Bahadur The Braveheart

Bahadur has been with us for decades. No fuss, no nuances—he is no Jeeves, but our Man-Friday for sure.

Assisting the families of three brothers on three floors and managing no man’s lands, Bahadur is everyone’s favourite punching-bag. Not as stoic as Buddha, he takes it from all with equanimity—allowing just the right twitch to his left eyebrow.

He manages the garbage, grounds, and the grimaces. He drives us nuts, but doesn’t bolt; and produces the priceless screw n screwdriver just in time to overcome many a mini crises. Like feudals, we shout n clap “koi hai”, and Bahadur emerges from the shadows like the ghost who walks.

He has mastered the survival stratagems—he ducks, reflects, and deflects the blame-balls with aplomb. He has stood the tests of time, our idiosyncrasies, and bewildering behavior.

Time and trials have taught him when to take us for granted, and to play one against the other. His subterfuge is not subtle. Unsophisticated—unlike the city-born and bred—he  is often caught. But haven’t his small sins and cunning little leeways—albeit harmless—resulted from our own selfishness?

He has lived more of his life with our family than his own. He has played with our infants, seen children become adults, and witnessed young grow old—while his own hair has thinned, and temples turned grey. If ever he had dreamt, he had merged them into ours long ago.

We mess with him when he is around, and miss him when he is not. Like the “unhappily married for long”, we wouldn’t leave each other…Till death do us part. Caught between “Goodbye” and “I love you”, we retire to a corner and hum the mutual dilemma:

“Can’t live with or without you” (U2);

and

”Tere bina zindagi se koi shikwa to nahin…Tere bina zindagi bhi lekin zindagi to nahin” (Aandhi)

Bahadur

A Tale of Two Sisters

Puja in pink and Maya in red—are sisters. Puja joined us a few months back to look after Maa. Soon after, Maya—younger of the two—came to help my brother in household affairs.

From the bits and pieces that are thrown at me by Maa, I learnt—their father doesn’t earn anything, is a drunkard, and drowns in alcohol every last penny these sisters bring home. Puja and Maya are two among the six sisters—born in quick succession. The youngest is six, and the oldest—Puja—is 22. Their mother lives the nightmare created by her husband day and night.

I never ask them anything, lest i dent their dignity.

From what little I have observed, both are neat in their methods and manners. They are cheerful while working, at peace when resting, and carry themselves well. They don’t complain, but are straight forward.

Puja and Maya hug or have arms on each other’s shoulders whenever they meet. Naughty Maya has an attitude. Puja acts the elder sister.

When I returned from the office today, both had an earpiece each in their ears from the same mobile cord—talking to their mother. They accepted my request for their pic with grace, Maya managing to remain still for the shot.

These two sisters and the other four don’t know what the future holds for them. I don’t know about the other four, but Puja and Maya live each day as it comes.

Puja maintains a Diary…Perhaps writing what remains unsaid. Maya doesn’t…Perhaps she is weaving a fairy tale.

Puja & Maya

Driving Thoughts 2: Mind’s Traffic

The Mind’s Traffic

Mornings—body is fresh after the shave, shower, and scent; so is the rested mind. Day’s work doesn’t tire. But the crazy bumper to bumper evening traffic on the city’s high-street sags the shirt, spine n spirit. “Una paloma blanca…” on the radio exhorts, but I am unable to soar.

I negotiate the terrifying traffic despite the horns and holes, heat and dust, smoke and fumes, shouts and stares. I spend sixty chaotic minutes on the road before I hit home. I endure the daily grind. I am sure, most of you too.

This triggers my thoughts.

Why, at times, my mind gets caught in the cobwebs of confusion? Why my thoughts can’t steer clear of the diversions, delusions, and distractions? I handle the traffic on the road with aplomb and reach the destination always. Why can’t I master my mind’s traffic, and avoid the bumps, dumps, and slumps?

Why my mind’s eye can’t see the light?

Is it because I drive my car, but I allow others to drive my thoughts—hence life?

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay 

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Driving Thoughts: Humans Evolving or Devolving?

Every morning while driving to my office, I traverse a long stretch of the city’s high-street. The lovely white flowers on the road’s median sway and dance in the breeze, the little branches bend and reach out—to  touch n embrace. They uplift my mood. I ignore the merciless Sun scorching my face, and whistle to the tune of “Una paloma blanca…” playing on the car radio.

The next moment my eyes travel to the median below and encounter miles of disgusting spit. My senses are so offended, I silence the singer and the whistler. 

Disturbing thoughts cloud my mind.

Humans damage what humans build. We kill our creations, murder our heritage, and ravage our civilization.

Humans also destroy nature. We ruin our rivers, cut our forests, spoil the air we breathe, and pollute the water we drink. We systematically deface and disfigure the beauty.

We take the life out of life.

And for every havoc, every calamity that we wreak on ourselves—we blame God or Government.

Are we evolving or devolving?

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We Are Strange

We act one way with the people of equal or higher social standing, and another way with the less fortunate ones.

We fight for and snatch the restaurant bill of thousands to have the privilege of paying it. We also fight with the rickshaw puller or a vegetable vendor over a Rupee.

Humans are strange. The overfed overfeed the overfed and underfeed the underfed. But at times, those who have less, give more.

