Archive for March 2009

Can I smoke?

March 28, 2009

Smoking is injurious to health- no, I am not issuing the ‘statutory warning’, it is a fact. Having learnt of the black swan from Taleb, I am not saying this simply because the statistics declare the morbid association between smoking and ill health; I am merely against the dependence and the myths that every mind propagates to make illusory comforts essential. Smoking is not going to reduce anxiety, nor will it be soothing in depression. It will not spur creativity, and it will never make somebody believe you are superior or stylish- ofcourse it is not a sign of intellectual preoccupation. It is a habit and it is a bad habit in the sense that it is at the most harmful to health and at the least a waste of money. Yet, I wonder if I can smoke now!

I learnt smoking when I was fifteen years old, primarily to show off, and now I cannot show off that I smoke! But smoking is not the issue- I wanted to think aloud about politics that worked on the smoke screen called policy! What good would it do other than giving an impression that i am hallucinating- there are no ears to listen!

India is a strange no-smoking zone now! Many smoke on the roads, some even in hospital compounds, but the elite and the socialite circle do not smoke anymore in pubs and restaurants. They shrug and move to non-descript rooms to inhale and exhale on fellow smokers. In a funny way, the rich and the affordable, who have hitherto not cared to follow many of rules that have been framed (for the country?) by the country, adhere to the non-smoking rule! Five star hotels are strict! It is just the poor and the middle class who still decide to light and puff a cigarette at odd places which are supposed to be non-smoking (not smoke-free) zones! But then, it is again the poor and middle class who think that a vote is going to matter, and they ‘elect’ a government which would ‘look after’ them! In my experience, the government always looks ‘after’ they have voted! By the way, I am just curious to know how many of the manicured nails are going to be smeared with the ink that shows you have voted- it is too late to count the number in the last election, but it is possible to attempt now!

Why am I writing now instead of just taking my charminar and lighting it? Simply because I foresee a scenario when I may walk into one of the Taj hotels (even the one which made the socialites weep more than the socially conscious), and smoke on the table where I had just finished my dinner. times have changed! The man who so zealously advocated the no-smoking ban is no more in the ruling alliance. A shameless spokesperson of a party insults all of us by saying there could be post-poll alliances/agreements/adjustments! If in a rare chance the alumnus of my fraternity makes it to the same ministry again, I have to perhaps still hide my lighter and the cigarette pack? This is what my naïve mind thinks! Since it is the policy of the present government invariably the next one will not care much about it. But then, the son of the third(?) big party in tamilnadu could still retain the portfolio- it does not matter whether the congress or the BJP win. Slowly some rules may get relaxed as some lobbies become lucrative! If one decides to fight against someone who had till a few days ago been a partner-in-whatever, what big deal would it be if he decides to not fight against some public activity which had been his passionate obsession a few months ago?

So, can I smoke in public now? As a law-abiding and duty-conscious citizen I should not- in public, therefore I shall not light a cigarette in a forbidden zone. In the same law-abiding and duty-conscious mode I believe I should vote! Just as how some who make laws would smirk when they see me struggling to resist the urge to light a cigarette in some places, so would they, seeing me stand in a queue (and I had better be early else someone else may appear with ‘my’ identity card)!

My vote is rather inconsequential. The afore mentioned minister did not ask for anybody’s vote last time, nor will he this time. He will be nominated, along with the other such ‘born-with-a-political-spoon’ kids!

I have been one of the many who thought that a token protest, very selfishly not causing any discomfort for me, by way of registering my displeasure at the political choices before me in the election, was enough. I argued with confused poll officers, made them create a temporary page in whatever book they had, and registered my decision to not vote under section 49 (O). In fact, I took pains to check with my friendly journalist Gnani, on what exactly to do on the morning of that election, as he was one of the most vociferous advocates of this form of protest. At the end of the game, one of the many who did not meet ‘my’ criteria for a good candidate, won. There were votes polled for and against. In the past elections, there were also a certain number of votes declared as invalid! But nowhere was there, in the last election, any mention about the number of people who decided to register their protest by refusing to vote for one of the candidates. I felt invalid! I perhaps am!

