Sunday, July 31, 2011

Trust me, ‘Bytes’ were never so bland!!!

“A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won’t cross the street to vote in a national election.” – Bill Vaughan
Though that might seem nothing less than a zinger yet the contention it reverberates is true to the core not only for U.S. but more so for Indians. Yeah! We, Bharatvasis  with an electorate of 714 million (as per the 2009 electorate) that is larger than the electorate of the United States and European Union combined yet had an abysmal turn-out of 59.7%, a number that poses a question on our ability to choose when it is just a vote away! Mucked up with these factoids, I thought of getting an ingenuous picture from the hands of the one who’s been able to cut through the muddle making it seemingly a see-it-all for the en masse so that I, We & Us are able to assimilate things in a better way.   Bearing this intention in mind, I picked up the book ‘Braking News’ authored by NDTV anchor & news reporter Ms. Sunetra Choudhury.
Ms. Choudhary has tried to spill the beans regarding her stint on the NDTV Election Bus that covered almost 15,000 kilometers across the country in the backdrop of imminent elections ready to send doldrums across the vast stretch of different States. Well, I must admit without feigning any pseudo-critic mask that the book does give you an insight into the myriad aspects and the importance General Elections hold for our ‘Aam Aadmi’, their expectations from those who are contesting them and the travails of those who are perhaps bearing the brunt of supporting or choosing the wrong person for that matter. But then that chuffed spirit simply fizzles somewhere down the line when you begin to feel if it is an account of a seasoned journo or the travelogue of a lass who has just got whiff of fresh air as she gets that chance to freak from a nothing less than a cubby-hole like newsroom. As she confesses that her channel likes digging on those stories that are saleable, NDTV Election Bus trip ensured our beloved Sunetra a sabbatical though for a brief period wherein at least she would have to do away with that cribbing about being just an MC-BC (news parlance that connotes Mike Carrier and Byte Collector), point taken Ms. Gen-Next-not-so-sensitive scribe! And she had to go for it since there was already a disaffirmation she felt guilty about, that being the incident of the incinerating instances throughout the country when clashes had broken out between the  Sikhs and the Dera Sacha Sauda supporters in 2007 and also to be reprieved from the quotidian assignments that are usually hurled at journalists, one such instance being when she was literally compelled to hang around Una and deliver a report on how the youth in the vicinity was forced to leave their native place in search of jobs and were eventually trundled away to Iraq.
So our journey finally takes off from Delhi with the first sojourn being the city of Bharatpur, the place was under the scanner for being the hearth of the ongoing tussle between the Gujjars and the Meenas, with Col. Bainsla becoming an almost household name. With the PLU (People like Us) leader, Sachin Pilot dawdling Sunetra dearie and Maharaja Vishvendra Singh turning down the hopes of a calm Naghma Seher, ah! That certainly doesn’t seems to be a bang-on start nevertheless we do get a chance to bump into a flotilla of women belonging to the Gujjar and Meena communities and what we do get an insight into is nothing less than a shocker. Women choosing not to sit on the charpoy for that’s the place fixed for the men of the household reflects the moribund state of our society that stagnates with patriarchal dominance still lurking out there.
 Soon the brightly painted red colored bus makes it’s way into the city of Taj Mahal, Agra. A confrontation with Gurwinder Singh reveals the chinks that often mar the growth in small towns of India, Gurwinder being left with no option than to call it quits to his BPO venture and harp on to becoming a guide in the city galore with tourist. A tete-a-tete is soon followed with a bunch of girls who are fashionista-wannabes and cite Rakhi Sawant as their role model, for this woman who thrives on insinuations, expletives and derring-do that seem to baffle the normal sane person yet rekindles an inexplicable aspiration in small town girls who want to make it big in the glitzy world. And we met a puerile politician like Raj Babbar who despite donning the act of a father to an overtly ambitious son in ‘Bunti aur Babli’ is oblivious of those dreams that bloom in his vicinity.
So far so good, and though the travel to hinterland is pockmarked with crater like potholes and intimidated by buffalo jams yet, you seem to relish it somehow. Now starts what you may call a purgatory state for the reader, since I’m genuinely not interested in their sugarcane juice tale or how Naghma gave instructions to clean that machine with water, narrator’s incessant loo woes, well nobody in the whole world likes to behold ‘stray floaters’ in the toilet honey! And those never-ending heart-wrenching accounts of driver, cameraperson and their inter-personal equations for though they might be a cog in the wheel yet their importance can’t certainly be overlooked and yes, Ganga SinghJi the driver, Mohammad and Nishant, camera-personnel for the trip do command reverence at the end of it. But guys, give me a break, is it really a  personal account of an attempt that is directed at gauging the barometer of the moods just before the elections or is it supposed to be replete with the natter of an apparent teeny-weeny who likes grilling at the ‘lal-maas’ like a true bong!
Moving on, we have on our platter this exclusive story with a ‘sexy angle’ from Shivpuri, M.P., a dam that has had been under construction for the past 34 years, the ‘Atal Sagar Dam’ whose completion has been a task, being bequeathed amidst a slew of politicians with the hunt still going on for a plausible ‘one’ who can pull it off. A futile effort to tickle your funny bone is also made when she rather asks naively an arms-carrying pillion rider on a bike if he was a dacoit who much to our surprise turns out to be a Sanskrit teacher. Though it was an audacious act enough on part of Sunetra, the brave-heart, I wasn’t least impressed or even ruffled with such buffoonery! Though the agony and the wreathing pain of erstwhile BSP supporters like Durjan Member residing in Penchmohalla, Jhansi touches you somewhere deep, the man now being left in the gallows of abject poverty while his role-model Mayawati alias Behenji gloats over the glint of the sparkling diamonds adorning her. We are also apprised of the probity becoming synonymous with one and only politician in India, Naveen Patnaik affably known as Pappu Patnaik, who doesn’t mind lowering the glass panes of his ambassador car and stroll around like a free-spirited bird who’s not afraid of anyone. 

