Monday, November 5, 2012


I am hooked on my TV set. Nibbling my food in oblivion, I am staring at the news channel that is reporting a special “Saas Bahu” report on Karwachouth. There are girls, young ones and old ones, the young ones who are acting as old ones. They have their mothers and mother in laws, and aunt in laws and aunts , grandmothers and maternal, paternal antique relatives all appearing and disappearing randomly. They are covered and uncovered in sarees. Heavy saree and heavier jewellery and heaviest make ups. They are all pretty. They are going for a shoot for the next episodes in which they shall have their fast for on-screen husbands. This is going to happen on all channels so this is a national event. This entire shooting is being shot by news channel, because this is news.
Now they are being interviewed, but they are using their on-screen names. They are using their on-screen relations. This might avoid some confusion. So the mother in serial is mother in news. Parvati is parvati, Simar is Simar and so on.Even the news reporter is calling them by that name. Do the television show team also call them with that name, I wonder. Is news reporter using her real name?
“What’s in a name?”, I recall.
What was the name of the other lady I was watching on a TV show the other night, crying about her son who was ignited with help of kerosene, on aftermath of death of Indira Gandhi?  But then there was one more, who tried to hide her six year old brother in a TV set Box but the angry loyalist (??) of the departed prime minister found him and managed to hit him with something so heavy that the floor had his intestine for her sister to witness. How did she handle the dead body later that day? How does one handle a human intestine?? Will that be considered as part of dead body? Will I use a plastic on my hand? Will I try to stuff it back in the stomach? Was there a stomach left??
That reminds me of my stomach, the food I am still eating; not yet filled up.
Appetite is another funny thing, isn’t it? I most certainly never know when I am going to be filled. Like the other day, in that train, I was very sure I had wanted that “samosa” inside my stomach when I almost forgot its existence in my hand after seeing that beautiful girl of around eight years age, dark eyes, dark skin, rugged up clothes, dusty thick hair and sweet smile, who cleaned up my second a/c compartment and stood in front of me with a look of obvious expectations. The lady in front of me was unmoved with her sad beauty and I couldn’t say if I was moved but I did check my pockets for some change and don’t know when the samosa went away with money. Did I feel good after that? I don’t know but I wasn’t hungry anymore. But then there were more kids coming and doing the same thing. There were kids handling smaller kids. They kept on coming and I was as indifferent to them as the lady. It was logical progression. From sympathy to sadness to guilt to apathy. They were invisible. They were not human. They were without purpose perhaps.I was not human.I pulled out my book for I know the importance of reading. Literature and art is what makes us human. We need to keep feeling to stay human. We need to dream.
I flip the channel and 1984 riots are over. It is  karwachouth again but now a live telecast. Happy women are getting ready for puja. It’s like our own valentine. Now even husbands are having the fast. We are sensitive people. Isn’t it beautiful to love someone! I love that feeling or I should love this feeling. Girlfriends are also keeping fast, though it’s a bit annoying to my father. I don’t know why, but he finds it little disrespectful to the spirit of festival. I don’t want to argue but I feel, I would be happy to have one such girl now.
I am losing interest in this and flipping channel. Some people are crying for corruption. They have an idea of a person or post who will magically change everything. I hope so. Will I be sensitive to the remaining unrewarded kids who cleaned my compartment, once we will have that Ombudsman?Will all of those kids get vanished, may be pop up in some school or in playground? Vanish from train and roads and stations.But will that ombudsman wipe away tears from face the lady on television who was crying for her brother, or from faces of the people who have seen such burning bodies at different places, at different times. but they are not on television right now.Will that ombudsman give us back the very basic of nature and manners that we simply lack as human in this god forsaken country.May be.If he can, he is a man worth TV prime time I guess, as much as karwachouth and cricket.
I am filled now, can’t eat anymore. I could watch India showing off talent, or may be a house filled with celebrities I don’t know about. But I am not in mood anymore. It’s just about mood, I think. I can feel anything at a time. Everything is happening in every flavour. Country is big. People are many.
People are many and in all colours.
I am sitting with my eyes closed remembering something.
I am very young, may be in class fourth.
I am showing my art teacher a drawing that I have painted with great effort.
I have used all water colours because I’ve got a new box yesterday.
But colours have come out of those pencil drawn shapes and then there are imprints of careless fingers and palm on sheet. Even colours are not right, I have painted the faces yellow; I liked it yellow.
And black and pink.
Teacher is not happy, it was homework.
He says something that I shall fully understand only years later.
“ye kya karwachouth hai?”

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