Humans have double standards, Nature one. Nature only gives, never takes.

Nature doesn’t discriminate. It invites all to eat, drink, take, see, explore, enjoy—all that it has.

Nature teaches, but we never learn.

Nature has failed to change the human nature.

Pic: joshua earle-unsplash IMG_20200908_201545

The Insensitive Me

Staying with Maa* in confined spaces for a year now, I have seen her suffering from close, seen her reducing, losing. But the sparkle in her eyes and mischief in the smile don’t diminish. Taking care of her at night and whenever I could during the day, made me feel her feelings, look at things from her eyes, and discern what can’t be expressed.

Four months into the government job, it became difficult for me to be with her at night due to lack of sleep. Nearly a month back we kept a lady attendant to take care of Maa. She replaced me to a great extent. This has created a distance between Maa n Me. Now, I spend less time with her. I used to be with her entire night, now we go to different rooms at 9 p.m. Earlier I was very patient with her, now I get annoyed.

But Maa hasn’t changed except that her concern and love for me keep increasing exponentially.

I wonder whether the relative ease of living after hiring the attendant has made me insensitive? What if Maa was my child? Whether I would be insensitive towards the child as well? I guess-Not.

But Maa now is a child.

*Maa: Mother

Maa sleeping pic

Show-Offs: The Show Spoilers

The urge to show off in the status-sick overpowers their sense of right and wrong. It kills their decency, if any. It turns them into hypocrites and makes them practice double standards.

These showoffs consider themselves as God’s gift to the humanity. Their thoughts begin and end with themselves. Selfish to their very core—they don’t bother what is just, fair, and right.

Uninvited and self-appointed, they sit in judgment over everything and pronounce their ridiculous verdicts.

Under the constant spell of status-anxiety, they brag about their status symbols—such as money, houses, cars, bodyguards, and foreign holidays. They don’t miss any opportunity to flaunt their contacts with the high and the mighty.

To buttress their pomp and show, they shamelessly usurp public property, appropriate shared facilities, and monopolise common resources. To achieve this, they shout you down or justify it with words false and means foul.

They yell, abuse, and threaten to show their power and status. Yet, when the time comes, they put their tail between the legs and are the first to disappear. Mean and meaningless, they have no might. They throw their weight around, but have no spine.

Intoxicated by the false and the frivolous, the fakes forever seek admiration from others coz they lack self-worth. They live a life of lies, make believe, and grandiose illusions.

Such people put you off like the stench of a rotten carcass—You want to run away from.

What do you think?

Image: Sarah Kilian on Unsplash

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Live Empty

In his book “Die Empty”, Todd Henry exhorts us to finish all that is most important to us, so that we have no regrets left when we die.

This put me to a thought—what about living empty? Can I live a life empty—empty of corruption, coercion, and cacophony?

Why do we allow people to corrupt our minds? Why do we let others to coerce us into doing things we don’t wish to? Why is that the cacophony always shuts our own voice?

The answers to my questions bred more questions. To get answers to the WHYs, we need to know the WHOs, WHATs, and WHEREs—the 3 Ws which weave us into woes.

What corrupts our minds? Who coerces us? Where from the cacophony comes?

I found simple answers. The culprits in each case are the authorities, or symbols and institutions of authority. Culprit is also our own slavery to the false and frivolous. They control, regulate, and mould our minds and lives. They rob us of our simplicity, free will, and joy of living.

Not all, but the worst among the society and its organs, the government and its myriad agencies, the religion and its various instruments, the hydra-headed politics, and the media in its traditional and modern avatars are these Whos, Whats, and Wheres.

Can we break free from their shackles? Bad news. In order to exist, we have to live with most of the monstrosities, including ourselves : )

I wonder whether we can try and choose the lesser evils. Can we select a lifestyle where the impact of the unwanted is minimal? Is it possible to create our comfort-cocoons where we can live the rare moments of joy and bliss?

To steal such moments, I have tried to let go—let go of the toxic, the negative, the nonsense.

I am able to let go when I cuddle the child in me, bring it out more often to play with me. The child in me, then, surrounds me.

In sunny winter mornings, I put my head on the dew kissed grass and leg up in the air, smile, and whistle the signature tune from the Clint Eastwood masterpiece: https://youtu.be/LdLQf1Ef9Ns

At such child, whistle, and leg-up moments, ‘The Good’ stays with me, ‘The Bad’ and ‘The Ugly’ leave.

These moments I live empty— free of cobwebs, clutters, and complexities… So empty, so light, so buoyant.

I live these empty moments every moment I want.

I think I can die empty if I live empty.

What do you think ?

Pics: “Live Empty” Moments

Nice People May Finish Last… So What?

Sharing my article published in ‘The Deccan Herald’–in the context of a recent research study which suggests that Indians are not so “socially mindful”.

I say– nice people often finish last, still it’s nice to be nice. What do you think ?

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Citizens—Pls. Awaken; Authorities—Pls. Enforce

As we throw caution to the wind, masks n sanitisers to the bin, wash our hands off washing, and distance ourselves from keeping the distance—Covid mutates, multiplies, mocks, and murders.

And we are in senseless slumber—even as the sinister shuns the shadows, sits on our shoulder, and stings—sensing our stupidity.

images: pixabay

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