Twitter is where you see sharp wit at its best. People from all walks of life will surprise you with their opinions, which are sarcastic and enlightening at the same time.
But one has to remember, twitter is NOT a social networking site. It’s a micro blogging site.
Twitter is NOT for chats. It’s for conversations. And knowledge sharing by way of links.
One of the greatest by products of twitter is the URL shortener. 140 Character limit has led to further creativity with people inventing tags that make up for a whole lot of space. For eg. #FacePalm is a short for ‘How could you make such a moronic statement that makes me want to bang my head or yours preferably against the wall’.
People who come to twitter seeking to make new friends or seek relationships are instantly branded as #Orchutiyas which politely means descendants of the Orkut kind of socializing, with a little Indian colour added.
On an average, 20 tweets a day would be considered extravagant. But if some intense subject props up, or an interesting #HashTag trends, the number could go up to 100 or more.
Twitter is where you show off without worrying about showing off. You can be nasty without being looked down upon.
And this brings us to another startling fact. Which tells us more about people than we ideally would have wanted to know.
The fact being that twitter is the place where people with absolutely abysmal social or inter personal skills are rockstars.
Let me explain.
In a human society, there are many dynamics at play. And emotions are at the top of the food chain. One needs to be correct, polite, affectionate, sensitive, understanding, and quick witted. And a whole lot more.
But on twitter, because the medium is passive, you can rise above all these lacunae and express yourself without being apologetic. Twitter festers apathy. Twitter allows you to get away with anything without tact. And twitter gives you an alternate universe where in 140 characters you can show yourself to be someone you’re not.
There are people who wish they were actually doing the things they tweet about. And then there are those who do things just so they can tweet about it. At all times, catering to an audience. And get retweeted to become popular.
Retweets are horses. Meeks are studs. #SixWordStory
The whole world is a stage. And the truth is that 95% people suffer from stage fright. Where the sight of an audience makes them forget their lines.
Twitter allows people to take the stage by proxy.
Yet, twitter has far greater potential than a micro blogging site alone. Twitter is probably the only real threat to google.
You see, search is increasingly becoming context driven. And while a google search may throw up a million results, frankly, I don’t have the time for it. I need filtered results with some relevant links, thank you. And twitter does that.
Try it. Search for anything on google and on twitter simultaneously and you will be a believer.
And in today’s time and age, if someone is not on twitter, they are living in digital denial.
This was the year I turned 30.
And this was the year I made up for a lot of growing up.
What a mind fucking mixed bag of a year.
I faced the most difficult professional crisis of my life, dealing with assholes of great magnitude, fighting liars, cheats and people with a capacity for malice I never knew existed. I saw the human value system touch a new low and I felt the thinnest part of a largely false moral fabric.
And I was in love.
Which honestly made all the aforesaid seem less than insignificant.
Then the work life got worse. And I had to quit, with scars of the umbilical cords that brought me there in the first place.
I started work at a new place. Started all over again.
And somewhere during this time, I lost my sense of love. Because I had spent too much of it on those who couldn’t return it. Or value it.
The year ended with a final nail in the coffin that convinced me this was the year of retribution for everyone I had ever hurt in my life. Because with each ache I felt, I saw their faces flash before my eyes. And I could do nothing but say ‘I’m sorry’.
But then, that is not all.
This year also gave me something I will treasure forever; over and above the harsh lessons that came my way.
This year, I made friends who became family (Kiran, Priya, Tanmay, Amit). My family came closer to me after we fought (Anuja, Simran, Anisha). And my ex boss became my anchor and teacher (Ramanuj). My current boss rocks (Rahul) simply because he lets me be and do my thing, and kissing ass is not part of my KRA. And a whole bunch of wonderful friends, who made me not only tide through but deal with all the mayhem the year threw up. All of them put together, it feels like the armour of God.
So yeah, Fuck You 2009. And Fuck all the assholes you sent my way.
I won :)
I am a big fan. I really like the points you raise in your tweets. I loved your TedTalk on Soft Power. And I’m in awe of the way you left all the goodies of a private life to take on a public role. Bravo.
But today, I am going to join the mob and question you. Because I don’t want a good man to lose hope because of a dozen or more idiots.
