Sunday, 4 October 2015

Don't make me wear your shoes.

There's something wrong with the society we live in today. We have been poisoned by ugly hatred and intolerance to such an extent that we act out in beastly ways. We spew out our anger at those who can do nothing to defend themselves. Surely this intolerance has stemmed from someplace. Are people born intolerant? Are they induced to become intolerant due to something which happened to them. Solzhenitsyn was rather blunt about the root cause of it. He said- "It's an universal law-- intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.” True, perhaps.

We see its manifestations almost everywhere now.

In the mainland, the ban on beef has showed its ugly side, and the ugly truth that for some hypocrites of the world, the life of a cow is far more costly than that of human beings. The killing of an old man on the suspicion of beef consumption by beating him to death is a rather goose-bumps inducing news item. It evokes a sense of frustration and disgust towards these intolerant bigots who would do anything to ensure that their ideas are followed by everybody. Whatever happened to that now almost utopian notion of equality of all, and respect towards all religions alike.
We are so quick, as a community to point our fingers at certain communities and laugh at their rigidity, and yet we do not shy away from heinous actions to make sure that our diktats are listened to by all alike.

Forget the fact that the very idea of banning meat is ridiculous, the fact that you could actually beat someone to death over it is just despicable. Where is the humanity that all the religious books talk about and where is the tolerance that your 'Father of the nation' spent his whole life preaching about.

I have never understood this fuss over religion.
 I mean, if you really believe in the greatness of your own religion, should you not feel secure enough to not be bothered by what anyone is saying against it. Religion is such a personal thing. It is an inner belief.
 Faith, in religion, does not mean going on rooftops and advertising it to everyone, and then being insulted that people would dare to believe in some other God.

 At the end of the day, when we die, more likely than not, there is no such thing as heaven.Or even if there is, there certainly are no compartments for the different religions of the world. We can say with certainty that we will all end up in the same place, where it would be rather difficult to fight it out (since we would not have our flesh and bones, to punch, kick, and stab people with).

 So why this anger, and intolerance. Live peacefully. Do wrong to none. Respect others' religion. And if you question any aspect of their religion, do so internally. You do not need to jab your finger at others or tell them what is wrong or right.

I will end this rant with a rather apt quote that I read recently- “Religion is like a pair of shoes.....Find one that fits for you, but don't make me wear your shoes.” 

Sunday, 27 September 2015

World Tourism Day in Andro

I have always wanted to attend cultural events in Manipur. It saddens me so that I know almost nothing about my home-state and its very rich culture and heritage.

 It was therefore no surprise to anyone that I jumped at the opportunity to attend the World Tourism day event at Andro. My mother was rather finicky about sending me to a music festival considering the fondness some Manipuris have for booze, and their inability to act civil after downing gallons of it. But the desperation I displayed paid off its dividend and finally with my father's stamp of approval (with the condition that I am accompanied by a hockey-team sized squad), I found myself sardine tin-packed in our car heading to Andro. Of course, the sheer size of the squad brought with it its own problems. The day was rather filled with a lot of waiting- for food, for people to get ready, for people to come out, etc. But none of it could dampen our spirits.

The venue in itself was breathtaking; in the Santhei National park, caressed by hills on three sides, and the stage set in the middle of a water body. There was a considerable crowd already there, soaking in the atmosphere; a feeling of excitement, just like the kind we were feeling.

The event itself was well organized if you ignored the fact that it was literally running as per INDIAN standard time. I am not complaining about that because it meant, even though we finally turned up to the venue at 1.30pm, we still got to see the traditional segment (which was supposed to have been done and dusted with by 12).

And while I cannot remember the name of the singers or the comedians who performed that day, I can remember the pride I felt to belong here. And I guess that is why organizing such events is important- to provide a sort of connect and attachment across generations to the land.
For months, what had occupied the minds of those here in Manipur was agitation and anger, protests and dissatisfaction. To have such an event after the long drawn out negativity was refreshing. 

