Humanity

Indo-Pak border
credit: indianakev.com

Death. Pain. Loss. Fire. Bloodshed. Burning effigies and flags out in the streets. Cheering over the dead. Slogans and chants against fellow people. Cries for war and retaliation.

It is sad what dominates everyday life still, in the 21st century. It harks back to the days of primitive cave-dwelling species, fighting over territory, parading around the dead and generally engaging in hooliganism. Primitive instincts of rebellion, anarchy and unrestrained territorialism still showing from behind the seeming veil of evolution, civility, development and progress.

Evil exists in society, yes. But fighting meaningless fire with meaningless fire simply results in a bigger, more meaningless flame. Whether perpetrators of evil are powerful elements outside of society or snide agencies of government, where goes the heart’s yearning for peace and calm among us commoners? Is all this just a mere distraction from a boring routine? ‘Rooting’ for your team like it’s a game of football? Go watch football if you want a distraction. Do not play with fire when you cannot possibly handle the flames. Do not dive deep into uncharted waters citing a mere feeling of being challenged. Do not plunge the world into war. We have had more than enough of those.

Learn to have restraint. Or learn to channel your urges in a productive way. Rebel against meaningless terrorism. Represent against needless misjudgments. Rally against fruitless anger. For the common good. If collective anger of civilians was enough to push soldiers to the battlefront- to put innocent lives on the line, think of the power of collective goodwill. Do good by humanity and trash this sick understanding of nationalism and patriotism, rife among all classes of society.

Nations must engage in diplomacy, not war. Nations must work together against terrorism. Nations must see the common will for peace among their peoples. Those growing terrorism on their soil must open their eyes. Wider. Those pointing fingers must instead seek mutual betterment. Until and unless they do so, we may not call this civilisation or humanity. Humanity does not endorse anger and evil.

Becoming of evil shall not entail in the fight against it.

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People leave

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We’ve all been there. You find these amazing new people to hang out with and talk to. You make memories to cherish. You go places with them. Then, when it’s time to leave, the goodbyes sadden you. A week on, WhatsApp and Instagram are your saviours, helping you stay in touch, at least indirectly. Then the messages get fewer and further apart. The stories on Instagram are no longer relevant to you. They move on and leave you behind. The invitations home and the future plans all turn to dust blowing past your face as you desperately attempt to catch up.  And so you just stop. Stop to catch your breath. Stop for a final wave goodbye. And you take a different path.

Or do you? Why is it that we feel people don’t care about us when they stop talking to us? People always need a reason to talk to you. People have lives. People have other people. They can’t afford to stop and think about you everyday. The messages might get fewer and further apart, but that doesn’t mean the memories have faded away. People do care. People do remember. People change, yes, but who you are to them, that doesn’t change. So when you stop to catch your breath, remember, catching up isn’t what you’re supposed to do. You have your own path to follow. And somewhere in the future, closer than you think, paths are bound to intersect. And when they do, all the memories, all the emotions, they come rushing back. In that moment, you realise, love isn’t temporary.

People leave. But they leave not to leave you behind.

Wheels of progress

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The wheels of progress. Boy are they slow.

For a democracy of 1.2 billion people, you’d think the people’s voice is loud. And it is. But how can common sense cut through the madness that is rife in the minds of the vast majority? Here is an 8 year old girl, kidnapped, sedated and raped over a week by different people, then mutilated and murdered. All in a temple, no less. The normal reaction to this would be one of horror and shock, possibly vengefulness. But what person in his/her right mind would involve religious or political aspects? What sane human being would stop a case from being registered? What level of moronic does one have to be to rally in support of the perpetrators? The voices are strong. The voices are loud. But these voices, the ones that cut through, don’t unanimously echo that of the young girl in agony. And that is very wrong. But when people in positions of power fail to recognise the magnitude of such an incident, that is beyond wrong. That is ignorance of one’s own people and one’s own country and all the values it stands for.

But there is hope. There is faith to be had in the millions of people who stand up to losers, punks, morons and scoundrels every single day; fighting for the good; fighting for a better tomorrow. And that number is sure to grow. You see, people can only take so much bullshit. And we’ve taken a lot. Now, we explode. Wrath, fire, fury. The people’s voices are slowly syncing. Soon, they will be one. One loud voice. The voice of 1.2 billion people. The voice of the nation, saying enough is enough. Do or die. Rot in hell, those who dare cross the line. For one may do anything but underestimate the power of the people.

The wheels of progress may turn slowly. The push uphill may be long and arduous and tiresome. But once they break over the crest, speed up they will. And once they speed up, they will crush anything that stands in their path. To smithereens. With a shattering crack. Devils watch out; the crest is nigh.

Restaurant Etiquette

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I hate going out with friends. I admit it outright. It’s okay if there is one or maybe two other people. Very specific people. But certain times are such that you’re hard pressed to excuse yourself out of a decidedly dull and pointless getting-together of ‘friends.’ Yes, ‘friends.’ Those people who, by social standards, are classified as such without thought or fair reason. At certain times, you’ve to lunch with these people. And lunching is the worst.

