Sunday, November 22, 2015

Tolerant nothings

Most of us do feel protective and defensive about our heritage, culture, religion, or loved ones and sometimes we just stop being objective and receptive to criticism about things that we deeply care about. The first step towards growth is introspection and asking constant questions. Only when we identify the brokenness can we start the process of rebuilding.

So let’s face it, Modi is no beloved leader and his past is sketchy and somewhat radical. There was enough suspicion around him to make some of us skeptical. But we voted for him and he is now my Prime minister, shouldering the hopes and aspiration of the world’s largest Democracy. And as a mature progressive democracy, it is both my right and obligation to question the head of state. Yes I am apprehensive that as a society we are increasingly becoming intolerant but this admission does not make me any less patriotic.

May be we were just as intolerant before the 26 May 2014, but the question is being asked now and in the present the word BAN is more relevant than corruption.
Could it be that the liberals are overreacting? We would be fooling ourselves if we do not admit that secularism is our Achilles' heel. Hence the economic development, international relations, or growth (debatable) in the Modi’s tenure all take a back seat. The diverse fabric of our volatile unity still has scars from our intolerant past. But our recent reaction and anger towards the debatable intolerance is a proof that we have come a long way from our past of colonial favoritism.

Our multiplicity is what joins us and hence we have to be accepting and tolerant of our nations many many differences. We cannot afford to regress and allow state to interfere with our decision making by tainting our options in a certain shade of saffron.

The growing polarization between the Modi worshiping “Seniks” and the question asking “Liberals” sometimes makes us forget that we are all on the same team. You and me have the same dreams for our India and a conservative narrow society is definitely not part of our vision. We want the vibrant democracy that allows vegans, beef eaters and pork lovers to sit together on one dinner table. The large overcrowded table where each one of us is equipped and free to make our own choice, and everyone is excited for the versatile preference and diverse tastes.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

You are not welcome!

In the late 80’s, the minorities were forced out of Kashmir and there was a mass exodus of large Pundit population. As Kashmiri Pundit's we were told that it was only an internal temporary displacement from Kashmir to its neighboring state. We were going to another city in the same country, where the locals were mostly of the same religious and cultural background.
 Hence, we pictured gates being opened to the refugees with empathy, kindness and relief that we had made it out alive. But instead what waited us was skepticism, hostility and judgement. Sadly, Refugees are never welcomed.

Sea of people with no money, material possession were running to be alive. This meant that resources were going to be redistributed and mostly on unfair terms that involved moving the tax payers hard earned money towards feeding unemployed, homeless cowardly humans who couldn't fight for their homeland.We were a massive liability of over 150,000 humans who were also expecting empathy and kindness.

The world we live in does not promote humanity over religion, or Brotherhood over Nationality or someone else's safety over our own economic security. We value our personal comfort, financial stability, growth over someone else’s life. Hence, it was only fair that the Locals were feeling threatened by the inflow of migrants. We were crowding their city,  taking their jobs, eating their food and claiming what was meant to be for them and their children. While, we relentlessly argued that we were entitled to a life and security and that we had suffered enough to gain these advantages. But in reality we were the guilty guests who wanted to wash utensils after we ate their food just to feel included.

 In order to fit in, we compromised on our culture, religion, traditions and language. We were the unwelcomed temporary guests, who had nowhere to go back to. Eventuality we tried to replicate our pre-migration normal life, built houses, made friends, built relationship, and completely forgot who and where we could have been. But kept our old fading memories of who we were without any substantial proof like photographs, papers, or documents.

 We have been here for over 25 years, we have learnt to call this Home, but they continue to call us "Migrants”.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Being Indian

15th August (Independence Day Of India)...It is the day of visible display of patriotism- people selling me flags at the Traffic signal, my favorite radio station playing "Saare Jahan se Acha..",  my Facebook feed full of  "I love my India"  status updates, my phone is spammed by forwards including that "Our Indian national anthem has been voted the best by Unesco", while the movie "Border" is playing on at-least 5 TV channels.. I feel Today I could just die for my country!