Saturday, 26 September 2015


I hate confrontation of any kind. I dread that feeling of anger and resentment towards someone, and the ensuing yell-contests. I hate cold wars, and the awkwardness they bring. If I had my way, everybody would co-exist peacefully and amicably.

After decades (two and a half to be precise) of being in the crossfire of wars, and sometimes being a warring party (an oxymoron!), I have come to the realization that the root cause of all these battles is ego. Damn Ego, causes rifts in the deepest of friendships. Ego is that little voice in your head that goes- Don't let her/him get her/his way, Make him/her feel the wrath of your anger, Let her/him realize him/her folly in bringing you down. That's the thing about ego- it convinces you in that moment, that this battle is essential for your whole existence; that you need to win this argument to live a happily ever after sort of a life.

What is so hard about apologizing, of calling a truce? Why does Ego have to be such a stiff bastard that it won't let you rise above the pettiness and resume your amicable relationship with the person.

I am no die-hard fan of Buddha, but I see a point in his 'Let things go' preachings. Or even Gandhi's Turn the other cheek principle. I might not be able to be that big of a person (or a fool?) to turn the other cheek, but I can, with a lot of self-restraint (oodles of it) hide my rather reddened-from-the-slap cheek and shake hands. I might be cursing you deep down for the slap, but on the surface, all smiles. The anger will dissolve itself in the depths of my good-feelings vibes someday, and one day it will not matter any more.
That's why they say- Fake it till you make it.. Right?

Friday, 25 September 2015


My mother is an impatient lady, never idle. Sunrise to sunset (when she is not in office), she keeps herself busy stitching, putting sequins on shawls and what not.

And when she isn't drowning out the silence with the noise from her ancient sewing machine, she is found in the garden, tending the plants.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015


let's hide away,
far from the hungry and the dead,
who masquerade as innocuous humans,
and suck dry the innocents, like you and me.
pretension is my peeve,
why must they, must they be chameleons,
blending so in the background.
why not reveal their ugly stripped selves,
for the world to shudder and hurl them away,
for the godforsaken parasites they are.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Wretched. Some thoughts on the ILP issue.

I find myself in a sort of house arrest due to all the protests demanding for the ILP, a never ending tirade of drama and suspense.
My heart is torn between feeling sympathy for the protestors who perceive ILP as the one solution of all our problems, and disgust at how blind these people can get.

Peaceful protests are alright and necessary if one believes in the cause. But to bash up the mayangs, snatch their money and tear down their shops etc is just not tolerable.
We must not forget ourselves and lock up our humane side while being swayed by this seemingly great cause.

I feel such a great deal of sadness in how narrow sighted we have become. Something has caused us to become so violent, so angry at everything; those who don the khaki from amongst us have also not hesitated to show their animalistic side.

This ILP will drive the mayangs away and bring us all the prosperity in the world. We will be the 'victors', forcing the State to succumb to our demands. Or we will not. And life will continue again. But how will we look ourselves in the mirror everyday, having robbed some of their means of livelihood; of having driven them away from a place they have perceived as their home for decades.

Will this hostility we exhibit with so much pride know to rest its ugly face when all is done and dusted.. Or wil it always manifest itself, having slayed whatever conscience we have left in our wretched selves?

Saturday, 15 August 2015

69 years

There is great jubilation on Independence day, amplified by the advent of social media, especially Facebook which now even lets you update the world on how you are celebrating Independence day.

Being an Indian brings with it its own roller coaster of ups and downs.
I feel pride in the laurels of my country and in the great personalities it has managed to produce from the most unexpected of settings. Singing the national anthem and listening to patriotic songs gives me goosebumps and a sense of great patriotism.

But then I am more often than not shaken out of this patriotic stupor by the ground reality of it all.
Being from a state like Manipur has meant that my sense of belonging to India is rather offset by a flicker of alienation. No matter how many years I spend on the 'mainland', somehow I feel like I am seen as an outsider. No matter how many years I spend wandering the streets of Delhi, the vendors and autorickshaw drivers and the hostel wardens will still hike up their rates when it is an outsider like me.

