Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Noxious Dream

It was a bad dream, not the worst that I have had, but horrific, grisly, and sinister it was. For, the first time even in my dream I found myself so helpless, devoid of any idea to avert the situation and gagged right from the core of the soul. Now, before I describe what the dream was all about, it may happen, that you might simper, but if I am not able to convey even a wisp of pain it afflicted upon me in that unconsciously conscious state then it would entirely be my fault. Waking up after a nightmare realizing it was not true is extremely comforting and life-breathing. As a matter of fact, the impact of a nightmare slowly enervates as the day moves along, in bits and pieces. After being through that dream made me recall "Mariam" from "A thousand splendid suns', I guess that's symptomatic to the dream.

"I was being forced to get married, yes all the proceedings going through, without an iota of my wish, desire and will. I saw myself being dragged to marry, forced upon to drape in bride-wear, with all relatives hovering around, and smiling, don't know on the occasion or on my distressing situation. The next moment I see myself howling at my parents, something that I can't even dream of doing, I made him understand, but the damage was done. I called up my friends, told them, I remembered about the bet that I had with my another friend regarding who will get married first, and she had won."

The dream or the nightmare whatever I may say it, miffed me. Slowly, as I came to terms with its factual illusion (Sometimes you wake up from a dream and Thank God that it was, but a dream), I started to reflect back on it with more alacrity. It was utterly painful, mentally disconcerting, and no less than a cataclysmic situation;  the feeling of being pushed to marry without any morsel of willingness, subdued with societal doctrines and protocols and succumbing to it anyway, to get certified by the age-old yardstick of dignity of a woman. No, I don't remember what was happening around me, all I can recall is a helpless me at the hands of so -called full of prudence elderly. If it was so painful to be into that situation in the dream, I cannot imagine the height of the consternation and trepidation it causes or has caused to those who have been through it in their real lives. And, precisely that's what motivates me to write. (We don't need to know about everything in depth, to understand people and their pains, they have the same fears as all of us have, same doubts, same confusions, varying in degree, yet co-existing in the space and time)

"Mariam", for those who have not  yet read the splendid and heart-wrenching novel "A Thousand Splendid Suns", is a child of 16-17 when she is married off to a grizzled 40 year old man, post her mother's suicide. When Khalid bespoke about her unrelenting pain and emotional crunch, I did feel peeved off but the realization altogether today is on a different scale. And, this happens, it happens to girls who live in areas of abject penury and distress. I know it won't happen to me, I know it won't happen to you too, who is reading this currently, but you never know. It might just happen, even in the most affluent of families it happens, when the fancies of a girl are crushed only to satiate the long anticipated feast or profit or as I said, "An Age Old Yardstick". Just imagine that happening, even for 10 seconds, I am sure it will bring a shiver down the spine. 

Mariam must have felt utterly devastated when it was happening to her, with no one to talk to, with no one around who could possibly revolt against it and save her life from the doom that followed.  And it happened to her because she was poor, because her dad could not take responsibility of accepting her as his daughter and because her mother was reduced to a cadaver and eventually her life became a can of worms. 

Marriage, is a sacred relation, a confluence , to speak very frankly, of grief and happiness. I would never wish it to be forced upon anyone at any cost. Not to you, not to me, not to any boy, not to any girl. There are stories, yes true accounts, in which girls are just sold once they reach puberty, married off, without having any empathy for them. And not only adolescents, even the ones fit enough to marry have to go through this sordid saga, yet they succumb, because they mostly have no to zero choice. 

Sometimes dreams that we have with our eyes closed manifest themselves as an eye-openers.

