Thursday, October 21, 2010


We did not become a tolerant society by choice but by a helpless need. Different religions, different caste, different classes of people live together because a common bond binds them. When there is a hungry lion standing at the horizon the cat spares the mice. Same is the case with today’s society. The hungry lion is the need to survive, and the animal kingdom finds discipline under his impartial rule. Money has become the sole parameter for power and respect in society, overcoming the need for religious or communal supremacy. Thus the Hindus learned to work with Muslims and Maharashtrians learned to work with Biharis. Baring the few occasional tussles between the different communities, many of which are forced, the people live peacefully. They trade with each other when needed; they compete with each other when needed. Achieving a better future for the kids, family, society, country comes before one’s communal ego.

The mild reaction to the Ayodhya verdict showcased the same behaviour. The labourers and peasants or the “survivor class” did not care about the outcome until it was not ignorantly one sided, the urban middle class was also not affected as it had to get up the next morning and go to their yoga classes, laughing clubs, jogging, work, school, college. Their education could also have played some role in their temperament but the fact remains, none had the time or money to be spent on trivia’s. Time is opportunistic and money is expensive. The social structure has become the school which has taught the most arrogant fanatics to control their nerves.

One great example of this school is Railways, the seating arrangement in our trains is such that all the seats face each other. Thus there is always a group of eight individuals of different backgrounds sharing the same space. This removes, from the list of possible reactions – ignorance, arrogance, fear, hatred. And then the conversations start and understanding begins. Every person has to adjust for others to settle comfortably. We also have to adjust our mindset and outlook, may be not for the rest of our lives but still the 12 to 24 hrs of classroom atmosphere effects a change. By the end we have learnt our lessons, “adjust to be adjusted”.

The Indian railways have always been a great teacher. It has removed people from the comfort zones of their religion centric housing societies and orthodox communities and put them face to face. It brings to the table different realities from different part of this country, from success stories to hardships. I have heard numerous tales in the patches of conversations I let my ears fall on. Every new trip every new set of eight people have shaped my understanding of the society and this great country.

The rising economy has also schooled the society. It has rewarded Individualistic attitude and penalized community protectionism. It has created an atmosphere of opportunities and possibilities. More importantly it has made it clear that there is enough for anyone and everyone who is capable. This has inspired confidence and a sense of relief, translating into tolerance.

Friday, August 14, 2009


I was sitting ideally on my computer one evening trying to think of something, something to fill in my deserted blog. finally I gave up and started an old Woody Alan movie, a dull ending to an unusually beautiful and cloudy day. It had rained after a long dry spell. The air was filled with all those earthly smells you get when it rains for the first time. It was like one of those nice lazy days when taking a piss is the only manual labor you do. Everything seemed perfectly calm and relaxed.
then suddenly the lights went out.

If someone ever made a list of the most disgusting things that can happen on a beautiful Friday evening, power cut would have to be on the top. Not withstanding the tyranny and cruelty of the power dep’t, I decided to keep myself entertained. Determined, I grabbed my ipod and marched out of the hostel. It was pitch dark. I started walking and didn’t pay much attention to anything going around. sweet pink floyd played in my ears. everything was washed clean by the afternoon rains. Blurry shadows formed by a mild moon made patterns on the road. a cool wind rushed past and sprinkled water from the trees above. Leaves swayed in the breeze like there was no tomorrow. Felt like everything was flowing in a rhythm, everything was dancing to the tunes in my ears. Felt like I had the control to everything. I matched my footsteps to the tune and kept on walking. closed my eyes to enhance the effect. my feet grew numb, they had a mind of their own now. Mine was wandering, where, I didn’t know, didn’t care. I was almost getting high. Then it started to drizzle, tiny droplets covered my face. If I would have been a hopeless romantic I would have written some poems right there, “for the love of my life”.

