.And to the credit of media globally, there has been equal support for the Aussies as well as the Indians from all quarters.

Let me start with the Indians and what i feel is wrong with them, the issue could be divided into two ways, what happened on the field and off the field and the sense of anger with that and then there was what the media in India did with the story and blew it out of proportion and then the usual effigy burning and slogans and marching that resulted from it. I hate the media in India, i hate the so called TV news channels more than i hate the fourth estate (mind you i do not consider Television news to be a part of the fourth estate). But all in all i hate the media. I will not start talking about why because that would take up another blog post in itself. I just mention this because i believe the media was partly responsible for all the hysteria following the issue. For all our faults and everything, i don’t think there is a single Indian cricket fan who believes that the Indian team is aggressive. The Indian team have forever copped a lot from the Indian fans for not being aggressive on the field. The only saving grace was Saurav Ganguly who i believe has the right level of aggression needed by the Indians. The idea of Indians screaming on the field or getting angry on the field is hilarious to say the least, it just doesn’t happen. It isn’t surprising then that when i heard Harbhajan Singh had been reported for racially abusing Andrew Symonds i found it difficult to digest.

And with all due respect i just couldn’t picture the Australians at the receiving end. Not because it couldn’t happen but more because if in the remote chance that it does happen, then they have the potential to blow the opposing team out of the field, not just with “banter” on the field but with their brilliant game playing.

I believe that the Indians had every right to lodge a complaint against the umpires, i just cannot imagine 8 decisions going against a single team over a period of 5 days in any game. The umpires have to be literal dolts to not know what they are doing and to say that they were under pressure just doesn’t cut it. Andrew Symonds admitted a couple of days later that he provoked Harbhajan and that was why he retaliated and that i can believe.

Indians Re-act they don’t usually act.

Australians are the worst sledgers in the world. They are good at it and they bloody well should be because they bought the art to the field. Unfortunately they are not so good at copping it from other teams. The sad part of it is that they really don’t need to do it. Being who they are and with the amount of talent that is present in the team they really don’t need to go to the level of mentally disintegrating the opposing team by affecting their concentration. They do that by just playing their natural game. Why then all this political correctness about Harbhajan calling Symonds a monkey and Symonds being indignant about this so called blasphemously racist word.

“Monkey” ….. of all the bloody things ….. “Monkey” … that word can be racist?? WTF?? Anyways it isn’t for me to decide but for Symonds and if he was offended by it then so be it. And in that case i think it is just and fair for the Indians to report Hogg for calling Kumble and Dhoni “Bastards”. Sorry Mr. Hogg that just doesn’t cut it, you have just crossed the sacrosanct line. In the above case, isn’t it obvious that abuse or offense is a relative thing? Then why the moral outcry from the Indian media and the Australian media
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