But, is it nothing to know when you are dying, when you are about to take leave of this world, of its joys and sorrows, when the past of your life is unfurled before you, when eternity opens wide its portals, is it nothing to know at that last awful,supreme moment of your lives, that you have not lived in vain, that you have lived for the benefit of others, that you have lived to help in the cause of your country's regeneration?

-Surendranath Banerjea

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

You changed a lot...

A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject  - Winston Churchill.

'Change' has always been a very controversial aspect in my life. Change in opinions, views, principles, actions.. More often than not, I've been berated by elders about how my views were very different and better until a few years back, how the changes in positions do not seem to bode well for a good character, how the ancestors were 'wise' enough to formulate a fully optimized code in life which doesn't need any more fine tuning. Perhaps, everyone might have gone through a similar phase in their lives,. perhaps not..

When I was growing up, I made the stupidity of acting mature prematurely. Having opinions on serious topics, not being involved in flimsy activities, not considering the typical 'fun' activities as fun! I used to be in the company of my parents, aunts, grannies than being with friends or people my age. I used to feel good when people appreciated that I was 'mature'. And by maturity, I believe what they meant to imply was that I was accepting the status quo as they were and not questioning them with my child-like curiosity or adolescent cranks; due to which I let everyone take many of my positions in many of the issues, seriously, which by the way were bound to evolve later!

During that 'era' I'm speaking about, when I was home, and when my views reflected those of who I respected or admired, I made lot of stupid opinions, like feminist organizations are creating a fuss about most minor incidents to harass men, and that women need not work if husband is earning well so that home is sweet home, and that gay pride is an urban fantasy which was not exactly a natural need, and that abiding by one's religious doctrines makes one a better person because all those religious pioneers were born with an extra brain and an extra thing AND that romance was bad, and married couples were being offensive by holding hands!

I must say, I screwed it big time. I mean, how worse can it be?? I pretended to be mature when I wasn't. It wasn't even maturity! It was like I wanted to be like my grandpa(not that he was any bad, he was gem of a person, but he belonged typically to his generation!)! Due to which I was blind without curiosity. I was dogmatic and self-righteous. I refused to change. I didn't want to explore, or read or understand if what I believed was actually right. But when I was on my feet, technically because I was employed, and because I met a lot of people from different cultures in the office, and because I was in Bangalore, the youth's paradise, and because I started opening my eyes to not just see, but to read and understand, and because I started watching a lot of good movies from across the globe and not just Mohanlal solving some petty murder cases like he's a Sherlock Holmes, I started changing.

I started understanding how gay-rights were crushed in the Victorian era and the struggle evolved. I understood how religion made our brains rest and rust. I understood how a woman has to be self-reliant come-what-may. It was a total change. I started looking at the job aspect for women as serious as for men. I no more wanted to have a woman change her surname because she was married, instead I wanted her to uphold her individuality. I no more believed in religion. I was convinced that for all the vices that India has, religion holds the greatest culpability, the inequality, poverty of one section, oppression of women and glorification of men, importance of a male heir and lack of importance for female kids, concept of dowry and concept of marrying-'off' the girls thereby removing them from your family's roll call.I no more wanted to worship a God who would stratify his subjects.

Well, a lot of these changes were controversial, especially the agnostic part. And I still hear comments from relatives about how I didn't 'stick to my words' and 'flipped'.

The moment you shun your dogma, you start looking at most things through a different prism. 6yrs back, when a friend suggested if Ramayana were to be a fiction written by a genius who crafted amazingly different characters like the monkey who could jump from TN to SriLanka, and the chivalrous gentleman who was committed to his wife, and the villain who was attracted to the beautiful heroine like any bollywood movie, I shuddered at the blaspheme. Years later, when I watched Troy, I wondered. Those Greeks and Trojans also had Gods and religions like us. They had also believed the Gods would help them at war, but undoubtedly the Greeks were defeated. So where were the Greek Gods?? Why did they let their faithful subjects lose? Of course Iliad was a fiction. But why couldn't Ramayana or Mahabharata be? If there can be such amazing creations like Lord of the Rings with such different creatures like Hobbits and Orcs and Dwarfs, and if there can be such intricately beautiful works like Game of Thrones written in just a span of 15-20yrs, why would it be inconceivable that these religious epics were indeed someone's masterpieces?

Well, almost all of my past views changed eventually. It's almost like I'm no more the anachronistic dogmatic girl I once was! But is that really bad??

Khuda Hafiz

Friday, January 10, 2014

I'm back from another writer's block. Looks like I can't stand my writing for more than two months, and I can't stand my not writing for more than ten months! I've exploited and exhausted my right to be called a wannabe-writer long back.. now I'm not even a wannabe anymore.. But beautiful composition is like a magnet. You're attracted to it howsoever hard you resist. And every time I come across one, I wonder what went inside the mind of that writer to shower such beautiful words and connect them with the right chord.. Sometimes I wonder, how people who are so abhorrent in real life get to write such splendid lines.. I have always been so much in love with Naipaul to the extent that my passwords were all naipaul for quite a long time until I read an article on hacking and morphing and revenge-pornography and got scared to death, and changed them.. He had given me such pleasurable experiences with his simple yet beautifully crafted words.. Words that just flow like the giggles of a brunette!
"Last week I had my first snow. It came down in little white fluffs; you felt that a gigantic hand had punched a gigantic cotton wool sack open, letting down flurries of cotton shreds. "
And to think that he was just 17 while writing it, makes the taste even sweeter!! But in real life, he was all that I would hate in a man, abusive, misogynistic, womanizer, bigot, and what not. And yet, how could he write so amazingly! Is that his alter ego?!

PS:LS Elections are nearing, and as always I've started having nightmares and sleepless nights. I love as well as hate my obsession with politics!!

Khuda Hafiz