May 23: Memoir of My Moments

Untouched silence of night is shaken into sudden chaos by a hail of fireworks and crackers that thursts mighty forces of darkness and radiance into an unspoken combat. The curtain of sky shines with an effervescent brightness on the surface, but the chaotic noise trembles peace out of pleasant stars sleeping deeper within.

Another innocent victim of this electric voilence in the sky seems to be my poor grandmother who is abruptly nudged out of her deep sleep in a similar way. Confused and flustered, partly in land of nods still, she mutters to herself faintly, “Must be an India-Pakistan cricket match!” and plunges into her disrupted sleep again. Her words, though uttered under spell of sleep, carry enough wisdom to hover around me for the rest of night.

Prior to this, nation had beheld an exhaustive and eventful day with the counting of electoral numbers happening in festive swing. By the end of the day, I had interestingly been a witness to several manifestations of the country. The first version of my India presented itself on TV screens, now for several days, lying agitated in rise and fall of exit polls previously and counted votes presently, dissected by dominant emotions of extravagant festivities on one corner with despair reeling on the other. In the light of this significant day, aroma in the morning therefore seemed mysterious.

The second version of India unfurled itself in fellow students of my college who, to my surprise, had suddenly risen to a mammoth welcome of hibernating nationalism that had visited them after half a decade. Until now, I had usually found them glued to their mobile screens, relishing on delights of their social media accounts and periodically distressed on statistics of their Instagram followers, least acquainted with the proceedings of nation. Surprisingly, today, they were weighing on votes and not so unexpected results and were occasionally banging the benches in impulse of their excitement too, as numbers turned to their favour. “Big day indeed”, my mind whispered.

On my way to home, I come across little girls with babies lugged on their sides, selling goods in scorching heat, their rights to education and opportunities robbed by inabilities to amend their accidental births, old men and women asking for alms while failing to make the ends meet and children employed as easy aids on shops and grocery stores. Diseased and debilitated, the third version of my India, I see in these destitute people surviving the trials and troubles unwaveringly on roadsides, untouched and immune to overarching prominence of politics. They probably cannot name the Prime Minister of the country, let alone know the significance of the day yet that must not deprive them of their rights to envision and dream a better country to live in. “How useful has country’s turbulent politics therefore been to them?” my mind wondered.

Having run across diverse manifestations of my country on this significant day, I finally repose to peace with tides of clashing thoughts sprouting and erupting in my mind, thus incubating the final version of my India in me; one that is agreeing to ask and eager to listen, that is build on acceptance of thoughts and mutual assistance, that debates and dissents to construct better paths of progress for the citizens and where results of democratic elections donot divide us like outcomes of a cricket game. Clustering these random thoughts in the nest of my brain, with sleep painting my eyes already, I welcome the fireworks of night while dreaming of a nation that is beautifully united with the colourful amalgam of diversities, differing shapes of moon and always a vibrant sunrise.

A Year obliterated, Pains left impaired…

Voices echo from the pulpits,

banging ballots in my name.

Random noises creep my way,

painting darkness under my fame.

Smiling eyes chisel scars,

assuring ‘it’s just a game’.

Pains all past, buried and left,

still putting me to shame” .

The election month of April brought to light a tumultuous upsurge of noises that suddenly drummed our nation-faithful sentiments out of slumber once again after five years. The discourse of this season rushed at such a pace that loftier issues took over our cognitive reigns while the poorer ones that failed to make it to the corners of headlines were ousted from our conscious domains. We rested in comforts of abrasive dinner table political conversations and insidiously, several scourges continued to blot the moral fabric of our humanity.

Exactly a year ago, an incident that ushered in a nation wide awakening was Kathua Rape Case in which an 8-year old girl was brutally sedated, raped for days and murdered and following it closely was Unnao Rape case. Across a half-tinted spectrum, we united to demand justice, trembling the expanse of horizon with our protests. The flames of candles fought the gushes of darkness. Empathy and the pains afflicted on humanity sewed us together again. The forensic proceedings in the aftermath revealed horrifying details about the case. Parallels were drawn with Delhi Gangrape Case of 2012 that had similarly sent the shivers of realisation cutting across all bounds. The country had then suddenly rose to precarious conditions of women safety.

In a milder contrast, this time, venomous sentiment of communalism also pounced into the picture crippling the connecting threads of our moral conscience. However, little did we know that our voices which then reverberated as unwavering alarms and roars for justice would struggle to find even fading murmurs a year later. The flames that rose to set on fire those acts of blatant moral ruins would sadly flicker as feeble sparks one day. Blood that curdled and thundered as a wave of change would rest dried and dead in extinct waters one day. The silence surrounding the incidents brought along countless cries of cases that have followed. Each cry, enfeebled and exhausted, yet attempts to scream into a hollow of darkness that grooves on decibels of ignorance and oblivion instead.