Now I have another chance! I can again go and torture those poor uninformed poll ‘officers’ and sign a register and walk out with ink on my finger. And then? Somebody is going to win. Some losers and some winners are going to come together to save the country, while I will be wailing in my own little blog!

A friend of mine told me just a couple of weeks back that there was a statement in Quran that those who can do something to the society, and still do not do anything but keep talking, are the worst kind of people. I have not read such a thing in Quran, but even if it is not there in the holy book, it makes sense. So? I decide I should do something.

What do I do? Can I smoke?

What the frock? -misspelt ( as in this word)

March 25, 2009

Misspelt? ( as in this word?)

Misspelling is allowed in English, and cricket is very English! So, IPL need not mean Indian! It is just cricket- the most important activity of the country, the indispensable duty of the citizens, and the source of food, education and national pride!

Though I do not believe that the general election in India is going to send worthy members of the society to handle the affairs of the country in the parliament, though I do feel frustrated that my choice is not going to be the best of the best but from the better of the bad, though I feel that 49(O) is just an option to satisfy my social itch without impacting the party-based vote banks, though I have lost faith and respect in this ‘democratic’ process, I cannot accept a private entertainment company talking tough to the home minister, and threatening to take the show to some other country, and the media going into their live-latest-breaking-reporting histrionics on an issue that is at best an entertainment played out for big money. Lalit Modi would have been happy if the election dates were rescheduled to accommodate the cricket carnival that he plans to hold. This election must happen at least to stop cunning clowns from throwing their weight around. The other Modi naturally is offering security for the games to happen in his home country!

The Gujarat’s Modi, perhaps has learnt over the years the art and trick of providing security to people, unlike a few years earlier when masses were massacred while he was at the helm of affairs. Perhaps being a political bigwig, he can selectively secure some selfish interests. And, P.Chidambaram has been suave and slippery from the beginning not going tough on the organizers who had actually challenged the government by stating they would manage their own security and declaring with pomp and arrogance that the show would go on without any rescheduling of dates.

Now the show is going to go on, in another country! I am supposed to be upset and angry that the government is giving more importance to its constitutional commitment than cricket! No one yakking their head off in every channel that invades my television set wants to ask lalit modi and ipl to shut up and listen to the government. No one is asking them to cut the tournament short and get it over in a few days. It is now pretentiously portrayed as a loss to India, a shame to India that cricket cannot be played when elections are going to be held.

So what if some games are not played on some days? The average TV viewer would still get his dose of expert comments on the politico-democratic game show the great general election. There would be live scrolls telling the scores that the parties had managed. There would be speculations on the shameless ‘alliance-maths’ that would inevitably be needed to have some government at the centre. There would be jokes aplenty on strategic partnerships and lofty principles. There is bound to be a thrilling suspense till the new prime minister is elected and sworn in. so, what is the common man losing? He still is going to see a thriller, with enough comedy interludes and brilliant though stale performances- is cricket necessary at this point?

A private entertainment company is daring the government of India, and no one remembers the word- sovereignty. There was blatant defiance and a brutal disregard for the concerns of the ruling government in the statements made by the entertainment-organizer. Some people have been taken to task for talking much less! I neither see nor hear any words that ask the entertainment company to shut up and wait, instead there are murmurs that cricket is indeed a national passion. Cricket is also being touted as a religion. Is cricket supposed to provide the opioid effect of religion? Well, in this pseudo-democratic self-centered clan-oriented political milieu perhaps cricket is indeed the opium of the masses that has to be peddled even by our law makers and caretakers!

If cricket matches are shifted to South Africa, we are supposed to be the losers. If the elections are not held, we are supposed to be the losers. When are we supposed to become winners? When we rush to vote and come back home to chew the ink marked nail and watch a match- which too can be fixed?

The ‘patriotic’ Mallya, who bid and won to bring back Gandhi’s personal belongings that were being auctioned in another country, is a willing party to shifting the game show to another country. No need to give respect to the country’s democratic duty bound process! The ‘I love India’ sloganeering soldiers on cricket field too would be participating- even if they had to be in their streets on the Election Day to cast their (even if useless) ballot!