You should have read the fine print before becoming a minister. They really never tell you that do they?
The silent clause about not having an opinion and most definitely not voicing it. Or the clause where you are meant to show party spirit even if you don’t agree with the way things are being done. Or yes, the one where you need to abandon all wit and carry a brooding look that looks like you’re part of running a country of over a billion.
You have the voice. You have more than half a million followers. And you chose to join a party and not create one of your own?
I mean, think about it, you could do a lot more for the country by just starting a newspaper.
Because anyway the media sucks, they have nothing enlightening to talk about unless some fanatic or idiot or both do something ungodly. Even then they can’t go beyond the ‘what are your feelings right now?’ kind of news.
And by starting a newspaper or a news channel of your own, you will solve a number of problems.
You will question the government on your opinions rather than suggest them.
You will talk about the micro issues as much as the ‘larger picture’.
You can say what you want.
And above all, with a writer like yourself running the show, you can lift the overall standards of journalism this country has stooped to.
Become a media baron Shashi Tharoor. Not a politician. For one, you are not built for it. You lack the required sleaze and ambiguity. For second, politicians seldom get anything done faster than Darwin.
Start a media house. Reach out to people. Tell them what they should be asking for. Tell them how to get it. Do something like this, that makes tangible difference to one life at a time. Don’t let your efforts become the part of a long drawn process that talks to everyone and touches no one. And if you do it, I will gladly give up my private life to help you in every way I can. That is an economically independent promise.
This country does not need leaders. This country needs an outlaw. The kinds that the people look up to more than the king.
An outlaw who gets things done. An outlaw who can become the hero.
Invincible. Confident. Storyteller. Lucky. Proud. Tense. Energetic. Scared. Sick. Happy. Jealous. Angry. Exhilarated. Playful. Buzzy. Respected. Loving. Vain. Astonished. Bumpy. Empty. Foolish. Mad. Relaxed. Awe struck. Swift. Hiding. Tearful. Reassured. Horny. Vicious. Ballsy. Infuriating. Excited. Upfront. Dirty. Hungry. Guilty. Loved. Pimped. Animated. Hurting. Evil. Trusting. Safe. Stunning. Amazed. Bouncy. Greedy. Sweet. Naughty. Annoyed. Calm. Fluffy. Hunted. Confused. Charged. Dizzy. Curious. Dreamer. Brilliant. Speechless.
I feel like a mindfuck.
Imagine sneezing in reverse.
Deactivate your facebook account.
80% of the people on your list will assume you have deleted / blocked them.
Out of those, about 40% would have your number / email / instant messenger ID etc.
And from those, about 10% would be people you’re actually thick with.
Nobody will call or write in to check with you. But they will discuss amongst themselves as to why people were (rather unceremoniously) ejected from the list.
Many theories ensue. There are actually a few half interesting ones too. But let’s leave that to another post.
The ones, who do manage to write to you, not call, write mind you, do it with a purpose of accusation. WHY was I deleted?
This is funny actually. Two weeks since I deactivated my facebook account, I have come to a scary realization about social networking.
What was meant to support my friends’ circle suddenly became its life support.
So if I am not in touch with you on social networking or not on your list anymore, I am as good as dead. Irrespective I might have dropped coffee on my machine, the ISP had an area blackout or I was going through a phase of digital denial, off the list means off the radar. The news feed is oxygen feed. If I don’t show up, I don’t exist.
What is this? The Matrix?
Facebook was for idea sharing, mood beaming and showing off. And knowing friends birthdays and facilitating events and having contact information indexed. The idea was ‘staying in touch’ and maybe ‘meeting new people’ or even ‘making phraindsheeps’. That is it. Facebook was not about a mandatory tax you paid in the digital world in order to remain friends in the real world.
If it is, up yours.
I don't mean to expect people to fuss over me, but if you are going to make the effort to deduce on your own; why I might have done whatever you think I have done, try checking with me before you form a sub committee amongst yourselves. This communist like behaviour is seriously disgusting.
Frankly, I deactivated my account to take a break. A social detox of sorts. Getting my head in order and all that serious sounding shit which was actually pretty trivial and a result of a random mood swing. Until now, that is.
