August 29, 2012

At Kashmir

Day 3 in kashmir seems like a long time already.

I reached on 27th and went straight to the homestay. It felt strange, first the heat was intense, more than Kabini usually is. The homsetay is nice, located wonderfully behind the crowd and bustle.

Went to Gulmarg and took a horse to the first stage of the lift. It was more enjoyable than taking a 9 minute lift. I managed to see Gujjar and bakharwal families and Khalid, the horseman was a super guy.

Walked down to tangmarg. Fast.

Fell sick on that night, the second night.... Slept badly....

Woke up today on day three. Slept and rested till 2 pm and then went to Shalimar and then Nishat. Nishat was exquisitive, worth a visit again and so was Pari mahal.... I walked all the way to the Pari Mahal and had a great half an hour at the top.

Tomorrow off to Pahalgam....

August 15, 2012

1984 - And we screwed up well.......

I am a Punjabi. And a proud one at that. I am not nationalistic but being a Punjabi does give me a feeling that here is a culture that did well enough these last two thousand years. Did well in defending and in being creative. As I like to put it, we are fast forward creative sorts, never had the time to be relaxed due to the anxieties that perhaps crept into our lives. So everything we did had to be fast and mobile, our arts are rapid, dances are energetic, romance is robust, literature is direct, poems cut through and of course, as the popular conception goes, we are strong, at heart and sinew.

But we committed a crime. And as a kid who was small in those years, too small to figure out, but as one who grew up listening to bits and pieces of that violence, I accept that we did a crime. A crime of being active or passive participants of the 1984 act of pogrom that destroyed our very sense of being Punjabi and instead divided us into Hindus and Sikhs.

Ohh... what a farce it was... the riots. We who lived together as one blood lost everything in three days of October, all for what. These riots rankles me ever so often, these riots that divided us. Even if a Sikh comes up and says that he has achieved closure, I can't say that I have. There is no closure in me, for what some who profess to be Hindus did to the closest community that Hindus live with in the country and across the world.

The farce that killed and divided Punjabis forever. Now I am Hindu Punjabi and how it rankles. I live three thousand kilometres from Punjab and have never lived there, maybe will never live there. Yet, everyday the one thought that crosses my mind, the one thought that has left a permanent scar on all Punjabis is when will closure come. When will the sardars get their due. Why do they not ask for it more. Why do we not ask for the perpetrators to be screwed. If Israel can do it for 60 years, why can't we go and catch them just 18 years after......

I also see a violent movement ahead. The call for varied Sikhs to remember 1984 is subtly leading to latent extremism, one that is being channelised by the internet. One where it is easy to see what burning tires can do to the human skin, or having one's hair cut off or the salwar torn off. And this increases as one sits in his cubicle in some office surrounded by friends who don't know the anguish within. What will he do... Does he have a right to ask for closure or can he become a rebel and then be branded a terrorist..........

This country needs to answer the 1984 ka question....

August 2, 2012


Next AV workshop:

The number is nearing 20 now. Given the increasing costs, we need at
least 25 finally, which means we should have a list of 30 (there are
always dropouts).

I know you want to help: Sujatha wants to send her daughter, Sunil is
ready to bring his wife. At this rate, Anil will want to sponsor his
mother-in-law (according to latest reports, however, he has not
acquired one yet.) Meera would have liked the whole of TCS to come,
but their only worry is that the quarterly results are not good
(though better than that of Infosys!). After all, constant growth is
important, environment is not.

There is no water in Bangalore (and in many other places), northern
India has had a blackout (in spite of IAEMP), Punjab farmers are dying
of cancer due to overuse of pesticides (I was there, don't eat Punjab
wheat). Manmohan Singh was asked whether he could do what Pranab could
not, that is, revive the economy, that is, facilitate more growth. So
he has promptly handed the Finance portfolio back to wily Chidambaram,
who has no ideas either. There is of course the ultimate solution:
Make Rahul Gandhi the PM.

And so the show goes on, even as the crowd dwindles at Anna Hazare's
fast, Assam is in turmoil, train coaches go up in flames, and monsoon
plays truant. When asked how power blackouts will be prevented in the
future, the Power Minister made a very profound statement: 'We must
manage power better.'