Voting is supposed to be not just your right but also your duty as an Indian. But then, cricketers and their managers, their sponsors and their bosses once again have blatantly declared to us that they are not equal among equals. They have their own rules and priorities. They are stars and superiors. We would subscribe to this view once again by gaping at the small screen for hours together, for weeks together.

Even if there is a (god forbid) war in which India has to be engaged, even then these guys would look for alternate venues to keep playing their games. They know what is important to them. They also know how to sell that importance to us. We consume crap most willingly. We will be provided more and more of it, till we say we can’t take it anymore.

On Osho ?

March 19, 2009

There have been many readers of this blog who wanted me to write about Osho.

In the beginning  when he was alive,I was influenced by the media to be very much prejudiced against him. Later, after reading him, I developed an avid fascination- almost akin to a fan’s wide-eyed wonder; now, after years of reading- and perhaps after visiting his ashram/resort (whatever those in-charge-now call it), I am re-examining my admiration, not merely because i did not like the resort that is run in his name.

I would like to place on record here that my friend and fellow-psychiatrist Dr.J.Bhoomikumar, was the one who made me understand my prejudice and overcome the same by making me read one of the early books by Rajneesh- and the first book i read was ‘Nirvana- the last nightmare’- this is for those many who have constantly asked me how i got onto him!

If there is one person I have to name who introduced me to many ideas and authors, it is OSHO. I am indebted to him for making me read more, learn more and at times even think more on a variety of topics. When I think of him now, after reading nearly 120 books by him, I am still amazed. I cannot but admire the intelligence of the man. As I begin to write these lines, a few words inevitably crop up in my mind- prejudice, honesty, brilliance, deterioration, dilution….. Let me use just these key words to record my impression (in 2009) on the great man.

For those who are new to Osho, whom I always have preferred to call Rajneesh, a hint on his works. In the beginning he was known as Acharya Rajneesh. He was absolutely brilliant, intense and with a special fire that can only be kindled by a passion for search. The works that he produced in that period were phenomenal. And, then he became Bhagwan Rajneesh. This was the time when he began to make things easier for those who sought. Though he had been talking of Zen, Tao, Upanishads earlier, all works authored under the name Bhagwan, were easy for people to relate and understand. The books that came under the authorship of Bhagwan Rajneesh will serve for many more generations as introductory texts to the world of the world that is supposed to be within. Those books can make you yearn for more knowledge or information. Those books are capable of lingering in your mind atleast a few days after closing them. It was as Bhagwan that he reached his heights in popularity. It was this name that prompted him to create the slogan-“jesus saves, bhagwan spends“. It was as bhagwan that he was considered a failure for the first time (refer the book-‘bhagwan: the god that failed’ written by one of his disenchanted disciples). As controversies and cases piled up against him, he wanted to be called Osho, for some strange reason that he never disclosed. The name that still stands today was his final title, self-designed as always. The books authored by Osho are in comparison to his earlier works, rather dilute, and deliberate. It is unfortunate that a new reader would not be able to distinguish these different periods from the book covers. His ‘ashram’ now publishes and reprints everything under the name Osho. To help a new reader, I would suggest reading Krishna (written as Bhagwan) and War and Peace (written as Acharya). One of the books to check in comparison would be Socrates-poisoned again (authored as Osho). This would give anyone an idea of his metamorphosis in expression.

The two books I would recommend to a new reader are-1. The Messiah (on Khalil Gibran’s Prophet) and 2.Nirvana, the last nightmare (on Zen). Vignyan bhairav tantra, called by Rajneesh as the secret of secrets, is an invaluable treatise on the art of meditation. Or if you choose to read, go by topics- Sufism, Bauls,Christianity, Upanishads, Tantra,Zen, Tao,literary mystics.. The list is vast. One has to be cautious nowadays because the current publishers rename, change name and sometimes edit and compile old books with new titles.

From what I have written above, it must be obvious that I have a respectful fascination for this person. The topics by their number and the vastness in range always leave an onlooker astounded. A closer look however, gives rise to certain questions and discomfort.