Now, seeing how people reacted, well, I think I will stay off facebook for a lot longer. It will kind of filter a lot of stuff for me. I would know how much of a friend a friend is. Or maybe do a research paper on how social networking has infact eroded the core fabric of human bonds. Sounds grand, eh? It will be. Because you already agree.
So, if you’re a friend, you know where to reach me. If there is a happening in your life you want me to be a part of, I won’t be reading updates, so try making the news; good, bad or ugly, a bit personal.
If you’re not or don’t want to because you need a facebook roll call to know who your friends are, too bad.
And if you are going to sit and wonder and discuss and ponder and call the whole world and not me, about why I deleted or blocked YOU, I understand and share your anguish (boo-fucking-hoo).
Ya khushi ne di hai dastak?
Bhool ke apni khudi ko;
Soye rahoge kab tak?
Chalta hai, ho jayega…
Itne mein sab kho jayega.
Toote kaanch ke darpan mein;
Aks chhuppaaoge kab tak?
Barood ki boli;
Ya shabdon ki goli.
Syaasat ka dhanda;
Aur apnon mein danga.
Chain ki neend aur khushi aakhir;
Itnee mehngee rahegi kab tak?
Dear Prime Minister
By now, I am sure you know none of us envy you. Atleast the educated-not-wanting-a-ministerial-chair, sane minded ones amongst us.
You indeed are surrounded in some murky environs:
Fellow politicians with an expertise in the foot in mouth syndrome to put even good old Dubya and Paris Hilton put together, to shame.
A motley crew of alliance members with a 'DEEP' understanding of the current geopolitical and security situation. Incidentally they would all be out of their depth even in a parking lot puddle.
You had to give up your best man in the worst financial meltdown thanks to Shivraj Patil finally waking up to the fact that it’s time he put his political chair holding ambitions to sleep.
An opposition that beats even Ekta Kapoor’s knack of thriving on human misery to release advertising using terror attacks as a subject (ironically, their reign on the chair wasn’t a bed of roses for the country either).
A coast guard system that makes the Indian shores seem like the open gates of Appu Ghar on Children’s Day.
A stickler for protocol, neighboring leader of state who actually believes that your external affairs minister called him on the cell phone to make ‘phraindsheep’ with him and then threaten dire consequences unless his demands were met.
Laloo Yadav. Maya “bhenji” Wati. Vijay Mallya. Barkha Dutt. And a demanding lady boss.
The list goes on.
You really don’t have an easy life, I know. But since you are the leader of the nation, we have no one else to turn to.
We do not want a war Mr. Prime Minister. We want peace.
We do not want to hurt Pakistan. We want to annihilate extremism. And that does not involve normal citizens of any country. Or any faith.
We do not want bravado. We need alertness. Where every time something goes wrong, those who are at fault have more to say than just ‘ooops’.
We do not want blame takers and resignations on moral grounds. We want accountability. And some basic testicular fortitude in those who hold offices.
We do not want Barkha Dutt. We want news. She alone can give the entire opposition a tough fight for Ekta Kapoor’s throne of the ultimate human misery exploiter. Asking people who have just lost their kin “what are your feelings right now”. And yes, the gem: asking the NSG commander as he is entering the Nariman house amidst heavy firing “what is your strategy”?
Barkha-e-Tauba ! I hope the UN puts her on the list as well.
We do not need war. No we don’t.
For all the people who died in Mumbai on 26/11 and the million others in the acts of terrorism that ravished this land, do not send more Indians to the battlefield.
Because then, this will all go on.
This is what I suggest you can do:
Tighten our borders. If they cannot get in, they cannot cause harm.
Pay our security forces better. If they cannot be bribed, they cannot be breached.
Be clinical and ruthless with the politicians. You know, I know and we all know who are the ones who need this treatment. (Have Ram Gopal Varma make a new political potboiler – DeshMoorkh. The rest of the star cast is a ready set of asteroids led by R. R. Patil. This set of politicians will go far. The sooner they start, the better.)
Implement into law a bill that makes every politician with an ambition to hold office, hold a basic education first. The Prime Minister being educated enough, making up for the entire cabinet and political system doesn’t work.