Not everyone does get an opportunity to travel across India trying to get into the nitty gritty of all those some evident and others that seem to be the muffled factors, yet play a pivotal role in marking the hues of the election canvass. And baby you lose it, you just let it all go like sand flowing out from the grasp of your hands, no figures, no data, forget analysis! There could have been concrete views being churned out at the end of it regarding voting patterns, inclination based on caste, communities, issues that are suddenly inflated prior to elections sabotaging those problems that mar the very pace of normal life! In the entire precincts of Vadodara perhaps you can never assimilate the miffed voices of the minority community by visiting the Yusuf Pathan, the ace Indian Cricket bowler’s household! Similarly there must be more surrounding the success story of ‘Seedless Pawars’ in the town of Baramati! Ugh! It wasn’t’ supposed to be a eulogy! Right?? Nasik, being the host to give our mam her wine-stimulated-nirvana-moment, all this stuff being simply nauseating beyond a point.
While the young boys of Jharkhand who despite knowing six languages yearn for the knowledge of English, having been apprised of what would bring good job offers to them; Muthalik, Ram Sene’s henchman aided, BJP candidate Ram Bhatt condescending the fact that it doesn’t matter who supports him in Mangalore and the stark contrast that comes out with two women trying hard to retain their honor amidst hordes of knavish men surrounding them, Draupadi Murmu in Sundardih village of Mayurbhanj and actress Jaya Prada in Moradabad district of Uttar Pradesh exemplifying the grit a woman has to display when she is contesting elections that’s nonetheless like walking on a tightrope. A perfect kaleidoscope that could have been even brilliant if it was sprinkled with in-depth analysis and those connecting dots were joined in a manner that could have brought out a lucid picture of the mumbo jumbo we refer to as the largest democracy of the world. Well, no worries Ms. Choudhury, 2014 general elections ain't that far!!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Stanley and the many intricacies about his ‘Dabba’!!

