Saturday, November 01, 2008

Lifting the veil

As we were about to go to sleep together in the second class compartment, The granny asked the kids to use a bed sheet as a curtain and put it across the six sleeper berths. I overheard a fellow traveler inform his friend, See I told you these people will do this. I don't know why they did that. I don't know Quran's views on this. Most probably it is just a idiosyncrasy in vogue, generally. The only hitch this time was that, though they had booked six tickets and expected to be by themselves, one of their tickets did not get confirmed and they found me, along with them . Both our reservations were confirmed through Head Quarter quota, But because of my father's designation, there was no way they were not going to confirm my ticket.

I have traveled before and observed this process of erecting a barricade. Reasons can be insecurity, religion, habit etc. Everytime I considered the whole process, needless. But this time I was on the other side of the veil. That's that. And nothing else.

I saw their world for a day, lived their life, shared their Gems, coffees. Everytime they bought a coffee for themselves and without bothering to ask me, bought one for me as well. Never allowed me to pay for it. Me being me, could not refuse. They fed me well. Sweets, fruits, gems and dal chooda . Nearly everything they eat themselves.

Most of us are baffled at the recent bomb blasts. It has been a decade, since I have been hearing about the foreign hand. A few of my friends , privately blame the whole community. The feeling is identical to that of amereicans after the 9/11 attacks, kill all of them, bomb them out.

A few thinking souls ask, why. And then not finding a plausible reason, subscribe to the above rhetoric. A very few read Chomsky. A few more, perhaps Arundhati Roy's non fiction.

There is always a reason, either you find it or you don't and if you don't, it is just that you did not either try hard or were plain unlucky. But you cannot take anything out of the reason.

It is one of the best times for most of us, other than those caught in the sub prime net. We never had a better time. And just like the sub prime crisis, when the going is this good, the chinks are always overlooked in the euphoric environment. My guess, is that though we are moving ahead, and we can never include everybody, we could at least try to include as many as possible while moving ahead. And respect those who disagree, the arundhati's , the patkar's. Though history will not be fair to them, they would have played their part in developing a better society.

Aamir and Mumbai meri jaan were exceptional movies. Especially paresh rawal's character and his super philosophy about one person pushing the other person on a trifle and it resulting in a conflagration. Though Chetan bhagat's Three mistakes of my life was mediocre( but a best seller in tier 2 cities ie. Dhoni's India, even better than his other books, tells you how I am myself alienated ), there was this example of the kissing monkeys/ chimpanzees.

An india in metros, another in towns, mostly Dhoni's, another, part community totally aliented ,another india of PAPs( Project Affected people, Narmada, Sardar Sarovar etc), another India in Mamta's Singur, yet another in Gujrat, sub divided into for and against Modi.

How many of us can walk together, is spite of our differences. When all it takes is to live life on the other side of the veil, for a small amount of time and embrace each other, as we are.