These shocking cases had spiralled me into numerous questions a year ago, which only add on a year later, remaining unanswered still. Why do we need Delhi and Kathua Cases as clarion calls to awake us from sleep of ignorance? Why does humanity need to get it’s facade smeared with shame again before we begin clanking our throats in protest? Where was the uproar of our sentiments targeted at? Judicial proceedings or the suffocating ideologies? The protests have bitten the dust in either case.

After these rape cases that marked a unified upsurge, I began resorting to a hazy silverlining hoping it might spark off a greater fear amongst the perpetrators or atleast might stand eminent as a watershed in the demolition of rape culture. Refusal clomps my thoughts today as it growls from several corners of country. #MeToo wave last year had unveiled a slew of tormenting experiences and painful darkness under fame of countless victims. The cases of child sexual abuse and assault involving people from family, within the circle of trust have witnessed a manifold increase. Juvenile delinquents are pulping in full throttle. With such acute rush of moral disasters, we are we as a society heading to?

Judicial trials and legal proceedings that could have proved an effective deterrent, languished into indefinite delays. Deficit of appropriate reportage clubbed the final nail in coffin by brushing any progress on these issues out of sight and resultantly, out of minds. Our ideologies still remain enmeshed within clutches of patriarchy and regression. Rapes and atrocities reshash themselves today again in different pockets of country. Change therefore remains a far cry.

For the victimised families of Kathua and Unnao cases, a year has passed silently and their pains have been dismissed from our minds, and for all these delays and denials, our humanity still continues to pay the price.

And the colour bled…

Taking the bait that the entire intrigue and acclaim around recently released movie Kesari had sprawled, I went in expecting a grandeur of visual excellence to come my way since the theme of the movie was a leaf out of a legend, The battle of Saraghari, one that scribbled it’s forgotten mark in one of the earliest voices of freedom that tore the tarp of suppression. But it touched me much beyond that and a gust of beautiful emotions that I root for, welcomed me off guard.

The short lived moments of tender love between the protagonist, Havaldar Ishar Singh and his deceased wife, Jeevani Kour, whom he fondly remembers in only in flashback conversations, infused into me a jovial relief when keeping eyes glued to screen seemed afflicting. This interlaced with painful realisation of what separation implies to a soldier and I strived to hold back the gush of tears in my eyes. As he braces to step into the battlefield, she appears in her charm, grumbling about his mother and yet with a heavy heart, conscious of his improbable return, she affirms she doesn’t ever want to see him flinch.

Subtle emotions breezed into my consciousness again with the scenes when the soldier sikhs help the localites in building a mosque. An old Afghan woman with a staggering gait, stooped spine and a smile effusing happiness walks over to them and out of her love and blessings, places in their hands an ort of almond; purity and richness of love encased within it. This visual, in particular, incited tears staggering in the arrest of my eyes to sail in the airs of liberation. My memories were painted with rejuvenation as I recalled several moments when on birthdays and celebratory occasions, amidst all lavish, a beautiful 10-rupees note from my grandmother’s little purse tucked close to her bosom, was what my palms awaited at the settling dusk of the day.

Thirdly, the visuals glared to me in the light of mustering the wounded sentiments to roar for the freedom of expression. The theme boils down to this core notion. The turbulent battle ensues an incident when the protagonist chooses to hold his values above the dictatorial commands of his British Army officer and follows his heart to save a woman left at the mercy of a mob. It’s the same fight for freedom of expression that he wishes would someday metamorphose into a struggle for freedom and liberation from colonial power.

Kesari, a colour that in the literal sense is an emblem of sacrifice, glossed over my mind a myriad of colours in it’s magnificent depiction on the screen, each with varied and deep emotions. The colour flows through the veins of the slain soldiers and trickles in the splashes of water wounded men are humanely helped with. Besides annealing the respect for a legend, it filled my senses with a breath of freedom and kindled the spark to cherish it again!

Unleashing Emotions Unheard…

Beautiful fusions of thoughts find their way as I share moments of recollection with dear Grandma, who has visited us after a year. Subtle hands pull me along to the realms of her rusty lands that reside untouched, deeper to her wrinkled skin and by now, a weakened strength. The shine in her eyes turns into tears as the fragments of her thoughts sewn so far with silence, find the airs and ears. With a calmer outer emotion, a deeper sadness overcasts me as I attempt to feel her part of world, a world that had long been forlorn, yet never forgotten.

