Thursday, 29 September 2011

On hope, festivity and growing up.

Too much enthusiasm is detrimental to health. Sometimes, the mind is in a state of utopia. Everything works according to your own will. And then there's the collusion with reality that erodes much of it's dreaminess.

Welcome to the festive season. It's the season of make or break romances, heart burns, vanity, larger than life realities and realisations of the unmakings and makings of friendships. The world shrinks itself into the city with make-belief palaces cropping up here and there, glittery streets that otherwise wear an old forlorn look, girls with prettiness painted on their faces and others wearing their hearts on their sleeves with much elan. There's music. Not a single street is devoid of them. And there are short midnight naps and exciting mornings when one looks forward to their single day of living larger than life, going beyond the mundane humdrums of everyday details. And there's hope of something magical happening each day.

Hope is one of those greatest shatterer of hope itself. No reality can live up to the expectations the mind creates for oneself. It's the festive season. Sometimes, I think, one just needs to realise that inspite of the unwillingness to accept it, we've grown up into prim and proper grown-ups. The type we used to hate when we were kids. The ones who'd curtail our freedom, be it the ice cream cone or the battery-operated aeroplanes that would transform our rooves into giant airfields. Enjoyment has reduced itself to hours of pre-planning, worries and joyous recalling and consolations of the one day of every three-month when we all can say we enjoyed, pictures hoarded up for the world to see are the required proofs. We;ve learnt the art of deliberation and rejection. But on our way to become composed adults, I suppose we had to lose the child in us.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Creeks in the city

I saw the sea in the heart of the city today.

No, I'm not delirious. True story. My college is in an area where even if you have one of those little fountains under which Jaya Prada used to dance in her movies, there's going to be some great amount of water-logging. And I saw the city come alive amidst all the discomfort. Students grumbling on their way back, would remember this day when they fondly look back upon their college days, little boys on their way back experimenting in knee deep murky water as if they didn't care for all the dirt... every mother's nightmare. Cars almost wading slowly, wipers fast moving, trousers up till the knees, umbrellas bright, clashing against low lying roofs of roadside second hand bookstalls that has a misty smell of old books and moist wind, the college folks of the male kind hoping that the pretty ones of their female counterpart will do a Sridevi stunt in the rain, hawkers hurrying to take their items off the road before the water devoured them, Hand-pulled cycle rickshaws suddenly getting a life back from their collective demise as people realise they are the only comfortable mode of transport in the temporary creeks of the city, Ambassadors showing their might over the sleeker cars, food stalls bursting with people, wet umbrellas and murky shoes. As life went on.

Just another day went by. While I was safely huddled in a car hoping that the water won't seep into the engine, I saw my city come alive around me.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

On the art of herding

Much of my college life’s pedagogic moments have been spent trying to make sense of polite squabbles amongst intellectually superior historians. Not that I mind, because debates and discourses are supposed to make us mortals become enlightened soul and all that. But such scholarly debates are often boring to our spring-like minds, to say the least.

The historical debates go something like this:

Elton: There was a Tudor Revolution in Government.
Other chaps: No there weren’t.
Elton reloaded: Yes there was, (with modifications on his views, and slightly annoyed but refuting with gusto)
Some other chap: no there weren’t… and then a lot of other intellectual fellows have a go at it. (The uninitiated reader drops dead... I eagerly survived because of an excellent Professor who made them very interesting and won our hearts in the process). Anyway, such scholarly debates can be intellectually stimulating and all that, but often not very humorous.

Hence, a blog-debate was much fun to read. A fellow blogger explains with much humour ingrained with an idea of the reality that is essential, the pain in the posterior that stereotypical attitudes can be, as a reply to another post where another fellow soul of the female kind ranted about the libidos of dilliwalas amongst other things in a way as if all the stupid, men of the world are imported from Delhi annually. (To be fair, though I don't agree with the view, it was fun to read).

It set me thinking. I mean, we all do have our sets of stereotypical notions I suppose. It’s the notion that one’s stereotypical notions are infallible is what becomes troublesome to those who oppose it. I’ve come across people look down rather snobbishly upon people who prefer Bollywood movies to Parallel cinemas, (or conversely, judge people by their appreciation of Truffaut, Fellini and the likes who by the way are becoming so popular amongst the intellectuals that they run the risk of becoming massy and thus losing their aura). Or categorise the Chetan Bhagat fans as uneducated. I mean, it’s okay to not like Chetan Bhagat or Bollywood. But no one is making it compulsory for you to marry that particular fellow who appreciates all these stuff. So one might as well give the neurons some rest.

And let us accept it. All Bengalis are not fond of Tagore. He was this awesome chap no doubt, but one really can breathe, eat, drink, be merry and do all that even without going head over heels for him or singing his songs in every possible occasion. Also, all men here don’t play football, or have midnight dreams about Sourav Ganguly.

Nevertheless, however much we shall rant, India is too big a country to let go of stereotyping people. It’s like, if you have a farm with two sheep, you might name them Tom and Harry. But if you have a hundred, you might as well address them simply as that big flock of sheep. (I am not great at explaining, and this is the best I could manage). Matrimonial columns are the best example of stereotypical ideas. From the description of girls, it often seems that all are running after the same girl who is tall, fair, convent educated, of a particular caste, can cook, can sing, dance, knit, have a superbly fertile interior to top it all.

Anyway, come what may, the art of randomly categorising people shall remain eternal I suppose. I've been there, done that. But at least we can be mature about it.