Though his intelligence is beyond dispute, his integrity has always been a subject of discussion.But then, with his quick wit, he had always been able to silence, atleast temporarily, the questioning skeptics. I am willing to overlook his hoarding of cars and flamboyance of attire and attitude, but I cannot help wondering whether his claims of earlier incarnations were mystical in nature, or with the market in the mind. That he had been contradicting himself in his books is a fact that he had acknowledged with his customary élan. The contradictions between his professed wisdom and his lifestyle are just too glaring to be overshadowed by his self-profused glow of quasi-divinity.

I could be prejudiced now too, as I was in the beginning. Then, I was influenced by the media, now I am possibly influenced by the way those guys run his institution. This perhaps is the right time to record my experience and observations of the ‘place’ in Pune.

Despite being one of the early few in Tamilnadu who kept talking on and urging others to read Rajneesh, despite the fact that I had personally known some of his disciples/followers who had been with him during his lifetime and at the helm of affairs after his death, despite repeated invitations in the early 1990s, I had desisted visiting his ashram. Perhaps I had a subconscious fear that I may break my own little fancy doll. It was only in December 2008 I stepped into his institution, as an average Indian and a common man.The experience made me numb.

There is a preferential treatment. There is a transparent sale tag in all the introductions. There is falseness in the initiation into meditation, and there is an unmistakable arrogance in the attitude. I had gone the first day, and gone through all the compulsory (though unnecessary in my opinion) routines- which included watching a video which was trying to teach how and how not to blow one’s nose! By the time the compulsory introduction was over, it was lunch time. Then we had to eat, browse the store, and walk around getting the feel of the place in which a great man lived. Since it was evening we decided to come back the next day.All those hours spent there did not tell us one little thing- that the next morning things would be different! On arriving at the reception the second morning, we (around twenty people) were told that there were no daily passes (tickets) and we had to buy a ticket for the next five days or so. this decision had been taken the previous night when all those who wanted to visit again were sleeping or praying for a second darshan! As I had work to do and also had booked my return flight the next day I (like many other Indians there) wanted them to consider that I may be allowed to just buy a single day pass – the reply was, “let me see your ticket”. Shamelessly, I asked whether showing that ticket would entitle a single day entry, and the answer was, ” can’t tell, we will see..” That was it. I did not feel like talking to them. It was their place, their show. They can sell daily or season tickets. they can make, break or change thier rules.They can charge you for even using their toilets if they want, but the price of visiting the place again was self-respect. It was not the extra few hundred rupees that were going to be paid, it was the attitude that made me wince. I could not afford to part with my most valued asset, my self-respect. Does this mean Rajneesh is bad? How can he be responsible for what his current followers do? Well, I can say Rajneesh being good or bad cannot be decided by how badly his current gang behaves, but these are the guys who are supposed to show him to the new world, and going by what he had implied in one of his grandiose declarations that he is eternal, and his spirit is eternal, his spirit is certainly not managing the institution well.

Just because I had a bad experience in the place, I am not going to decry or denounce his intellectual contribution to the literature in that genre. I reiterate that my respect for the many wonderful things that I had learnt from this brilliant teacher, remains undiluted. It, however, is just respect for a teacher, not surrender to a master.

Rajneesh still can be useful for the new generation. They can get introduced to many concepts and ideologies through his books. He can be (as is happening currently) a vital source for newer guru-performers. His books can make wonderful reference material for any aspiring guru to speak, as though with authority. He has listed and elaborated more than a hundred meditation techniques- enough to tempt and create another hundred aspiring gurus. there are bound to be many who would like to say that he is their ultimate guru. (i am reminded of a conversation i had with Jayakanthan on guru, in which he admonished me for calling him ‘one’ of my gurus; he then advised me to not declare any living person as my guru since they may, before dying,  leave me shame-faced. Maybe one cannot rush to call even a dead teacher a guru!)

