Tuesday, October 12, 2010

AND THAT MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE

My cousin Sakshi(right) and I
This is a true incident. Long ago, when I was a kid. I particularly can't recall my childhood as such but this incident runs fresh in my memory! It was the year of 1997 or 98 I suppose. Pretty far back! I had to attend a parent teacher meeting at school (JASPAL KAUR PUBLIC SCHOOL it was in Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi). It really bothered me, it was a menacing day where teachers would just tell my parent particularly these few things "he's very shy", "he doesn't speak", "he's aloof", "he doesn't participate in activities" and I always ended up getting a rather blood staining F in extra-curricular activities in my report card!


I was a serious kid, I never talked much, I associated with very few people. I was this little child with lots of thoughts in the head! Lots of doubt, maybe not about sciences or mathematics (I was pathetic at Math initially) but about how people were behaving around me. So that was me, silent, serious but still amicably adorable! So I dint look forward to the day. I faked a back-ache in the morning but my mom was way too familiar with my famous "back-aches" that occurred on special occasions so that dint help. I was decorated, dressed for the kill, left to be attacked by those cruel teachers who kill with their comments despite a huge smile! So we went, me and mom, in a rickshaw (Rickshaws were very common then in Delhi then). The morning air brushed through my hair and I felt good. It was all silent, the lull before the storm.


So we reached school, and my mom and I somehow separated. I can't recall a particular time frame but I came to my classroom alone. The teacher wasn't there, nobody was there. I went towards one of the windows and stared blankly outside. I suddenly noticed that a chocolate was kept on the table. No one was there to claim it. I walked towards it and stared at it. My initial reflex was to pick it up and place it discreetly in the pocket but I dint do so. Something stopped me, something from inside and I dint know what. Maybe it was a little child’s conscience or innocence but the temptation was huge. A chocolate is an undeniable treat for a kid but I still couldn't make my hand reach out to it. It felt like I was going to do something wrong by picking it up and someone might have forgotten his/her chocolate there! But then again, a chocolate is a chocolate!


So there I was, trying to make one of the most imp decisions of my life, Yes, important. I now know what it has impacted on me. A 7 year old trying to work out the boundaries of his little brain. I just stood there, frozen in time, and finally decided that I was not going to pick it up. Even as a child, it felt like a huge defeat, to let that chocolate go. My mom and the teacher walked in together, smiling, and I surely dint expect that.. So had my mom too joined hands with the teacher on ways to kill me?? It was already tough to let the chocolate go and I couldn't comprehend with the loss of the chocolate and my mom altogether! I was shocked, my little brain working on optimum levels and exploring every possibility but I calmed myself down! The teacher gave a good feedback, I remember her name. It was "ILA GULATI" and I liked that teacher. I was kinda her pet. She smiled at me and waived towards the table indicating me to go towards something on it. And even before I could turn towards the table, little fireworks of joy had already started in my heart. I walked the red carpet of my little life and gleefully picked up the chocolate not even realizing what ma’am wanted me to do, least bothered, like it was destined for me. I couldn't believe the turn of events. The chocolate was mine, ethically of course. 


It was a sweet incident that I still fondly recall. It made a world of impact on me. Had I not made the choice between good/bad that particular day, I'd fail to make one subsequently and it'd become a habit! It set my ideals clear and my ideologies apart! When I look back now, I feel despite my teeny weenie brain, I did make the right decision and “THAT MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE”.


Peace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

RELIGIOUS INDIFFERENCE

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It starts with “What is your religion? What ethnicity do you belong to? Are you from a minority community?” and narrows down to “Are you Hindu? Are you Muslim?” People just carelessly spill out “I’m a Hindu, I hate Muslims” or conversely “I’m a Muslim, I hate Hindus.” People just love to quote the above given statements without realizing their overall impact. May I kindly ask why?? Did they personally come and harm your existence? Or did they do something bad to your life? Did they come and break your toys when you were young or puncture the wheels of your car? Pepl love to jump to unworthy implications and the younger lot mindlessly follow the notions set by the elders! 

I understand that terrorism has been linked to islam but that doesn’t mean that every muslim you see is bad or a terrorist. The message in the recent movie “My Name is Khan” was crystal clear, yet ppl fail to perceive it and watch the movie for the star studded cast! Its awful when a person is adjudged a thief, terrorist or some such on the basis of his religion. What has created this barrier? This isolation? Why can’t the two religions co-exist? Why are they always at loggerheads? 

The recent Babri masjid case was handled brilliantly. I agreed with the newspaper’s headlines that read “COURT DIVIDES LAND TO UNITE INDIA”. It was a good gesture of peace! The state of Jammu and Kashmir is buring. My roots are there and it hurts me to see the turmoil in the valleys! The hate is prominent, the problems are profound! Even recently, an incident proved the latent isolation. I was traveling back home from college in a bus. The bus was full with the exception of 1 seat. An elderly Muslim (eminent from his long beard and skullcap), probably 50-60 years of age, was sitting, rather sleeping alone on the seat. About 4-5 ppl were standing and I noticed that none of them wanted that seat. They preferred to stand. The man would have felt lucky to have the whole seat to himself until he would bother to find out why. The ppl standing were living each other’s fear because they thought when the others were scared, they concluded that it was automatically natural for them to feel scared sitting next to that harmless elderly, they were living each other’s fears! This was heart-breaking to see. This is how the world is! The public news channels blare aloud and ppl follow, I don’t blame the ppl because viewers are swayed easily by the media! 

When will this world understand that we’re not fighting a religion but grave issues like terrorism, dreaded diseases, social malpractices, hazards like global warming! The end would approach fast if we neglect these issues! Apocalypse is round the corner and instead of uniting, we are interested to create segments in the society to worsen our state. By fighting we’re just bringing our end closer! Is that what we really want? Was that our motive in life?

WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO END THIS HATRED?
MY LIFE?
YOUR LIFE?
THE END OF THIS WORLD?  
We’re in a sad world at the hands of extremists. May god have mercy on us!

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Peace!

-Sahil K