Monday, July 9, 2012

Harijans - The Forgotten People of God

Gandhi called them Harijans - People of Hari, the supreme lord.  Now in this era, they are ashamed of that name.  Why would anyone be ashamed of calling themselves Harijan you may ask?  That's because this is the Indian Society.

The Constitution states that all Indians are equal, but the architects of the Constitution forgot that in a feudalistic society, some are more equal than others.  The caste system that is so deeply ingrained in us Indians, almost like one of the strands of our DNA, cannot be washed away so easily.

 So who is responsible for this? We all are, individually and collectively.  How?  Let us look at things from an individual perspective.

Hypothetically let us assume that I am from the upper caste.  If my parents are ardent believers in caste system, I can expect to be indoctrinated in all aspects of caste system and socially acceptable behavior towards the "lower castes."  If I do not question this age-old beliefs and tradition and believe in them blindly, it is a given that I will pass on these beliefs to my kids too.  That creates a whole new generation that believes in caste system and doesn't see anything wrong in the injustice being meted out to a section of people just on the basis of their birth.

From a group perspective, if being part of the society that hands out such injustice to others, I do not raise my voice against this nor try to mobilize people against it, then I am inadvertently contributing to this evil.  The casteist society pollutes its kids from a very young age with caste stratification. In a society that prides itself on maintaining age-old demeaning customs and traditions, justice and equality for all can never be expected.

This is what is happening in India.  This is India's shame, Its hidden apartheid.

You say, we agree that citizens and society are contributing to it, but what is the Government doing about it?  What are the politicians doing about it?  Can't the Government rectify this situation?

The Government, well let us see what the Government actually did to worsen the situation.  The Government officially identifies discriminated lowest castes under Scheduled Castes. Yes, the Government made it official.  Instead of identifying the historically discriminated and downtrodden people as economically backward and then initiating reforms for them, the Government classified the same group as Scheduled Castes opening them to more discrimination from hitherto unknown quarters.  You ask, what about the schemes that the Government undertook for the Scheduled Castes, I tell you they met the same fate as the scheduled castes themselves.

Are politicians contributors to it? Yes, they are. They work more towards keeping the caste-divide line visible than rubbing it off because poverty and untouchability sells in politics.  So when Rahul eats at a Dalit's house, it makes news.  A corrupt lady can become the CM of the biggest state in India on the foundation of caste politics. Untouchability sells in Indian politics.

So how do we rectify this situation?

Let us start with scriptures. They are always held as the culprits in promoting the caste system and every feudal lord hides behind the lines of the scripture.  The quotes from scriptures are spouted by one and all for every demeaning practice that is prevalent in the name of the caste.

Go back and read the scriptures again.  Interpret them for what they mean and not for what they seem to mean.  Identify what they proposed.  You may quote Manu in support of the caste system, but I will quote Sage Bhardwaja who said that when everyone is governed by the senses, emotions, hunger, lust, then why do we have caste differences?

If you tell me that Varanas in caste system are based on the differences in skin color and the resultant caste stratification according to it, I will call you racist and present before you a black Brahmin.

Bhavishya puran rightly says that when all four classes were made by God and that God is our father, how can we as his children have different castes.

Coming to individuals,  we should identify the caste system as evil and a detriment to democracy.  We should be careful as to not pass this legacy to our kids.  We should ingrain in them a love for all and a strong belief in justice and equality for all. 

As a part of the society, we should raise our collective voice against this system and take an oath to eradicate it.  Support intercaste marriages. They will dilute the differences and eradicate the system.

What the Government can do?  How about reforms for the economically downtrodden and not based on caste classifications?  How about never asking me for my caste on any of the official forms?  How about doing away with usage of surnames on official documents and just identifying an individual by their father's or their mother's name?  How about doing away with reservations?  How about a strong anti-discrimination law?  How about classifying untouchability as apartheid and racism?  How about banning caste-based political parties?  How about banning khaps?

The revolution will come. It will come one day.  The oppressed will rise one day to wash away the injustice, but what about the destruction it will leave in its wake. Let us not wait for such a day. Let us not stoke the fire.  Let us act now.

Let us wish for an India where politicians don't go to the press when they eat at a dalit's house, where a president is not hailed or written about just because he is from a lower caste, where news headlines do not highlight the caste of the victim, where a student with good marks is always given first preference.