‘Stanley ka Dabba’ movie entices you the moment it heralds with an animated duo of a monstrous wretched man and his tussle with a kido, all for a dabba (Tiffin box) with the poor lad looking forth an escapade by drawing caricature of sorts and thus devising a nouveau way every time to fool the man with long hair, hinting subtly to what we can expect in the plot about to unfold.
From the very moment our gaze befalls on the protagonist Stanley Fernandez (Partho Gupte and director-cum-producer Amol Gupte’s son) who starts his day with a prayer to Mother Mary, those streaks of sun rays beaming from behind her halo shining brightly as if true blessings are being showered in the form of a cascade with a gushing flow. There are moments in the entire film that reminded me of my good ole’ school days, those mornings replete with an anxiety mulling over the proceedings of the entire day, mommas instructing their sweet hearts right up to the gates of the school, teachers making a foray into the precincts of the school those idiosyncrasies marking the very hue of the ambience be it the affable exchange of glances between a Ms. Rosie (English Teacher played by Divya Dutta) and her beau or Mrs. Iyer (Science Teacher portrayed by Divya Jagdale) and that cockish attitude of hers not to forget that ‘gajra’ being quintessential of her very mien. Amidst these oddities thrives our supposed villain Babubhai Verma (Hindi Teacher played by Amol Gupte) who suffers from kleptomania and one or two more of such psychosomatic disorders, a rather beguiling man who seems to draw some sort of sadistic pleasure by eating out of others’ Tiffin boxes be it his colleagues or even his own pupils for that matter, poor Aman Mehra being one of the many na├»ve subjects of his utter tormenting test of one’s patience and in this case the helpless child’s noblesse oblige as well, ah that ‘teen compartment wala dabba’ could bring water to anyone’s mouth, you see!!!
Well, this always happens my sense of premonition deserting me when I need it rather badly (guess would have to brush it more) and after a period has passed, this thought came like a swish that ‘Stanley Ka Dabba’ had in fact some ‘moments’ (moments referring to the time that elapsed in the seemingly brooding couch for twelve tiring long years of my life) I could relate to easily:
1)    First and foremost that tendency to get lost in the crowd especially if you are not among those flamboyant ones who have been very successful in gelling well with the respective teacher (technical word for it is ‘impression’). In this case Ms. Rosie was the only one who adored Stanley not as a student but as an individual who brought value to class through his overtures and thoughts being given vent to in his essays that made him stand out among his peers.
2)    Rote knowledge being imparted in the form of formal education, the mentors (read teachers) making every possible attempt to sabotage and crush any bud of creativity that might have survived the whirlwinds of time. So for the Science Teacher those slushy piles of science projects were more substantial than the ‘Tower House’ made by Stanley the boy preferring to make a Live Model rather than scribbling on pages for that is what he could make out of green house gases, global warming and other such mind-boggling concepts taking the fact into consideration that the spotlight is on class four kids.!
3)    An inexplicable jinx  is palpable, sucking the very sheen of those corridors that should be bubbling with vivacity and an aura that not only propels students from one term to another rather than transform them into ‘enablers’, those that are capable of sending ripples across. Stanley who is the butt of stern action at the hands of a science teacher, is recommended by Hindi teacher to write with right hand despite being left-hander, yet receives a smiley from Ms. Rosie in his essay, for he could describe events vividly sprinkled with jocundity, those that had never occurred.
4)    Distribution of assignment copies, I guess I really relished this particular scene when fingers were crossed as we didn’t want any public lashing either for essay or for writing or ‘why your copy is not covered’, ‘whose copy is without a name slip’ trivial but very crucial source of embarrassment for the toddlers! That swarming and pandemonium that creeps in the wake of an inter-school competition and that jostle to choose the school’s best(est) representative, Stanley being victimized due to the  fray but makes up for it owing to his instinctive ability to absorb things with a lightning speed
5)    Not to forget the most prized possession, that of having a ‘dabba’ for it is not just food, rather those contents being emblematic of affection and care of mum poured into it who can’t accompany you inside those precincts and the 'compartmentalized object' emerging in the film as the basis to debar Stanley from attending the school.

It isn’t a smooth sail as it appears and one soon realizes that it is a bumpy ride with a few potholes marring the nostalgic journey in ways more than one, yet the essence is well-illustrated as the culmination arrives. While the school bids farewell to the man who always eyed other person’s dabba, Babubhai represents those belonging to the category of pusillanimous that under the garb of teachers leave bruises on fragile minds leaving them more than often in a state of delirium. Good riddance of the fiend, I must say!!
It is not a master-piece or an avant-garde in the genre of drama for it fails to tread on the path of ‘Taare Zamin Par’ yet it strikes the right chord as it unravels the travails of those who might not be as fortunate, those who labor in the wee hours only to make it to a school where carrying a dabba is a must.

Friday, July 22, 2011

When hoodlums are proclaimed as ‘Gandhians’ – That’s how we are punk’d in this country!!

