Monday, February 20, 2006

On retrospection...

It’s with an itinerant mind that I boarded the train to Bangalore from Alwaye railway station. There has been some questions raised on the authenticity of the work that I did in my previous project, and I had exhausted almost one whole day on telecon at my home to solve the issues. In the interim, I could not complete much of the personal work that I had to, at home, much to the dismay of my mother. Perplexed a propos whether having such a thankless job is worth my time and career, my deliberation route was preset. The whole process of boarding the coach, getting seated after keeping the luggage, and whatever I did in the train seemed to be a perfunctory procedure. Although I took out the novel ‘Thanalidam’ authored by Radhalakshmi Padmarajan that I had bought from the station, my mind was still roaming untamed about my choice of life. Maybe it’s the same ignorance that I had toward the book in my hand, which made me overlook the 50 odd year old person sitting right in front of me. All the while, maybe in my subconscious mind I was seeing this person who was the only other guy in my cube in the train. Anyway, now in hindsight, I do remember that this person looked like a simple Keralite, maybe an ordinary government employee, isolated from the present with something grave bothering his psyche. I must have seen him looking at me when I took out the book, and at times when I lifted my head, I could see that he was appallingly uptight with some despondency in his mind. At an instant or two, I wanted to wallop a tête-à-tête with him. I don’t know if it’s because of recalling the obligation for seclusion that I hunt for many a times, or my egotistic aim of clutching to something in the book without any disturbance, that I thought it would be better to leave the troubled man to himself. But why did I ‘fail’ to perceive that he was about to say something to me, when I got up to toss away the coffee cup? Is it just a reluctance to communicate with a fellow being who might be as old as my father, or is it just my mind trying to hold itself to the meaningless thought about same old life and career?

Anyway I am sure that this ignorance would turn out to be the final one that I give in my life. After expending some time trying to get through the first 2 pages of the novel, I decided to resign to my berth and roam around further in the mysterious terrains of my mind. It’s amazing that sometimes you love your journey to home and back, because those are the times you usually get your brain and mind for yourself. I think, maybe around midnight I slipped off to sleep, and all the while I was watching that my partner in despair was studying the unbounded darkness while he was sitting in the side seat that he got exchanged with someone who boarded from Palakkad. Even when I got down to wash my face just before I slept, he was gazing at me through the faded blue light in the compartment. Did I see a longing to let out something that has been gripping him for long, in his vulnerable eyes? Again the irrelevant deliberation about getting some sleep before I work on the design for the new project crept on me, and I conveniently ignored the elderly man. Quite amazingly, I slipped off to slumber within an hour and had been in the same state of sedate, peaceful unconsciousness for couple more hours.

It was the loud conversations below me that woke me up. I saw a small group of people, the TTR and a doctor with a stethoscope, leaning over the silhouette of a man who was on the train floor. I immediately jumped down to see what was happening. I saw the face of my silent friend, now gratis from all the despair, lying with a peaceful smile and closed eyes. The doctor who happened to be traveling in the same compartment as ours, told the TTR with a grim look “He is no more. Looks as if he had a major heart attack.”. I felt that the globe was whirling around me. I don’t know why I had my heart beating so quick as if its going to stop abruptly, that too for a person that I had barely noticed. The very thought that the sorrow and despair of that man could have been erased to an extent if I got him to talk and allowed him to vent out whatever was disturbing him, made my mind freeze. I still don’t know who this being is, or what sting he suffered from – but I got to realize that there are some things in life that you would want to change, however small they seem to be, while you think on retrospection. Sorry dear friend, I might have had a chance to save you, but I was too busy thinking about inconsequential concerns – I was too intimidated by my ego to even notice you. Now I know you, now I remember the moments in which I noticed you and communicated with you in silence, but all of this – only when I think in hindsight. If only I could turn back time, if only I could make a small correction, a small amendment in my mind – If only I could talk to you again, this time not in silence!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

War against (T)Error?

UN Security Council completed the voting which would decide the action against Iran for the ‘acts favoring nuclear enrichments’. Surprisingly, India has decided to stand with US and support the allegations that the Uranium enrichment that’s being done by Iran is in the prospects of endangering human kind. Is India’s stand wrong? I can’t arbitrate that it is wrong, since any kind of nuclear research has chances of endangering life and the red flag needs to be pulled at the right time. But my question is “Why just Iran?” Why the so called ‘War against Terrorism’ is concentrated in towards the Middle East? US just finished cutting the blood supply of a nation named Iraq. Recently US ambassador appealed against the joint decision made by India and China to buy an oil field in Syria for $573 Million. Reason: Syria is short listed as a probable territory from where terror campaign can arise, and if such hefty amount of capital is going to be floated in the country, they might start acts of terrorism. Maybe it’s because of the force named China standing by us, - our Foreign ministry made a brawny reply asking US not to teach us how to control our own economy and foreign policies. Getting back to main topic, US had already short listed Syria as ‘terrorist’ probable realm. Remaining powers of Middle East, Saudi and Kuwait are ruled by Sheikhs whose identity cards would show the portrait of the US president. :)

What is this leading to? It’s quite palpable that the hottest commodity for next century would be natural gas. The largest producers of the same have already taken the lead roles in the movie directed by US. But the intelligent wolves are well aware that the sum of natural gas deposits of other Middle East nations would make a substantial quantity in the global market. After having a bout of selective amnesia which makes them fail to remember about Afghan and Pak, the focus is diverted to uranium enrichment program in Iran which is the 4th largest natural gas producer, oil field sales in Syria which comes in top 10 natural gas producers. Now the whole world can turn a blind eye on the nuclear researches happening at the ancestral homes of US, France, UK and other biggies.

