I’m a loquacious person by nature. My mouth rarely takes a holiday. But I often fall into the arms of silence when I travel or commute.
Silent, because I’m quieted by that which meets my eyes.
The smile on the face of the child that fell asleep in its mother’s arms.
The couple walking hand in hand in the cold winter night.
The two friends laughing over coffee in the café.
The family of five on a single bike.
The young kid crying for the biggest balloon.
The smell of freshly fried samosas.
Children playing hopscotch in one lane and galli cricket in the other.
The man on the cycle selling cotton candy and kulfi.
Cows and buffaloes crossing the road slowly, very slowly.
Hymns from the temples.
People eating Golgappas.
The crowd that had formed outside the T.V store to watch the cricket match for free.
Rangoli outside houses.
Men pissing on the street. (In my country,kissing on the road is punishable but pissing on the road is allowed!)
Street side salons.
And then, as I stop at the red light, the march of the destitute begin.
The old lady bent double with age.
The man with the crutches.
The little boy with charred hands.
The little girl, selling flowers cheaper than ever.
The old man who says he hadn’t eaten anything since three days.
The light goes green and I move on.
The world changes.
The dark truth meets the eyes. The smile slowly fades.
People sleeping on the pavements, in the cold night. They sleep there season after season, never properly covered.
I wonder how many of them had slept without food.
The drunkard walking home. What problems might he have?
The children making street corners their beds. Would they ever know the comfort of a bed?
The woman scouting the garbage bin for something that she could use. What would she give her children in breakfast?
The old man parking his vegetable wagon at the corner of the road. Did he earn enough to feed his family?
The little huts, which had plastic sheets for roofing. What do those people do during cold nights?
The leper still begging on the street. Did his family abandon him because of the disease?
The young boy, was he a runaway?
The single tear that ran out was not of sympathy or of pain. It was in gratitude.
Gratitude for everything I have been blessed with.
Isn’t it a blessing? Properly functioning body parts, a presentable face, no fatal disease, three times food, a house to live in and clothes to wear.
If this doesn’t make you feel blessed, and you do not feel a responsibility for the less blessed ones, then, somewhere in you humanity has died.
16 December, 2012.
Two years ago, India was shook by the Nirbhaya rape case. The brutal nature of the attack had struck a nerve. And in thousands, Indian citizens– both men and women–took to the streets in protest.
16 December, 2014.
Two years later, what transpired in Peshawar has shaken Pakistan more than an earthquake or a war could have.
Irrespective of the country or the date, the world mourned two years ago and the world mourns now for the 141 lives that have been extinguished.
The militants did not enter the school to take hostage or to negotiate with the government. They came to kill.
The principal of the school was burnt alive in front of the children to fill them with terror. The children were duped and asked how many of them belonged to army families and were shot. Those cowering under desks and chairs were pulled and dragged and killed.
Eight hours. Eight hours of defenceless children without the protective cover of their mothers or fathers.
Why was the school targeted? Because it was a symbol of everything the Taliban was against.
I do not write to make suggestions. I know not why I write this piece. Right now, as I write, my hands shiver and eyes tear up.
Bruised and bleeding, gone are the children.
Forever gone. Dreams destroyed.
Imagine the lives of those who survived! Their precious innocence shattered. Life will never be the same for them.
This heartrending incident has unsettled and disturbed me more than the Nirbhaya case had. The faces of those innocent angels haunt me.
And yet, I find around me, people who read the facts, utter words of sympathy and proceed to movies and shopping and dates.
With time, apathy and forgetfulness will take over.
Humanity will fall, once again, into the depths of slumber.
Until another tragedy hits. Then we’ll hold candle light vigils again.
Perhaps we’ll make a movie on this and give it an Oscar.
Maybe I am not strong enough. Maybe I’m weak. I write to get the pain out. I write because my heart cries in aguish.
I write to reveal that–
Evolution is a myth. People are still animals.
This was one of my favourite sights during childhood. 🙂 Remember those childhood memories when you went to a fair or a carnival and saw this bag with fluffy pink gigantic cotton on a stick? Remember how you pulled a piece and popped it in your mouth and it immediately melted? Dissolved! Disappeared! Soft clouds that you could eat! Rainbow colours! And you wanted more but your parents refused. Oh cotton candy, I still love you! 🙂
Because I was bored. And because I wanted to attempt this since many days.
Here’s how I would introduce Taj Mahal to someone (probably an alien) who doesn’t know The Taj Mahal.
Taj Mahal means “Crown Palace”. It was built by the fifth Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan in 1631 in memory of his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal, a Muslim Persian princess.
When Mumtaz Mahal was still alive, she extracted four promises from the emperor: first, that he build the Taj; second, that he should marry again; third, that he be kind to their children; and fourth, that he visit the tomb on her death anniversary.
He kept the first and second promises.
So exquisite is the workmanship that the Taj has been described as
“having been designed by giants and finished by jewellers”.
Different people have different views of the Taj but it would be enough to say that the Taj has a
life of its own. As an architectural masterpiece, nothing could be added or subtracted from it.