A teacher is necessary. A master is optional, however attractive the option be, it is an option- a desire not a need. i find a lot of youngsters swayed by the marketing-media-blitz, ‘saying’ they want a master.if they believe in god, may that god forbid an entrapment. no one can be your master if you master your desires.

i tell those who come to me these things that need to be told to me, often- (and this is what i learnt from him)

  1. When you know thyself, there is no ‘thy’ self;  is or can there be another, without your wish/permission ?
  2. Read to know, to get acquainted, to learn- but never surrender to the author.
  3. and above all, be yourself, forever. in a societal  obligation, you may lie- but be aware of the lie. tomorrow, your mirror should not spit at you.

I acknowledge with gratitude his contribution to my growth- in the intellectual arena, but, if I were to seek or traverse the mystic path of spiritual enlightenment, he is not the master- for me. He is not a sour grape. He is a grape that had served its part in the digested wine.

oh! show goes on! what if some fans have moved away!!

*for those who would like a psychiatrist’s perspective of Rajneesh, I recommend the book ‘Feet of Clay’ by Anthony Storr.

பழைய காகிதக்கற்றைகளிலிருந்து

March 17, 2009

கண்களை மூடி, (மூடாமலும்)

தூங்கி எழுந்தால், காலை தொடரும் நாடகம்.

காட்சிக்குக்காட்சி மட்டுமின்றி, மனம் பாத்திரங்களுக்காகவும் ஒப்பனை ஏற்கும்.

வாய் சிரிக்கும்,சப்திக்கும்;உடல் நடிக்கும்.

மனம் மட்டும் எங்கோ உலா போகும்; உலவி வருகையில் சிரிக்கும், சப்திக்கும்.


மீண்டும் சூழல் தெரியும், நாடகம் தொடரும்.மனம், மீண்டுமின்னொருமுறை உலா போகும். அந்த நந்தவனத்தில் தன்னையே தேடும்.தானே தன்னைத் தேடித்தேடி அலைபாயும், தோற்கும்.

தரிசனம் பெற ஒரு கண்ணாடி உருவாக்கும்.நிஜம் அந்நியமான ஒரு பொய் என்றாலும் அங்கீகரிக்கும்.

நாகரிகமாய் நடக்கும் இந்த‌ யக்ஞ‌நாடகம் நிமிடநாசம் பெறும்.

மீண்டும் சூழல் தெரியும், நாடகம் தொடரும்.மனம் இன்னொருமுறை உலா போகும். அந்த நந்தவனத்தில் தன்னைத் தேடும்.
மீண்டும் தானே தன்னையே, தேடித்தேடி அலைபாயும், தோற்கும்.

தரிசனம் பெற ஒரு கண்ணாடி உருவாக்கும். நிஜம் அந்நியமான ஒரு பொய் என்றாலும் அங்கீகரிக்கும்.

இது 1996ல் எழுதியது.பத்தாண்டுகளுக்கு ஒரு பக்கம் என்று இதுவரை மூன்று பக்கங்களைத் தேர்ந்தெடுத்து
பதிவு
செய்தபோது எனக்கே இவை
அந்நியமாக‌ப்படுகின்றன.

அந்நியமாகுமா அந்தரங்கம்?

பகிரங்க‌மாகலாம், சில வேளை பரிகாசமாகவும் ஆகலாம். ஆனால் பிரத்யேகம் எப்படி ஒரு பொதுப்பார்வைக்கு உட்படலாம்?

கவிதைகள் உற்பத்தி செய்ய‌ப்படுவதில்லை,

அவை தாமே உருவாகுபவைதான் என்றாலும்,

தன் மனக்கண்ணுக்கும், அகக்கண்ணுக்கும் மட்டுமே

சொந்தமானதாய் வந்துதித்த சிந்தனகளை

பிற கண்களுக்காகப் பரப்பி வைக்கும் போது,

வலிக்கும்- எல்லா கைதட்டல்களையும் மீறி.

எங்கேயோ கைதட்டல்கள் வலிகளை மறக்கடிக்கத்தான் செய்கின்றன. இத்தனைக்கும், வலிகள் மட்டுமே வடுக்களைத் தந்துவிட்டுப்போகின்றன, கைதட்டல்கள் குமிழிகள்போல் சீக்கிரம் காணாமல் போய் விடுகின்றன.

ஆனாலும் மனம், தற்காலிகத்தையே காதலிக்கிறது.