Make public the ‘evidence’ you have. There is little to be gained with secrecy and protocol. As it is, we are on cell phone - first name basis with Zardari. Let the world know who they are, where they are and who shelters them. Remember it is politicians and power brokers who you need to target. Not innocent citizens. If innocent citizens are the collateral damage for our objectives, we are no different from the ones who did 26/11.
Be nice to Asif Ali Zardari. It is not his fault that he is brainless, spineless and powerless. Probably you can send Barkha Dutt as your special envoy with all the evidence to convince him if you have to. And threaten to keep her there till they get their act together. Atleast one of the two national issues we face everyday will be surely solved.
I have lots more to say, but as I said, I am aware of your tight schedule and tighter leash.
I hope these suggestions help. Till you do something about it, all we can do is pray for peace and seek sanity by staying away from NDTV 24x7.
Or maybe nobody cares.
Well, except the Thomas family.
You see, somewhere in this country, a young man from a small village in Kerela, used to help his father and study at the same time.
Not too great one would say but when the father is a vegetable vendor and yet you manage to study, and top your class 12th exams, it really is great.
On 24 May, a few days after the board results and a few days before the competitive exam results he had written, Prince Thomas hanged himself to death.
To save his family the (economic) burden of his further studies. And it took 5 days for the media to report THAT.
Prince Thomas, gave up without trying. And gave away a life, full of promise, in exchange of hope.
A few morsels more at dinner for everyone at home.
You will be remembered Prince Thomas, for swiftness of your exit. And your hasty decision.
For you were on the Rank list of every entrance exam you wrote.
You had everything going, and you just let it go.
And there are some who had and have nothing going...
My maternal grandmother is a spectacular woman.
Besides being a fabulous cook that all grandmothers usually are, she is a person who I have myself seen - go through a lot.
The fact that she went through the socio-economic turmoil of the the partition of Punjab, and spent her entire life struggling to make ends meet, she always has a tweak of a smile and a shiny glimmer of hope in her eyes.
Her existential ambition was to make sure all her children are well settled, and that she fulfilled. And how.
She faced hell, including a family crisis of the kinds that usually happen when the man of the house passes away. Less things to do. The house is sold.
Not having any worldly assets so to speak, she travels between the houses of her children, living out of the guest room of one house to the corner couch of another.
But always with a smile :)
I share a special relationship with her.
I was a problem child, and she was my voice of support.
And I have lived with my maternal uncle for a few years (why is another post) and as she spent a majority of time at his house, we did bond exclusively.
One of the many things I tease her about is her passion for walking.
Citing the frail heart condition of all the widowers around the neighborhood, she has often blushed (and she looks gorgeous [even more] when she does) at me urging her not to go walking in the interest of senior citizens. But I cannot do that anymore. Because she refuses to walk anymore.
Or talk. Or blush. Or eat. Or drink.
She lies there I am told with various things attached to her refusing to acknowledge or react.
Making it like a silent film, where we know the climax, yet are waiting to actually see it before we shed our tears.
Everyday, as many times I call the various family folk who are currently around her, I get to hear the same answer.
'No change in position'.
From a car to a food court. From the temple and from work.
Life keeps moving ahead while the answer remains the same. Stalemate.
'No change in position'.
And the stalemate comes after the doctors say you have already reached a point of no return.
So what are we playing for?
Change position now BeeJi. You are 92. And that is too old to be throwing a starving tantrum.
Not eating your food. Not talking to us.
I do not have the courage to come and see you. I am scared. For what I might ask for you.
Because you are not the same for me anymore.
Not unless you make me my breakfast paranthas.
Not unless you sit me down for an evening prayer.
Not unless we have a mango eating and pickle pelting contest.
Not unless I grill you on the cutest looking geriatric around.
Not unless.... you are you.
All your life I heard you say that you want to go peacefully without embracing the bed.
All my life I heard you pray for it.
But I am sorry BeeJi, for I too cannot fathom the one who answers or can answer those prayers.
I am sorry for teasing you about your 'romaaance'.
I am sorry for not spending more time with you.