 But then these party poopers show up and they refuse to be a part of this Celebration.! These bunch of people who say that they do not identify with this nation and Nationality, and say that they refuse to abide by the lines drawn by our English friends. The say that they want "Azad Kashmir"

. So in 1947, in between the 14th and 15th of August, people were rather harshly handed over the identity of being Indian or Pakistani's, but the fate of Kashmiri's was kept in abeyance. They were to be Kashmiri's until further notice. Over years of precise propaganda, they were instead handed over guns to decide for themselves. We could call the struggle of these Kashmiri's misguided, or deluded or just a search for their identity. The death in numbers, turmoil, living in curfews, sleeping with gun fires, and walking with stone pelting and generation and generation of people who were  made to believe that they needed freedom ! "Hum Kya chate Azadi" ("All we need is Freedom")!

So I exist somehwere on the edge of this confusion, a Kashmiri (mostly Indian) but without "a" Kashmir! Today, amidst all this display of celebration of freedom something inside me turns tri-colored. As the national anthem is being played I stand up awkwardly with this intense realization of my own emotions of patriotism. How could I feel so intensely about identity/nationality that did not have any common grounds.
May be this sudden gush of emotion has settled the debate for me " I am afterall a PROUD INDIAN"

Friday, April 26, 2013

who is getting married???

Wedding diaries- That book that I was not interested in reading until I was the one getting married.
Nonchalant that this marriage thing only happened to other older more mature people. But before I realized it, I was  already on a self propelled journey of quite a few hyperbola’s. No please don’t ask me to stay calm, for heaven sake it’s my wedding , and yes I am invited by default..

So counting days, months to the wedding, I had to write the jumbo mombo of the many thoughts that go through the head (in the spirit of educating those who are or would succumb to the “wedding

The most obvious thought of “how your life may change after marriage” gets completely sidelined and the predominant question of wedding dress takes the center stage in the “duh, obviously” way!. And before you appraise yourself with this change in priorities (from facebook to pinterest), everyone starts expressing their rather verbal, and impolite concern about "you losing weight" for the wedding.

While you expecting people to share their profound insight and anecdotes on marriage (and maybe even staying married), instead you are handed over a whole book full of wedding know hows (hair dresser's Number, Best wedding dress designer, make up tips, and not to forget best Diet plans). And that's when you realize that the extremely dramatic query of “whaaaaaatttthh you don’t have a hair dresser yet” is universally accepted as normal and the “what are you wearing” question is the most  obvious first question from friends and family right after you announce that you are getting married! I guess this is why smiling brides and grumpy groom holding “the end” placards are so universally accepted.

How did we (women) manage to convince the world with such conviction that our ultimate mission was infact to be married and the wedding was our own little fairytale of perfection (perfect hair, dress, makeup, shoes, jewelry, perfect, perfect, perfect).! As much as I would want to deny it, I squarely fall into the category of “I hate planning” and if that wasn’t bad enough I have what they call a “9 to forever” job and hence my favorite thing for all wedding related planning is procrastination (so if you can get it done the day after today, then maybe you should only attempt doing it the month after).

But I keep hearing these voices “but what about the dreams you had for your wedding”. I must admit, for a very short second I did panic. May be even I want a pintrest worth wedding but then I have full 5 whole months to plan it and then I write my first and last note in my own wedding diary "it is just a wedding and besides you Mrs. Bride, noone really noticed how perfect those center piece's were"!

Friday, March 15, 2013

i died...

Why is it so difficult for us to accept that we are dispensable and borderline inconsequential? So yes we will die, and as sad as that may be, the world will keep on moving at its pace.

Remember that book “who will cry when you will die?”, it was by far the most redundant title, because when you do actually die the last thing on your to be black mind would be the amount of tears that your death will cause.Grand Finale, very last breath, good bye, emancipation equated to the comfort that you would otherwise derive from self importance- "hey! I just died!!!!!!!!... and all you did was cry..??"

 In a science class they once told me, we are 50-65%water, not solid steel or titanium, not precious diamonds, not artificial plastic, but water. Could this mean that we can evaporate and dry up? Our physical existence, a covering on skin, ectodermal tissue, muscles, blood, veins, bones, tissues and the internal organs delicately and meticulously put together, with immense meaning and purpose.
And yet covered with this vulnerability of in-existence, only bones and flesh, breakable and degradable, fragile.

But then still what a wonder we are.. While I process my thoughts, I also breath, exhale and inhale, process oxygen, throw out carbon dioxide. I eat, digest, process the food, retain the important, throw the waste and I see my computer screen, hear the noise of keyboard, touch it, type words while my minds imagining and thinking and all when I thought I couldn’t multitask.

I am unknowingly, effortlessly equipped to perform various tasks, some with practice and some naturally. I wonder how such fine balance was created, this refined structure, meticulous design, wondrous mind and impeccable outcome. And yet, I was created to end, to vanish, to decompose and to DIE.

