Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Christmas !

I bought an island Pine last December and it has survived yet another christmas this year ! Ruhi & Rayyan had a mini wrestling match to decide who would hang up the trinkets and after the tree was done Rayyan solemnly folded his hands in front of the 'bhagwan ji' tree. God save these terribly terribly mixed up kids.

Ruhi wrote a letter to Santa asking for a 'toy house from the play pen in the Mall, a 'real' camera and a 'real' phone and a chocolate.."

Santa left her a Barbie doll with a helmet on a natty bycycle and the chocolate. I told her that her wish list was quite out of Santa's budget and she conceded. Rayyan got a miserly plastic auto rickshaw and he was elated. Krti didi their maid got a pair of shoes which she turned up her nose at. LOL

Ruhi still believes in Santa Claus ! She woke up past midnight almost as I was putting her gift on her pillow, blinked vaguely for a couple of minutes muttering some Santa gibberish & then collapsed into sleep again. In the morning she inspected the house and told me the exact places Santa had visited. She could tell by the trail of Santa's perfume ! I am keeping my fingers crossed. I guess there may be another year to go before the bubble breaks ! :)))

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I am intolerant...

I got to know of the Mumbai attack through an sms at 11 PM that night which said " stuck at the Taj restaurant...still alive". It came from someone who had just arrived in India that day and someone with a feisty sense of humor. I gave the sms a bemused look before deleting it. Then the same sms came again and I decided to check on the internet.

I kept feeling sick through the night and that feeling has still not gone. I could not make myself switch on the TV and after 2 days when I finally did, I saw Barkha Dutt chocking with melodrama over a half spilled glass of wine that she had discovered at the ghost of the Taj. I could survive the TV for less than 20 minutes, the same sick feeling.

I feel a changed person, I am brimming with contempt and I have a feeling that my lid will blow off. I am feeling helpless, I have been wanting to 'do' something beyond reading newspapers, pressing the 'join' button for every call to 'join hands against terror' e mail..,to do something dammit, even if just to buy an air ticket to Bombay, stand across the Taj and hurl abuses into the sea to wherever it is that the monsters came from.

More disturbingly, I am feeling intolerant. I am distrustful when I hear my muslim family protest against what happened. I intent fully look for denial in what they say - you can hear it sooner than later. A day post the Bombay tragedy I was broodingly silent ad-mist an animated family discussion when the inevitable came up - stuff like Mossad, Hindu Terrorism, cover job to save Col Purohit...I felt a nerve was going to crack in my head and I framed my sentence in my mind " Indian muslims will always live in denial...until Indian muslims stop pitying themselves and become a part of the Indian fabric, until then terrorism will have a market in India...".

As I started to speak I stopped at my first words " Indian Muslims.." My words were hanging in the air, I thought of the consequences. I would become an alien with that one sentence. A lot else would happen..was there any reason to ignite this? I would be told I know nothing about Islam so I could ill afford a point of view. I decided to stay quiet and leave the table. It was left to assumption what I had intended to say and no one asked. I think the point was anyhow made that... I was intolerant...

My children do not know their religion yet. Ruhi thinks her mother is from Punjab and her father is from Mars. A year ago, a lot of kids from the local mosque came over to my house for reciting verses from the Koran. It is called 'korankhani', the same purpose as holding an 'ardas' in your house - for purification and blessing. Ruhi was woken up by the loud sound and she went over to watch and then came running to me and said "mama a lot of Punjabi people have come to our house" ( implying that they were speaking a foreign (punjabi) language). It was funny then and I had laughed. Today it is sad. There is so much irony in that humor. She is seven and its time for me to tell her who she is supposed to be, before anyone else does. I wish I did not have to. Not when I feel like this.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I am to blame.

"From today, I resolve to blame myself for whatever is going wrong. I also resolve that I will take action - decisive action - to solve my own problems as well as those of my family, neighbours, friends, relatives and associates. I am a proud Indian. I can bring about the desired change.""

Say "I am to blame" at and get everyone we know to say the same.

Monday, December 01, 2008

To Santa Claus?

This morning to Santosh Desai...and to whoever it is who visits here and reads this post.

Dear Santosh :

I react to 'to gather with the rage of others' in today's City City Bang Bang.

I am angry like the rest of us and I want to be able to 'do' something. I believe ( naively?) that there are many other people like me. So yesterday, I spoke to a friend who is a celebrated, young army officer, on a quick climb up the army ranks. I also spoke to a young IAS officer working with the revenue services in Delhi. I asked them what we could do to channelize this rage, since my limited understanding of how things work limits my abilities to act. Both said nothing could be done by anyone. The defense services and the bureaucracy is infested at every level with people wanting to earn brownie points and promotions. The high rage after Kargil took just a few months to be completely forgotten. And that Kargil was equivalent if not more offensive in its damage to our country. As with Kargil, it will take a few weeks for our collective memories to fade. Ditto for the collective rage.

I told them that to me both of them represented the highest calibre of what young India stands for and it was disillusioning and heartbreaking that both of them speak a common language of indifference and defeat. The army guy said " things are not so bad". Whatever that may mean.

I have been thinking ever since that the ONLY was to keep the collective rage alive is if people with media clout ( like YOU) and Bollywood takes it upon themselves to endorse this cause. The rest are dead and we have to bring them to life. If Aamir says often enough that muslim is not equal to terrorist and so does Salman and so does Shahrukh there will be no market for terrorism in this country. And if you and your likes will keep writing about the outrage of what happened last Wednesday - way beyond one month, 6 months and 12 months from today - there may be hope of change.

I am helpless and angry, I can only vent angst by writing to people who I think are a bit more empowered than myself. And I can hope they read obscure blogs...