Thursday, November 3, 2011

For the brave boys of Amboli

I realised that a lot of you may not know their story.
Here are a few links that may help – detailing the incident, an eye witness account and a glimpse of the public outrage thereafter.

FB group:

In fairy tales, when the knight in shining armour saves the damsel in distress, it’s the end of a drama filled story, the happy ending.

Moral science classes teach you to stand up against the wrongs you see before you, to ‘do the right thing’.

Our religious beliefs tell us that evil will never prosper.

But then life happens and you realise that the world we live in is a lot murkier than you ever thought possible.

I will not recount the story of the untimely deaths of Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandes. Like me, you too would have probably read and re-read the articles and blogs and visited the various facebook pages and groups launched in anger and revolt against the events around these deaths.

We live in a country where people cross over to the other side at a faster rate than we care to be aware of.

When you’re sitting on the outside, it’s always easy to say ‘it was his time’ or ‘He died for a cause’. We’ve all heard these words and we’ve probably said them as well. And yes, it may all be true.

But there’s no way in hell that it means we do not have a moral responsibility in all of this. Or that justice does not need to be carried out.

These boys were sons, brothers, friends, colleagues. Who fought for what was right.

We are scared. We are angry. We are up in arms.

This could have been your son, your brother, your friend, your love, your colleague. If we don’t take a stand now...we leave the world a little less safer for our sons and daughters. We will continue to fear the nights and the bad guys, who have clout on their side. We will continue to take a beating and we will continue to walk in fear.

Eve teasing has graduated from playful name calling in colleges to murder. There is no pretty way to say it and it’s pointless to even try.

We have no choice but to accept what has happened. But we have the choice to fight it. Will you?

It must stop.

I want my children to know that the concept of justice is not dead. That criminals are held accountable for their crimes. That in our country, where the girl child is desperately fighting for her rights, she will have people who will fight for her honour without fear.

Would you be able to sit back and watch all of this if Keenan and Reuben had been your brothers?

It is a personal debate that each one of us must have – conscience vs reality.

The fear of standing up and fighting against this is very real and it grips us all. But if you choose not to react today, your younger brother or daughter will do it tomorrow. You may lose a life that you could have helped save...with your actions of today.

Would I have run out and yelled and screamed had I been there? I am haunted by that question and have thought of it often in the last few days.

I will never know.

But I can hope that if ever faced with that situation, I will.

Would I desperately try to hold back the ones I love from fighting against that gang, alongside Keenan and Reuben?

I will never know.

But if they did, I would probably watch and cry silent tears and pray that they came back to me safely.

You can never be fully prepared for something like this. But the will to fight...the will to stand up against this strong within us all.

We need to find that voice. It is all we have.

In a country like ours, the media has a huge responsibility towards it’s public, especially in cases like this.

We look to you; the media, to bring injustices to light, to champion just causes and to not just look at TRP’s.

It’s not about who’s going to make a movie about this whole tragedy.

It’s not about which media station gets the most coverage and sole rights to the full story.

It’s not about putting on your best supportive face and doing an angry debate on national television and the minute the camera stop rolling, you’re back to being one of the many.

Do not play, do not mock, do not disgust.

We believe you. We watch you. We hang on your every word.

Because we choose to think of you as a person of substance. Because we want to believe that you will make a difference. Because we have faith that you can bridge that insane gap between the victim and the accused.

Can you live up to those expectations? Can you make that difference instead of asking grieving friends and family for movie rights?

Can you help bring the accused to justice? Can you hold the government accountable on behalf the public?

Can you help uphold the constitution? Can you be the real voice of the people?

Honour your craft. Step up to the plate and bat for the crowds who WANT to believe in you.

The media has taken a right beating in recent times. Show us that you’re here for the right reasons, that you do give a damn about the country whose politics and drama you feed off. Give us back our faith in the industry that is meant to use our right to the freedom of speech; for justice.

I know talk is cheap.

But while I am angered for the victims in cases like these and I want to do something about it back home, I cannot.

But it is my country. It is my tomorrow.

And I can raise my voice against this injustice. And I am.

Join me. For the sake of all our tomorrows.

Rest in peace Keenan and Reuben.

