Sunday, August 15, 2010

Freedom at Midnight

India is impossible to define or confine in a few sentences. Here the wheels turn, halt, wobble, break-down and then complainingly start rolling again. Its a vast melting pot of people all thrown together to co-exist. India is everything, its a metaphor for life. There is no distant way to say what it is, you can never understand it unless you have felt it.

Its frustrating and limiting and then being free again. Its a land of heterogeneity, of races and cultures so diverse that they could fit a continent. And ironically we have been called a sub-continent :)

I don't intend to write up a primer to understanding India, it's as I said, to be experienced. However, as it is Independence Day today, I could not resist myself from watching a few black and white,grainy videos of our Freedom Struggle. They still give me goose-bumps, watching them is unlike anything I have seen in my life. Scores of people marching 400 km just to take up a handful of salt? Getting caned in most brutal fashion but not retaliate or run away? They were a different breed of people, fearless and self-less, not defying or destroying but calmly and persistently disobeying the Establishment. Yes, we did have our share of revolutionaries and proponents of armed struggle, but people embraced Satyagraha overwhelmingly and the struggle remained famously non-violent. Thats what makes me so proud to be a free child of India.
The images and videos lift me out of the mundane existence that we have become accustomed to and take for granted. They give me belief in the strength of our country and its collective humanity.

And a prayer for peace:

"Om dyo shaanti, Antarikshagwam shaanti
Prithvi shaanti, Aapah shaanti
Roshdyah shaanti, Vanspataya shaanti,
Vishwedeva shaanti, Brahma shaanti
Sarvagyum shaanti, Saa ma shaanti-re dhi.
Om shaanti, shaanti, shaanti."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

BWSSB ... may I have some water please?

If you live in any of the big cities of India, chances are that you would have seen such days. The days when the taps whistle, water supply boards are untraceable and the water tankers make a killing. Well, except for me it has been almost 365 days of intermittent water supply and consistent bucket-hauling trips to a gracious neighbour's.

Now its become even better with everyone in my lane getting plenty of water but not a drop for us.

Incidentally ours is the last house and the combined curse (supposedly) of extremely low pressure and an upward bend in the pipe, makes it impossible for that holy liquid to trickle down to our parched tanks. And boy, when it does, do we feel blessed! So each day, my friend checks the meter below and announces the bad news solemnly "Buckets tomorrow".

Is it Karma? I don't really remember what I did to upset the Municipal Corporation gods, this past year has been hell. "Pay the linesman", confides our helpful neighbour, she has a private well in her house! Pay him? I would rather string him up.

You know that the situation is going to worsen when you can spy 100 liter drums being sold at your nearest departmental store. Oh yeah, I watch out for the signs.

Time to change the neighbourhood, suggestions anyone?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The curious case of my degree and some rum induced rant

My parents instilled the fear of karma into me, "Reap as you shall sow!" So here I am, already at the end of  four years of my professional life and still have no news of my engineering degree. Its a constant source of entertainment for my colleagues and friends, and an obvious thorn in the flesh for me.

If only I had studied and got into a decent college. Another "if only", the god damned thing seems to pop out everywhere in my life like a flaming Jack-in-the-Box. Its my mom's favourite lament, "if only ......".

So why am I thinking of my B.E. degree at midnight? Must be one of those Rum and Coke moments. Aaahh ... yes, we did after all have a great time stirring-up the muck in our lives today over a glass, under the cool breeze and star-light of Bangalore skies.

Did you notice that nothing works like alcohol to set loose a spirit of camaraderie? "You are not alone", thats what the conversation soothingly says to you and you slip away into its arms like a willing child. Of course, some annoying people turn to their blog!