The Drifter

Jahangirpur, India

The drifter stares at the screen, not even one of the four bars can be seen on it. The desk of the food-keepers is empty – the shelves behind them full. Just like the three times he passed by the food distribution center since last weekNo usual long queues, no normal rations-day hustle around the desk. No one steps on his toes, nobody elbows him sideways while he tries to speak to the keepers through the rusty, iron-grilled window.

His eyes moisten as the drifter asks pointing at the screen, ‘What is the problem today, sir?’

One of the keepers, the buck-toothed didn’t even look up.

The other one, the paan-chewer snaps back at him, ‘No rations today, go away! No network – No rations. Don’t you see? No bars – No rations. Go away!’

The drifter takes a dejected look at the filled shelves behind the desk, sweeping them from the left end to all the way in the right.

~ ~ ~

Last December, he was perched on the pavement as usual surrounded by his only friends. The stray dogs in town. All together, as a team, they rummaged through the trash cans for food remains. Some lucky days he would find untouched, whole albeit very cold and damp samosas. Other days they had to make do with tiny scoops with morsels of rice and dal inside the tiny plastic bags – the remains of takeaway meals of the better-off people.

The other day, he heard people on loudspeakers protesting against plastic. Plastic bags are the worst enemies of our world, they chanted. He says, plastic bags bring life. To him at least. By keeping his nutrition safe from dust, water and wind.

That December morning, several men wearing neatly pressed white shirts stepped out of a van and walked up to him. Picked him up from the pavement and took him to get his fingers and eyes recorded. Asked him questions, took his photo. They said he wouldn’t have to scrape for food in trash anymore. ‘Wow, that’s amazing’, thought the drifter.

The white-shirted men explain further – he gets some sort of a card: a number- his number. His direct link with his sarkaar – his government.

To him, they said, his fingerprints will get him rice and dal. He can cook on the roadside and live happily, healthily. Only don’t forget to show up every Wednesday morning at the center.

And sure, things were good in the beginning. Each Wednesday morning, he would show up at the food center. The keepers would ask him to put his fingers on a gray plate, his eyes should point to a camera. And out would come from the stack on keeper’s desk – a packet of rice and dal – pre-measured, pre-mixed, ready-to-cook.

Man, those days were good days. Not having to worry about food, he could finally do what he always desired to do – Clear rubbish. He would go places – bus stations, train stations, parks, pavements, temples, mosques – and just clean. Pick up trash lying here and there, put them in his big bag and take them to the trash cans on the sides of roads.

One thing, the drifter can’t put his head around is why on earth would people, even the smartly dressed ones, throw rubbish out on the streets when you have these trash cans all around the place. That puzzled him so much, kept him awake at nights.

Occasionally, while he would be cleaning the parks, young kids would come close to him. Some would take photos with him and giggle. Some would ask, ‘Old man,  are you on the Clean India Mission?’ He nods, muses with a big smile- ‘Yes, sarkaar pays me rations to do this.’

Armed with his fingerprints and eyes, he started going further and farther. Any town he would go, the center and the iron-grilled window would be there. Clearing rubbish through out the way, clearing rubbish off towns and villages on the way. Staying at one place for days, weeks or months- as long as it takes. To clean up the place to his liking.

And then, he reached this place. It was a month ago, he guesses, that he set foot on this tiny town far away from every-place-else.

Yes of course, he has come to meet the paan-chewer and the buck-toothed three times now, so must have been a month.

~ ~ ~

‘Can’t you hear? Still no food for you, go away!’, snaps the paan-chewer again. 

The other keeper, the buck-toothed, giggles looking at his phone. He pats on the paan-chewer back and says, Look what I found last night in the net.

The paan-chewer is surprised. He spits into the already grossly-stained wall and mutters, ‘What? How on earth did you get net last night? The whole town has not had internet since last half a month. And- that’s why this scum is in my face for last hour!’

