Monday, March 30, 2009

One day, I will look back, and laugh. Laugh at my-our- folly, at the fact we actually thought those times were worth anything. One day, it-they-those people will be far behind us. Gone will be the desire for revenge, for getting back at people for things, events, memories one would know are too insignificant to bother about.

We will hardly believe we were so foolish- that so much was risked for so little. Looking back, will make us laugh hysterically.

And then, when we've finished laughing, we will wipe away the tears, and move on.


On a sort of related note, and one person will know what I'm referring to:

तेरे ख़त आज मैं गंगा मैं बहा आया हूँ,
आग बहते हुए पानी मैं लगा आया हूँ

And so, finally, it ends. I feel nothing but relief, now-all other emotions have been long exhausted with regard to this episode.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I just saw a daffodil!

For a long time, on my way to school from where I'm staying, I passed a little house- which had beautiful flowers growing around it- dahlias, and another little yellow flower that seemed familiar, but one I didn't know the name of.

While walking by the house today, I saw a man weeding (or atleast I think that's what he was doing-I'm not an expert at gardening!) the flowerbed. I thought I'd be polite- after all I HAD loved the flowers, so I told him they were lovely flowers. We got talking in a desultory sort of way- he asked me where I was from, and so on, until I asked him the names of the yellow flowers.

The little yellow flowers, he informed me, were daffodils!

Now, this doesn't really seem such a big deal, you might say. After all, daffodils are common flowers, especially in California(and in India too, a search online tells me that the white Nargis flowers are actually narcissi, another variety of daffodils). No, what was suddenly brought home to me was the fact that I could recite 'I wander'd lonely as a cloud' verbatim*, a poem that is unarguably the most famous ode to these flowers, and yet had never seen a daffodil before! I'd studied the poem twice, once in Class 5 (When it was in the little syllabus booklet in school) and again in Class 8, when the CBSE had finally decided we could understand such poetry.

When I looked back, I realised that much of the poetry I was taught in school was written by British authors. In fact, most of our school-texts were taken out of solely British anthologies, and the odd exceptions (n class XII) dealt with eco-tourism(!), a visit to Leh(!!), The awakening of women in India (Ugh!), and Gandhiji as a schoolmaster (!!!!). Scarcely the sort of stuff that would make one jump with joy.

It's strange, because Indian authors, writing in English, have written so much scintillating stuff. And this is not confined only to what one read in textbooks, as a child too, all I remember reading was Enid Blyton, the Bobbsey Twins, and a little later, the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew.

This was supposed to be one of those profound posts, except that I think it lost steam somewhere. With that, I leave you.

*And had also come up with a rather risque parody of, one night

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It is difficult to write often- for when I most want to write, I have neither access nor the time to do so. Then, when I do get time to write, the moment has passed.

I went for a conference on LGBT rights in Los Angeles last week, and also had a wonderful holiday in New York two weeks back. Predictably, both places made me want to blog about a lot of things. Not so predictably, however, I will not mention those places in this entry, but shall go back to Delhi- a city which I have already blogged enough on.

As those you've followed the blog know, I love Delhi. For a lot of reasons- its history, its ancient culture, its wide roads, its greenery... blah, blah, blah. I am often irritated by denizens of other Metropolitan cities who come to Delhi and whine about it. Constantly. This irritation is what makes me nasty about their cities- often, exasperatedly, telling them; "Oh, go back to that shithole of yours"- this about a city I have deep love for, or Bombay, a city I'm far more ambivalent about.

On the other hand, I myself have been guilty of being caustic about those citizens of Delhi who are blind to the past, and ignore history. I don't know what sparked off my love for Delhi and its history- one that blossomed only after I left for Hyderabad- but suspect that my interest in Lahore, and the remarkable similarities of both cities would be a considerable factor.

An interesting piece I have recently read by Shashi Tharoor questions my assumptions on the city. While he is fond of Delhi, he expresses his opinion on the ambivalent views of Delhiites on their 'own' history in a manner quite removed from mine. He suggests that Punjabis, who form the bulk of Delhi's population- having arrived there en masse after the partition in 1947- have suffered at the hands of history and consequently see no reason to shower their love upon borrowed memories of a city "steeped in decay and disease, ossified in communal and caste divisions, exploitative and unjust." Instead, they seem far more interested in the politics of their lives, rather than the history- the hows, rather than the whys.

This gives me reason to think. One loves a place not only for its history, but also for one's personal associations with it. Oftentimes, these associations are far more important to people than a vast, impersonal history. That accepted, as someone who loves Delhi, should I not love it not only for its past, but also its ability to break free of it? In terms of aesthetics and history, the Jama Masjid or the Red Fort may be far more enduring and valuable than the Gurudwaras of Lajpat Nagar or the numerous RWA buildings of South Delhi colonies, but are these not equally reflective of the history of Delhi? When, for instance, one goes to Coronation Bagh, and sees statues of British officials standing forlornly around grazing goats, is that not a symbol- not only of the past, but also of the present?- one far more true, in fact, than a glittering Victoria Memorial would have one believe? Is that not another reason to love Delhi too?-especially since I constantly search for reasons to justify this love to people who constantly sneer at Delhi's lack of intellectual refinement.

This is (as most of my posts are) a hurried post. Work beckons, and I cannot spend more time musing. Bear with me, if you will, my inability to conclude fittingly.