I am sure that it’s not very hard to make out these facts. But then, why are other biggies like India and China not retaliating to it? I don’t think that nations like China, Germany and Russia are just imprudent enough to ignore it, which means they might be scheduling some games in the backstage. Would our Bharat also be planning some strategy behind these enemy lines? Is it already signed a clandestine team up with China on this?

Anyway the way things are going does not point to a peaceful 21st century – whatever strategies these biggies are planning, it does not seem to be in the best interests of the earth and its inhabitants. All we can hope is for level-headedness to prevail, Earlier the better.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Desert Roses

I have been arrested. I have been regularly irregular to the blog. It’s even more scandalous that I have not been penning any of my thoughts in here – which, by the way, has been the prime provocation of transforming myself to a blogger. Well, let the time take me there (That’s the usual escapade – Time and Fate ). Till then let me ramble into unfamiliar trails.

I don’t know if this happens to everyone – Something that you might have read long time back abruptly creates lot of clamor in your psyche as if it’s a bhoot trapped in an ancient vessel. Abusing your seclusion, it breaks the fetters, pokes the intellect and directly cancers your brain. Without any provocation, in one of my journeys back home in the company bus, an article I read in a Malayalam magazine unexpectedly popped out and lay bare in front of me, as if questioning my ignorance that stayed afloat till then. Anyway, holding further crap-talk about how I (selfish me :) ) am involved in this, let me dive into the matter.

The piece was about the large populace who leave our ‘Mera Bharat Mahan’ in search of a career at the abode of ‘revelation to wealth’ – named Gulf. In the text that elucidated an assortment of faces and facades involved in the posh life of Middle East, the part that jammed my attention was a mention about shepherds in the desert. Lets take a peep into their career: Every shepherd would be given a herd of sheep that he needs to take around the desert to stumble on pastures where they can feed. The sponsors would arrive once in a week at some pre-decided meeting point to endow the shepherds with food and some very vital necessities. The shepherds would be taken once in 3-6 months to the settlement, for a haircut/shave. I remember that this segment about shepherds had caught my eye, and I might have pondered a minute or two thinking about them. Yes I confirm!!– They were the culprits. It’s those shepherds who had jumped right in front of me, at 10 o’clock in the night while I was traveling through the dusty Hosur Road. And well, I had not choice but to become a shepherd - not that I wanted to. But they begged, coaxed and threatened me to it. Yes I became a shepherd. One among them. Teleported from Hosur Road to a desert in Middle East , with the only similarity being the dust.

Here I am, in the middle of a desert under baking sun, with no one for company other than 40 sheep who are as famished as I am. It’s been a long walk, and at times, I feel that my sense of direction in this unbounded ocean of sand is deceitful to me. It’s only one more day to reach the base camp, and my sponsor would have come with new stock of ‘Kubboos’ which would let me survive for yet another week. Yes….it’s been a long, dusty and daunting walk, just as it has been for the past 8 years. But the sandstorm that hit me a couple of days back was certainly having a distinct identity. As always, I was leaping down and hiding the face with the blanket and moving the body between the herd, to keep myself in the team. It’s never a nice feeling to have sand trickling down to the lungs, but after 2 hours of duel I managed to escape the blizzard with a loss of 2 sheeps. Sandstorm came swirling in to shake my mind, but also took the price of two sheeps from my hard earned income – as loss of sheep is accounted on inefficiency of the shepherd. There are many more shepherds like me who would be nomadic in the desert with herds. Only God knows, how many would have survived the storm. In this desolate tract extending to perpetuity, we live alone, fearing the wolves and desert cats that come to hunt sheep, vigilant for the noxious snakes that can appear at any time, we find our life being hotter than this desert. It’s not these external menaces that devour me; it’s rather the loneliness that I face. Sometimes I cast myself into a sheep and talk with my herd. The hope of finding another shepherd is very remote in such a big haystack of sand. You might as well say "Hey - it was your choice to end up there". But you need to understand, none of us landed up here for adventure or amusement. We do not cherish the heat and moonlight that’s extended on our body and mind; we suppurate seeing our lives fried in this scorching heat. It’s this heat that is getting converted to the fire in the stoves of our families back at home. It’s our existence that is being smoldered to get our children educated and to allow them grow up with a decorum that we never had. And it’s those smiles that we see in our families, that make us strive deeper into the deserts – it’s those little moments of bliss which transforms into a mirage in our desert. No.....Don't change it with your sympathy. Let it remain so. Let me linger through this solitude of heat till I may be given gratis.

I don’t know if people who stay in cities in Gulf would know about these poor mortals, but these realities of life did spur some waves in me. For a moment, I learned not to crib about anything around me, I thanked Him for holding me here and prayed that He will learn to balance the world and turn it to Utopia – The land in Marx’s dreams, and a land in the dreams of all these ‘Roses of Desert’ who would still be wandering incessantly in the deserts. World is never fair, is it? Now, don't start to be optimistic. Life is also not fair. Let’s hope it will be – but when? After we become a part of this desert?