The buck-toothed grins, ‘Secret, brother, big secret.’ He bursts out laughing. ‘Naah, I’ll tell you. So there is this guy in town who has a dish pointed to the sky and at one point, at the correct angle, he can get internet to your phone. To your computer. It works like a charm! Not only this, look what else I downloaded.’

The paan-chewer peeks into the buck-toothed’s phone. They both start giggling. In seconds, giggles turn to loud bursts of laughter.

The drifter leans on to the window grill, pressing his face against it, maybe he could take a peek and see what’s so funny after all.

The buck-toothed gives out a vile shout, ‘Oyyeee! Go away, scum!’ 

~ ~ ~

Startled, the drifter steps back from the window grill. He didn’t mind the nasty tone. Not one bit.

Only thing the drifter can feel is his hunger. It’s inside and outside him, around and over him. Everything around him. Just hunger. He can’t think straight- can barely stand on his one leg.

To make things worse, just right then – the other, the no-longer existing leg sends another of those shooting pains. Right from his phantom toes through his stump, straight up his spine to turn into a blinding, all-encompassing headache. Unable to stand any longer, he slumps on to the ground and rests his back on the wall of the center, right under the iron-grill window.

Flashes from some strange old life race through his mind.

Marrying his woman of dreams. The newlyweds’ shyness. The stolen giggles and playful stares when around public. The palpable excitement of scores of people packed up in the train, all travelling to see the big carnival in the other village. Then, the crowd of passengers scurrying to get off the train, the less-than-a-minute stop of the train. The unfortunate misstep by the wife, his desperate but futile attempts to pull her out of danger as the train starts to move. And then, darkness fell all around him. The screams, the police, the ambulance – all just a blur. Days later, he wakes up in a hospital bed, after losing – his life and one leg.

~ ~ ~

He eyes a trash can on the other side of the road, surrounded by a pack of dogs.

He musters the lasts of the strength in his veins to stand up, starts limping across the road. To his companions of old days, the days without the card, without the number, without the center.

But today, the dogs start growling at him as he approaches the trash.

He could swear he saw red paan stains all over the teeth of one of the lead dogs. Snarling and barking out at him, as if furiously speaking out the words just like a ‘human’ being, ‘Go away, scum!

A work of pure fiction, inspired by true events.

Background: On 28 January 2009, India launched the world’s largest and perhaps the most ambitious national identification number project — Aadhaar. This enormous project of biometrically enrolling a billion and half people — undoubtedly futuristic and well-intended — has , however, been embroiled in controversies ever since. Data privacy concerns and project feasibility issues being primary.
These issues aside, I was disturbed to read a recent news article about families being denied subsidized rations because of faulty aadhar point-of-sale devices and poor internet connections. To make matters worse, the most vulnerable and needy beneficiaries are often the ones who live in the remotest of areas — more exposed to issues with a limited-redundancy, semi-baked technological innovation tied to a sketchy infrastructure.
Makes one wonder the point of innovation and of futuristic good intentions. This story is a result of inner struggle between a strong belief in ‘right technology can solve all problems’ and a compassion for the less-fortunate fellow countrymen.

Imagination

Sky-
A stretch of cloudless blue endlessness.
As if, an artist’s untouched canvas.

Ocean-
Endless, immovable blue chaos.
As if, an ancient old man’s restless childhood.

And I-
Puzzled with the thought:
Who is whose shadow?
Lying on the rock when I look far-
No boundaries on the horizon, no ends.
Who starts where, where who ends, no one knows.

Suddenly a wave with countless salt water drops approaches me-
It strikes the rock- shatters, spreads, but again adds up, turns and goes back.
I call out to it with my thought, no hopes to get an answer.

* * *

Wave-
An unending noise born from non-existence.
Seems, it has a silly curse of continuous mayhem.

Sun-
Life-giver, an unending energetic ball of fire.
Seems, it has a pointless habit of eternal punctuality.