I started imagining things, Imagined that I was actually walking through a thick jungle, with snakes all around. It was dark and I couldn’t see the people who walked passed. So I imagined them to be pretty girls in sexy outfits. Smiling at this thought I kept gliding down the road, respecting the rhythm as I walked. Then as cruelly as it had gone, it came back. These things called street lights arrogantly smiled from above as my eyes struggled to get used to the light. The trance was broken, nothing rhymed anymore. The shadows were sharp and left little to imagination. The people who walked past were not pretty girls, and the thick jungle was just a few lonely trees standing besides cold structures. I completed my journey back with a hope that it will all come back, again. I tried desperately to find it, but no use. It had passed away, literally

Then I started making comparisons, something I do after every stupid experience. This time my victim was time itself. So I wondered how sometimes in life, time catches up to our rhythm, follows our every move, how everything falls into place and feels like it was supposed to be that way. Or how some other times when we are the ones running to catch the rhythm, the rhythm of everything, the control of everything.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mans Greatest Invention......GoD

STATUATORY WARNING: If you are a strong believer of god then this post can seriously offend you. Feel free to ridicule it anytime.

I live in the city of gods, Varanasi. Here, you can find him in every corner giving hope to some, making someone rich, gifting baby boys to the expecting ones, or simply, giving meaning to the lives of the thousands of foreigners who come here every week.

Religion gives identity to this country. We are known to invent it and follow it regouresly. Our world famous culture and traditions originated from it. we are what we are because of our beliefs, belief in god, belief that whatever our ancestors believed in was right. The whole concept of god and religion was invented when we decided to give up on our search for answers, answers to our existence, purpose on this planet. We decided that if we cannot explain them, then let’s believe that there is someone who can and if we believed in him, strongly, may be one day he will let us into those secrets. The rational and logical explanation of everything gets too obvious and comfortable for us. We needed something to satisfy our thirst for the fairytale fantasies, with unexplained mysteries and magic, hence were born the Ramayanas, the Mahabharatas, the bibles and Korans. Whenever anything good happens in our lives we relate it to our right doings, to explain the calamities and catastrophes we take help from the devil. the usual feel good factor involved with helping someone just isn’t enough anymore, we need motivation, some concrete assurance that good done will be accounted for and reciprocated with good. So now guess who became the accountant.

It’s like a delusion which we created to bring the people together, make them give up alcohol and non-veg, strengthen the system of families and values, give hope and save them from depression and hopelessness. Throw in some heaven and hell and scare the society into order. Throw in some marriage and obtain better governed child upbringing and happy joint families. It provided employment to many, with all the enormous temples to build and thousands of lines of religious text to read.

However the best thing about religion is that most of it is based on logic. For example, solar eclipse is considered as a bad omen in many religions and hence the superstition says that, “do not go out of your house and never ever look at it or bad things will happen to you”. We obviously do not stare at it because of the harmful infrared rays during that time. But whatever be accepted, it has saved many from losing their eyesight.

This concept of religion works and India is the biggest proof of that. But for it to work properly we need to stay in that delusion long enough, believe in it to such an extent that it comes close to reality. Now science can ruin that, with all its logic and reasoning, it’s a tough fight. In India to do that is very difficult but in the US it has adversely affected their religion business and created messed up societies. So much so that many feel the need to come here and experiment with our thing. It is like that Matrix movie, where people were made to live and believe in a virtual world to manage and control them. A beautiful delusion. Then some felt the need to break out of it and face the reality….. Some couldn’t stand it and felt that it would have been better to live with the delusion. The truth is the reality does us no good. It may give a temporary feeling of superiority over the rest but eventually we will realize that the bubble life is actually better. science alone cannot satisfy, at least not like religion and god.

So now this has given rise to the present societies where the fanatics have been drastically reduced and replaced by sensible and god fearing people. Who follow religion, but are ready to accept that there is a world beyond this delusion. They have accepted the good (or rather gods)of both worlds. Obviously there are many side effects of GOD too. It’s like with toys, when children have different ones they will want to compare them and fight over it. But considering the many helpful advantages I can safely conclude that GOD has indeed been Mans greatest invention. Religion Rocks.