After dilly-dallying with the schedule, you finally get to the restaurant which will inevitably be a crowd-pleaser (read ‘bad choice’). Once sat, you notice that you are flanked by your least favourite people- so conversations are out of the question. The food arrives painfully late, and you start digging right in- stuffing your mouth so you don’t have to participate in the corny millennial talk. But then the rest of your food suddenly disappears. What happened to it? Oh yeah. Sharing. You’ve half a mind to tell these people to sod off and eat their own shite choice of food.

But all this is nothing compared to the small matter of settling the bill. It is commonplace for people to expect the host to pay when it’s a birthday party or the like. But a random meet-up? Shouldn’t one pay for what he ate and be done with it? No. They choose to find excuses as to why you should pay a certain amount because you had done that thing 4 months ago. And because you want the afternoon to end as soon as it can, you end up paying for the buggers. But does it end? Nooo. The turds then take pictures. Oh yes. A dozen pictures each, at least. Selfies with a graceless pout. Food pictures taken in an artsy way (so they think). Nightmarish.

Seriously people, have you ever come across the term ‘restaurant etiquette?’

2018

Unity and Strength

Another year over. 365 days of triumph, happiness, sorrow, struggles, highs and lows. For most of us though, it was just another dreary year of doing the same things over and over again.

When will we be rid of the monotony? When will we just stop…just stop and take a moment to see the world around us…see it and not just look? Will it ever happen?

I took such a moment towards the end of 2017. I reflected on the things that I see but notice everyday. Pain, loss, death, tragedy. From hundreds of people out in warzones to the tiny sapling in our backyard, struggling to exist. It is just poetically sad.

World peace will never exist. That is an absolute truth. Like how there can never be an ideal machine that is 100% efficient. It is one of those things coded into the weave of existence by the creator (whoever/whatever).

But we can get awfully close to it by simply extending our love of life, our desire for a better world and our passion for everything in it- by simply extending all of that to the dozen people we talk to everyday. It isn’t hard. It is gratifying. It is like how Portia from the Merchant of Venice puts it- “Mercy is twice blessed. It blesseth him that gives and him that receives.”

The smallest things make the biggest difference. Let us, together, hand in hand, make the world a better place as every day of 2018 goes by. One conversation- at the right place and time- can change lives. One hug. One handshake. One smile.

One love. #2018

Conversations

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Remember when we were half as tall as we are, when we said what we thought and meant it?

Boy, are those days over. Now, every sentence uttered is riddled with ulterior meanings and innuendo; truth never betrayed to the subject. Never ones are we to serve the churning soups inside our heads. The face isn’t really the index of the mind (at least the mouth isn’t).

No, we care too much about our made-up ‘image’ and ‘prestige’ and ‘integrity’ to share what we think in an honest manner. It’s like clothing, in a way. We want to wear what everyone else is wearing. Whatever is ‘in’. Such is the will to blend in that it masks (if not replaces) our actual desires.

With every interaction, the mind makes some adjustments to the equation and its variables. To speak up (introverts), to shut up (extroverts, or in some cases, introverts trying to be normal), to be more direct, to beat about more.

Ugh. People are so difficult. Communication, one of the basic constructs of life and civilisation, is such a confounding thing, isn’t it?

It goes to justify the burning desire to marry our beds and stay on them for years on end.

Role models

Role models don’t work. 

This is something I have just decided.

A role model is a person, a beacon of light, whose character and ways and success you would want to emulate. But I find that very few people exist, who can possibly be suitable a role models. 

I shall digress with some examples. Keep in mind that when I speak about role models, they are to me, people in the public eye, as is most often the case. 

Let’s take Justin Bieber. He is 20-something years old. Despite having an underage mother and practically no father in his childhood, he has grown to establish an immense fortune. Making music. Entertaining people. He could be a role model, couldn’t he? No. Role models don’t lip sync at concerts when people are paying >₹50k for tickets. Role models don’t shout at fans and walk off stage. Role models don’t make a list of “demands”.

I’ve often said Kangana Ranaut is my favourite Bollywood actress (although I don’t watch Bollywood films). But it has come to light that she has made unfair demands and has discredited hardworking people. I can’t deal with that. 

Jeremy Clarkson loves cars, is charismatic, bold, brash and truly British. And hates Piers Morgan. But he just wants to go fast, doesn’t care about animals and has said India is a “sweat shop.” So he can’t possibly be a role model.

Piers Morgan is fairly talented, asks the right questions and his show has opened eyed. But he hates Jeremy Clarkson. Also, he says very stupid things at times, which immediately discredits him. 

Donald Trump? Just no.

So in reality, I’m unable to find popular people who are role model material. So I’ve decided, as I said in the beginning, this doesn’t work. 

Be your own role model.