News came out of Indian mars mission, and Tiwari ji came out fuming like a dhoopbatti.
Couple of months back, Tiwari ji (among 78000 others) had opted for a scheme initiated by a Dutch based organisation , asking for volunteers who would like to leave mother earth to have a flat on father Mars. “A full new planet”, he had exclaimed with his sparkling eyes jumping out of his old pair of glasses. As he stood proud next to his small garden that he had cleverly crafted out from the invisible yet legal roadway, Tiwari Ji couldn't be happier to have a planet to capture.
But his happiness had come to an end, with a smug little satellite on its way to great Mars.
“You can't have peace in this country, I tell you. My cousin went to US some 10 years back, and now every other day, he gets Modi to give him a lecture. He has become Indian diaspora, instead of what Chacha ji wanted, full Gora American!! Indians just never leave you alone! “
“You have to leave this planet; else they won't ever forget you. Generations after generations may pass, and mix marriages after mix marriages be done; they still can trace you! See what happened with Sunita Williams? All my hopes were on this Mars migration, and look they are going to get a satellite, so Modi and Manmohan can address us there too!! “
Don't judge Mr Tiwari in self righteous hate. His grandfather had migrated from a distant village to a tier two city of Kanpur, and his father had migrated from Kanpur to Delhi. He himself had been biding his time pondering over next destination (America perhaps), till this Mars option surfaced. “Can you imagine where I would have been, and doing what, had my dada never left village, and papa, that small city? Migration is the best thing one can do to his life. Some Husain migrated at some point and got his Obama turn into president. What best you can do than to migrate from earth itself! This is the pinnacle!”
“But when you leave, you better leave full. Pick up the accent and forget the rest. I don't like those “chithi aayi hai aayi hai” parties in London, and this satellite is going to do just that!!”
Though his fears for the satellite could be baseless, yet there may be a point in Mr Tiwari’s Logic. It’s perhaps harder to leave, when you still have few strings attached. His dada kept taking cold sighs for the memories of his village till he went full cold, and father always talked about the homely Kanpur till his ashes were mixed with Ganga Ghat. “When you live in a time and a place, where migration is the only logical improvement, you better be a floating fish than a well rooted banyan”, Tiwari ji would say.
Nothing could cheer up Tiwari ji that day, and after making few more frustrated philosophical observations, he choose to return to his TV room, hoping for a "blunder".
As a visibly disappointed Tiwari ji went inside his home and became invisible, I stood there, left with an uneasy feeling, near that illegally beautiful small garden. A sense of instability gloomed my otherwise happy evening. A sense that most of us, the middle class or poor, are born with a destiny to chase the development. That we will never know where we will settle down. That it could be anywhere other than where we are born; unless we stay where we are, but just the way we are.
Is it asking for utopia, where Mr great great Tiwari never had to leave his village, unless he really wanted to, and could avail good comforts and opportunities there itself? Could he have a clean sanitation, a good education, a good connectivity and peaceful working life in his beloved village itself? A situation where people would and could move, only by their choice to see a different place, or do something different; but not just to have a decent life!
Is it impossible to have a situation when even those in distant villages could celebrate Mission Mars, by knowing what it means, appreciating what it represents, and not feel the need to move to Mars, just to have a live-able life?