Saturday, March 13, 2010
Friday, January 16, 2009
A destitute man finds reason
To fashion a new spirit
In every moment of defiance
Hope springs from the flower of courage
In every debacle I see promise
Every blow is but a brick
One more stone in a mighty edifice
For a world far far better
I know you don’t find it
But I see it tall and inviting
A more radiant smile I have
Yet to see from a woman
The tower all aglow with mystery
An impish charm surrounds it
Long languorous curls descend
In thin wisps they brush my face
Searing my skin one moment
And whipping a gentle breeze after
The dark eye holds me still
Commands me with delicate grace
My palpitating heart must in her coil
Tremble and abandon reason
My every living second must behold
Her beauty but from a distance
My past has proven me unworthy
The gilded halls are just a dream
Friday, December 5, 2008
Should I believe in the unrestrained power of free individuals to transact their every day business safe from the regulation of the state, secure in their natural ingenuity? Is all innovation good? Can numbers triumph over the ills of everyday life? And is economic progress more important than anything else? I guess most of my carefully practiced answers, all couched in perfectly reasonable logic, have changed now.
I am the old man all alone at sea trying to reel in the gigantic fish which he thinks lies at the end of a frightful struggle. And while I figure out my answers to questions posed by others who are cocksure about their own ideas, I am not ashamed to say that I am still confused.
I did not have a close brush with death those days in Mumbai as so many of my acquaintances did. The closest experience I had was of being evacuated from office on Friday after rumours of multiple attacks broke across TV channels. Nor have I lost any near and dear ones. So I cannot betray a personal sense of anger. I however seem submerged in a public sense of outrage emanating from every sensible person I know. The outrage is not unjustifiable. Most of us who live in Mumbai and who commute daily to India’s Ground Zero feel unsafe. We flinch each time we hear a loud sound. We start if we see someone run across the street. Our government has failed us more spectacularly than ever before in our independent history. And yet I pay my taxes, the model of a law-abiding citizen, knowing very well I shall not receive any incremental benefit from any public good.
I have seen people take the streets in protest against the government, proclaiming war on terrorism. I have heard the media saluting the Mumbai spirit of resilience and indifference, the ability to get on with our lives as if nothing happened. I have seen the photos of the slain policemen displayed at every roadside crossing with messages stating that they never will be forgotten. And I have witnessed politician after politician committing one unforgettable gaffe after another. Quite simply they would serve their cause best by just keeping quiet.
No wonder, a lot of public outrage has been directed at the nation’s politicians. Face it, they are a angry nation’s favourite whipping dogs. The anger always smouldered but stopped at that, not surprising for a country of armchair critics. A lot of questions have been raised about the lack of disaster management, poor policing and above all India’s Pakistan policy. I welcome all those questions. Maybe such terrorising epochs serve to shake a nation out of complacency, push her to introspection. Oh but what a terrible price to pay!!!
What I am afraid of is that this anger will be misdirected. I am afraid that a party under siege for its’ poor handling of terror attacks and with an eye on national polls will push this country to a messy war. A war which will consume more lives than we can even imagine now. A war that most of Mumbai’s street protestors are vociferously demanding today. I believe the solution lies closer home.
A lot of public anger against the political class is a sum of India’s rural-urban divide. Increasingly most of urban India like me, has chosen to be apolitical. Most of them don’t even turn up to vote. The vast rural masses, whether out of free will or no, still turn up enthusiastically on election day and decide the course of action for India. No wonder, the average legislator or minister turns a blind eye to national issues for his survival in politics does not depend on it. Do you think the people of Sangli would think less of their four-time MLA who thinks that such small things do happen in large cities? Or the people of rural Malampuzha care about their representative making a public mockery of a slain martyr? Unfortunately for us, the former happened to be the home minister of Maharashtra and the latter the Chief Minister of a state.
India’s have-nots couldn’t care less about terror or war because they have other pressing issues. Issues that the media and the urban elite cannot pretend to understand. The cost of pushing the nation into war is further economic deprivation and stalling the growth engine that has made entrepreneurs out of nobodies. We need banks to keep lending, we need goods to be produced, we need investment in roads and irrigation. And to a street protestor who symbolically held up bangles, I say this - there is nothing eunuch-like about having a bleeding heart. Every year, our growth engine pulls thousands out of poverty. We cannot afford to throw that away.
Instead of diverting resources to destructive means, they should be focussed here at home. Into more recruitment into the police, higher salaries, better bulletproof jackets (instead of the torn dilapidated sorry things they carry now, which allowed them to be shot at will). Everyone’s talking about a fiscal stimulus anyways. Don’t stop at the cities though. We have to accept that we are vulnerable to conflict. And we have to deal with it. And attacking other countries will not end the threat of terror as America has realised to her dismay. It will only delay it.
I realize I am more afraid of my government than of any terrorist. Will that ever change?
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
I rail against my oppression. Together we shall defy timelessness, misery and death. Together we shall wreak vengeance against those who seek to tie us down. For the undying spirit soars far above what you can understand.
This is the kingdom of love where all are welcome to partake of my feast. And you shall feel my strength flow through your veins. Believe that you can change your world and I shall empower you. For there is none that can hold you back. There is none that can hold me back.
The tide has turned. I can feel it in every pore. For here come my immortals, resolute and bold. Fearless they stride across the face of earth. For they belong everywhere and yet they belong nowhere. What is my identity? What is my nationality? What is my language? I do not know nor do I care. For I am neutral and serene. I am no one and yet I am everyone.
Every boundary you have known will soon be cast away, like it never even existed. Every illusion you have known and lived by will be discarded. I do not wish for you to join me in my quest. I only ask to be understood. I only wish to be heard.
I will not yield...
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
A medley of insanity in wine
And while they converse in whispers
I see every loose end, every pattern
The blue see beckoning me
Into her delightful arms gasping
I pause greedy for breath
To still the shooting pain
I stumble past a dark alley
Still looking for a reason spent
For years a beacon had helped shape
The direction my life had flown
Emboldened, I would scatter cynics
Non-believers to my chosen faith
I would impress my unyielding mind
To turn the weak into me
Till the green house came crashing
Its smithereens rendered unrecognizable
My illusory belief no more solid
Than the wisps of my cigarette smoke
My faith in freedom now shaken
By avarice and greed
The scepter of innovation broken
By those who said man was free