I am sorry for not calling often.
I am sorry to have made you make me all that food when you were tired.
I am sorry for keeping you up at night, with cold bandages when I was ill.
I am sorry for deliberately scandalizing you- just to see you blush.
I am sorry for stealing money from your purse.
And I am sorry for not having ever said that how much I love you for having always forgiven me for all of the above.
But I love you. And I cannot see you go through this.
While everyone around goes on with life, as if nothing has happened and the visit to the hospital just becomes a formality with a mandatory shake of the head and repeating into the phone, day in and day out- the practiced 'No change in position'.
Change positions now BeeJi. On your own. It is enough already.
Don't let logic rule over the bonds of the heart. Don't let practicality steal the memories of joy.
Please, don't make me make a prayer that will put me through the grinders of guilt and regret for the rest of my life.
Post Script : Beeji passed away on the morning of 07/06/07. A few hours before I was to reach Amritsar to see her. After I had finally managed to muster the courage to do so.
I was there for the funeral. But did not have to see her in the state of pain.
She did indeed love me a lot.
\Thank you all for your wishes and prayers. They meant lots. God Bless.
Naye doston mein
Puraani khurafaatein hongi
Apna chhupaaya hua aks
Anjaanon ko dikhayenge
Kuchh lafzon ke darmiyaan
Ab naye rishte banayenge
It’s the umpteenth time that the little sound has distracted me.
Where did it come from? Who set it loose?
I glance around the room to hear charades of laughter.
Animated faces. Some happy, some sad and some just pretending.
As I try to figure the source, I lose the geometry of sound.
There is so much noise. There is so much clutter.
And a tiny sound amongst a million voices.
The needle in a haystack would have been a walk in the park.
And yet, I pick up that little sound again.
I set out towards the sea of people.
The shimmering diamonds and the rustling chiffons.
Sometimes rubbing, sometimes pushing aside shoulders.
I twist and turn to make my way.
Glass in hand, I balance my gaze and my ears.
While my feet guide towards… well, I don’t know what.
Why can’t I be a character out of a spy novel, who are trained at this stuff.
Trained to put the geometry of sound to the trajectory of sight.
And do it while standing in Madison Square Garden for all you know.
Fuck, I should have taken physics seriously. Or whatever science deals with this stuff.
I seem to be firing in the dark. Firing blanks that too.
This time it came from behind me.
No, not exactly, a little to the right maybe.
But I seem to have got the general direction right this time.
I set out like a man possessed.
One gulp and the glass is set aside on the table.
Shit… this is what happens when I drink Pepsi instead of Coke.
I hope my hand covered my mouth in time.
Did someone see me?
Do I really care?
I have a task at hand. And I sniff a kill.
But what is that sound?
Why am I seduced by it?
Why does it seem like music?
Why does it seem like a whiff of fresh air, in a room that is almost an incubator for Eau de Toilette?
Doesn’t seem human. But then what?.
And such effect on me?
Is steel hearted same as brave hearted?
Pathar dil ya faulaadi dil?
I arrive at the bar, where according to my calculation the sound came from. And I see the happy part of the crowd.
The ones that started early and will finish late.
So, just about as of now, they would be at the optimum stage of high.
High being the part before you are smashed. And smashed always leads to wasted.
They didn’t emit any sound I would have followed.
But then where did it come from?
I snap around almost too suddenly and throw flash glances across the room.
Laughter. Turquoise dress. Big diamonds. Fake smiles. Lonely faces.
Flirts. Liars. Cheaters. And a few good people.
And not a trace of my sound.
Am I already so crazy?
And why the hell am I so desperate?
What the hell is this sweat on my forehead?
I throw a wide angle static glance across the room.
And decide to take one last chance.
Before I hear it again.
This time it was closer.
And right ahead of me.
And not in bits and flashes but now it seems to go on.
It seems to be making music while the room seems to have lost its decibel.
I start walking. Slowly.
Slowly because there is no need to rush.
The eyes have cross synced the geography.
All I need to do is follow.
I see myself walking through the same people again.
They seem less fake now. They seem less lonely.
More happy. More content.
As if my finding the sound has infused everyone with a sense of erotica.