Amidst the three pillars of democracy, judiciary over the past few years has emerged as the vanguard that truly upholds the very principles of democracy. Those harboring skeptical views about the institute would not miss out this opportunity to vilify the intentions of the Apex body while also hurling out allegations of being overtly stringent and attempting to transgress boundaries, but then who cares? The very visage of those holding the precarious scales of justice in their hands at the very outset of it seemed determined to deliver justice to those who have been crying hoarse since 2006, the year after state-sponsored armed militia Salwa Judum came into existence.
Yes, another landmark judgment came like a thumping gong from the aegis of the Supreme Court in the PIL filed by sociologist Nandini Sundar, historian Ramachandra Guha, former bureaucrat EAS Sarma and others, asking the court to give direction to the state government to refrain from supporting Salwa Judum in any manner. ‘Purification Hunt’ that’s what this troupe is emblematic of referring to its literal meaning in Gondi language, should I say a ragtag group gone berserk and driven by a  frenzy harped on to ethnic cleansing that resulted in gory consequences in various villages of Chattisgarh. This is not the tale of a single hamlet, rather heart-wrenching accounts of men and women who had to bear the brunt of Salwa Judum’s fury that was as unpredictable as their actions at any point of time.
It all started when the human rights activists started raising their voices against the malfeasances that had become the order of the day, all in the name of combating the Maoists yet the action of these SPOs (Sate Police Officers who were appointed under the Chattisgarh Police Act, 2007), hinted of the plausible sinister motives that was being connived and the mien of the venom spewed could be felt far and wide. A riposte posted on its respective portal by the CPJC (Campaign for Peace & Justice in Chattisgarh) unravels certain shocking instances that were found as part of the NHRC investigation into Salwa Judum on the directions of the Supreme Court in 2008, cases wherein law & order was kept on the brink and crass derring-do being committed all in the name of maniacal operations. The NCPCR (National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights) report that encompasses findings by the likes of Mr. J.M. Lyngdoh (former CEC) includes horrific accounts, testimonies by 35 people belonging to the Cherla region who complained of being inflicted with atrocities such as killing of their family members and rape of women, the dire consequences being followed since they dared to nix the intentions of Salwa Judum.
The state was in fact mired by a dilemma that on one hand had armed civilians including minors with .303s guns and on the other front had failed to administer proper training to them so that these SPOs could in fact have been turned out into the very battalion that was protecting the innocent tribal through day and night by enclosing the very precincts of their habitat as a fortress. The Matwada case is another instance belonging to the chasm that erupted between the State and its subjects that saw a sham FIR being filed by the police against the naxals in which the prima facie perpetrators were Salwa Judum and security forces that had further obliterated harmony through their latent collusion. Firm adherence to draconian laws like the Chattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005 was what one may call final nail in the coffin for that had to ensue into uber pandemonium becoming the order of day, for somehow the state government, and the security forces seemed to thrive on the subterfuge they had built so very well. Amendments made in 2004 to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 were capable enough to sabotage the growing fangs of Maoists, thus divulging the very connivance that marked the precedent of those actions.
That brings me back to the excruciating pain I had to undergo when I felt as if my sensibilities were being punk’d at and definitely seemed to be the butt of humor. For how else would you try to make the most of Chhattisgarh’s Chief Minister Raman Singh’s contention who in an interview to a leading national daily made an earnest attempt to shield the SPOs and the charade of Salwa Judum by proclaiming them as ‘Gandhians’ who combated against the naxals. The head of the State that contributed to 65% of the total naxal violence in 2008 with around 5000 SPOs in its kitty currently seemed to be in a virile mood as he looks forward to the wondrous conclusions being churned out through the Review Petition. Though the one thought ensconced in the psyche that wouldn’t dodge away like that is the quest for an affirmation that Chilkhadih and Dantewada massacres wouldn’t recur, if only the government can come up with a firm resolve on that front and help us in getting rid of those pangs of anxiety.
Undoubtedly, the judgment in ‘Nandini Sundar and Ors. Vs. State of Chhattisgarh’ is sui generis one and would herald several repercussions for good or worse in near future, the government at the state and the central level should try mitigate the bruises left in the minds of the en masse who were caught up in the maelstrom by default of having owned a piece of land in the high entropy zone of one part of the Red Corridor, India’s seemingly battle turf.

Friday, July 15, 2011

And Humpty Dumpty had a great fall!!!

