If we voted you to power, I don’t see how we gave you a mandate to skip the queue or to deserve VIP treatment. How does a servant of the public become a celebrity that ought to be put up on a high pedestal?
Yes, a servant of the public- that is what a member of parliament is.
But the public is so used to seeing their politicians have a claim to better treatment that though it may irk them, they are still individuals who speak for themselves. Members of the public aren’t the ones surrounded by bodyguards and yes men.
Suddenly, everyone around such a politician starts considering himself a very important person too.
So you have the driver abusing other commuters and misbehaving with toll booth staff. The assistant demands attention as the stepping stone to the MP if you want to be heard. The distant relative flaunts his relations everywhere with the very common, तू जानता नही मैं कौन हूँ।
Power can be that addictive to those who simply bask in someone else’s influence.
The step taken by Air India and other 6 members of Federation of Indian Airlines in barring Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad from their flights after he blatantly misbehaved with an AI staff is commendable.
He created the ruckus when he was seated in economy class of ALL ECONOMY Pune Delhi flight.
What is the airline supposed to do in an all economy flight to accomodate him?
A. Seat him in the cockpit and let him fly the plane.
B. Seat him on the roof of the plane itself.
C. Apply to add business class section to the flight and wait until it is approved, sanctioned and made available.
These carriers stood up for their staff and that boosts employee morale. The last straw in the hat you need is your employer being apologetic to your client for misbehaving with you.
It has set a great example. Tell me, by what yardstick does a politician deserve special treatment at our expense?
This is a culture that needs to be discouraged.
Politicians are people like you and me, only worse because they apparently live above the law.
I, the privileged one,
With food to last two square meals in my stomach,
Do not understand how,
You can die of poverty.
Go find yourself some work.
Stop being the scum that is upto no good,
Always tapping at out car windows,
Asking for alms.
Toil and labour,
For the sky is the limit I heard.
Fall into the clutches of vicious moneylenders.
We’ll find you by the pavement,
Drunk in a stupor.
For the world is your oyster.
I refuse to believe you can die of poverty,
Or starve of opportunities.
I refuse to see beyond the promised land.
Hold my hand and watch this nation change.
I hold the soul of a man in my bare hands,
Cold and evanescent.
Down alleyways and passages,
Corridors and lanes,
As if I am one person too much,
Occupying more space than I exist in.
So I make myself small,
Pull my hands in
And hold them folded,
Against my body.
I stick to the straight line,
That becomes fine while I walk.
And I envy that fiery stride
Step after step moving forward in silent determination,
You hold your head high for the world to see
And though you hinder me not,
Unsure of my gait,
Tone it down.
And I jump in my skin,
When I hear footsteps behind me,
Or voices that I know for sure are talking about me,
Or eyes that I know are burning a hole in my clothes,
To see what lies underneath.
Is it skin?
Is it fresh meat?
I don’t know.
I gather myself up,
Shrink a little,
Trying to dissolve into thin air.
Tell us something about yourself.
Suffice it to say I am a woman?
So, what do you feel?
I feel a lot of things: angst, anxiety, paranoia, joy, ecstasy, happiness, delusion and fear, but never too safe.
You don’t feel safe?
Yes. And no, this isn’t a country thing. I mean I tried everything, dressing conservatively, being holed up in my home, not speaking unless spoken to. I followed the instructions you know. I stuck to my side of the road, I moved in groups, you’ll find it funny that I enrolled in karate classes and started keeping pepper spray in my bag.
So, that must have made you feel empowered then!
The illusion frankly. But not safe or protected even then.
Well then miss. This might be the textbook case of female hysteria. We’ll have it fixed in no time.
How is that?
The time tested solution of marriage. You can party hard to bollywood songs, put on bling, wear that red lipstick or the little black dress and have sex as much as you like.
Oh! But what about marital rape?
Umm, well. Let us assume it does not exist.
So its time for the HYPOTHETICAL ROUND!!
What happens when you are commented upon, out of the blue.
Well,you see, I’ll talk about tonight. I alighted from an auto and entered a passageway to home. This boy on a bike goes past me, takes a u turn and buzzes past me saying, ‘I love you.’ Dude, I didn’t even know that guy.
What did you do?
I pretended to not have heard him.
So, my hypothetical question is: What if this has happened three years ago?
I would have felt angered. The blood would have boiled over in my veins at such a preposterous act. I would have retaliated with a nasty retort because I was prone to panic.
So what changed?
Did you know an Australian court acquitted a man of harrassing two women because he was influenced by Bollywood and considered stalking women as normal?
What is your point?
My point is, that it is okay for that guy to confess love to a complete stranger because she is a woman wearing red lipstick and walking alone at 8 p m with her hair down. It is okay because well, they get away with it in our movies and telly. It is okay for our representatives to talk shit about women. It is okay for women to shame other women because they were ‘asking for it’. It is okay for our media to go on air on national television and glorify the good girl wronged and doubt the one in a club. If that is okay, it is alright to have a sense of entitlement that lets us get away with rowdy guys because men will be men.