There seems to be love in the air.
And I follow the sound blindly.
I am led outside the hall, as if the sound beckons me and seeks privacy.
From hall to hallway. From hallway to driveway.
I follow the sound with a touched heart.
And a face with a smile that’s running a mile.
And then it all stops.
I look around the sprawling gardens and the moonlight pastures.
And all I hear is the engine of a car starting.
The car leaves the driveway as I make a dash towards it.
And come to a halt from where the car had started.
I see the tail lights. I see the thrown up dust.
I see my gaze fall to the ground in utter disgust.
I see something shining in the moonlight.
I bend over and pick it up.
I give it a little shake.
Yes it is the object that made the sound.
But it doesn’t sound as good.
It doesn’t have the soothing touch of before.
It is the sound I chased, but yet it is not.
I hold it in my hand, the solitary anklet. The payal.
But I still wonder about the source of the sound.
She was about to leave for home.
To her village.
She was going on a vacation.
“Off season” they said.
She liked home. And she always liked the lights.
Every year the first few weeks of vacation were full of light.
Sudden flashes. Sudden bursts of joy.
The man walks in. He has been staring at her for a while now.
The half smoked cigarette dangling from his mouth.
He gives her a half grunt and walks away scratching his privates.
She brushes his image aside with a wave of her hand.
She had one more round of threads to tie.
One more round of wickers to set.
And the gift she was preparing would be ready.
The gift for the princess who lived far away in the big city.
Daughter of the king who paid their wages.
The king who would to anything for his little princess.
They said the princess also liked lights.
Maybe they were twins separated at birth?
She wished she was a princess.
A princess who people would pay to make happy.
Maybe she indeed was a princess.
Kept in hiding from evil armies.
It is late and she is alone. She is also afraid.
There are not many people around.
And the man has started lurking around again.
Should she just complain to the wage manager in the morning?
As if reading her thoughts… he spits a fury of red paan on the wall and walks away.
She is almost done with the task.
The knots are tied. The shiny shreds of paper are set.
She must clean up the working area now.
This was the part she hated most.
The careful removal of the powder residue from the work slab.
And the yucky way it all stuck to her.
The way it crept on her when it mixed with sweat as she walked back home.
The vigorous washing with the same water over and over again.
It made her sick for hours after. And killed her appetite.
She could hardly remember a night when she hadn’t woken up breathless.
Or gone to bed with a full stomach.
She was dusting the mat when he walked in again.
He smelt of alcohol. His clothes were paan stained. His trademark half smoked cigarette was in place.
She realized with panic that they were alone in the huge factory compound.
The man approached her with a snort of sorts and smiled to show stained teeth.
She thought of seeking help from the night watchman at the factory.
Only to realize it was him.
He walks up to her and mumbles a sweet nothing.
She walks back towards the corner.
He steps forward. Yanking off his lungi.
She screams. He laughs.
She tries to lunge out at him.
He gropes her and throws her back.
Not before she has scratched his face.
He lets out a yelp.
And shoving the lungi aside with his foot, he marches forward.
As he approaches her, he picks out the cigarette from his mouth and throws it aside.
She lets out a loud scream and closes her eyes.
She is taken aback.
There is light everywhere.
It is no longer dark. And the man has vanished too.
She is safe. She is alone. She is warm.
In the safety of her solitude, at last she feels like a princess.
In a far away land, the king summons another craftsman.
Another gift is commissioned.
What the princess wants, the princess gets.
And indeed she does, a box of her favorites. The biggest. The loudest.
The king presented it to her with a mock bow, and said “Happy Diwali”
She laughed. Laughed in delight.
This absolute peace of nothingness was rudely disturbed by a loud yelping sound from outside. I turned to see a squirrel, sitting on the parapet of the adjoining building about 4 meters from my balcony, raising a sonic storm of its own.
When the racket didn’t stop for a good 2-3 minutes I decided to go out and investigate.
As I stepped into my balcony, within a fraction of a second, or even less… a huge eagle swooped down and carried the squirrel away.
Do squirrels have a sixth sense? Probably not… but what they have and share with most of the animal kingdom is the survival instinct. And the almost fearless approach to life.
