Idol Worship

Getting to work on a Tuesday is a nightmare. Not because the Monday morning blues hit me a day late, but because it’s the day to pray to Lord Ganesha. I have to usually pass through an area that is home to one of the most revered (also read: glamorous) Ganesha Temple in Mumbai- Siddhivinayak Temple.

The queue to catch a glimpse of Ganesha spills out on the road, causing a terrible traffic jam. Add to that the flower-sellers, policemen, hawkers. But on a day when the superstar family- The Big B (Amitabh Bachchan), Small B (ABhishek) and Bahurani (Aishwarya Rai), decide to drop in on foot- the chaos goes to a super higher level. I do wonder, how many of them come to see Ganesha and how many to see the Bachchans?

Faith drives people to do crazy things. They give up an entire day to wait for hours for darshan, which literally means- a glimpse!

Yesterday, there was another line around the curb. The queue poured onto a playground and was much longer than the usual one. The queue was made up of young boys mostly, dressed trendily as opposed to traditionally. This line looked pretty different. I assumed they were waiting for the superstar. But he had come and gone. A big billboard read- Indian Idol 4, the Mumbai auditions. The audition was happening in a thater complex right next to the temple. These people were waiting for their chance to be an Idol and not just a glimpse of an idol.

I thought faith makes us do crazy things, but fame beats faith hands down. People quit jobs, colleges and even get loans to just get that one chance to be famous… With fame come glitz, glamour and money. And those three have a fan-base that’s stronger than that of faith.

People have a lot of faith in fame. With that faith in fame, a Maria decides to cheat on her boyfriend to hopes to land a dream role. With that faith in fame, the media splashes her face across television. The same faith in fame drives thousands of people to frustration every day, sometimes pushing them to extremes. A producer kills an actor, a young boy robs a shop, girls agree to compromise on their morals and the list goes on.

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Trauma continues

 I thought that writing about the two high profile murders in the country might make me feel a bit better about life. The venting helped for sure, but the papers are still talking about these cases and I am feeling worse.

Let’s take the Neeraj Grover case, today. The cops have done a sterling job in figuring out the details and putting together the evidence by figuring out where Neeraj’s remains were disposed off, finding the weapon and making a case against Jerome and Maria. They are worried, though, that by the time the case reaches the courts, the accused might get off because there are little or few witnesses and circumstantial evidence isn’t strong enough. In fact, Maria, the accused might soon get out on bail and producer might line up to sign her on for a plum role in one of the prime-time soaps. The reason? Controversy sells!

So selling your stuff is so important that we will forget the fact that this person was involved in a gruesome murder. Important enough to forget the fact that after cold-bloodedly murdering a person, she went and lied through her teeth to the police. Important enough to forget that this girl romanced Neeraj just to get her big break in tinsel town despite the fact that she was committed to another man.

Today’s newspaper reports that ‘Maria Maria’ were Neeraj’s last words. Some people think that it’s very filmy. I say, isn’t the whole thing straight out of some kind of a freak thriller?

Everybody knows the unknown starlet’s face now and the newspapers even predict her to be the next big thing on Indian telly. She hasn’t lost much. All she did was stand in the shadows as her boyfriend stabbed her lover to death, lie to the police, claim that she was sexually harassed by Grover and sexually abused at Knife point by Jerome.

I would be seriously worried if she bags that plum role. What signal would it send out? Don’t struggle, don’t take the harder way up, instead commit crimes that the media can play up and land that plum assignment?

Seriously, what is happening to all of us? Has success become so important that we forget basic human values? Is success so important that we choose it over and above human life? Apparently it is!

 

Just an observation: The reports of both the cases-Talwar murder and the Grover murder have moved from the front page of the newspaper to some obscure pages. Soon, the reports will get smaller and we will forget all about this. What happened to Adnan’s killers? Why isn’t the media reporting anything about it? Probably the case doesn’t ‘sell’!

Where are we heading? I ask again

I feel a shiver down my spine as I read about the father who murdered his own daughter. It feels creepy to exist in this world, where a man is killed and chopped into 300 pieces by a jealous lover and a father who kills his own daughter out of suspicion.