I wish I had a more fitting tribute for your bravery.... but then that’s what Heaven is for.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The thing about Twitter

I've always believed that I should never sit down to write when my heart is sad. Yet I do it now, in the belief that my love for writing will somehow...sort things out.

Good grief no, I'm not going to pour out my sorrows onto this page, I'd need to pay you therapy fees then, yes?! (I just imagined people leaning forward with an "I'm listening." *grins* Frasier-much?) Things get better. Bad moments pass. I'm just in the middle of a passing baddie right now.

I've recently started using Twitter again. The bird never really 'settled' with me till a little while ago...I thought it to be a bit of a bother, especially when I was flooded with random tweets - hourly, nay, minute by minute updates, on peoples lives. Eessh. I don't want to know every detail of your day. Even if you are a sell-out star or author. If you do have that much to say, you turn to the other great gift of the www - the blog. Knock yourself out.

But Twitter grows on you. Especially if you're following the right people. Style, news, fashion, wit, humor, sports, movies - you can find something that's right up your alley. I enjoy the tweets of a few celebrities. Steve Martin, John Cleese and Ranvir Shorey are current favorites.

I have a lot to learn about a few interesting people I follow - Sidin Vaducut is a writer. For now unfortunately, that's all I know, but I plan on getting my hands on a book of his soon. Also he's an ex Gulfie. That's instant identification, right there!

Rofl Indian. That's his name, apparently. Check it out. For giggles and news and a few rofl moments.

Between Facebook, Twitter and blogging, Twitter is winning the race in terms of convenience. And of course, something to do when you're waiting alone for the elevator. And our fair friend Faebook, has a new format. Yes I hear the grunts and groans, but hey, you're still on it aren't you? If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

But blogging stays my favorite, comfort zone perhaps. You're welcome to follow, like, eat with your hands if you must. It's not so much social net-working...just perhaps creating your own little social dot of a planet. People can come by if they like, settle down, build house...but you don't care if you're the smallest planet, or if they name you or not, or if you're considered to be part of the galaxy of other, much bigger, more prominent dots. Pictures, thoughts, memories, opinions - it's all yours.
Such a nice feeling to have something you call your own.

Here's a shot from Thailand, earlier this year. We were at some ruins, surrounded by monuments in rock and stone. Some kid recreated one of the taller structures, with stones and pebbles. Very Zen-ish thoughts came to mind. No mountain is too big to be broken down into smaller pieces. Anything can be overcome.

And voila, the heart is lighter. And smiling.
Whaddya know.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Doing the Desi rounds

If this had to be my 4th Grade English class, I would have been the recipient of a big, fat, bolded, highlighted and underlined 'F'. For absenteeism and irregularity. But then, my 4th Grade English teacher had a soft spot for me. So a 'C' perhaps.

As luck would have it, this isn't 4th Grade. Yet that gnawing feeling of guilt still hits me when I see that my last blog post was....*rechecks*......oh good Lord, 5 months ago. I think the gnaw just rapidly developed into a deep, gashing wound.

In recent news, India just finished off a series in England. (for the non sports fans, I speak cricket) We didn't win a single game. Not test, not 20-20, not one day. No thanks to unfortunate injuries, initial bad playing (of course I noticed, didn't we all?), bad decisions and the annoying rain game doctors - Duckworth & Lewis. In the last few one day games, we had commentators dissing our players like there was no tomorrow. Indian commentators, mind.

Rahul Dravid...was termed as 'Old India.' Lacking daring, youth and confidence. Let's all just take a moment to take that in. Right.
Rahul then went on to hit a few fours. The man has been playing for his country since 1996. We don't call him 'The Wall' for nothing. His USP has always been his smart game and mental approach. We called him Mr. Dependable. He's also human.

The listening public support the boys in blue now, just as they did when you were a part of the team. Perhaps that's something you ex-players need to think about. I don't care what you're paid to do. Do you hear the likes of Nasser Hussain saying something personally negative about the England players half as often? Not criticizing their shots or styles, but their personal attitudes?? Yes?
I actually heard Harsha Bhogle say to Sunil Gavaskar, "I know Rahul isn't one of your favorite players" and then go on to make some point or other.
Really? No, really?? And I just watch the random matches. What must regulars think of you?
Just a thought, but if anyone's going to beat our players up in terms of commentary, could it perhaps not be the India lot up there in the box?