My grandma was wedded off at mere eleven, shortly after she lost her father, something that ridded her family of their gravest fears; to get a fatherless girl married. All this, at a time when she had not known the meaning of either marriage or even death. She smiles with a poignant heart, as she recalls how she cried incessantly believing she was lost and stranded in celebrations that her family dressed her up for. She was happy for she shone like a thousand good gems in a scarlet dress until when she had to make peace with the realities that her family had graced this girl with, in a new home. She believed she could still hop around with mangled sole of her shoes collecting pebbles at the sands or skid back into her mother’s lap everytime after a yard’s run. Time progressively taught her everything
Destiny had handed her out a large family to serve and five children to rear. Pain in her life came following by.
Obligations arrested her heart everytime it dared to speak. Words, explanations, justifications were all embraced by her heart when there was everyone she couldn’t speak to.
Persistent in her efforts, she knitted slivers of her brittle marriage, when her husband married another woman. She was emotionally crumbled because she realised, this time, in her capacity what it felt like to be ‘fatherless’, probably once again.

She served her family to the core of her soul with the veil of silence. The sight of her children held her strength, that surrendered at times. She taught herself to read, mired in several chores to do and several pains to bear, all for the five children where her happiness now emerged from. Jotting down letters on blackened slates, learning to inscribe the alphabet from the texts, sweating herself within fumes of chulhas all went hand in hand.
Family had to manage with little resources they had. Cereals from their own land to maize loafs her abraded hands made – poverty that fused with already much grief turned life tougher. But melding seamlessly with the ways of life wasn’t tougher for her anymore.

An aroma of silence weaves it’s sparkle as she takes a deeper breath and rests to sleep in no time, her lips still flickering to share the memories left behind. I sit beside her calmly reading the stories that run along the extent of those lines on her face, some defying lines of fate and others curving to surrender, some converging into emptiness and yet others spreading out like fainting rays of warmth. With the peaceful sun settling to sleep outside, an evening casts it’s charm. I lean over to smoothen some of those lines on her face with my fingers when I realise how deeply entrenched they are and how beautifully has she embraced them for solace. My fingers glide fluently over to her eyes, meeting every feeble breath in the way that whispers peace, only to be greeted by a perfectly shivering drop of tear that has trailed a way out of her sleeping eyes.
This is when the epiphany in the evening here pierces into me the charm of her essence; acceptance, of situations and of realities of human life; some inescapable and others invincible as I am pulled along in the lanes of this darker realisation of unspoken and obvious truths, through jagged turns and sharpened ends that leave me thoroughly saddened. The silvered veil of cataract in her eye masks her own perception of twitching nerves and aching joints, which her stitched heart flinches to unravel to her world outside and it masks well, countless other pains that arise not from a bleeding bruise or a throbbing vein, but from shreds of soul she sews some days due to rashness, procrastinations and anger of her own world of five outside. And I sit still, by her side, weaving every breath of herself that my mind counts, with a prayer awaiting her next. A little longer gasp freezes my heart with fears unexplored. Everyday that I see her, the bend of her spine haunts larger, her arms appear more shrunk and brows more drooped, yet I dive into scuffles unknown; between my helpless heart that fails to accept what my eyes and mind command; her breaths fainting and fading every moment.

I can’t say how many moments more will we have, to lend my ears to her memories from past. I don’t trundle towards the lanes of these thoughts because my heart respires unfinished, awaiting more lessons on acceptance still and more so, because I have learnt from her to carve a little world of joys yourself when the world outside fails to relent and let the nature wade you to the realities it wants to. I have learnt to pick memories along the path spraying the delight as I move on. I have learnt to relish the touch of her hands everytime I come back and the prayer on her lips everytime I step out. I have learnt to cherish the moments we get than staring at the moments left and to knit them into memories before one day, without her, I sprinkle them in a lonely night into the darker ocean of stars

The Journey Begins!

A student of medical sciences, as I floundered to wrap the brains around intricacies of human life, I realised, sans the magiqué of emotions, even our systems failed to function in unison. I dabbled into pouring a bit of same as written transcriptions of my chunk of life. With an augmented perception curated by charms of words, life now presented itself as a nascent fusion of such emotions, with a tincture of sarcasm, a smile of irony and at times, a poignant reflectance of inescapable realities.

Thank you for putting on my hazy naive lenses and discerning this amateurish realm of my little random emotional concepions!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton