The new normal? 

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I’m sitting here wondering why didn’t I feel outraged after reading this news? Where is my anger? Am I insensitive to everything that’s going around me now? Maybe i am, because such news don’t even come as a shocker, it’s like I was expecting them to happen somewhere, just as normal as I’m expecting sun to be rising somewhere at this time.

Whenever I read about illegality of abortion, I know that the provision is of no great use. When I read about dowry prevention act, I feel no great relief. When I get to know that there is something as wage equalisation act too, I just laugh it out. As I know for a fact that out there exists discrimination in a much more cruel form than what is published in newspapers which is maybe growing everyday in more ways than I know or will ever know.

But Sadly, none of this impacts me and that is what worries me, what if these things have become the new normal? Where we’ve learnt to accept the sheer harsh reality without any outrage or protests? 


Palace in our mind

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My dad once said, “Life always gives you something, but only if you are receptive enough to take it”

And few days ago, in my third slum visit, I was for once receptive enough to take something from probably nothing.

It was the fourth crammed house in the row; I knocked the door with a smile. The dangling door opened with a creak showcasing a withered woman probably in her 40’s. She was wearing an old ragged sari and a brilliant smile. Her welcoming nature and her twinkling eyes suddenly made me feel at ease. With a lot comfort, I asked her questions, some were borderline uncomfortable as we were surveying their cost of living. She kept on answering them animatedly.

The situation to me looked very grim, with their monthly income just being Rs.10-15k in a family of six. It was even worsened with the loan that they had to repay. I was waiting for her to crib just like other households before, but nothing came. Her answers were surprisingly very genuine and crisp.

When I asked her about the expenditure on food, she laughed and said, “It just happens, who counts.” I requested for an estimate, and she confidently said, “Just how much a middle class household spends.”

I looked up at her in an instant, the look on her face confirmed that she thought herself to be in the middleclass category. My curiosity took hold of me, so I asked, “What about the poor households?”

“They live right across the street on the pavements, they don’t even have shelter can you imagine?”

“Hmm” I replied, guiltily peeping inside her house. There were few kids lying around, with hardly any furniture or appliances on display. There wasn’t even a gas stove, rather a kerosene chullah, responsible for painting the walls pitch black.

Inwardly I smiled; this woman was surely an inspiration to me. She was the real life example of somebody who looks at the better side of life rather than cribbing about the harsh reality. The outlook might not do anything to improve their situation but it would at least make life much more tolerable.

I couldn’t help but feel overly grateful. That day when I stepped in my home, I felt like I stepped into a palace.




Wars and Celebration?

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This whole week, there were many newspaper articles focusing on the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Indo-Pak war.

Truly speaking, this concept of celebration just went beyond me; my petite brain was unable to comprehend the logic behind the celebration of a war. What’s the point of celebrating something which rather than making you better off just ended up making you worse off? War is something which I doubt will ever reap good results.

I read somewhere that “War is the last resort to attain peace,” well; this statement makes a lot of sense. Peace is the ultimatum, war is just an action to destroy the ones who are disrupting your peace, but ironically, isn’t war something which deepens the need of peace? If we scroll through the history, we can evidently see how wars have graved something all new to disrupt the peace and harmony. We cannot deny the fact that wars are mostly indecisive; they come with no good outcome to attain peace even if the objective was the same.

In India’s context itself if we see, the 1962, Indo-Sino war, it left us with the legacy of an unsettled and disputed border which is prone to frequent military confrontations.

The 1965, infamous Indo-Pak war which is being celebrated now, neither brought victory to Pakistan which initiated the war in the Rann of Kutch and later in Jammu and Kashmir nor peace in India which fought back tenaciously after being surprised. It had no decisive outcome either in Jammu and Kashmir or in the relationship between the two countries which is still so confusing.

The 1971 war, it did have an outcome, the creation of a new nation but at what cost? The cost benefit factor here seems negative to me. After all, there is no glory in the battle worth blood as its cost.

This discussion on the outcomes of various wars can go on and on…but the reasons for celebrating it are still beyond me…victory or no victory.