Now we reach the end of the interview with one last question. What is your name?
Name,ethnicity,race,nationality,religion, ot does not matter.
Suffice it to say I am a woman.
Please go ahead an ban Shahrukh Khan, self proclaimed moralists.
He spoke up and is that what actors aren’t supposed to do? Oh wait, they’re just meant to mind their own business. No one’s bothering them. Why should they be getting vocal?
Oh yeah. You forget, in your misplaced enthusiasm that these are people and they can be sensible and compassionate, unlike some.
And what are they given back?
This is such a shame. Tell me, that I, by taking this action of saying something you do not like, am a traitor. That I do not love my country and I should go back to Pakistan.
But you’d rather tell me that since I am a Hindu, I have been brainwashed by secularists to air such a view. Kudos to you for having such double standards.
The list of the people you banned keeps getting longer. I think India might be racing to the top in the ease of doing business, but look at what’s at stake here. Ever heard of that story?
One day they’ll come for you, and no one will save you because you didnt bother when they took away the rest.
Why should a government, which must have a lot to do, I guess, take a stance on what kind of meat the nation was eating?
I am very sure if some of us had religious sentiments attached to chicken, we’d be banning that too.
The mob is a headless chicken anyways.
What really got me worried is the silence that prevails on part of those who are expected to speak up after any such incident takes place. Someone has got to take a stand. Why are these bigots still making outrageous statements and nobody bothers to put a check on them? Will that be stifling their freedom of expression? So be it, for the sake of national solidarity and the rosy picture our leaders are painting of this nation, in front of other nations.
Intolerance, transcends boundaries. Every country has its own share of idiots who binge on the publicity such foot in mouth comments bring to them but I can safely say, these past months, we have hardly had a debate on any matter of national importance. We are all stuck in this vortex of comment wars.
The repurcussions, are never instant. If such people like Baba Ramdev, Yogi Adityanath and Sadhvi Prachi are allowed to stay put and ignored, thereby encouraging their idiocy, we are in for some Hard Times.
Here on my plate,
Remain crumbs of my faith.
And I wear it like a second skin sometimes.
And when I open my mouth,
All I ever say,
Is a reinstatement of my fickle faith.
Tell me not,
Who to worship,
And when not to speak my mind.
Tell me not,
To be blind,
To your intolerance that kills my belief when you stifle a voice.
When on this dreary road I tread on alone,
My belief is my choice.
And suddenly this place,
That I used to call home,
Lets me know today there is a price,
To what I say.
I wear my faith,
Not on my forehead or on my wrist,
Around my neck it doesn’t decay.
I wear it up my sleeve,
This little lie of morality,
That paints your faces red and your swords rise to defend it,
It numbs my reason,
Yet never moves,
I saw a desolate moon,
painted upon the vast black canopy that became the sky.
And it awed me,
filled me with mystery,
a translucent veil,
drew upon the history that had been yours.
And the moon grew bleaker by the moment,
beyond outlines of trees and hills.
And outside my sight,
when I could see it no more,
I hid my face from queer interrogating eyes,
and you I ceased thinking of,
for I knew I had to find it,
rally ahead or trail behind it,
lovely lonely gloom
and I see its faint glow.
‘Not yet, Happiness,
it’s too soon.’
Time asserts itself in numerous ways,
like memories that begin fading,
and moments of madness that we start regretting.
We’re growing old,
soon we’d wonder if the anti ageing cream,
ought to be added,
to a budget that already hinges on prescriptions,
and then colour our hair,
splurge on botox,
try to make a difference,
to the lesser world that we’re in.
Faces smile at us,
waiting for approval,
and we just scratch our heads.
‘I know her.
She’s someone I know!
What’s your name, again?’
And very soon,
the futility of mapping time,
shows us the truth of life.
Older connections are lost,
and happiness means,
finishing off the day sans the pain in the joints,
and having once in a very long while,
something the doctor prohibited.
And we see young people,
change faster than we did,
we want to ask them,
the paycheck that got you the tablet,
did that make you feel in love with it?
The one night stands that give you a high,
do they ever rest on loyalty?
And it ends with a sigh.
For the world never minds the mindless rumble.
We lived in different times, they say!
often loud and jittery,
of what has been and what is yet to see,
of vibrant hues and musical melodies,
of places from another world and fantasies,
who captured our smiles,
who brought despair,
who would’ve gone those extra miles,
and who would no longer appear,
are now parodies.
An unsigned card beneath a shut window,
sprayed with little perfume droplets,
and the wait is eternal.
For the love way back became just a shadow,
of moments basked in moonlit glory.
That might as well,
be your story.
A half burnt letter smelling of rose,
in verse and prose,
a charred odour
and the stench is ethereal.
For the passion became so huge, so real,
that no longer the heart could venture to feel.
The ending words say ‘I’m sorry’
that might as well,
be my story.