When God does not discriminate between a flower offered by a Dalit and a Brahmin, who are we to discriminate?

To round up things, a doha from Sant Kabir:

Pothi Padh Padh Kar Jag Mua, Pandit Bhayo Na Koye
Dhai Aakhar Prem Ke, Jo Padhe so Pandit Hoye

Friday, June 29, 2012

Anniversary Of A Dream

It is one year today to the day I got engaged.  It has not sunk in yet that a year has gone by since the dream started. Life has been smooth but not without its speed breakers and rough patches, but still it has been a very good ride thus far.

The morning started with a hunt for vial. Then it was about if we had paper cups.  Then finally after a frantic search for anything resembling a vial or being able to hold water, we finally zeroed in on a blue-colored plastic cap of an antibacterial powder.  Golden water was collected in that.  Then a small plastic dropper was dipped into it and a small amount of golden water was drawn into the dropper.  The dropper then was cautiously held over a small depression on the plastic mold and two drops were disgorged into the thirsty-looking depression. She waited with bated breath for the result while I like a damnable fool slept. She told me later that it was a stimulating experience to watch how the water slowly flow from the depression into another island. I heard her laugh, not her usual laughter but one that had a smattering of confusion in it. I woke up and saw the two lines that had formed in the island.  It was just like the papers said.  I looked at her with realization and she looked away, a bit embarrassed.  I was tongue tied.

She asked me whether I was ready for that.  Whether I was sad and angry?  All I could think of at that time was, "God, this means I will have to really grow up now."  Sad and angry?? Hell, why?

Let me tell you, my lady.  I have been waiting for this for long.  I have always dreamed about it. I have always cherished the thought.  It does not worry me. I am not afraid.  I have always wanted this. This is the second treasure that I seek from you. The first one you have already delivered. I want this badly.  I am going to prepare myself for the midnight operas, the changings and the bad songs.  I am going to start worrying about education and marriage. I am going to start worry about everything. I am going to start looking at you in a new light.  I cannot promise you that I would be the best out there, but then I would strive to be the best.  You my lady, I cannot love more. I am sorry I am a bit weak on the emotions side when it comes to show them, but let me tell you I am happy. I am very very happy.  You are my world, my lady and now soon we will have a new addition.

Friday, May 4, 2012


My heart, my fellow traveler
It has been decreed again
That you and I be exiled,
go calling out in every street,
turn to every town.
To search for a clue
of a messenger from our Beloved.
To ask every stranger
the way back to our home.

In this town of unfamiliar folk
we drudge the day into the night
Talk to this stranger at times,
to that one at others.

How can I convey to you, my friend
how horrible is a night of loneliness
 It would suffice to me
if there were just some count
I would gladly welcome death
if it were to come but once.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Why is the heart so unhappy?
I have nothing to complain
Things I have lost, i have gained
Things I have gained, I have lost
So, Why is the heart so unhappy?

Events in my life
Both pleasant and unpleasant
have balanced out each other
Then, Why is the heart so unhappy?

Found love
Lost it
Found it again
In a lovely wife
Who loves me like crazy
The fact that I do the same
Makes it more beautiful
Why is the heart so unhappy?

Never had much money to start with
Made some, got foolish with it
Lost a lot, got some back
Never cared much about money
Why is the heart so unhappy?

The question I ask myself
Dont you have enough
to be happy
Then why are you not
I search for the answer
in the myriad thoughts
in my head
Could not come up with
Answer to
Why is my heart so unhappy?

I guess it is my mind
that is playing games
Shows me only the thorns
in the garden of flowers
Negativity and cynicism creeps in
I try to fight
I want to be happy
if not for me
but for her
to see the smile on her face
every morning and night
I have to be happy
I decide to be happy

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Imperfections of a Judiciary System

Let me start this with a story. 

I was once a  teenager.  To say that my teen life was fun would be an understatement.  It was really over the top at times. We had lot of fun.  Our idea of fun usually involved some gray "fun" which did not seem gray at that time.  Let us visit some of the gray fun.  One of the oldest tricks ( I would call it fun) was looking at someone's dingdong when they were peeing and then describing it to others much to the chagrin of the victim.  Also at times, the inherent curiosity prevalent amongst Homo sapiens about genitalia during those growing-up years would lead to instances of kids checking out each other's dingdongs. No! homosexuality was not involved; just plain curiosity. Those caught "checking out" would automatically become the object of "soft ridicule" and the "butt" of jokes that summer.  The brave took it on with a smile. The weak kept quiet. The sensitive complained to parents. The extra-sensitive did not come out to play for a day or two. But no one ever went beyond this. Everything would be back to normal in a short time.  Everyone would be friends again. It was just a prank, a mischief and nothing more, but then it was a time where there was no Facebook or Twitter.