காதல் தற்காலிகமாகாதவரை, சுகமே நிகழ்கனவு.


பொய்தான் சுவை.

தெரிந்து போடும் நாடக வேடமே வெற்றி.

விலகல் வேடிக்கை பார்த்தல் எல்லாம்

ஆசுவாசப்பட‌ மட்டுமே,

நாடகம் முழுநேரமும்.


ஒப்பனைக்கான கைத்தட்டல்கள்

நிலைக்கண்ணாடிகளை நொறுக்க‌

கோணலாகும் நிஜங்கள்

புது நிஜங்கள், புதுப்புது பொய்களுக்காக.

பொய்தான் சுவை.

தெரிந்து போடும் நாடக வேடமே வெற்றி.

விலகல் வேடிக்கை பார்த்தல் எல்லாம்

ஆசுவாசப்பட மட்டுமே,

நாடகம் முழுநேரமும்.

ஒப்பனைக்கான கைத்தட்டல்கள்

நிலைக்கண்ணாடிகளை நொறுக்க‌

கோணலாகும் நிஜங்கள்

புது நிஜங்கள், புதுப்புது பொய்களுக்காக;

கனவே ஒப்பனைச்சாந்து.

i have tried to write in tamil following repeated instructions(not requests) by many.

all these are experiments in rudhrantamil.blogspot.com

let me know how to go on

An interview

March 13, 2009

The following is an interview which I gave to Sindhu Madhusudan of RITZ, regarding swamy in court and the aftermath. The questions were sent by the magazine and my responses have been reproduced verbatim,  in their march 2009 issue, released today, for which I heartily commend the editorial team of the magazine.

1.What do you feel about the incident of eggs being pelted at him (subramaniam swamy) and
the assault on the High Court Judge?

Hurling a shoe or a rotten egg is not an assault with a homicidal intent; it is an expression of disgust and impotent anger. I may not throw a rotten egg at a rotten person, but I can understand the emotive state and the angst. The courtroom certainly is a place that has to be treated with respect but these protesters did not have anyother place and chance to do what they did. It is what the journalist did to bush, there was no way he could have gone near enough to do that. But the situation had actually changed when antisocial elements wanted to use the opportunity and create havoc. The incident is odd. There were the lawyers who allegedly insulted (or assaulted) swamy, willing to surrender. Then there were the lawyers who wanted to protest against the arrest. But, there were far too many policemen trying to ‘maintain’ law and order! That a judge was hurt in the rampage just shows how the men in uniform had no clue regarding whom to beat and whom to protect.

2.Would you call that assault a denial of the
Constitutionally-guaranteed fundamental right to freedom of speech?

Freedom of speech does not mean you can talk any rubbish and claim legal protection. In a society your speech has to conform to certain limits. This man has been going about talking quite freely, though his freedom has been also due to the security cover that he has. He dares to talk because he is not going to face public wrath. If freedom of speech were to be given to all seeman (whom I do not endorse) should be free!

Freedom needs to be combined with dignity and truth. If this is not acceptable then throwing eggs is also a freedom of expression! Action is a nonverbal speech!

What happens when a rotten egg is thrown? It hits a hard surface and stinks. That is what has happened in Tamilnadu. The eggs hit a hardened individual. They perhaps aggravated the stink that was naturally present in the system.

3 What is your comment on the incident in which advocates burned Xerox
copies of their voter IDs to show their protest against the Indian
government for not interfering in Srilankan issue and their disgust at
being the citizens of this country?

.The sovereignty of India cannot be compromised or even questioned. If someone does one insulting act in a fit of rage and insults India or its emblems, the person ought to be clearly and sternly warned. After all there are people who in a fit of anger call their mother a bitch with no canine or commercial connotation to the word. But if the offence is repeated it needs severe punishment.

To die or not to live as dead

March 5, 2009

Some die, in fact all die. To die in anonymity is considered a humiliating end of existence- albeit purposelessness. But, death at will, and at prime, and above all with dignity that will declare to posterity about the existence of individuality, is not the blessing that all have. There are deaths in coma. Deaths in isolation, deaths in uncared corners of the society, deaths that are prayed for as the ultimate deliverance- they are all deaths not really wanted when living, but wanted just before dying. If ever we have the choice to die at whatever is the most opportune time that our dreams and desires dictate, our lives would really be fulfilled. We do not have much such choice. We wait to die, when we are supposed to die- the supposition being a physiological or a providential dictate.