Skipping to today, while the country celebrates its 69 years of independence, my people have taken to the streets to demand the introduction of the Inner Line Permit in Manipur. While I may not agree with their point of view, it still pains me to hear their chants of protests and their tussle with the state police who retaliate with tear gas and rubber bullets.
Somewhere along these 69 years of 'independence', something has gone terribly wrong. Somehow minorities have been made to feel threatened enough for them to start demanding for some sort of protection.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Truth tea

This world tires me, with all its bullshit about optimism and passion, and the need for chasing one's dreams. The world's manuals rant about how the universe conspires to give us what we want and how we are all special and we are here for a reason and blah blah blah. And yet, there are many like me, filled to the brim with doubts. No answers, only questions. Many, seduced by the colourful hues of hope and the invincibility of dreams, often forget how harsh this rainbow-shitting world can be. How it is only one in every hundred dreams that is fulfilled. The remaining ninety nine turn to dust, floating around, wishing to be heard; brushed off from trophies and laurels hat grace the abodes of the victors.

The truth of the matter is- no one gives a crap about the zillion tea sellers in India, and when a man comes to power claiming to be an ex-tea seller, the world's never diminishing ego swells- they scream themselves hoarse- "Look here, see what we did- we made a tea seller the prime minister of the world's largest democracy." They feed us more and more of the 'never give up, have some hope, aspire' bullshit.

People talk about how fatal the problem of drug addiction is. I agree. Look at the effect of hope and optimism on the world's failed human beings. Look at the empty depths of their eyes, their wary smiles. Look at their wasted away hands. Drugs kill. Not just their bodies, but their very souls.

Monday, 3 August 2015

World weary

It is as if a concoction of some sort has been added into the water or even air supply of the fabled land the name of which I shall not mention. What else could explain the animalistic tendencies that has been brought out in the masses these days. Pure anger and venom spill out from the mouths which open, while others resort to slingshots and stone pelting.

Civilization, where have you fleed to. Humanity, why are you watching silently as these beasts tear each other apart. One for the apparently very noble cause, and the other for the three headed lion emblem bearing the words 'satyameva jayate'. The world weary wonderer can only wonder- will truth ever really triumph?

Friday, 10 July 2015

ILP- some thoughts.

No I will not keep calm and support the ILP:

The posts that I see on Facebook have literally made my blood boil.

Firstly the use of school children in these protests-
What part of this article really justifies 'involving' school children in this seemingly ever so needed quest for the all-problems solving potion of ILP which would magically make all the 'evil' migrants go away and bring job opportunities galore to the Manipuris.

School children are vulnerable, prone to be brain washed by these tides of violence. It's not fair for them to face the brunt of the crackdown on protests.

A more productive solution would be a peaceful discourse on the real issue here- migration and its threat to a small state like Manipur.

The solution lies not in the imposition of an Inner Line permit system, but rather would involve social and economic measures.
Let's face it, Migration is a ground reality in today's highly globalised world. People will flock to places where there are jobs available, and nothing can really stop them from grabbing these jobs, not even the Inner Line Permit.
The reason labourers from North India come to Manipur is because Meiteis either do not have the skills or are unwilling to do manual work.

If we want to change that, let's focus more on things like vocational training and developing the required skills. It's as simple as that.

Also, some fun facts for you-

Fact: ILP was introduced to protect British residents and interests in North east India, and not really to protect the indigenous people of the North eastern states.

Fact: ILP hasn't solved the migrant issue in MiNA. It's merely a permit system, not a pesticide. As has been seen in Nagaland etc, the issue of illegal migrants still persists.

Fact: Most school children hungry for a cause to fight for join such protests blindly or are pressurised by agitation groups to do so. Either way, they are vulnerable. Stop exploiting them.