Wondering why I recounted the whole shit about my growing up years ?  Well, I came across a recent incident which at best can be compared to those long forgotten years, but in this era this had taken monstrous proportions, and both the victim and the perpetrator were punished to an extent where it outweighs everything - the guilt and the crime. 

I am talking about Dharun Ravi. 

For the uninitiated, Clementi, who was gay, asked for privacy to use the room he shared with Dharun Ravi for an encounter with a 32-year-old non-student with whom he had connected on the Internet. Ravi met his roommate’s date briefly and sent text messages to friends describing the man as “creepy” and expressing worries about theft. Ravi said he deliberately left his webcam on to monitor the visitor because he was worried about the security of his property. With another student, he watched Clementi embracing the other man and then sent out derisive Twitter and text messages about his roommate “kissing a dude.”
Ravi invited other friends to join him in watching the next scheduled visit, two days later. But the webcam did not work on that occasion, perhaps because a guilt-stricken Ravi dismantled it, as he later claimed, or because it malfunctioned, or because Clementi discovered the intrusion and disconnected the equipment himself. The next day, Clementi complained to the dormitory’s resident assistant and to two other officials, and said he no longer wanted to share his room with Ravi. A day after this, Clementi committed suicide by jumping off George Washington Bridge.

Dharun Ravin was charged with invasion of privacy, witness tampering and the more serious charge of bias intimidation and on March 16, a jury sentenced him to 10 years in prison with possible deportation to India.

So was the verdict harsh ? Ohh yes, it surely was.  Not to diminish the crimes that were committed in any way, but how does throwing Dharun Ravi in jail solve anything?  It's tragic that a young man took his own life and Ravi should bear some responsibility, but are we becoming a society of victims?  The crime was harsh, but the sentence was harsher.  Everyone forgot that it was a foolish stupid prank gone wrong.  Everyone forgot that the perpetrator was a teen.  It doesn't make the crime small, but the criminal deserves the benefit of doubt.  He did not harass any gays or cyber bully anyone. People just want to feel like something is being done about these situations that are in the spotlight now, and Ravi happens to be the lightening rod for the blame.  It is not cool but it is not a major felony crime either.  Going by his final words to Clementi, "I've known you were gay and I have no problem with it. In fact one of my closest friends is gay and he and I have a very open relationship. I just suspected you were shy about it which is why I never broached the topic. I don't want your freshman year to be ruined because of a petty misunderstanding, it's adding to my guilt. You have a right to move if you wish but I don't want you to feel pressured to without fully understanding the situation.", Dharun Ravi seems much less of a villain than he is made out to be.  I wonder if everyone is out to prove a point and this everyone includes the liberals, conservatives and the gay agenda too.  Without a doubt, Dharun Ravi behaved despicably to his Rutgers roommate. But had Tyler Clementi been straight, no one would have claimed Ravi’s webcam spying constituted a major offense. Had it been a female companion, everything would have boiled down to a teenage prank. 

Dharun did not take up the plea bargain because he sincerely believed that he did not commit any hate crimes. Though the jury agreed at some point with defense, he was sentenced.  Did they want to make an example of him?  This is outrageous.  I personally think that this case reveals a "lynch mob mentality" of the populace that has led to this overkill.  A justice system which has let O.J Simpson roam around freely convicts a boy of doing something which he thought was a practical joke and never realized it had such criminal consequences.  Was the jury impartial?

Anybody give a thought to what would happen to Dharun Ravi in jail? An Indian in an American maximum security jail populated by a very dangerous crowd. His chances of getting out from there without being battered and raped would be one in a million.  He is just 20 years old.  I just hope he does not become a hardened criminal in those years.

In retrospect, Dharun Ravi should have taken up the plea bargain, but then his attorneys are to be blamed for that.  In retrospect, he shouldn't have spied on his roommate, but then he did.  In retrospect, he should have opened up properly to his roommate when he first heard of the room-change requests. 

