In a bubble

“Hey, do you remember the time we all went trekking? V~ even came in his full gear…?”

“What about that case when we were playing cricket and suddenly we were caught by madam..?”

“Oh how we practised for cricket, and in the last minute all our efforts go in waste”

“Aaaah…how i feared the stick then. I almost peeed in my pants”

“Those wonderful evenings. Badminton, water, laughing…”

“Early morning tuitions and all the stuff. All sitting together and we used to pull each others legs. Horror stories and we scared them all.”

“Those afternoons of cricket…How D~ used to wax eloquently about his exploits.”

Each one keeps adding his own story, another anecdote, another leaf in a tree. I keep watching. I keep listening. I stay mute.

And then they sense me. Sense that I have been silent all along. Not having contributed any words to their sentences. That I never once figure in any of the exploits they had. I never once even for a blur, am part of their halcyon moments.

And they ask “Hey P~, where were you? What were you doing then?”

And i say with a shrug “I was observing you all”. ( as i am doing now)

Its a blur to me. Actually a gaussian blur averaged over a stretch of a decade of my most active years. Whenever my friends meet, particularly the schoolies, there is a tizzy that everyone goes into. Its a non stop verbal hammering till everyone drops that they keep reminiscing the events, those glorious halcyon days and all.

The days when carefree and full of life, I was living my life, quite content with what i did; quite very content with what i do. My own world prism through which I saw, I learnt, I lived. Somehow neither the need arose then, nor now. That doesnt place me in the lazy bugs, if thats what it might be interpreted as. Its just that, I was always there, but silent. In a huge world, which was to be discovered. Couldnt take things just for granted. The moments, the thoughts nor the people.

Its a very simple philosophy. Playing my part and getting out. Just a been there, done that. Not a had been there, had done that.

If i had to linger, it was through my actions in their minds. All my past is inconsequential to me. The present presents itself to me. In its myriad possibilities of the future. I grab each one of them; live, see and then forget. And then move on.

Or failing memory is it? Signs of my impending senility? 🙂

Irony? Selective Amnesia?

Im stepping into dangerous territories here…

Why is it that newspapers and the media cry out loud the gross inhumanity in animal sacrifices during any of the hindu festivals but refrains from as even a whimper in the case of the same during bakrid?

Why is it that no one even talks the godhra that happened but is vocal enough about the riots in Ahmedabad?

Why is the bursting of crackers during diwali is made a case in point but no one makes but a whimper at the number of vehicles prying on the roads increasing exponentially?

Why is US concerned about the oil line for Iran, India and Pakistan and the rising nuclear tensions between neighbors?

F16s to Pak and F18s to India. Feeding the capitalist economy?
[more on the american hegemony later]

Why is it that Germany remains a center of holocaust and the gross inequities committed on humanity when something similar on the same lines/worse was taking place in US over captured Japanese PoW?

As i heard in the Page3
“Jiski chalti hai,
uski g***d pe mombatti jalti hai”

I sometimes think of selective amnesia that goes around in the media or in the world history. My history of the Indian culture blurs before 1600’s unless that history was written by some British scholar. Not that im accusing the British of playing up a different version of our history then. But as i say this, Im having a hard time recalling the times that have gone between the Ramayana writing Valmiki to the more recent 1900’s with the caste systems. What changes have they gone through? Later to one point, its just a blur.

Its the same thing that goes on in other aspects too like that of a US view of the world war II where any aspects of violence by the country is completely obliterated :O

Is this an observation or is it true? The seemingly outright meddling of history by the victor countries… The powers that emerge victorious after a war, seem to take care to show every action in the positive light only and any flaws are deleted.

Its dangerous you know, when you want to venture out and you know there is going to be only one path and it has a green light, everything appears green. Why? Because that was the way it was intended to appear. Green.

Faith of the Faithless

pradakshinaa: one full revolution of the temple.

On a rather chilly early morning of a Friday morning, I accompanied my friend, his mom and his sister on a visit to the Chilukur Balaji Temple. {Every knowledgeable citizen of Hyderabad should have known about this.}

The presiding deity at this temple is Lord Venkateshwara(Balaji). This god is also known as the ‘Veesaala Devudu'(God of Visas). Actually he became famous by this sobriquet and it still sticks to him. No wonder you get to see young college graduates and parents of would-be graduates at the temple asking for boons, for their or their children’s visas to get accepted.

Gods become famous not by what they are; but by what they can give to you. And since as ubiquitous as the shrewd business sense of people can be, no wonder, god was never left to rest in peace.

And this is how it works: this business association between the god and the devotee.

Phase 1. Submit the application form .
First,ask a desire of yours. That is by doing 11 pradakshinaas of the temple.

Phase 2. Processing
Now wait for your desire to get fulfilled.

Phase 3. Post Processing
In case it does,you do 108 pradakshinaas of the temple.
In case it doesnt, you dont.

This is what I knew/learnt about the temple, during my numerous inquiries before and during the journey.

But what I saw there left me confused, laughing and thoroughly amused.

It was 4:30am and there were already people flocking the temple which was not yet opened. And as soon as it got opened, they rushed in.Since i had never been inside this temple, i decided to go have a dekko after half an hour.

And there was the sea of humanity. Arms reaching out at the next corner to help move fast. Eyes darting feverishly searching for the gap in the front to squeeze in. Lips moving continuously not involved in chanting but counting the number of pradakshinaas they did. And the legs doing their bit by running around.

All minds are involved in one single motive. To complete the 108 rounds. Neither a lip goes chanting; nor the eyes close in Bhakti. The rat-race is alive. Very much alive. In a temple!

Im a believer[I want to be a believer]; but for all my beliefs/observations; Ill always be an athiest.

Alien in my City

a: “Hey, how do i go to Imliban Bus Station?”
b: “Thats simple. Just go straight, Take a right, blah blah blah”

a: “Hey what route should I take to go to Golconda”
b: “Hmm…ok. Go to toli chowki en route Mehdipatnam…again blah blah”

a: “Which area is this?”
c: “MasjidBanda”

a: “Oh I must plan this time to see the zoo, museum, etc…”

a: “Are you free tomorrow?”
b: “Yeah, why?”
a: “Ive got to go to a place blaaah”
b: “Oh thats just like 15 mins of travel. Why do need me for that?”
a: *sheepish smile* “I dont know the place, you know…”

Generally these are the set of questions asked by a new comer to any new city. But as general as it can’t be, these are the questions that I often ask to newcomers to my city, Hyderabad.

Reason 1.
They are forced to explore all of the city

Reason 2.
They are excited enough to scan the city completely.

Reason 3.
Its because its a lazy me. What best a tribute to my city than to imbibe the sab kuch chaltha hai attitude of this place?

Reason 4.
Never felt the need to 🙂

But as you grow, the needs grow. Who was that who said “Necessity is the mother of direction…”?

Its funny that being a Hyderabadi i proclaim to be, never once in my cognizant memory did i see the “monuments” of this place, Golconda, Zoo Park, Salar Jung Museum, Kuli Kutub Shahi Tombs, Charminar…

As old a monument of zero interest Im, a novice to the city, Im still discovering things that I should have(as most of my friends complain!) aeons ago.

If I were to be measured on these metrics im sure Ill fall way back behind even a 10 month old. But then what makes me or for that sakes anyone a Hyderabadi?

Is it the one who knows it bones to bones, like the back of my hand? Or is the one, who can never get over it, slowly learning about it, sip by sip, relishing every drop?