Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I’m not good...

It was yesterday. I was on my way back to my pad on a bus on Delhi’s busy ring road. Preoccupied with thoughts the origin of which I will never know, I was sitting by the window on one of the “ladies”-seat. i had almost started enjoying the humidity( you see, you don’t have a choice!), when we reached Sarai Kale Khan bus stand. As the bus slowed down to a halt, I was shaken out of my inner cosmos by a commotion near the door: the bus conductor was helping a man get down the bus, assisted by a passenger sitting near the door. At first I thought he must be helping some differently-abled person. But then I realized it was something else. The guy they were helping was so weak, he could not even stand on his own, leave alone walk. I was wondering how he got onto the bus. The conductor was helping him get down, with face all smiles, pride glowing in his eyes with an unsaid “oh! See people I’m helping him, am so good, so chivalrous!” I heard him say “ tuney hi isse bithaya tha”, to which the other man replied, “jaldi utaro, lene ke dene pad jayenge”.

They got him down and seated him on the pavement. It was only then that I saw him clearly, all weak and with only one slipper to walk on. He must have been about 60-65. Very thin and sinewy, the cloth of his pants failed to flatter his thin legs and I wondered if they had any flesh covering the bones. I could not help pitying him.

But all this while, I was a mute spectator. I wanted to ask the conductor if this was exactly the very stop where he wanted to get down. Ideally (that is, if I had listened to the little voice inside), I should have got down, asked him if he needed any help, asked where he was going, or may be, bought him something to eat or drink or better still, taken him to a hospital, informed his folks, DID SOMETHING, DID ANYTHING . I should have…would have…could have….but didn’t. I played the perfect mute spectator whom I so detest. I gave in to the lower self. Shall I add the best line here? “I am only human”- the ridiculously effective excuse. I really can’t help worrying and thinking what must have become of him, whether he reached home safely or not. I know it’s no use showing (shall I dare say) pretentious care.

It still hurts; no, it feels funny the way my conscience pricks me. All this while, I had been trying to pacify it. But it still rebukes me, my conscience. It’s mortifying to my self-importance, the self-righteous me to realize I am only part of the dirty pack, the filth which fills the world. No amount of reading good books, no religious hymns, no lengths of spiritual discourses is going to redeem me. It really needs relentless courage to do good, to be good. And I have none. I seek no redemption. With my tail between my legs, I admit, I AM NOT GOOD.

Friday, April 3, 2009

on a break, giving my egg-jam!

Friends, I've been off for a while and will be for a little longer...
but i found a really good poem and its hilarious parody for you all.....enjoy!

[By the way, the last date for form submission for IARI(PhD) is 11th April and that for ICMR is 29th of the same month....happy "Egg-jamming"!! :-P ]


Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream ! —
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real ! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal ;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way ;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb,
driven cattle !
Be a hero in the strife !

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant !
Let the dead Past bury its dead !
Act,— act in the living Present !
Heart within, and God o'erhead !

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind
Footprits on the sands of time ;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate ;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

~Henry W. Longfellow

...and the parody....

Life is real, life is earnest,
And the shell is not its pen –
“Egg thou art, and egg remainest”
Was not spoken of the hen.

Art is long and Time is fleeting,
Be our bills then sharpened well,
And not like muffled drums be beating
On the inside of the shell.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the great barnyard of life,
Be not like those lazy cattle!
Be a rooster in the strife!

Lives of roosters all remind us,
We can make our lives sublime,
And when roasted, leave behind us,
Hen tracks on the sands of time.

Hen tracks that perhaps another
Chicken drooping in the rain,
Some forlorn and henpecked brother,
When he sees, shall crow again.

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

Monday, February 16, 2009

Care to share?

"The sense of unhappiness is so much easier to convey than that of happiness. In misery we seem aware of our own existence, even though it maybe in the form of a monstrous egotism-this pain of mine is individual, this nerve that winces belongs to me and to no other. But happiness annihilates us; we lose our identity".
~Graham Greene

The above is an exerpt from Greene's 'The End of the Affair' and it truly describes what I often feel during New Year celebrations each year eversince I've been away from home. I know this has come a tad too late but still....would you care to share?

It’s that time of the year again…the more the noise grows, the lonelier I feel.
I might sound like a despondent soul and one might say, “Look at this poor girl, can’t she be happy when all around her are partying or getting ready for one, to usher in the New Year?”
How do I explain, if at all I want to! I might feel lonely but not despondent; and if I am, I am happy with that. It’s one of those moments when one likes to feel the pain and as the sweetness of the pain grows one falls in love with it; and when that pain goes away, it feels as if part of oneself is going away with it.

I might have really tested your patience by now and you must be wondering what exactly it that I am talking about is. I am talking about that longing for home. No, it’s different from being home-sick. It’s that time I long for, that time which will never come back again. When I was small, New Year’s celebration was one occasion when we kids at home had the license to do everything we wanted, from shopping to cooking. And all that would be planned days in advance, collecting money we had saved from our pocket money, one toffee less here and one pair of clips less there. Cooking on the fire we would make outside in the courtyard, under the starry skies, for us the food would be better than any fancy fare spread out in a five star. The best part was no elders would but in, all of them would stay indoors barring coming out now and then to remind us to keep our jackets on. But who cared? The warmth inside was enough to keep us from the cold outside!

This is what I miss when the old year slips into its dusk. With all of us, siblings scattered all over the country pursuing our dreams, it’s impossible to have it all back. These fond memories would live in each of our hearts, and that pain is forever welcome for it brings with it the chance to relive those nostalgic moments.