All said and done, it is up to the justice system to introspect whether it is making an example of Dharun Ravi and is it not a too-high price to pay?

Monday, March 12, 2012


No one knows failure like I do.  No one has despised failure like I do. No one has enjoyed failure like I did.

If I am the quintessential lost child in the park, then failure is the kind guy who took me by the hand, promised to lead me to my mother, took me to a bench in the quiet corner, pulled my pants down, forced himself on me, and sodomized me while taunting and whispering dirty-nothings in my ear.  I could feel the acrid smell of his breath on my neck. I could feel my helplessness.  I could feel the hot flushes and the pain.  I could feel my soul being gnawed at and torn to shreds. I cried out loud.  I tried to defend myself, but all in vain.  Failure did his job and left me in shame, a shame that devoured me.

That is how intimately I have known Failure.

I have failed  as a child.  My parents though from a very modest financial background had built high expectations from their son, but I took a wreaking ball to them, dashed them. I was good student, but never did touch the rarefied lofty circles that everyone expected of me. I dashed the hopes of my teachers too.  I failed the first time.

I passed out of college with a first class as did thousands of others.  Most of my friends went on to become Chartered accountants while some took up management studies.  I turned to my parents for money and they did not have any.  I never did pursue other options. I was never aware of student loans.  I was such a fool.  I settled for some no-brainer job.  I then failed a second time.

My sister got married.  I couldn't do a lot of things I had dreamed for her wedding.  I couldn't be a good big brother for her.  I couldn't make things right for her. I failed a third time.

I got married. Whatever they tell you about marriage, it is all true. It's love + compromise + adjustment + desire. It is about understanding your spouse, knowing them deeply, and taking the efforts to keep them happy. It is about learning to live with each other setting aside one's ego, and loving the other person for what they are.  I made lots of promises to my wife and I wanted to do them all for her, but somehow I have not been able to.  I failed a fourth time.

I failed to be a good son, a good student, a good brother, and a good husband.  My failures haunt me, they laugh at me, they taunt me, and they leave me in pain.  Fate has stricken me down and I have turned to God for help, but I guess he was busy somewhere else.  No grudges there.  I know I will stand up again, I know I will fight my destiny, I know I won't give in so easily - I just wish I was not alone.....


Tuesday, February 14, 2012


She is the one who looks over me
She is the one who cares about me 

She is the one who will be there to hold me
She is the one who keeps me warm
She is the one who is always on my mind
She is the love of my life
She is the one in my dreams
She has soft kissable lips
She will comfort me when I will fail
She will make me smile when the jokes can't
She will love me for what I am
She will be my strength when I am weak

God truly is great in that I asked him for happiness
and he sent me an angel

That night

It is a night of darkness, a song of ethereal pain,
wolves vent their loneliness. The immortal one

Wisps of death shrouds her gaunt form,
an impatient desire.

Her raven hair cascades over
pale and delicate shoulders, and her
full blood red lips part slightly, to taste the
red tears streaming from the
pale flesh beneath

Now a night of ecstasy,
I pine.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

That Someone Called Wife

I don't believe there is anyone who hasn't had that awkward moment where their eyes tear after reading some "true love" stories forwarded by friends. Nobody can deny the goosebumps their ten seconds of fame then.

I have read the stories myself and have let my brain go "awww" (I would not admit it if you ask me this in public).  I have read a whole lot of these stories and some of them prompted me to look at people around me if there are some real live incidences of these "true love and sacrifices for love".

I found quite a lot of them, but the one that left me nonplussed was the one I found in my home - the girl whom I call my wife.  Today morning, I saw her cutting onions and kneading the flour for flatbread. She looked every bit the housewife that we usually see in Ekta's serials, yet this here is a girl who not too long ago was running through life without a care in the world - shouting out to the winds, riding them, singing and laughing and dancing.  She had a cushy job.  She worked in an awesome campus.  She had great friends who shared her interests. She lived in a huge apartment with friends and her little sister.  Compared to what she had before, the current life with me is pretty drab. And here she was wiping off tears from her eyes that the onions brought forth.

