Signs

”We all think we’re going to be great. And we feel a little bit robbed when our expectations aren’t met. But, sometimes, our expectations sell us short. Sometimes, the expected simply pales in comparison to the unexpected.

You gotta wonder why we cling to our expectations. Because the expected is just what keeps us steady… standing… still. The expected is just the beginning.

The unexpected… is what changes our lives.”

Grey’s Anatomy

 

A year ago, sometime in the beginning of January winters, I recall myself sitting on the edge of my bed, basking in the faint glow of my laptop screen. I was a bit haunted, by the little blue publish button which was begging me to simply click it. It was my first attempt at a public blog after years of scribbling in tattered notebooks and diaries. I was hysterical, frantic to say the least.

I was going through a phase of retrospection back then.  I was clouded by the regret of  not-so-gracefully transitioning and continuing with the vision I had of what my life would be like. Ofcourse I had everything but it wasn’t enough. And  ‘enough’ meant revisiting dreams and plans I made for myself as a little girl. The truth of the matter was, despite my accomplishments, despite the very clear path that laid ahead of me, my heart still ached for wishes I made into the night sky as a kid. I needed a home for the thoughts that stampeded through my head everyday. I needed a home to cultivate and nurture creativity. I needed a home to do what I swore to myself I always would: to write. To keep writing. To never give up on words. I came to this space thinking if I could just write out what was going on, it would fix me. That somehow words on a screen sent out to whomever cared enough to read would somehow heal me. And it sure did. I started this blog because I was broken and tired and needed an outlet to vent. The notebooks I carried around with me everywhere I went just wasn’t doing my thoughts any justice. And here I am today.

 

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The All India ranking of my blog has obviously given a tremendous boost. And the ” never enough ” bag is filling up, with peace, satisfaction, happiness, gratitude. I guess the signs were everywhere. They were invisible when I wanted them to jump out right in front of me, but in some strange ways they existed which i couldn’t figure out. Eventually we have to believe that life, in all its sticky and messy glory, is meant for something so much bigger. That even on the worst of days, when we are stuck between two boulders, unsure of which way is out, it still means something.

Just when we think we’ve figured things out, the universe throws us a curveball. So we have to improvise. We find happiness in unexpected places. We find our way back to the things that matter the most. The universe is funny that way. Sometimes it just has a way of making sure we wind up exactly where we belong.”

Meanwhile keep reading the signs.

The Messiah of Peace

GANDHI

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

A thin Indian man with not much hair walked as thousands followed, wearing nothing but a loincloth and a pair of ordinary spectacles. The world watched. For Jawaharlal Nehru, the defining image of Gandhi was,

“as I saw him marching, staff in hand, to Dandi on the Salt March in 1930. Here was the pilgrim on his quest of Truth, quiet, peaceful, determined and fearless, who would continue that quest and pilgrimage, regardless of consequences.”

Nehru’s daughter Indira Gandhi later said,

“More than his words, his life was his message.”

These days, that message is better heeded outside India. Albert Einstein was one of many to praise Gandhi’s achievement; Martin Luther King Jr., the Dalai Lama and all the world’s peace movements have followed in his footsteps. Gandhi, who gave up cosmopolitanism to gain a country, has become, in his strange afterlife, a citizen of the world. And rightfully so.

In 1998 , a black-and-white photograph of Gandhi dominated a full page in the newspaper. In the top left-hand corner of the page was a small rainbow-striped apple. Below this, there was a slangily American injunction to “Think Different.” This was the same bony man who shaped a nation’s struggle for freedom about half a century ago. But that is history. Now Gandhi is modeling for Apple. ( http://linksredirect.com?pub_id=5822CL5477&url=http%3A//www.flipkart.com/ )  His thoughts merges with the corporate philosophy of Apple. Raising the curtain we find that Gandhi, in his younger days was a sophisticated and Westernized lawyer and he did indeed change his thinking more radically than most people do.

“He was more modern than I. But he made a conscious decision to go back to the Middle Ages. ” Ghanashyam Das Birla

On march 15th, 2015, a bronze statue of Gandhi was unveiled in London. The nine-foot statue was created by Phillip Jackson, a renowned British sculptor, and will stand in the company of Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, and Abraham Lincoln, among others.
Sitting in my cozy and quaint residence in Guwahati, Northeast India, I download the picture of the statue. I keep zooming in and zooming out. In some strange inexplicable ways I feel empowered. The statue speaks. Asks you to grow. The statue gives strength. Asks you to believe. The statue gives a message. Asks you to march ahead. It stirs the deepest chords of your soul and as an Indian you feel proud. And poweful.

“I offer you peace. I offer you love. I offer you friendship. I see your beauty. I hear your need. I feel your feelings.” MK Gandhi

Gandhi was a man of the the people and the sculptor did a fabulous job to represent in the statue the “simple, thoughtful and compassionate man.” Respect. And thank you.

I watched India’s Daughter!

Dear Rajnath Singh,

I finally watched India’s Daughter, Leslee Udwin’s documentary which you vehemently banned few hours ago. It is on YouTube, watched by many on their phones and computers. I have myself shared the link and hundreds of others are doing the same on facebook and twitter as we speak. And if you are still clueless what the documentary is all about here is a summary of what it’s all about. I’ll keep it brief. I know you are a busy man.

It voices a mother who recalls the last words of her daughter who wanted to be a doctor. The daughter was good in English, she had her dreams, was a kind and compassionate soul. She wanted to build a hospital in her village. The documentary shows the many voices of our vibrant India where views clash and collide, where Mukesh Singh and five others raped the girl because ” a decent girl won’t roam at nine in the evening ”. A father sells his land to educate his daughter, he talks about it, a father who sees his child grow, help her walk and talk and one day his child who was viciously assaulted meets her end. We see a lawyer who says will set fire to his own daughter at his farmhouse if she indulged in pre-marital activities. There is also the story of a ten year old street child who tried to rob the girl’s purse and when she asked ”why did you do it?” he replied ” I also want new clothes like you people, I want new new shoes.” And the girl buys them for him and asks him never to steal.

Dear Government, there is nothing to fear in this documentary. Show it. Drag it out into the sunlight. Only then can it be examined, interrogated and appreciated.

Another daughter of India

As many feared it is not Mukesh’s voice overpowering the debate, it is his attitude-…..commonplace, callous, despicable. The most chilling aspect of the documentary is the absence of guilt and regret on any level. Men who can stare straight into the camera and say, “She asked for it!” Or worse, “She deserved it!” And even more worse, “We will do it again… and again… because women need to be taught a lesson.”

What this documentary does is hold a mirror to our ugly deformed and twisted interiors. We need to watch it because the enemy is not out there jabbering in Tihar jail but right here, among us. And as long as this attitude prevails, among men and women, no girl is safe, no girl is free. 

Blame the parents. Blame the victim. Blame movies. Blame music. Blame clothes. Blame alcohol. Blame cigarettes.  Blame night clubs. Blame , blame , blame. Assume zero responsibility. Do nothing. India”s Daughter is about the horror and tragedy of December 16, 2012. But it shows the template for many other crimes in the country: the attitude that a girl invites sexual assault by the way she dresses and moves, that she is easy prey, that she has no right over her body. 

We should watch the documentary because we should know the horror of it. We should watch it to know how commonplace Mukesh Singh’s attitude is. We should watch it to identify the variations of Mukesh Singh in and around us….at home and in workplace, in the government and on the streets. And when we throw a stone at Mukesh Singh It should hurt everybody who holds that view, they all should bleed.