Sunday, May 31, 2009

BLACK OR WHITE- TELL ME WHO YOU ARE

Black, white, brown…these are not just random listings of colours but basis that we use more often than not to distinguish between people. A distinction that so many times leads to discrimination of the worst kind. Since time immemorial the colour of one’s skin determined whether he woule belong to the clan of the rulers or the ruled. Apparently skill wasn’t a good enough criterion to determine who should be entitled to what. We wanted something that was merely skin deep. But are we really better than our primitive ancestors when it comes to giving equal opportunities and status to the people around us? Has the years of education and development of civilization made our thought process any more humane than it was all those years ago?

The colour of our skin is not all that we have limited our purview of discrimination to, rather we have used all the possible factors under the sun to create boundaries that go beyond the geographical demarcations. People have been classified like objects on the basis of religion, region, caste, colour up to a point that we can create genus and species classification of human beings the way we do with birds and animals. Is it really this easy to grade us, one of the most evolved, intelligent and complex creatures of nature? Are superficial factors taking over what really matters- the heart, mind and soul of a person?

In today’s modern times when the geographical distances have become nothing more than a few hours travel due to the development in every sphere of science and technology people fear to travel freely and disclose their true identities as the fear of how they would be received in another nation plagues their heart and mind. For as it has been made more than clear that being from India or Pakistan gives you an edge above the others when considering who could be a potential terrorist or threat to the other nation’s security.

Some of the recent incidences well substantiate these factors. An Indian student was brutally beaten up in Australia for no apparent rhyme or reason. Indian passengers were stranded for hours together without so much as being offered basic amenities by Air France. If this is not discrimination then why was the same treatment not extended to the other passengers on the same flight? We know about these events because the people involved in them dared to raise their voice against the injustice being carried so blatantly in broad day light. But there are numerous other cases that do not come to the lime light because people are afraid to speak up and fight against what’s wrong and unjust. These things do not just take place at the international level, rather they take place everyday in our homes when we discriminate against our own domestic help treating them as mere objects rather than people who have feelings just like us and feel the pain that we at times so thoughtlessly inflict on them. Discrimination is when we raise our children to clearly distinguish between Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs without imparting a much needed lesson in tolerance. Discrimination in all forms, shapes and sizes is around, you will also find it, but only when you stop looking and start seeing, when you stop hearing and start listening.

God made each person unique, with traits both good and bad. Its is for us to be able to learn to appreciate each other the way we are and not create watertight compartments and set people apart on the basis of how they look, or talk, the families they were born into or the religious belief that they carry in their hearts. We have to rise above these things and embrace humanity, love and tolerance above all other things and then may be we can together create a better world for the generations to come. A world that would know compassion and friendship, where people would be proud of who they are and won’t try to morph into something that they believe would make them more acceptable to the world and their fellow beings. This world will start with you and me…so let us today make a new beginning.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I'm a girl....

I was born a girl
In a world of men
Condemned to a life of misery and pain.

They wanted a son
To make them proud.
Not a duaghter, with whose liability
For a lifetime they would be bound.

I blended in the shadows
Fading my existence
drowning in an abyss of darkness
The world around me living in oblivion.

Years passed away, till that day came
When they could put their daughter
In the hands of that one
Who for money was willing to take their bane.

A ray of hope dared to creep in
Joy at last may be mine
The tears may be wept away
The sun may finally rise.

But, alas !
How could i forget
I was a woman
Happiness to whom was denied forever.

Abuse in all forms came to me
Beating and harassment drowned my screams
Those around me became blind to my wounds
The bruises on my soul, were more painful than the ones in plain view.

I did the chores
I cooked the meals
I raised the family
And at night i wept...till finally in silence sleep crept up on me.

How long was this pain to last?
Everyday i prayed for my end
But it seemed so far
The vicious cirlce moved along...
Days and years had lost meaning long back.

Today, as i finally breathe my last
So close to the release, for so long i had sought
My heart can beat in relief and joy
As the fear of living slowly passes by.
I was a girl in a world of men
Is that the crime for which my entire life was condemned ??

Sunday, August 5, 2007

They Need Us...

The sounds of those silent tears are still resonant around me, haunting me in whatever I do, invading the shelter of my haven, forcing me to look beyond my comforts to the lives of those who are a part of my existence, though made invisible by sheer indifference and fear. In case you are wondering what started this mental dilemma of mine….then read on.

Last Saturday morning I sat down to breakfast and turned on the television. Boogie Woogie (the famous dance show) was holding a contest for children living in different children’s homes. Behind those groovy dance moves each child, each face had a story to tell. A story of pain, of suffering, of abuse and neglect. 90% of the children who performed there had been forced to flee from their homes under various circumstances, the most common of them being physical abuse and torture. They were denied everything that you and I grew up with- education, love, security, care and the assurance that they were wanted and that they were not merely a working hand to feed the hungry mouths of the family. They ran away to various places the most common of them being Mumbai in the hope of finding a better future, a better life. After coming to these cities most of these children slept on the roads, railway stations and footpaths, did all kind of jobs that they could find- right from sweeping floors to cleaning cars and some of these innocent souls were even dragged down the dark lanes of the world of beggary.

Another very common element in most of their woes was the presence of a drunk father. They’d beat up their wives and kids to work of their frustration. Whatever money that the family managed to earn was wasted away in quenching their never ending but forever growing thirst for alcohol. It’s a vicious circle that never reaches an end. It continues day-after-day-after-day till these children have no option but to run away or get killed slowly at the hands of their own parents.