And I-
Stood up on the rock, startled with an imaginary reality-
That, excited to answer back the wave turned back,
That, brighter with sun rays, the shimmering wave approaches me.
That it comes, strikes, shatters, spreads, but before adding-
Then shapeless, diffused, non-existent wave says to me-

Those whose boundaries you can’t see, doesn’t have to be bounded.
Those whose meaning you don’t know, doesn’t have to be useless.
And that because it’s in your imagination, doesn’t have to be a lie.

– Anubhav, 23 September 2014.
Translated from an old Hindi poem titled, “Kalpana”, written on 28 June, 2013.

Why we humans give up?

I often find myself pondering this question-

Why is it that we as free-willed human beings, capable of doing and possibly achieving all that we truly desire, still suffer? Why do we still yearn for something or someone and believe truly in our minds and hearts it is un-achievable? Why do we humans give up? On things, on people, on ourselves?

Given our free decision, free minds and free spirits, are we really free to pursue all our desires?

In a perfect sense of things, we should make all our decisions based on our desires, our wishes and most of all, our contentment.

Yet, we have holes in the stories of our lives- voids wide-open, which challenge us forever, showing that we, as human beings, are indeed incapable of many things. Quite contrary to what we strive to convince our mildly insecure selves?

For some, it’s the money and all it can provide. For some, it’s the special someone they lost on their way in their life. For others, it’s the way itself which is lost in life. For others, it’s simply the chains of expectations, of validations, most often than not, coming from others.

And we accept these holes, these stark deficiencies, albeit with varying amounts of sadness. Sometimes afraid, at times ashamed to talk, think about them.

We call it fate, destiny, kismet, karma, god’s will, what not…desperate attempts to rationalize, if you ask me.

Still nowhere close to answering.

Lost in Moments

29 December 2014
Somewhere between London and Zurich

 

Nothing was happening to suggest that I would even remotely enjoy the last stretch of my long and arduous journey to Zurich from Balangir. To Zurich, the city of tech innovation and of bankers, of efficiency and of precision, in the center of Europe. From Balangir, a poor dusty little town in a remote part of a not-so-well-known coastal Indian state.

This was yet another trip of the several similar I have taken since I moved to Zurich about three years back. A journey not just across two places thousands of miles apart but also across two cities with lives and livelihoods in different ages, hinged at two opposite poles on the axis of human development. In my mind, I often regard these bi-annual, or sometimes tri-annual trips as really a journey across space and time (of course in a totally non-scientific and a completely poetic manner of speaking).

I have been flying for 12 hours now and been awake for three times as much. I spent the last day at my brother’s apartment in Bangalore. The plan in Bangalore  seemed rock solid. To catch a flight at 7 in the morning, considering the travel-time to airport, I would have to wake up at 3. Now to wake up at 3 and to feel refreshed, taking into account my sleep patterns, doing a quick back calculation gives me a go-to-bed deadline of 8 pm. Any time later than that means I would be half-asleep when I start my trip and that can potentially make a red-eyed grumpy guy out of me for the next 19 hours of travel. A great loss to my progress in Richard Dawkins’ book-The Greatest Show on Earth which I have planned to finish before end of the year. An equally great loss for the unfortunate co-passengers who sit next to me and receive no friendly gestures and small talk whatsoever from me. And personally, I feel it’s disrespectful towards the humans-are-social-animals conjecture to not talk a word and share a smile with someone sitting next to oneself for as long as half-a-day at a few inches distance.

But whoever sleeps at 8? A decision was made. No going-to-bed. A late night show for the recently launched Hindi movie PK was booked and remainder of the time was planned to be spent on chatting and perhaps playing table games. The movie, as expected from the director-actor duo of Rajkumar Hirani and Aamir Khan, was superb. A nice satirical take on our societal system of blind belief and on our religious practices (especially, how the way they are  financed  and the utter irrationality of their sheer existence).