In words of a wise Mr. Taxi walla … “even if you put all the money in the world, with all the many precious stones and every materialistic, expensive things that ever existed on one side of the scale of balance... it would not be able to measure one tenth the value of even one human being...That’s how priceless each life is…. ”

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


So like the most, I was traumatized beyond believe reading how the women of certain states in India were objectified. How preposterous the facts were, “32” women raped in just three months! How did we get so immune to a crime that we speak nonchalantly quoting numbers, just unaffected?

I identify with the word “shame/ haya” and the baggage of being obligated to act within the parameters of what’s allowed and permitted. I know sometimes how violated I feel by just a pair of letchy eyes and hence, my imagination does not even permit me to quantify the pain, the anger, and the frustration, of a girl who would be subject to such extreme physical violence.

But I am most bewildered by the man who would stand tall and guiltless saying: “she called it upon herself”. As a society how did we reach this place of complete lack of compassion laced with such blatant ignorance.So even though the operative word was and is still, “rape”, I am appalled at the mind sets and justifications that were floating around. I was shamed and angered not just by the perpetrator but also by our society for shifting the blame of being raped on a woman.!

 In the paradox of such well defined gender existence, how did the women fall so low? Is she still repenting for the apple she once ate?

As a woman, I also understand the complexity of such defined physical bodily existence and I know how blessed we are to be created in this form. But pride may sometimes stem from the fear of feeling threatened, so while I am reemphasizing I am so proud to be a woman, I question if even that’s taking a stand in recognizing the gender inequality, difference and the biases.

 The paradigm of the most misinterpreted word called “Feminism” where we all hold hands looking back at the long journey we have undertaken, reinstating our independence, liberation and freedom.   I am concerned for how so much is still so little.

Men are still delusional about the power they hold, women are still covering their heads in burkha convinced it’s what they chose, little girls are being killed before they can even see the first ray of sunlight, young girls being molesting and being called sluts, domestic violence , banishing women to live in guilt and accepting their fate and educated intelligent women living with low esteem.

Can we restart the wheel where a man is sensitized to feel like a woman. We relearn to see, feel, comprehend the parallels of existence. It’s a beautiful yin-yan of conjoined existence, where we exist in such peaceful unity of acknowledging yet loving the difference. Hence we restart from the very beginning where apple dint signify sin but an instrument of realization of the elementary difference that existed or the irony of similarly of sorts!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


So they say there are some indisputable facts (irrelevant if you may want to claim), but ones you can’t really deny. So 2+2 in most cases will be 4 unless you can’t count! Then in the boring maths class, we were convinced that you couldn’t add toys to ladders, or books to animals, as invariably it takes two of the same ‘type’ to be added together. You may need to devise a way to make things fall under a common bracket if you do wish to add them together, 8books+8Books=16 books?

As intriguing as that may have sounded, I never absorbed the metamorphoses of Maths, and its boisterous claims to be based on sheer logic and facts. It requires learning and “practice” to solve trigonometry problems, there is not much imagination and creativity but yet "sin, cos, tan" seem more of a pun to your logical side!

 So 856 magically multiplies itself with 8568 and the figure you get requires an ancient object called calculator! Then world of calculus which breaks down the worldly reality into differentiation and integration and seems like nothing but manipulation by the more “evolved” brains to distort and reinstate the limitation of the average “common” man.

 To a mere spectator of the bizarreness of maths, 1 seem to be lean and focused all by himself, assertive, not valued very highly and 2 seems to be the more humble one, poignant, content yet not sufficient, and 3 is odd, chasing behind 4 who seems rather arrogant and self important, 5 seems more mature, ambitious while 6 is a little lazy but overtly promiscuous and 7 is stable, more recognized and linear in more ways than one, 8 is significant through its insignificance, curvaceous and a bit loco and then concluding number 9, the more I say about it, the less it is.

 The anatomy of numbers may be crass but ultimately what all it has been applied to seems so brilliant that it may appear like a propaganda! Hence we may want to conclude that the thought process of Maths is so logically derived that the conclusion (= X) seem more of an aberration! Yet this popular man once said” 'The universe cannot be read until we have learned the language and become familiar with the characters in which it is written. It is written in mathematical language, and the letters are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without which means it is humanly impossible to comprehend a single word. Without these, one is wandering about in a dark labyrinth.'