Monday, July 14, 2014

एक कुक्कुर की आत्मकथा

मैं  एक कुत्ता  हूँ।  अपना नाम बता   रहा हूँ लेकिन लग रहा है कि खुद को ही गाली दे रहा हूँ, मेरा  नाम मेरे माँ बाप ने ऐसा तोह नहीं रखा होगा की लोग उसे गाली से बुलाएं , शायद वक़्त के साथ गाली में  तब्दील हो गया हो जैसे की "रावण " गया । जब कोई इंसान कहे , "मैं  एक इंसान हूँ" तब तो कोई गाली नहीं होती फिर मेरे साथ ही ये नाइंसाफी क्यों ? मेरा कोई अस्तित्व नहीं?? मेरे साथी जिन्हे बंगले वाले लोग ले गए , उनके नाम हैं, कोई तुफ्फी है, कोई रॉकी है, कोई ब्रूनो है तो कोई शाहरुख़ है,  मेरा नाम कुत्ता है, गंदे नाली का कुत्ता, सड़कछाप कुत्ता , यहाँ तक की पागल कुत्ता।  मेरा भी तो कोई नाम होता जो प्यार से पुकारता कोई, मैं भी उछल -उछल के दौड़ लगाता , और अपने  मालिक की हिफाजत करता।  मेरा भी मन करता है जब मैं ब्रूनो को देखता हूँ, मेरे साथ ही बड़ा हुआ, और देखो आज कहाँ महल मैं राज कर रहा है, उसे मेरी याद भी नही आती है, सब भूल गया वो, कैसे मैंने उसको रेल गाड़ी के नीचे आने से बचाया था।  लेकिन ठीक है , वो खुश है.
 मुझे खाने के लिए दर दर भटकना पड़ता है, रात को सोता हूँ तो यह सोचते सोचते कि कल कहाँ खाना ढूंढूंगा , कहीं रात मै मुझसे ज़्यादा ताक़तवर मेरे जैसे कुत्ते मुझे मारने तो नहीं आएंगे , कहीं कोई शराबी अपनी बोतल मुझपर तो नहीं फेकेंगे , बच्चे मुझ पर  पत्थर तो नहीं मारेंगे , मेरा कोई घर भी नहीं है , जब बारिश होती है या सर्दी पड़ती है तो समझ में नहीं आता की कहाँ जाऊँ।  सर्दी तो मेरी चमड़ी को भी लगती है , पर सड़क का कुत्ता कहाँ से कपड़े ला सकता है।  कहीं किसी कोने में दुबक कर , सिकुड़ कर बैठ जाता हूँ , और काँपता रहता हूँ , अगर कहीं आग दिखती है तो बिलकुल शान्ति से जाकर पास बैठ जाता हूँ , ताकि कोई मुझसे डर   न जाये.
कोई काम नहीं हैं हमें , बस दिन भर इधर से उधर , उधर से इधर घूमते रहतें हैं , कभी हड्डी मिल जाए तो दिवाली हो जाती है और फिर तो पूछो ही मत. एक बार मुझ पर किसी ने कचड़ा फेंका , तबसे मुझे खुजली होती है , उसकी वजह से मेरे पूरे शरीर में बीमारी हो गयी है, और मेरा तो कोई है भी नहीं जो इलाज करवा दे. एक बार एक महिला मुझे ले गयीं और फिनाइल से मुझे नेहला दिया, तबसे कुछ ठीक महसूस कर रहा हूँ. कुछ लोग तो सच में अच्छे हैं यहाँ , कभी उनके घर का बचा खाना ही मिल जाता है तो लगता है दावत है आज . मेरा एक दोस्त भी है , वो एक चूहा है , हम दोनों खाने की तालाश में घुमते हैं और जो भी मिलता है , उसे बाट कर खातें हैं।  चुहु, अच्छा है, मेरा ख्याल रखता है , चलो कोई तो है   जो मुझे चाहता है , इसी में मई खुश   हूँ।  हर कोई प्यार चाहता है, कहीं से भी मिल जाता है तो खुश हो जाता हूँ।  कोई हल्का सा सर  सहला दे तो लगता है की हाँ मेरी भी कोई चिंता है , कोई ज़रा सर्दी में कम्बल ही उड़ा दे तो मन में उसके लिए सच्ची दुआ निकलती है।  ऐसा तो नहीं है की मुझे मेरी ज़िन्दगी पसंद नहीं , लेकिन अगर मुझे भी कोई मौका मिलता उसे शुरुआत से ही बेहतर बनाने का  मैं भी आज कहीं अच्छी जगह पर होता।
एक बीमारी हो गयी है , चुहु भी नहीं रहा , सोच रहा हूँ जल्दी मर जाऊं।  लोग गुज़रेंगे तो यह कह के निकल जाएंगे , "मर गया साला कुत्ता "

