Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Son of Humanity

His pyjamas dragged on the dirt as he walked past the thousands with his mother.

Holding onto her finger, his face stared at the ground that passed beneath his feet, kicking the odd stone, skipping over a lonesome hole and letting his eyes follow the lone plastic bag that swayed in the air. He did not know where it might be tomorrow and what was it doing yesterday but he hoped that it had once been the proud possession of a kind hearted man. Today it was alone, ignored, defeated but hopeful. As he lifted his head towards the skies, he saw the crows hover up above and as they glided past each other, they slowed down and perched themselves upon on a minaret. This was the minaret of the Nawab Masjid, a mosque in the heart of the Muslim colony of Bhendi Bazar. He looked at the hand that was holding his and the aroma of rose that came from it, the sleeve of her burqa was a dark shade of pink, matching the colour on her nails. In the 6 years of his life, he had never seen the colour on those nails change nor even fade. Maybe she was born with such nails, maybe he might grow up to have them too.

The ground beneath his feet turned into hard cemented steps, he felt his knees bend as he ascended into the great hall that shielded him from the scorching sun. He took his free hand and felt the wall next to him, the slippery dust caught on as he felt the coolness spread over his palm. There was an air of familiarity here, the ground was now in the form of patterns, traversing from beneath his feet and over his eyes, under his arms and into the far reaches of the ceiling above him which was in the shape of a large dome. He felt as if he was in the presence of something high and mighty.He had felt a similar feeling someplace else. The carpet below his feet pricked his feet as he walked on it, he had the option of coming on to the floor but it was too cold. He lifted his foot and looked beneath it to see red marks poked in like holes. Like small craters they flourished over his bare white skin. She told him to kneel down and start praying. As he closed his eyes and knelt down, he remembered the day before.

Echoes of bells ringed through his ears, the smell of incense sticks flooded his nose, there was crowd, there was clutter and all he could see in the darkness was a man's hand reaching out to his and clutching it tightly. His neatly combed hair was now a ruffle, the red tilak on his forehead was a smudge. He was shouting out in despair for a while now but none paid heed to him. Finally, a face appeared from the darkness and with both arms, lifted him up from the darkness and out in the open. A fish out of water he felt like, the brightness blinded him for a bit but he was relieved to be out there. If he was the fish then what lay in front him was the sea, a sea of hundreds clad in white and red, slowly trudging through the corridors of this shrine. The sign above him read 'Santoshi Mata Mandir' and his feet were hurting just as they are today. He looked at the hands holding him, firm hands they were, hairy with a shade of salt and pepper on them. He felt the number of rings on them and counted up to a total of 4. Two of them had stones on them and the other two were gold. The rings were as cold as the floor of the temple. He looked up at the face and it was one that he had always been a little scared of. The bristles of his moustache stood like sentinels and his eyes stared straight ahead as if they were hunting for food. Between his eyes was the tilak brandished right up to his hair. He stared at the tilak for quite some time, till he was shaken from his thoughts back into the masjid.

He was back home now, surrounded by those who loved him and those who defined him. The lady with the pink nails and the man with the red tilak stared at him as he stared back at them. His eyes were moist with tears as he wailed to the two about his day at school. Children picked on him for being an outcast, even the teachers weren't very nice to him either. This was not the first time this was happening, it had been going on for the past few months ever since he started going to school. The man and woman did not know who to blame, was it themselves, was it the community or was it the crazy mania that had surrounded this country. They did not wait to think over this, they could not change it. They decided that till the time was right, they would be his teachers. He would learn of the world, what lies beyond the boundaries of this land and make sure that he gets to visit those lands one day. He will learn to love one day and be loved as well.

For he was not the son of a Hindu or a Muslim, he was the son of humanity.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Springtime Sadness

Killing time. That is all I have been doing ever since I landed here. I wait for the lunch hour, the dinner hour, I make my own breakfast, I visit shops, I jog, I wander, I dream of running away from here. It’s strange, I always considered myself as one who could live in solitary confinement for as long as I wished but as of now, the feeling is excruciating. During my days of academic preparation, I lay in the same state except there was an objective at hand, something had to be done and more importantly, I was not compromised. The heart, lay still, unfazed, unused, unadulterated. The rush of hormones within my body has started once again. Something that I longed to feel for 8 long years post my mental rollercoaster of a girl issue. It is the imagination that is to blame over here. I have gone beyond the roof of this house, swam into the skies, passed over the grassy plains, the deserted villages, the haunting warehouses, the winding roads, the forested hills and right on top of the snow covered mountains. Like a helpless ghost I stand there, looking at the world. A resemblance can be made to Ebenezer Scrooge who watches the Cratchit family eat in joy while I stand and sulk in silence. It is my forte, to sulk. I choose to ignore such things and focus on the task at hand but even the silence tends to kill me. Forgotten, forsaken, not one ring has come onto my phone. I don’t mind the silence, I will soon get over it but what happens when it does ring again? A glimmer of hope rises once more, I feel loved, appreciated, accepted till it has gone once again into the oblivion. It is better to go off the radar, begone but what if there is an emergency and I need to be contacted? Who are you kidding? Nobody is going to be in an emergency and nobody is going to call you. I don’t say that I’d rather be somewhere else but is it wrong of me to feel this sense of loss? I had felt the same when I had missed out on my US trip but technology was a friend of mine, it had refused to evolve till then. I had no clue what was up over there while my Mom had the time of her life and thankfully, I had my girl by my side to console me. Best days of my life, best.

Karma has a way of telling me that I shall be rewarded from what I am doing but Karma is no well-defined rule. But wait, I’m being selfish again, I know that its wrong. I must move on. But then do me a favour, don’t tell me anything. Don’t tell me about the fun, the frolic, the beer, the games, the what ifs and the what not ifs because my mind runs crazy imagining the walls, the fragrance, the laughter, the slaughter. I’m glad nobody will read this. They might lose whatever respect they have for me. Sometimes, its better to just stay unnoticed, but keep it like that, my solitude is my friend and nobody can take it away from me, nobody.