There are some who die at the right time. There are some who die extending their life time causing misery unto themselves and others. But, there are a few who die- when they do not want to. There are a few who die because they are lost. They get lost not in the myriad quagmire of life, but in quixotic lawlessness of the state.

The very fact that I have to vote in the forthcoming elections means I am alive and accepted by my state as being alive. The votes are needed by the state- irrespective of its inherent capacity to produce, nurture or sustain statesmen. The elections keep telling the world and me that India is a wonderful democracy. It just happens that the democratic flame gets ignited only once in five (or just a few less) years. I am going to go to the voting booth, and like the idiotic and meaningless exercise that I did the last time, I am going to use 49o-the option to not cast vote! Who cares? What matters? I would have done my democratic duty, and the democracy would give me the devils that I did not requisition. This blog was not about voting, it was about living, and more specifically about dying- in dignity.

Some sportspersons (I wish they were sportsmen too) have been injured, some security personnel have died; some more blasts have occurred somewhere, some more and then some more, would have died. A few however would have disappeared. The media more than the governments concerned is outraged. Every news paper has the news on the first page as a headline; every TV channel keeps flashing this news and holds talks showcased for viewership enhanced sponsorship. I feel sorry for the trauma of the injured, I feel sad for the dead, and in a few minutes I worry about my beer being not chill enough.

If I were to react just this much to this “major” event, screaming at me as headlines, breaking news and news analyses- how would I care to notice a small news item that is lost in the later pages and scrolls? I do not unless perhaps, I decide to blog and get some attention- more on myself than on the matter.

200 odd people have been declared dead- declared not after examining the dead bodies but after a lapse of a few years (7?). They have been missing for years. They were not ‘traceable’- whereabouts not known! They are dead legally! The law and order that were supposed to take care of them and find them have shrugged and moved on, like what I would be doing in another few weeks when I stand in the queue to vote (or register a non-vote). Democracy lives. It has already claimed victory a couple of years ago when Modi was elected!

How many people do you know whom you can call and speak anytime of the day? For me the number is restricted to less than ten. How many people whose death would spurt tears in my eyes- my number is restricted to less than two! So 200+ is a big deal for me.

These 200 people have been missing, now not just believed but declared dead, in Gujarat. They were the ones lost in the carnage. They were the ones lost when blatant brutalism masqueraded as mass ideology. They were the ones who were no more to be seen by their loved ones, after the inhuman but vote-profiting plot of villains. They were the ones whose votes could have been polled too! After all in the pseudo-electoral process you don’t have to be alive and around to vote, there are goons to take care of your vote- as though that matters in any sense.

I feel sick. Just look at these two news reports-

1. (March 1, 2009) those missing since the 2002 post-Godhra communal riots in Gujarat will be declared dead soon by the authorities with the expiry of seven years’ stipulated time. As a result, the official death toll of 2002 riots will go up from 952 to 1,180, as 228 people, who are missing, will be presumed dead.

2. (11 May, 2005) The government told parliament that 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed, 223 more people reported missing and another 2,500 injured. It was responding to a written question from an unnamed MP. Junior Home Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal told the upper house that more than 900 women had been widowed and 600 children orphaned in the riots.

So? it took three years for a government to say 200+ ( the numerical discrepancy attributed to a careless clerk) are missing, and seven years to say to those who still search for them to shut up! (check on Parzania after all you dont have to pay the original price in the black market). So what happens?

I type a blog. The charred corners of my conscience are cleared of the stains of societal guilt. I move on.

Some tears can never be wiped. They may not be streaming down the cheeks, but the wetness of the wailing soul would constantly make the mind damp- with guilt and shame, with anger and angst. Some tears would dry the mind so much that nothing would ever make a sprout of a thought grow. Tears that do not burn my eyes are just waters flowing, as waters should- eslewhere!