Yesterday, I came across a blog about the need to have children and adoption being the last option considered by infertile couples. The writer argues that people value their own blood even though love has nothing to do with blood.

But what does one do when there is no love at all, or if there is so much love that it kills.

Arushi Talwar was a young teenager, who openly spoke about her father’s illicit relationship. The enraged father could have sat her down and talked to her. He could have tried talking to her, as any good parent would. But he didn’t. If the father suspected Arushi of having an affair with the servant he could have again tried talking to her, but how could he tell her what she was doing was wrong, when he himself was in an illicit relationship that Arushi openly disliked. The young girl might have shown a better sense of judgement by disliking her father’s affair, but her young mind could have faltered when she got close to the servant. Who knows?

The servant, who also knew of the father’s affair could have played around with the delicate mind of the teenager, forcing her to get close to him. After all, Arushi was a vulnerable teenager. Who knows what was going on in that young girl’s mind?

All we know is that she is dead, and whether he father is guilty or not, the fact is that bad parenting killed her.

Do we think that being a certain age and being married is our license to have a child? How many couples think about financial, emotional and social responsibilities of having a child before they have one? If they don’t then why does it surprise us when we hear of an enraged mother throwing her 4 year old out of the window or a 14 yr old girl killed by her own father?

Having a child could be the greatest joy, but what follows is a huge responsibility of shaping that young mind to become a responsible, compassionate and a rational human being…

Good Morning

A continuation of the earlier post

———

It was one of those mornings where he hated waking up. He was dreaming of something vague but he wasn’t sure. He forced himself up anyway. He walked to the balcony and glanced at the sky searching for a hint of sunlight. The dull sky totally matched his state-of-mind.

Closing his eyes, he took in a deep breath, looking within for inspiration. Suddenly he heard someone honk right under his window. She came to his mind. The tiny girl trying to maneuver her big car in the homeward bound traffic. He couldn’t stop thinking about what would have happened, had he knocked on her window. He couldn’t help but wonder how many ‘what if’s marked has life.

What if he had knocked on her window, what if she’d have smiled back and said ‘hey’, what if she thought he was a creep and looked away. The ‘what if’ was making him restless, so he put on his shoes and stepped out to take a walk. And just then the first rain of the season poured down on him. Bringing with it, he scent of wet mud and lush greens of the seasons.

Horn Ok Please

She had driven all the way across town for a meeting, which didn’t happen eventually. The terrible traffic wasn’t helping her foul mood. She was sick of her being stuck in first gear. Her knees were hurting out of the excessive driving. The tiny rickshaws kept cutting into her lane, adding to her agony. She just wanted to get home and rest.

She didn’t notice the guy in the car next door look at her. She tried to focus on getting some song on the radio, but they were just playing songs she didn’t care about. She rested her head on her steering wheel in frustration.

He couldn’t take his eyes off her, and he knew it was rude to stare, but she was adorable. She was restless in her big huge car, shifting gears even when the car was stationary. He felt a strong urge to just roll down his window and knock on hers. He shook off the thought and smiled. He forced himself to look away. She was just driving a car next to his, she could be married or she could be a mother of 5 kids. He wasn’t the type to flirt with random girls. In fact, it was a long time since he had checked out a girl even.

While he was lost in his thoughts, she had driven away… He looked at where her car had been and shrugged. What if he had knocked on her window?

Walkin’ along

The morning was unsure of the season. The sun shone bright enough to evaporate the dew drops, but the light breeze blew cool air to ruffle up the leaves. Morning walkers paced down the road, carefully dodging the parked vehicles, stray dogs and other morning walkers. Some youngsters, very few of them woke up to walk early in the morning anyway, ran along choosing the blaring music on their ipods over the light twitter of early morning birds.

 

I observed this scene everyday. Some came regularly, some showed up one day and never again. But they all had their reasons.

 

Some strangers had become friends over the innumerable walks in the ‘walkers’ lane’. I loved following the gang of oldies that only increased each day. They had long stopped walking for exercise. Under the pretext of exercise, they came scavenging for a social life. Retired, lonely and bored at home, they found friends here. Each day, they scanned the newspapers, news channels to look for the topic of discussion for the next days’ ‘morning walk’.