This explains my 36-hour no-sleep marathon. Now let’s come back to the present. I just boarded this British Airways flight from London Heathrow airport to Zurich. It’s an unusual winter late-afternoon in London- clear blue skies with a merrily shining sun, complete with its wet English chilly breeze. Looking out, I see the multitude of lush green grass strands in the meadows stretching along the runway, swinging back and forth. A swarm swaying in perfect harmony with the wind. The sun is at its lowest visible point, just about to disappear down the horizon. The color of its light at its best, the most majestic hue- a strikingly brilliant sunset red with hints of crimson awesomeness.

Just as the airplane is lifting off the ground and we are gaining some altitude, the wall of the entire cabin is filled with these amazing golden boxes, cast by sunlight slipping inside through the windows. And as the plane glides about, changing directions and doing maneuvers , the boxes move around creating a spectacular light show.

Outside, I see a spectrum of colors as the sun descends down the horizon. The bottom made by green grass meadows and farmlands of Greater London speckled with the browns and blacks of suburban house rooftops, the criss-crosses of asphalt motorways and the countless cars hustling across over them and finally the great spans of lakes around London, each one with its distinct hue of blue-green water. As one looks up, the green of the ground slowly blends into a mysterious shade of grey from the mist in the air. Then comes the magnificent orange-red-yellow band, the last of sun’s rays scattered in the air. The spectrum topped with a seemingly endless stretch of flawless, spotless blue, textbook example for the sky blue color. No wisps of whites from stray clouds disfiguring its sanctity.

As we climb higher, the specks of houses and motorways blur and blend into the greens of the meadows. The blue-black serpentine figure of the Thames comes into prominence- the river meandering its way out to the sea. As we travel South-East, the sunlight fades and the view outside quickly disappears and so does the beautiful spectrum. The ephemeral, yet intoxicating beauty of the scene captivate my senses and I take my notebook out to pen my thoughts.

While I head out to the night leaving this beautiful sunset behind, a sudden surge of emotions fill me. This was one of those few sunsets in one’s life that one remembers for a lifetime. And that it coincides with the end of year while I fly back to a new year filled with new challenges in life and in my start-up Shared Electric makes me feel strangely sentimental.

Now while we graze down the runway in Zurich airport, slowly coming to a halt, I steal a glance at the snowy winter white wonderland all around me. My heart, both brimming with emotions- ecstasy, anxiety, excitement and feeling the serenity of nothingness, at the same time.

As I lug my bag following the Exit signs in the airport building,  I remember I have no photos of the marvelous scene I witnessed. Then I recall what a friend remarked yesterday- We take photographs so we don’t forget the moments, yet we forget the photographs themselves.  As for me, I would rather be lost in moments than be found in lost photographs.

What Plans?

When people asked me what plans I have for the New Year, I faced a dilemma. Should I answer telling them about the house party we have planned for New Years’ eve or should I share my plans for the new year ahead which, I feel, is about to embrace me any time soon?

For me, as with many, the end of a year is a landmark, a milestone. It’s a point where time stands almost still offering me a chance to do an objective review of the past and peek into my future plans. The ends of a year are the rare, albeit wonderful, discrete points in an otherwise infinitely contiguous timeline. It’s somewhat like sharing a birthday with everyone else in the planet, the celebration of going around the sun one more time. After all, luckily or unluckily, that’s the only thing which is common to all of us. It’s something we all do. All men and women, rich and poor, black, white, brown and yellow. It’s a journey we all share.

At this point, I am reminded of this wonderful dialogue from Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight:

Like sunlight and sunset, we appear and we disappear. We are so important to some, some are so important to us….but we all are just passing through.

Above lines are said by an unnamed old lady, who plays an insignificant role in the movie. But perhaps that’s what makes them so significant and the reason why I was moved by them.

Following the brief digression, I must come back to this New Year’s eve of 2014. I woke up on the morning of 1st after spending with friends, a great night of fun at the cusp between this year’s end and next year’s start.  Upon waking, I spent a moment to think about what should I do today, on the first day of the new year.