The yelping of the squirrel was not out of fear my friends. The yelping was to alert the rest of the pack to take cover as one of them had been spotted as prey.
To understand or rather overcome fear, we must understand animals.
The herds are aware of predators in the woods they live in. They are aware of their vulnerability to become dinner at any given point of time.
In the interim, do they stop grazing? No.
Do they stop moving around in the woods? No.
Do they loose the playfulness with the young ones and teasing of the older ones? No.
Do they fear the predator hiding in the woods?
Because they are also aware that the predator will strike when it has to strike. They cannot stop it. But what they have stopped is the fear factor.
They let fear in when the predator charges. And then they run for it with all they got.
Till then, they live their life to the fullest.
Somewhere I feel the insurance industry has spoilt the human race. We try to apply the same value model in out daily lives.
And then as human complications multiply, we now see many faces of fear all focused at the wrong areas…leading to many forms of subjective unhappiness.
Here are a few examples taken from a set of close friends.
Fear of visibility – the tendency to hide even when we are not being hunted.
Fear of loss – even before we gain something, we worry about losing it.
Fear of pain – even before we are hurt, we like to imagine the pain.
Fear out of self importance – everyone out there is looking for a chance to harm me and will do so at the moment opportunity arises.
Fear of attachment – self explanatory (for those who don’t get it, please see ‘Heat’)
Fear of the peer - will they agree with and accept what I do or think? Though we only use peers to echo our prior decisions.
Fear out of lack of trust – we fear what / those we do not know. But we can never know them till we trust them.
Fear of the past – the belief that the shit will always hit the fan as it did yesterday. And when you let your yesterday decide your tomorrow, your today is always full of shit.
Fear of no fear – addiction to torment. Life would be incomplete without a lurking fear inside…
Fear of denial – even before we ask for something, we like to believe that there is good reason we shall be refused.
Fear of no returns (expectations) – the belief that the effort one puts in will always be more than the results achieved. Hence the fear revokes any hope of human efforts.
Fear of joy – a true killjoy. If it makes me happy, it’s too good to be true. And too good to last.
A dear friend, who besides being one of the best writers I know, is also the most adorable person ever. But in varying degrees of recurrence and magnitude, she embodies all of the above forms of fear. God bless her.
She can inspire M. Night Shyamalans’ next ‘spine-chilling’ flick.
It’s too scary and too cold around her. Her spine definitely resides in the range of -20 degrees centigrade… I feel sad, because she deserves to be happier.
I do not claim that fear is alien to me. I do not preach that fear is unnatural. Nor do I intend to take a high ground of fearlessness.
But what I want to say is that I do not like fear. I like my life and like to live it to the best I can. Hence I face fear head on.
To drive it away.
Let me leave you with a catch 22.
The genesis of anger is fear.
The genesis of fear is the fear of pain
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
Uncertainty is inevitable. Fear is optional.
What is better?
Existing in fear or living in joy?
Kya Darna Zaroori hai?
He takes the final call about who pops it and who pops out.
Whenever man has tried to embody divinity and claim powers more or at par with god, it has led to his downfall.
Whenever man has tried to go beyond his ‘aukaat’, he’s perished.
But today, I am scared.
I am scared because ‘the god complex’ as the aforesaid is called, has plagued the collective doctor community of India.
Let me explain.
Technically speaking, only doctors come close to that power of god.
The power to change or maneuver life.
So they hold at ransom the lives of people who are already sick, at varying degrees of proximity to death and definitely hurting.
I have seen people cry about doctors refusing to treat without monies. People who know treatment is available but they lack the funds to get it. Or as the doctors seem to feel, deserve it.
A man is shot or wounded and the doctors refuse to do anything till the police arrives. Or the man dies. Now the Indian police are another post but short of a certificate of accreditation from the Controle’ Officiel Suisse des Chronometres’, they have mastered the spilt second precision of perfect timing.
Law is to protect lives. But yet the law does not allow the doctor to save a dying mans life. There are the Ambani’s and Mittals who the doctors can milk for their Mercedes. But they still needs a common mans toiled for rupees.