 

They saw the world from their point of view, where the youngsters were rude, the politicians were corrupt and prices way too high… This sounds familiar, oh yes, I was visiting one of the neighbourhood homes, and there was some song playing that said something about Sunscreen. This gang had literally lived through some of those lyrics.

 

The totally opposite wonder of this gang was a young couple, who came dressed for the walk. Elaborate sport gear with tick marks all over, earphones plugged in and they walked to the rhythm of whatever it was that played on their iPods. Time to time they looked at each other and smiled.

 

They never spoke, they walked and they smiled. They never had the time to observe other walkers. They would be busy walking and smiling. They looked like a happy lot.

 

On the other hand, the lady with the jewellery never smiled. She walked alone, everyday for an hour. She, too saw the familiar faces. Unlike the couple, she observed them, but never did a smile escape her lips. If someone did smile, she would look away. In fact the over friendly woman, I’ll tell you more about her later, once made an attempt to befriend her and walk with her. But the lady cut her off and walked away.

 

The over-friendly woman walked everyday for more than an hour and a half. Her walking companions kept changing through the morning, but she had a jolly good time walking. You’d think she’d slow down to catch her breath, but some lungs she has. She walks and speaks at the same steady peace. She was always accompanied by an entourage of youngsters who seemed to enjoy her talks. They came to her with their agonies about love, career, money and many more. Being the older and the wiser one, she happily sorts things out for them. They love her company and make time to rise up for the morning walks.

 

Am I the only one getting bored with this whole routine? Like many other things, observing them all through the morning was very interesting in the beginning. But now, now I am bored. I know what I need to know, but I wonder what kind of a life they lead after their morning walks.

 

I am too weak to follow them along to their homes, many of them drive to the walkers’ road you see. But I want to know more. I know enough about the old men and women, they don’t excite me. The young couple who keeps smiling does. They drive to the walk everyday, I assume they live far away. She is pretty, she is slim, dusky complexion, expressive eyes. She is pretty. He is tall and well built, intense face, with eyes that rarely express. She is the one who drives when they come, but he drives away after the walk. They have struck a balance, or are they trying to strike a balance?

 

I wish I could follow their car. I wish I could get into their car, but not many people welcome stray dogs in their car…

Rocking and rolling

On a lazy Saturday morning, I settle down with the latest issue of the Rolling Stone magazine (the Indian edition). The first thing that has me going wow, is the Royal Enfield advertisement. It’s not an advert; it’s a style statement. I am hooked to the magazine and as I turn a few pages start feeling the restlessness, so much so that I tear myself away from the magazine because I can’t handle the restlessness. I have an itch to listen to Dylan, when I do, I want to write something- it’s like a restlessness set off by an addiction.

I have decided that my new aim is to one day work for this magazine. Not that I hate my job right now, but I think for me to be a writer for the Rolling Stone magazine would be the ULTIMATE job. I enjoy the restlessness, because it inspires me to do something. Nothing definitive, but it sends me on this trip to create. It sensitizes me in a very vague manner. So to cut a long story short, it gives my creative drive a damn good boost.

This is the effect of reading about music. I tried learning to make music, but I figured I am a better listener than a player. But, there’s no denying that I have a deep connect with music, any music.

If I ever end up working for the Rolling Stone magazine, I figure that it would the ultimate inspiration high ever. I could be wrong but to me, it wouldn’t be just a job. It would be a dream statement, it would be my raison d’etre.

You wanna know why? Read this email I sent to my Dad while I was in the UK:

All’s well in the The Stones’ land! Trying not to miss the city of blinding lights but I can’t live with or without it… I’ve got to find my stairway to heaven and I can’t get no satisfaction but I am also aware that you can’t always get what you want, and you do get stuck in a moment that you can’t get out of… but then you find the answer and it is blowing in the wind…

PS: I applied to the magazine when I heard it was launching in India… I didn’t get it. I don’t know why. But I still hope and I still aspire… After all the Stones said that you can’t always get what you want, but you try sometimes…