One of the judges there was the famous actress Tabassum, who narrated a heart wrenching experience. One day a beggar came up to her holding a 6-7 month old baby in his arms. The baby’s eyes were covered with white gauze and the man was begging people for money to treat the child’s eyes who he claimed was blind. The baby in his arms was wailing. Something didn’t strike her as right and she asked the man to take of the bandage from the child’s eyes. Hearing this the man got frightened and tried to make a run for it. She screamed and caught the attention of two police constables who caught hold of him. When they finally removed the covering from the little baby’s eyes they found that 2 cockroaches had been placed over his eyes before covering them with gauze.

As I sit pondering these things- which are just the tip of the ice berg- certain questions assail my mind. What are we doing for the children of our country? Where is our future headed? Has love, security and care been reduced to commodities to be owned and enjoyed only by the kids of the rich and wealthy? Are we deliberately closing our eyes towards reality because these things are not happening to someone we know and therefore don’t concern us? Why is it that our society chooses to ignore things till their consequences become to ghastly to even comprehend?

Its time to wake up. For once lets think about somebody but ourselves. There is so much that you and I can do to give these children the kind of life that they deserve. If you want you can donate money to a children’s home, send clothes, food, medicines, stationary or volunteer some time to teach them or play with them. You can sponsor a child’s education through various reputed NGO’s. Raise your voice against child labour. Protect these children from the demons of our society. Let them know love in its purest form. You wouldn’t want your child to go through this then why put these kids through it. Please spare a moment for them, do something for them. Don’t let your indifference make them the prisoners of darkness and pain. Do something…..before its too late.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tuesday Ritual

Since time immemorial my mom and I've had a sort of a ritual of visiting the temple every Tuesday. I don't know wheather its our way of saying that we are still spiritual in the race of modern life or a way to seek solace and strength for a brief moment, to become strong enough to face what lies beyond those walls. But there is one particular sight that I've never been courageous enough to face- that is the spectacle of seeing so many underpriveledged children lined outside the temple, looking at every person passing by with hopeful eyes, pleading with them to drop a morsel of food from the huge packet that they carry in the name of ' prasad' so that may be tonight they wouldnt have to sleep hungry.

One thing that always amazes me about them is that despite the fact that a lot of them are not even sure whether or not they will manage to get a meal tonight or not, don't have a roof over their head but they still manage to do something that even we don't- smile against all odds. They run around bare foot playing with each other as if daring the miseries of destiny to catch up with them. In contrast to them we sit around in lethargy and blame our destiny and our bad luck even if we acquire a cold. What misery we have to bear !

Sharing is a concept that for many of us is only a topic of discussion to be held in moral education classes for young children because of course all sensible people know that in today's competitive and fast moving world each one is expected to fetch for himself. Right ? But there are still those innocent children who haven't been corrupted by these so called ideals of the modern world. They still divide a piece of bread into a number of small pieces if they see that their brother is hungry and without food. Oh how foolish such trivial details seem to us, but these trivial details are the very reason for their blissful existence in the midst of sorrow, while forgetting such virtues is the very reason for our not-so-happy existence in the world despite the fact that we possess all the worldly possesions that are supposed to satisfy our need for happiness. Then why our we not happy ??

We tend to give the most importance to the issues of least significance. We are always so preoccupied with counting the victories of others that we forget to enjoy our own achievements. Its time we learnt from those children that happiness is nothing but a state of mind. Its all within us, its just a matter of searching for it. Once you look within yourself you'll find answers to all your questions, solutions to all your problems and a state of ecstacy that no amount of money or materialistic possessions could ever provide you with. Let the quest for happiness begin and let it begin within you.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Shh....

Shh....
Don't say anything
let the silence speak.
Let me drown into your eyes
Let the moment be.
Let the wind blow through my hair
Let me hear your heart beat.
Let me close my eyes and feel you
Let the beauty of our love fly free.
Let me kiss you and make you mine
Let me hold you and close my mind.

Let the silence speak
Let our love not be bound by words.
Let the darkness of the night hide us from the world
Let the light of the moon illuminate whats our own.
Let this lifetime last till eternity
Let this magic stay forever.
Let me love you till my last breath
Let me thank you for being my saviour.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Lost Soul

The sun sets far beyond the horizon


Leaving me in darkness


The loneliness of my heart


The solitude of my existence


More profound than ever.



There is no one to see the tears


No one to feel the pain


No one to hold my hand


As every moment passing by


Seems to go away in vain.



But it wasnt always like this


There was a time when i was happy


When i smiled with every morning sunshine


When my heart sang with every rain


When there was excuberence in my step


And my world was a secure place.



Then my haven broke


It all came crashing down


The silver linings melted away into shadows


And there was just me, left bare.



The days pass by


Life moves on


I no longer sing when it rains


But use it to hide my tears and my pain


To smile, i no longer know how


To live is a task


The joy of it long gone.



Its morning once again


The sun is rising beyond the horizon


The world is moving on its path


I lay awake like i had the night before


And the night before that


Wondering where to go


When everything i once had


Has all been lost.



I don't know what to do


I don't know where to start


My life is no longer mine


And neither is my love


Who once held my heart


And everything that i had.



Those were the days of promises


Of words left unspoken


Of deep sighs and affections


Of faith and emotions


And those are the days long gone.



Today there is nothing


No promises to hold on to


No loving eyes to drown into


No holding hands as the sun sets down


No stolen kisses and moments so profound.



There are only memories to live by


As i fall towards endless darkness


I'm falling....falling


Don't try and hold me


Just set me free


And let me go.