And appreciate the man. Like we appreciated you when you played your last game.

I also watched Bodyguard. *grins*
I'm aware several critics panned it with horrendous reviews. Yet, it raked in the big bucks.
Yet, Salman's fan following grows. What did I think? To be honest, not much of the story-line or the special effects. Or Kareena being cast as a college student. Or the copious amounts of make up she had on. Or, or, or.

But if I were to stay on the honest boat - Salman was....well, Salman. You can't help but laugh at his ridiculous comic timing, or smile when you see the way he seems to thoroughly enjoy his dance sequences. You somehow can't take your eyes off the screen when he's on it. Raj Babbar and Asrani add to the positives, so does the little Harry Potter lookalike at the end, whose name I unfortunately can't find on Wikipedia. Tsk tsk.
A surprise was Karisma Kapoor's voice over for Chhaya. Nice.
Yes, it may be bordering on the lame and the fight scenes may seem to insult the audience intelligence levels - but it's a no brainer, a 'let's be amused' kinda flick.
Delhi Belly revolved to a great deal. around poop, farting and a nice controversial kiss - remember? Dude? Burkha? Yeah.
So come now, leave us not be so critical.

I'm suddenly aware that my post has turned out to be heavily desi.
Apologies if you don't instantly identify with it.

There's a famous saying in India... "kya karein, hum toh aise hi hain."
Which loosely translates to "What to do, we are like this only."

Till later!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

At the heart of it all

Our lives get so crazy busy sometimes, don't they?

There's hardly enough time to get through the day.. from rushed mornings, manic office hours, traffic, the home routine, sports, other commitments, this, that and the other. I often can't tell where my week ends and my weekend begins!
No, I'm not complaining, not at all. I'm grateful that I go to bed tired, but content.

Sometimes though, it's hard to make time, even for those we love. We try and try and sometimes, the effort ends up leaving you even more tired than before.
I felt guilty initially - was it horrid that I had to literally allot time to people who meant so much to me - to meet, to sms, to email? Shouldn't it come naturally? Not like, (for lack of a better word) a chore?

But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that it was ok. To me, at least.
It meant that I loved someone enough to stop my crazy roundabout called life for a few seconds and let that someone know I thought of them. And it worked in my favor too.

I may have just sent you a joke on e-mail.
Or you asked someone to give me a hug 'coz I wasn't there when you met them.
You had a dahi batata puri and thought of me.
I left you a smiley on your facebook wall.
You told someone I mattered to you. I found out, quite by mistake.
I heard a song that reminded me of you and I called you.
You click a picture of something in a supermarket - just coz it has my name on it. *grins*
You ask me to say a prayer for you.
I was praying for you even when you hadn't yet asked me.
You remember things I least expect you too and it makes me smile.
We make teams and I'm on yours. Coz that's just how it always is!
I don't see you, but I miss you.
We share a memory, across many miles. And it means just as much either way.
We worry about each other.
I remember that you're allergic to mushrooms.
We have a secret coffee spot. And it's special coz it's ours.

These are only a few...but if you give yourself a minute to think about it, the list simply refuses to end.
I guess we don't always realise how blessed we are... And if you don't like the word 'blessed', feel free to use fortunate, popular, lucky.
But I have news for you. It's still a blessing, damn straight.

When Dude and I got married, we did a lot of it on our own. We started smaller than small and footed our own bills. We gave up a few luxuries, but it didn't matter - we were together, we did the little things, we were happy.
We've mountain climbed over the last 2 and a half years and are finally on more level, higher ground. We have more than enough and are happy, as always.
Over the weekend, we went shopping. And Dude bought me the engagement ring we couldn't afford back then. He turned my heart to choux pastry when he said, "I know I couldn't give it to you then, but I want to do this now." Bless.
We followed that up with entering a sports shop looking for swimming goggles.
Uff, the romance. *grins* But I wouldn't have it any other way!

I hope you realise how much you're loved.
It's the nicest feeling when you don't see it...and then suddenly you do.

Till later.