The very next moment, instinctively I  made up my mind and decided to clean my brother’s bathroom. I am visiting him for a week during my holidays. He didn’t ask me to do it, I didn’t feel compelled to do it. He tried to talk me out of it. I insisted. Eventually, I managed convincing him to allow me to clean it. No, I couldn’t make it sparkle like a diamond. And not, it’s not as if it was super filthy before I swept my magic broom over the tiles, unifying the floor with the ceiling.  I simply did it as a good deed, as a nice deed. I will be taking my brother’s leave in a couple of days. So I did it as a selfless gesture.

I understand that the impact my deed had was minuscule. The time I devoted was inconsequential and probably would have been otherwise spent in reading news online. But while mopping the floors of the blue-tiled bathroom, my thoughts were focused on the impacts this idea could have upon scaling it up. The concept of selfless deeds isn’t novel. In an Indian context, Shramdaan has been a longstanding belief, only to be reinforced by Gandhi’s discourses. I couldn’t help imagine how much more wonderful, peaceful and prosperous our world could be, only if each one of us could make one selfless deed once in a while. If we all commit ourselves to helping each other once in a while, without guile or the expectation of getting something in return. How, perhaps, it could be possible bring about more social equality, justice in fulfilling basic needs of fellow humans, if each of us decides to play their part in this giant chain of human symbiosis.

Sitting down to write this piece with this seed in my mind and a nice cup of tea in my hands, I resolved to spend this new year of my life doing as many selfless deeds as I can manage to.

And now I realize, I have found my answer. This is my plan for the new year.

Thanks for reading. Please drop your comments, if you liked this post. Meanwhile, I leave you with this:

कल्पना

आकाश-

मेघहीन, निरंतर नील असीमता ।

मानो, एक कलाकार की अनछुई कैनवास ।

 

समंदर-

अनंत, अचल नील अस्थिरता ।

मानो, एक प्राचीन बूढ़े का चंचल बचपन ।

 

और मैं-

उलझा पड़ा रहा इस सोच में-

कौन है किसकी परछाई?

पत्थर पर लेटे जब मैं दूर देखता हूँ-

क्षितिज में कोई सीमारेखा नहीं, कोई विराम नहीं।

कौन शुरू कहाँ, किसका अंत कहाँ, किसीको ज्ञान नहीं।

 

अचानक नमकीन बूँदों की छींटे लिए एक लहर आई-

पत्थर से टकराई, टूटी, बिखरी, पर फिर जुड़ी, मुड़ी और वापस चली।

मैंने पूछा पीछे से, जवाब की आशा किये बिना- अपनी शंका का समाधान।

 

* * *

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लहर-

अस्तित्व-विहीनता से जन्मित अविराम कोलाहल ।

जैसे, निरंतर अशांति का तुच्छ अभिशाप प्राप्त हो उसे।

सूरज-

प्राण पालने वाला, अक्षय उर्जापूर्ण आग़ का गोला।

जैसे, निरंतर नियमित चलने का अर्थहीन शौक हो उसे।

 

और मैं-

विस्मित उठ खड़ा हुआ इस कल्पना में –

कि जवाब साथ लिए उत्सुक, फिर से मुड़ी वह लहर,

कि सूरज के चमक से उज्जवल, फिर से बढ़ी वह लहर।

वह आई, टकराई, टूटी, बिखरी, पर जुड़ने से पहले-

निराकार, तितर-बितर होकर, लहर मुझसे बोली-

 

जिसकी परिसीमा न दिखे, वह सीमित तो नहीं।

जिसका अर्थ तुम्हें पता नहीं, वह व्यर्थ तो नहीं।

और जो तुम्हारी कल्पना में है, वह झूठ तो नहीं।

 

 

(Cinque Terre, Italy)

Rightfully wrong?