When things begin to go awry they often recrudesce in a manner that’s often beyond the realm of one’s imagination. But then that’s how the wonky state of affairs herald their beginning coupled with other tremors that soon set the very tectonic plates in fast-paced motion that were once the cornerstone of an individual. Alas! Rupert Murdoch is caught up in a situation of sorts as he still strives to get himself released from the pangs of the NOTW (News of the World) scandal with the prestigious and much talked about BSky Bid slipping off his hands. Perhaps there was no way out as well with the dissent taking the entire House of Commons by storm.
Perhaps the media mogul Rupert Murdoch should mull over Mad Hatter’s words that wouldn’t sound that cockeyed at this point of time for this otherwise fictional character from Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s adventures in Wonder Land’ makes a lot of sense at the hour of grave crisis, “If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?” phew!  Gasping for breath out there? Sure but the fact remains that the mess certainly needs to be cleared away and this time that sloshing around wouldn’t be allowed for even Mr. Murdoch’s reportedly close aides Prime Minister David Cameron seems to be riding roughshod these days. But then a friend in need is a friend indeed, come on buddy, that’s an archaic axiom certainly not meant to be adhered to when you are being grilled incessantly by the opponents, the comrades belonging to the Labor Party perhaps thriving at the opportunity as they hurl those acerbic questions and remarks at the eighty-year old magnate who started off with one newspaper in Adelaide, Australia and was ranked as the 13th most powerful person in the world as per the Forbes’ list, the man who escalated the bequeathed empire to another level as he catered to his whetted appetite by driving through some well-known mergers & acquisitions.
168-year old ‘News of the World’ tabloid had to bid farewell to one and all as it had enough of stifling existence ever since the baton came in Rupert’s hands in 1984 with the newspaper drooling over sex scandals and thus earning the infamy of ‘Screws of the World’ but the practice of mushrooming on tittle-tattle continued with the same gusto for yes, it was considered as a venial act, who would mind it anyways? Perhaps this is the very notion that propelled Rupert and his men at the NOTW to venture into the no-man's land and barge into other people's privacy for let’s accept the harsh truth that we are inhabiting the planet at a time when prurience rules the roost and more so when the print media is vying with the electronic and digital media to attain that stature in terms of figures, revenue and most importantly popularity among the masses.
That fetish for the yellow media garnered not only eyeballs but also those impressive darn numbers as well with the ‘muck-dressing’ fetching around 2,812,005 copies being sold out daily till October 2010. The troupe was evidently headed towards an imminent disaster quite oblivious of it with the cruise having gone berserk and a mast that led to any direction whatsoever. For how else would you explain the jolt that was inflicted on the newspaper in 2006, that left those at the helm of affairs almost undeterred, when the NOTW royal editor Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire, a private detective by profession were slapped with serious allegations of hacking voice messages of the members of the Royal British Family. That was just the tip of the iceberg for more skeletons were to follow soon tumbling out of cupboard and spilling those beans!
Prince William’s intentions of going for that portable editing suit from ITV’s  Tom Bradby to the piped-down on goings of the actors Sienna Miller and Steve Coogan, football agent Sky Andrew and television host Chris Tarrant were those that were the prospective prey by the these scoop-gashing beasts. No wonder then that Murdoch Senior is at the centre of so many zingers being targeted at him with one parliamentarian describing him as a cancer on body politic. Ah! I guess how they would try to curb the spread of this pestilence.
Hedge funds had poured into the BSkyB shares as the investors didn’t have whiff of a hint that this bid would turn hostile in near future thus resulting into the arbitrageurs losing around 260 million pounds. Guess the ramifications would even be gross in times to come, and as a scribe punned at Rupert Murdoch having allowed a few lunatics to run the asylum, perhaps it’s time for to snap up those who could ail this imperia getting rid of the unwanted entropy that has crept into it before it culminates with the resounding words, “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again”!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

A day out, marred by ‘certain’ Incongruities…..