This morning, our beautiful courting period flashed by my eyes. We were so happy then, more importantly she was so happy back then.  We used to have these secret rendezvous unbeknownst to family.  We used to just roam around and be happy in each other's company.  We still are happy to share space with each other, but I think the zing of those courtship days is lacking.  She would still claim that she is very happy with me, but the rare tinge of sadness in her eyes which she so so carefully hides tells me that she misses something.  She misses the old me. The one she fell in love with.  The one who got lost in all these intervening months. The romantic guy of the yore. Yet, she carries on with life, smiling each time I look at her, hugging me when I come back, stealing kisses when there is no one about, teasing me, cuddling up to me, smothering me, loving me, spoiling me knowing fully well that I might not always reciprocate in kind. She who has never had to yearn for anyone's approval now tries to do things in a "crowd-pleasing" manner to appease everyone in the family. She who hates lassi now gulps it down without batting an eyelid. She has changed herself a lot. Things she would not have done in an another situation, she does them now without a whimper or a complaint.

That my friends is what I believe to be sacrifice and true love.  I have stopped reading the stories now. I know where to look for true love. I see it in her eyes every moment that I spend with her. I hope to show her one day how much I love her and that I would sacrifice anything for her.  I think she reads that in my eyes. Well, I hope she does.


Thursday, February 2, 2012


Waking up to the embrace
of the morning sun
Caresses me with
its cosmic rays and warmth
Its soulful smile touches
my heart and mind alike

Heaven descends in all
its sparkling glory
Giving birth to a new Opportunity
And it is dawn, when the Supreme
sings his blessingful song
in my ears, purifies my soul

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


 Standing by the tree
Thinking of the flowers
That you took away

How life has turned out
Song without a tune
Flower without a scent

The memories that kept me
Alive in the cold winters
Oh, you took them away
leaving the heart desolate

but somewhere in there
is a bird called Hope
longing to sing
the song of the spring

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Cool moonlight
Colors my heart
In the shades of love


I remember
How I held your hands by the beach.
Held on to your every single word.
Lingering taste of our first kiss.
Phantom pain of the first love bite.
Waking up to your kisses
Warmth of your hugs
Pain when I could not be with you.
They are the memories I live by
They are the memories I would carry to my grave
They are some of the happiest moments in my life
The life where such moments were very rare

I will argue with you
I will forget anniversaries
I will forget all the small things
I will even forget to smell the roses
Many a curveballs that life will throw at me
I will take a swing at everyone of them
I might miss some

I might even have strikeouts
But I will keep on swinging
For the outside chance that
I will hit a home run
To see your eyes twinkle with joy
and the small crinkles
that form on the sides of your mouth

Friday, January 20, 2012


My tears are for me to see. Why should the world see them?
My heartache is for me to bear. How it is of concern to them ? 
My pain is my self-inflicted punishment. Why should you be a part of it?
I decide to suffer silently. I decide to implode . 
I decide to keep my sorrows to myself.  Is that a crime?
I never share, try never to hurt, try to accomodate, try to keep you happy, is that wrong? 
You want me to be me, but then why dont you accept me when I am angry? 
Take me as a whole or reject me wholly, but never in parts. I am what I am.
My tears are invisible and my moans are silent, does it mean I am not hurt? Is my pain so worthless ?

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Bucket List - Part 1

  1. Learn archery and then go hunting to get meat for family brunch.
  2. Have a whipped cream fight with friends.
  3. Bungee jump into a river and catch a fish on the way up.
  4. Hug a cobra and express my love.
  5. Kiss Taj Mahal and claim that Mumtaz Mahal kissed me back.
  6. Dress up as Spiderman and go to the office.
  7. Sing "Humpty Dumpty" loudly in a mall.
  8. Learn pole dancing.
  9. Go to China and open a paneer manchurian stall.
  10. Go to Sri Lanka in search of Ravan.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Tears and a bit more

I have fought with myself
All the little battles and the big wars
But all my life have I hoped
for the falling to stop
Wished for my life to move with a place to go
where I don't feel alone

where I won't wonder if there is anyone up above
I have hoped still against hope that I find
the oasis that eludes me, in the shifting sands

But all the Gods that I have believed in
have made my beliefs futile
All I am left with now is a
tear-stained face and a crushed soul
As the nights rush by
without singing me a lullaby
I wonder if there is a solution
or if this life is just an illusion

I cannot tell you how much
I want you here looking out for me
helping me make peace with myself
holding me close to you
and telling me I have a place after all