Saturday, July 5, 2014

When Sharapova met Sachin

Recently a controversy has stuck after Maria Sharapova accepted or to say, the world got to know that she does not know about Sachin Tendulkar. I saw this on Facebook few days ago which was followed by a gamut number of status(es) calling her insular and dubbing her ignorance as elitist. I tried to ignore it, because frankly speaking it didn't mean anything, because she didn't know of him; but I am sure when she comes to know about him she would certainly be all brownie points, because she well realizes how hard it is to reach at the pinnacle in sports career which is full of injuries, uncertainties and challenges.

Its only today that I read an article by an over-zealous fan in India that I decided to write. I think and strongly feel that its a very normal thing if she does not happen to know about the cricketing maestro. And I don't second the outrageousness on the part of Indian fans, its not bigotry after all if she is ignorant. No one is supposed to know about every Who's-Who in the world. We, Indians, ourselves do not know about the whole lot of legendaries in our country and find it very apt to criticize a someone, and comparing the number of likes on  her facebook with that of Sachin, and remarking in an utter disgraced manner that half of the likes are due to her beauty (sex appeal as used in the article).My Dear Writer, if it would have been as you claim then Sasha Grey would have the highest number of likes amongst everyone (2million currently).  Sachin, himself would have lambasted this kid who has drawn such nefarious comparison based on a number.

I mean there should be no fuss about this whole saga, made sordid now. There are gazillion of famous people whom we don't know, that doesn't mean that we are ignorant or insular. What matters is that when we know about them, we do get amazed. This highly rabid and blinkered view by fans just reflects their ignorance about a normal human behavior. By going their such behavior, it seems that they would murder an Indian who does not of Sachin or of any other famous figure. When an Indian dies due to lack of food, gets murdered in front of us, is being eve-teased in front of us, is in tears because of some problem, it does not infuriate us, but suddenly Sharapova not knowing Sachin seethes us with an infinite resentment and anger. Why? Is it necessary to be so over-reactive? Doesn't it rather tell us, that we are insular and obstreperous?

Such behavior is no less than what is practiced in Taliban, whose activist kill everyone who comes to give Polio vaccine in their areas, for they feel its against their God and religion to give a Polio vaccine. There's a smorgasbord number of things, we don't know about or others don't know about and they are equally famous in their own worlds, and not knowing them doesn't amount to an iota of blasphemy. Such behavior which has evinced so much of non-required hoopla, which is utterly extrapolated and downright retrogressive has boldened the deep-rooted apathy among the fans in terms of logical thinking and is a preclude to a healthy fan-environment, giving rise to only fanatics. I mean, such vitriolic criticism to a person for not knowing some other very famous personality is something I would scoff at as many times I hear it.

As an old adage goes, "When we judge a person, it does not tell about them, it tells about us". And exactly it happens here, such monomaniacal interest proves that the fans worship Sachin as the Lord of the Rings, but fail to acknowledge the fact that the other Gods might be oblivious to it, who if come to know, will certainly dance with pleasure of the achievements of the former and drink ambrosia together, on a metaphorical note; which is much more important and hence, significant. Its such a pity, carving out invectives, engendering stupid conversations for no meaningful reason.

The reason of fury is more infuriating to me, personally. Both are great sports figures, and I know of them both, that I assume saves my life in this part of the world. Suddenly, a being-Indian feeling emerged, where does this feeling vanish, when in our day-to-day lives we witness situations which actually need our voice and concern? I know, no one can herald a much needed change in our country in a single day, but I rigorously feel, we can herald that around ourselves on a daily basis (Period), and trust me, its an exhilarating experience. Criticising her, meant and quite loudly that only Sachin's achievements are achievements, other's accolades are nothing. I respect Sachin, he is an A class batsman, and I am a fan too, but I would not resort to such an abrasive behavior.

Where is the sporty spirit in the fans who are ardent devotees of a famous sports figure? I think such display of character, is not only faulty right from the core, but also emblematic of the fact that some Indians can go crazy for no reason. I would request them to live a more realistic and rational life and in future not to resort to such inane and fatuous behavior.

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