Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Traumatised by Hon'ble Shri Raj Thackeray

There were signs but I didn't realise how seriously affected my little 5 year old has been by Mr Raj Thackeray's actions.

His anti-North Indian rhetoric hadn't filtered down to our young ones for obvious reasons. I mean, we do discuss politics at home, but this was way below 'dirty politics' and deserved no mention at the Dining Table for sure. Why kill your appetite over such despicable and simply pathetic individuals?

But then, one day in early November, my children learnt the name Raj Thackeray. Their school picnics were cancelled one morning owing to incidences of bus burning and stone pelting in Pune, although for the umpteenth time since Thackeray began his tirade, for the first time for my children who took prompt notice of him.

As my son stormed back, despatched home by the class teacher, with the picnic goodies untouched in his bag, unhappy over the cancellation, he exclaimed loudly, "Mama, my picnic has been cancelled because Raj Thackeray is burning buses."

Clearly, the teachers may have been discussing the ramifications of taking the children for a picnic while 'buses' in the city 'burned' due to 'Raj Thackeray', the little one it seems, only picked the key words!

The cancellation of his picnic was related to everyone. Calls were made to the grandparents in far off Kerala to tell them why the picnic was cancelled. "Raj Thackeray is burning buses" became a common refrain for my heart broken kids until the picnic was eventually planned after a fortnight.

In the mean time, his older sister had shown him photographs of the notorious gentleman!

The second time we heard the name was during the terror attack in Mumbai on 26/11 as we sat glued to the laptop watching the proceedings LIVE on NDTV.

Anger gave way to consternation and shock. One evening over dinner, the hubby said, "I wonder where Raj Thackeray is now. Will he or his men come to the aid of Mumbai?"

While I nodded my head, a small voice exclaimed, "Papa, Raj Thackeray cannot come to help Mumbai. He is busy burning buses na..."

We laughed over what seemed funny to us, but the little fellow was in no mood for humour as his eyes remained glued to the screen watching the scenes of devastation.

The third time I heard the reference to Raj Thackeray has actually left me stumped.

We were taking a short beach vacation with friends. After long hours of splashing in the water, he came back to the shore. We sat together and started making sand castles when he startled me with, "Mama, I saw Raj Thackeray."

"Hmmm... Really? Where was he?"

"He was in the water, playing with the ball."

I recalled a guy playing with a ball quite close to us in the water. I must admit, the resemblance was a bit uncanny... But....

"Mama, he forgot his glasses at home."

BOING!!!! Yup...the man I saw was not wearing glasses!

My son seems to have been traumatised by Mr Raj Thackeray himself. What am I to do? Any words of advise?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Thoughts about Life

I am quite certain all of us have our wonderful tales and memories of college.

Those magical years, when as I recall now, it seems as though all we did was dream a lot, had loads of fun, drinking (fake) 'Espresso' coffee in the college canteen, sharing plates of Bread Pakoras, or Idli Sambhar or Dosas, or eating the Chhole Chaat outside the gate or breaking necks over assignments in the Library...or participating in College Fests...or simply watching Fests...

A time when no dream seemed unachievable, when the sky seemed to be the only limit, when flights of fancy were almost real...where Cinderella or Snow White could've been one of us...

We were young, we were pretty, we were smart, we were strong, we were bold, we were in control...we were almost invincible... Our inhibitions, if any were invisible... 

And what would this story be without FRIENDS. Yes...perhaps like the bond between Ross and Chandler..or Monica and Rachel, sweet, lightly competetive... We were always there for eachother...holding eachother up as we 'survived' Chaucer, Milton and Austen...

15 years have gone by and so much water has flown under the bridge.. So many of us are married, have children, careers..have chosen paths we never thought we would...lived moments we never imagined we would, lived a life far far different from the dreams of those nineteen year old minds

A and S are buddies from that time... I can still cry at their travails and exult in their triumphs.... 

A is going through the roughest patch ever. Whenever I listen to her, I am reminded of that carefree young girl, who would endlessly flirt with handsome guys in Nirulas as we'd sit waiting for our Pizzas, the Editor of our College Magazine, a girl so talented, so creative...she could write a meaningful deep poem about a cow! 

And then I God's wierd sense of jurisprudence...that a gal who could have won the Booker Prize a long time ago, lost it all to an early marriage and a unhappy one at that. Today, through her sheer grit she has managed to retain a full time career and has become the Dep Editor of a leading lifestyle magazine...but her battles are far from over. 

And then there's S... She ran away from us for a long time...and fought her battles alone in an alien country. She has emerged glorious in love and is getting married soon.... and I am certain I will cry on that day. Happiness can be overwhelming and when you know somebody deserves it, the heart tends to beat a little faster and the tears just come tumbling down.

Happy endings belong in Fairy Tales. And yet, sometimes, He strikes a balance... 

As we begin the year 2009, here's wishing A and S the best of all that life can offer... May God grant one a great new beginning and the other, the courage to make a new beginning.