Sometime last year, while boarding a train with a friend, he requested me to spare the ‘right’ seat for him. I couldn’t understand what he meant but since he pointed to the seat I was about to hop on to, I obliged to let him have it and sat opposite. Few minutes later, when we had settled down; our backs relieved of the bags, coats hanging by the pins and the train picked up speed, I felt it’s time for me to clear my doubts. So I asked him what he meant by the right side? And if where he sits now is the right side, does it mean I am on the wrong side?

He laughed, I think, at my ignorance and the innocence of my question. And then replied that he has motion sickness and that he feels dizzy if he sits facing the direction opposite to the train’s motion. I was surprised, because I have never felt any degree of discomfort while sitting on either side. It makes no difference to me whether, so to say, I move with the train or against it. I blamed my ignorance at my perfect normality, the absence of a symptom and of discomfiture. And I was quite happy about it. Meanwhile, almost a year has passed since this happened. These days, I travel in trains more than ever in my life because back in India, public transport is synonymous with chaos and is avoided as far as possible. Today was just another workday; perhaps a tad bit gloomier than usual on account of being a Monday. I clambered up the few steps that led me to the upper deck of the compartment. After a couple of stations as the train moves away from the outskirts of Zurich, it usually gets comfortably empty. Everyone gets their own bunk and there is no one sitting opposite, which means legs stretched, arms relaxed and bags away from laps. So today morning, I was sitting comfortably, working on editing my paper for a conference due this Friday, occasionally sipping warm coffee from my Kiosk paper cup. A happy cozy couple perched in the next seat, enjoying their morning cuddle before work separates them for the whole day. The guy was reading the fresh edition of ‘20 Minuten’, the famous free newspaper of Zurich, whose name is derived from the fact that it takes 20 minutes to read it cover to cover. Well, at least for those who don’t read German atsnail pace, the way I do. I remembered the Sunday afternoon, when once proud of my B1 certificate for German language, I decided to read through the paper and evaluate myself. It took no longer than 2 hours and 15 minutes to read it cover-to-cover, and I ended up being not a bit wiser. Later, my Swiss friend lets me know that every edition of those tabloids are full of juicy gossip meant for enjoying a relaxed time in the train, because otherwise things get awkward when people start staring at each other blankly.

Nevertheless, let’s get back to my cozy, sleepy, almost dreamy Monday morning train ride to work. After going through a couple of pages in the paper, marking and jotting comments from time-to-time, I casually looked out the window. I could see forests, villages and trees covering hills; all lying behind a translucent film of mist which seemed to engulf everything. There were many droplets of water on the window glass, which for a moment I thought were due to the mist, later realizing it was rain. Suddenly, a thought struck my mind. I am sitting on the wrong side, I realized. I remembered the year-old encounter with the wrong side concept while travelling with my friend. All of a sudden, my comfortable ride so far
started becoming uncomfortable. I couldn’t figure out what’s wrong in the wrong side, but just the thought that I am sitting on the wrong side bothered me. I scanned the people around me and they all seemed to be sitting on the right side. On the pretext of hanging my coat to the pin, I stood up and quickly glanced around. And as suspected, every person, barring me, as far as I could see was sitting on the right side. I felt a bit restless about my normality, wondering whether the absence of a symptom was actually a symptom in itself. Quietly, I slipped back to my wrong-side seat.

For the remaining 10 minutes of my journey, rather than changing my side from wrong to right, I decided to ponder over aspects other than motion sickness which could drive a majority of people (in the curious case of my compartment as a sample space, all of them) to sit on the right side. To investigate the matter, I looked outside the window again. I tried to empty my mind of the restlessness that had momentarily taken hold of me, so that I could think clear and unbiased.

While sitting in the wrong side, I realized, it could be possible for me to feel a bit sad and melancholic. There is always this inexplicable gloom of leaving things behind while I see people, houses, fields and cars zooming past faster and farther than me. Sitting in the wrong side gives me a glance at the things I am leaving behind while I move to some place else.