Weekends for me are usually characterized by sauntering around in the obvious alleys that pockmark the very ubber cosmopolitan milieu of Delhi; one such place where the humdrum in the backdrop is coupled with gentry comprising of gorgeous lasses with a hair-do, styling, attitude and an air of oomph factor plausibly hanging around with their mates, err, digging them with oodles of wile, for shopping always seems to be an unfulfilled pursuit, eateries some well known being ‘Wengers’ that is a haven for baked delicacies, the ones from the aegis of Uncle Sam, McD & KFC, ‘New Book Depot’ & the illustrious ‘Jain Book Depot’ catering to the needs of book aficionados  and an array of restro-cum-pub-cum bar, that reminds me of ‘Castle9’ and ‘@live’ this locale of concentric circles being festooned with the likes of wondrous theaters like PVR, Odeon, etc. , not to forget those umpteen road-side vendors whose mercantile is bubbling with bric-a-brac, I owe a lot of studs and my collection of bling to them, with the bhelpuri wala straddling in between block G and H offering a real delectable delight,  yes friends, Ciao! For this is Connaught Place, affably known as CP. 
From being befuddled to having been acclimatized well to the place strolling down which, is a jaunt that reinvigorates one to the hilt especially if you aren’t one of those phoney types who feign to be Romani when they actually have a penchant for lying smug out there in their closets! It was another routine hanging out with a friend of mine at the most happening place of the city, an attempt on our part to break the drudgery that creeps in through the inexplicable mundane antics of our lives, gearing up to survive another harrowing week! We had just succumbed to our natural instinct of quenching the raging thirst through the ‘Moito’ the Vanilla Blue one, and had just stepped out to have a face-off with the sweltering afternoon when my swift pace was halted by someone!
‘Didi ji 10 rupaiye me 2 pencil, le lo naa’, a jarring not struck in my ears as I looked down at the boy hardly six years of age, bearing a disheveled look with a shaved head, wearing a worn-out blue t-shirt that had turned into something having grey hues, a half-pant with his clothes giving the appearance as if either not having been washed for quite a while or perhaps they had that dusty look owing to excessive laundering, his frail hands with two pencils in hand rising in air the toddler trying his level best to strike a handsome deal with his prospective customer that happened to be me. Here I would like to share with you all that I’m among those who avoid reaching out to the wallet and shed a few shillings as inadvertently I’m indeed aiding a social malpractice the very existence of which   cocks-a-snook at the ramshackle state of  society. So that urchin had definitely not spread his arms rather had harped on to a comely way notwithstanding that even that was smacking at the foibles of the ecosystem he’s part of, in unfathomable ways.  But all those notions of mine seemed to have vanished into thin air and somehow popped up a need for those pencils where a few minutes ago there existed none.
A wide smile swept across his face as I handed over a ten rupee note to him after which I joined my friend who was absorbed by now drooling o’er some earrings, my thoughts still wandering around the ill fate of that boy who by now had moved on in a bid to convince two girls who didn’t have any time to listen to any of his words rather hurled at him the coke they were relishing as a token of brandished sympathy. I could not take it any longer and without any furtive glances approached my little pencil seller, with my eyes looking forth his elder sister who was also moving around carrying some other stationary items bundled up in a bag over her shoulder, as she enhanced her proximity with us sensing some fallacy that might have construed at the hands of her younger brother. Reassuring her that wreckage had in fact not recrudesced, I handed a ‘certain’ amount to her saying that this is something I wanted to give to the toddler who in a brief gab confessed to have never gone to school, what an irony of fate, those hands that should be holding a pencil to write had hundreds of them but for another purpose altogether…. I walked away for a verbose person like me was facing an extreme paucity of words at this point of time.  I decided to keep it ‘certain’ for divulging it would not be able to convey my emotions with lucidity; nevertheless that ‘certain’ was not a bounty that could change the life of that lad forever.
Our next sojourn was Bangla Sahib Gurudwara followed by Saint Cathedral Church, ah! Somehow we decided to adhere to our spiritual penchant that was accompanied by a rabid curiosity to visit these places and pay an obeisance to the Supreme. While you have to winnow your way out amidst the crowd in the gurudwara that was erected in 1783, having been dedicated to the eighth Sikh Guru, Guru Har Krishan, the place being thronged with Sikhs and those belonging to other religion as well, with an utmost management playing the driving force that averts those men and women from being thrown into the form of a hurly burly crowd. Having performed all the essential chores with utmost mien that are considered obligatory once you are inside the sacred haven we drifted towards the Sacred Heart Cathedral and after a brief hearing to the incantations followed by lighting the candles on the outer patio of the Church, headed back towards home.
I was mulling over the instances of the entire day as I hoped to reach not only my destination but also a plausible conclusion been churned out at the end of it. Friends, the way I’ve witnessed life and its machinations unfolding in some of the most unexpected ways, I respect others’ religious fervor with unflinching commitment though I must admit my own sense of spirituality and mode of seeking solace has become to adapt atheist ways, some distinct sort of upsurge dawning on me with extreme moment of catharsis.  Unfortunately I didn’t have that experience of sorts at both the kernels of worship that draw hordes of people towards them, though definitely I do not want to connote any vituperative thought regarding the same. The one thing that lasted for quite long was the face of that urchin and his humble and ardent request to buy those pencils; I knew what had filled me with an inner satiation, this brimming gaiety being spilled in the words of Ghazal singer Jagjit Singh, “Ghar se masjid hai bahut door, chalo kisi rote hue bacche ko hasaya jaye”…….