People die doctors. No one knows that better than you guys. But there is a difference between someone who dies on the operating table undergoing surgery by a brave man. And a man who is by the law of the land deemed to die because he can’t get treatment till the cops arrive. And the cops will not arrive till he pops it.
But what about someone who dies in the waiting ward of the OPD of AIIMS surrounded by the best medical help in the country refusing to do anything for him? Not because of the cops, or any other economic factor, cops take my word for it being one major economic factor too…., they die because the doctors want them to.
Because they are on a strike.
Take AIIMS for instance. It’s the biggest hospital there is right?
Frankly I don’t care about reservations.
Because I know for a fact that the debate is about opportunity and all and as long as the people who pass out clear a certain exam or level, I’m cool.
But the doctors went on strike.
Now imagine a man, who feels the grasp of death tightening and musters enough courage to make it to the OPD of AIIMS solely on the faith that the doctor there might be able to save him.
Faith similar to the one you place in god.
But sorry dying man, your gods on strike. So you die.
And you die, because your god has the power to say no. And let you die.
As it is we are such selfish beings. The only time we remember god is in a desperate situation.
So imagine in desperation you call on god, and you get the voice mail?
Many died. Leaving many families completely bereaved and substantially faithless. I was disgusted then.
But it was a cause. Right?
About something the youth and collective intellectual capital of India felt strongly about. So it was very normal for poor and under privileged people to die and provide statistics to twist the governments arm.
Very fair right? Collateral damage they call it.
But there was a buffer of a ‘cause’ so no one said anything.
People continued to die. Statistics continued to mount. And because of lower economic fortitude, which in turn leads to lesser social fortitude, they went unnoticed. They died.
And were just another statistic.
Today, good or bad, right or wrong, the government takes an administrative decision and changes the Director of AIIMS.
And because doctors in India have always shown a high degree of morality, with money and fame being the last thing on their mind, in an expected act of sovereignty went on strike again.
Again, the statistics will mount.
So basically, we come to the conclusion, that after god there are doctors and no one dare defy anyone with a prefixed ‘Dr.’ otherwise they will go on strike and kill a few more poor and innocent people, holding another set of thousands of lives at ransom.
Yes kill, because if you’re a doctor and someone dies in front of you and you do sweet fuck-all about it, it will tantamount to voluntary manslaughter. First degree, period.
Doctors are a gifted lot. For one, they can actually save a life. And second, the amount of faith shown in them by the common man matches the one for god.
But doctors being human beings, vain as ever, fall prey to the god complex. And abuse the gift of life and the healing touch they are blessed with.
Today, two of India’s high profile doctors are at war. Leaving the common thousand few to lie at mercy of time or die a death to add to a statistic. Or cause. Whatever it is, it sucks. Big time.
The director of AIIMS is the most respected cardiac surgeon in the country. An official position at AIIMS is not a fraction of what he has achieved in his medical career.
But yet, he refuses to let go. And the statistics mount.
The minister of health is a doctor himself. And knows that you cannot sack a Krishna from a Pandava army, because you guessed it, the Pandavas will go on a strike.
But yet, he refuses to grow up. And the statistics mount.
Dr. Ramados & Dr. Venugopal, as you are the commanders of the two warring factions, I ask you this….
If god forbid someone from your family needed a doctor tonight, what would you do?
What part of your individual stands and egos or the government policy would you compromise to save that particular life?
Having answered that, what makes you think that the people who died waiting for medical attention amidst striking doctors were not worth that compromise?
The point is, you made the compromise. For whom and to what extent now depends on the values you were brought up with.
But let me tell you this Dr. Ramados and Dr. Venugopal, when the news was covering one of your now famous striking AIIMS story, I saw a man carrying a body. Of what I could make out from the incoherent gasps of breath between his sobs it was his son. His son died because his god and your doctors were on strike.
I want to tell you that if I were that man I wouldn’t be crying.
I’d bury my son, and buy a gun.
(This is my favourite photograph. Don't think I will ever be able to take a shot that can match this one. Did not know who to dedicate it to? It was special and a million names were coming to mind.
And then, inevitably I decided. Had to.
This is dedicated to everyone who drops by. It's a lesson we all need to learn. )