Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Tribute

Not that I am too emotionally attached to the issue here, but still found it interesting enough to share. So,...

I saw this hoarding at the Prasar Bharti HQ in Delhi which said: A TRIBUTE TO THE LEGACY OF URDU. And ironically enough, it said that in English. This left me wondering if its a tribute to the current state of the language of the Nawabs or its legacy, as the hoarding claimed.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Diversity, disparity and contradictions

Well, i am finally entering the blogging space today...i have had thoughts regarding this a number of times...i always used to think that my first blog would be about a fun thing...maybe india's cricket performance, or maybe bappi lahri's music or some strange co-incidence of life.

In short, i never thought that i would begin with some serious thoughts of mine. Not that anything i write would change something but what struck me was so stark that i could not keep myself from blogging, so .....

India, a land of diversity, diversity of cultures, of traditions, religions, beliefs and what not. I was always so proud of this diversity. But diversity is associated with inevitable disparity and this disparity always presents itself in the form of contradictions between you and the others. For me, this contradiction presented itself in the most simplistic form over a routine snack of maggi. In my last 5 years of hostel life, i have started believing that maggi is the most routine thing to eat. I have become so dependent on it that its tough to imagine life without maggi. And i thought its so true for all us Indians. For everybody i know eats maggi and just loves it. With these thoughts i went to a chai-ki-dukan outside my hostel when the emptiness of my stomach disrupted my game of cards at 3 in the morning. Me and my friends gave our usual order of "char plain maggi" and continued with our chat about how my stupidity cost my partner a game of "sweep". Our maggi was still on the burner when a truck driver stopped for tea. He said to the chaiwallah "what is this thing that you are cooking ? Its something like the sewai that we make at our home." Me and my friends were shocked that there is a part of India who has never seen maggi, when we consider it to be the country's staple food. And thats when the realisation dawned. I knew only a small part of India. I believed India was shining when farmers were committing suicide. I was fascinated by Obama's rise when the dalits were fighting against the Ranbir Sena. I was pleased with the Bombay Stock Exchange's sensex's bull run when people in slums of the same Bombay itself were living like bulls. 
As it turned out, what i saw that day was just the surface. Upon exploration, I came across several facets of life of this other India, which I never knew in my 22 years of existence. 45% of Indian women get married before the age of 18, yet i had never heard of one.  India has the largest number of AIDS patients in the world and yet I thought the HIV exists only in some distant land, if it does at all. About a third of the country's populace falls in the BPL category (that too when you have to shit in the open to be categorised BPL) and yet I thought that 8% GDP growth is "real economic progress".
Yes, life is full of contradictions but nowhere are they as stark and as real as in India.