Whereas if I sit on the right side, I would be embracing those people, houses, fields and cars while they come racing towards me, as if ready to be accepted and welcomed by me. I feel the world opens me to new things at all times and I see them coming to me. So I feel like I receive a warm welcome and I look forward to new places where I might zoom in to with my train.

Sitting in the wrong side leaves me at the complete mercy of the train; I can’t see where I am headed to. I could feel dragged by the train, perhaps unwillingly, to my destination.

In the right side, however, I feel I can control because I can see where I am going to and I feel that it was I who desired to go to these places.

After evaluating these possible feelings, I focused on the way I felt at that moment. And I realized that I am actually enjoying sitting in the wrong side. It gives me the opportunity to look at things in a different perspective. It makes me hungry because I feel I didn’t have enough time to look at that house with a weird green roof or that crazy graffiti on the wall, I feel I just missed it. Only if I had some more time to understand whether the green was paint or was it an overgrowth; I wish I could have made out what that bold, beautiful, yet insane graffiti suggested. I understand the value of the moment; of present and of this instant and my wrong-side seat in the train is a constant reminder of what I lose every instant. Ironically, it also reminds me the importance of letting things go, without which, I believe, moving forward would be impossible. It teaches me the ephemerality of all that matters, that travelling towards the goal is important and the things we lose on the way not.

In the end, I conclude that I am in my rightfully wrong seat.

क्रांति

क्रांति

तुम हो इनके अधीन !

तुम्हें क्या लगा-
ये काँटों के बाड़े इन्हें रोक पाएँगे ?
ये हथियार तुम्हारे इन्हें डरायेंगे ?
इनपर ये ज़ुल्म इन्हें तडपाएँगे ?
इनकी ये चीखें दूसरों को रोकेंगे ?

कितने गलत हो तुम-
अरे, क्रांति तो मन से होता है,
शरीर तो मात्र एक जरिया है.
और कष्ट तो क्रांति की जननी है,
तुम बांधो जितना, उतनी ये फैलनी है.

क्या पाया है तुमने-
ख़ुद से क्या तुम आँख मिला पाए हो ?
कभी रातों में चैन की नींद सोये हो?
जो हैवानियत का मुखौटा पहना है तुमने,
उसके अन्दर के इंसान को क्या भूल पाए हो?

किस भ्रम में हो तुम-
इनका दमन तुम्हारा शासन नहीं,
सिर्फ ये लोग क्रांति नहीं, न क्रांति केवल इनसे.
जब भी मन को कैदने के बाड़े बना लेना,
तब अपनी रातों की नींद इनसे छुड़ा लेना.

 

My thoughts above were triggered after reading about the Communist regime tyrants begging pardon after-the-fact. They plead,’We didn’t know! We were deceived! We were true believers! Deep in our hearts we are innocent!’ One is forced to brood, whether a man is innocent just because claims his mind was contorted, coerced into devilry.  (Reading Milan Kundera’s ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’)

Six Degrees of Separation

While merrily strolling through the vast meadows of the cyberspace, I stumbled across an interesting and profound thought. “Six Degrees of Separation”

It’s plain and simple to explain. The theory says, every two people on this planet can be separated from one another by a maximum of six intermediary acquaintances, which means the farthest ‘you’ and ‘I’ can possibly ever be is just a trail of six people in between us. This sounds like crap the first time you hear it, but apparently they have done a couple of social experiments and kind of landed around the same number on an average. Now, there has been many reservations about the scope of these studies. As for me, I don’t advocate for this idea to be totally true. Nor am I saying that it’s just some vague idea that a philosopher came up with centuries ago, on a fine sunny afternoon lazing under the sun in his lawn, perhaps even smoking a cigar.

But what I really want to do is to take a moment off here…and think about it. Six People. Just six persons separate us, that’s all the difference we all have among any of us. Is that the distance all we are fighting with each other for? Is it worth to discriminate people if they are just 6 friends apart from you? In the severely meshed societal connection of today’s world, once you start counting in Facebook  friends as well, I think the trail is surely already shorter than 6 people.

Think about it!