Sunday, June 29, 2008

Return to Innocence-1

Today is Sunday and my heart is forcing me to remember the past. Those days, when my heart was still a child. Those times when everything was so simple. The days I spent in Sahibganj. The first feelings of attraction, which I mistook to be love; the true feelings of love- love from my beloved Papaji and from Ma; the feelings of that innocent laughter, those simple fights and that hug. Well, I believe my heart is making my mind return to that innocence.

But OK, I will control my heart a bit and let you know of one of the stories from those innocent times.Feelings are plenty but today I will post only about my first feelings of attraction for someone, maybe you can call it my first crush. I will only write a short story about the birth and growth of my innocence, not about its death.

Venue: Sahibganj, the place which gave birth to all my innocence and also led to its death.
Time: Many years ago

I think I was in Class 6 then and our school's inter house quiz competition was going on. I was one among the viewers. Totally oblivious of what was going on the stage I was chatting with one of my friends, and then I saw her. She was there answering questions to the quizzer, there on the stage, and I knew it was love- love at first sight ( kya karoon, used to watch a lot of movies at those times). I decided that day itself that I need to talk to her. Sources confirmed she was not in my section but in the same class as mine. I was that typical nerd afraid of talking to girls, and I spent a few nights thinking of how to approach her. Well, I finally got an idea. I decided I have to wait for 8-9 months before I talk to her. See, I had a lot of patience back then, which was a result of my innocence or better to say the aftereffect of my innocence. I know that she had participated in the quiz competition and she does that every year. I waited, trying to preserve her memories in my heart, and enjoying the feelings of that wait full of patience and hope. I wanted to oust her regular partner for the quiz and take his place.

And after about 7-8 months the day came. The selection day for the Inter House Quiz Competition. There she was waiting to get selected for the competition, amongst the best quizzers of our school. I was sure I would get selected and would oust her regular partner, and thus get the chance to partner her. I have already started dreaming of those days which we shall spend together preparing for the quiz competition.

The results of the selection were announced and I listened to the announcement with a stopped heart. "This year we have selected the students who'll represent the Campion House. The students are...", I almost closed my ears, "....Ashwin Srivastava..", I caroused in the sweetness of those words, "....and Shyamjee Ojha", the revelry lasted only a few seconds. Shyamjee was her regular partner.

She was ousted because of me.

Well I will keep you posted about more feelings and incidents from those innocent times, but later, because a phone call from my professor a few moments ago has suddenly brought me back to the "not so innocent world".

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Politics and IIT, hand in hand?? or........??

I think its my right and my duty to write on this topic. Being an IITian and having witnessed the politics surrounding this esteemed institute, I believe that despite trying to remain aloof from one of the most important decisions made in the recent times, we can't ignore the consequences which this decision may have on our future.

Politics is interesting. Politics has given my neighbor, the son of one of the most powerful persons of my city, an entry into IIT based on the grounds which clearly mention my neighbor as socially backward. I still wonder how can you call one of the most influential businessmen in the city ,adored and respected by all, as socially backward. Well the answer is politics.

Politics is more interesting. Politics has given my institute, already a widow, an opportunity to give birth to a daughter. The institute lacks in the number of good faculty and as if this was not enough, the intake of students has been increased. Students who have been crammed to live in a 10*10 ft area (okay this was a bit of exaggeration) will now have to live in even worse situations. IIT Kanpur, the widowed mother, conceived a new IIT Rajasthan which will remain in incubation period for a year or two. Politics can do anything.

Politics is even more interesting. Politics can lead people to death without even touching them. Politics can change the system without even the people sensing them. Politics can justify rape while making a rule of death sentence for rape. Politics can simply do anything, simply anything, as long as we remain what we are- gullible, ignorant, greedy, selfish and losers.

p.s. The last paragraph tries to touch different issues, all at the same time. Think over each sentence, over each word and you will find each sentence is a pun intended on what current politics related to IIT may do to these esteemed institutes.

Aftermath of a tragic discussion..

Recently I had a long discussion with a close friend of mine, who is obsessed with repugnance for all Hindu fundamentalist organizations. His obsession has reached to a level where he has started to believe that Muslims in this nation are unsafe. Such a belief has made him the scapegoat of his own feelings which are trying to feast on his gullibility. Now he believes he has converted himself into a Muslim.

Well its not about this friend I am going to talk about in this post; but its about all those gullible people who get affected by what they see first so fast that they are unable to see the other picture despite having eyes. Its quite natural that the movies my friend has watched in the recent past are Godhra Tak, Zakhm etc. I appreciate these movies but am unable to appreciate what my friend perceives from a few parts of these movies.

This post is not about the friend mentioned in the first para, but also about another friend of mine, who only watches movies and documentaries like The plight of Kashmiri Hindus, Islamic Terror etc. And he believes he needs to save Hinduism in order to help India remain a secular country. What an irony!

I would like to make it clear that none of these movies are biased towards any religion and all of them are pure in what they try to portray. Its what these friends of mine have perceived after watching these movies which concerns me, and should be the concern of the youth of today.

Secularism or fundamentalism? If given a choice to select between the two, both of my friends would select the former. I would, too. But despite this selection they forget the fact that secularism is trying to reach new meanings in the politics of today's world. This new meaning is what they are selecting and professing, and this new meaning is what is acting as the vote bank of politicians of today. Its similar to what once Asoka has believed- he needs to kill people and create one country under his own rule to ensure non violence in the future. Violence to ensure non violence? Fundamentalism as the road to secularism?

I think its the time to think.

p.s. I hope none of my friends feel anything bad about this post, and I request that even if you do, please DON'T start a war of words in the comments section.