Wednesday, 25 November 2009

On the lost list

I have a list, of things I have lost, being as careful and careless as I'm. There is that pencil box I lost in the 3rd std, that gold earing, that cycle that got stolen, those clothes, books, cassettes that was borrowed that never came back and many more. But then have you ever lost a friend? I have, not sure when and where.

How does one loose a living person... a friend? Am not so sure where she vanished. She wasn't just a mere acquiantance or one you just get along with. She was one of those friends I thought would last a lifetime, one you saw growing old with, catching up and talking about the long gone days. I still don't have an answer to .... how does something like this happen? And I'm blank on what to do about changing the situation. My address or numbers or email id's haven't changed and yet I wonder why she wouldn't want to keep in touch.

The last I met her was a shocker to her and to me, and in the process of recovering from it, she seemed to have moved places or shifted countries.

Meena was her name, she came from a very staunch Sunni Muslim family, this chubby girl with two pigtails, wearing a black burqa a the age of 12 was shy and versatile. Me: this absolutely cheerful, happy go lucky, never had to put in much efforts but always got my way through any situation kind of girl. We hit it of and were friends for a year. Then she moved school, we managed to meet up with her once a while, sent letters whenever possible etc. The next I heard was that she was involved with a new age socialist communist group, and was being considered as a next leader, one with a lot of potential. But then, family found out, put her unders some clerics and house arrest for a year. This only strove to raise her voice. (BTW a point to be noted, I still hadn't changed much, so the kind of vigour in thoughts and philosophies that she went through just flew past my brain.) This is the background to one of our last few meetings. Then I moved to Bombay, to do my post graduation. One very fine day, a few years past my post graduation, I get a call saying that she is back in our home town, married, an address was given, asking me to come see her.

First look, and I knew that something felt different. She seemed like this cleric woman, who at the age of 25 had gone on a Haj, and her world view was.... lets just say different. Beyond regonition for me, and the questions she asked, which I answered in a daze, all along trying to think if this is the same girl I knew or had met 13 yrs back. We haven't been in touch since then but this time it feels like I have lost her, not sure to whom or what, but I have.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Goldiloks: a fairy tale no less


Madam M, to all those who meet her for the first time and to some of us it is M Didi. Goldilocks is what I will call her for you. She is by far one of the most exhuberant and eccentric people I have met in my life. And of all the others, she stands out. She is intresting, fun, lavish, generous and giving juxtapose it with eccentric, abusive, feared, revered, powerful, relentless, and a true bussiness woman.

I wish I could give her true name but then ........, though knowing her, I'am sure she wouldn't mind. She is a woman who has crossed the points of avarice, greed, agression, of being feared, being the violater, being abusive, someone who has realized and asked what more can power and money bring? Now she has moved to being a so called social worker and loves being reffered to as a 'samaj sevika'. She totally enjoys being in the league of the famous, helping someone or supporting a cause. A life beyond onself and for another.

Oh by the way, this feel that is there through the first two paragraphs are not my initial feelings of M didi. Before I met her, I had heard not so many nice things about her, one of it was 'to be dreaded'.

So picture our first meet, both of us very obviously suspicious of each other. Me from a society that supposedly hadn't know or seen much violence or abuse except for in the movies and from a very safe and secure family. Not that I said much, but the impression becomes obvious to anyone who has lived in the background of violence and abuse. And not to mention I was very determined and keen on making an inroad, burning with a passion to make a difference, not yet completely moluded by the NGO culture and I was there to talk about rights of the women and children around. A few meetings, a few talks, a few tactics and we hit it off. Most barriers crossed, no love lost and no wars won.

Frankly, I dont think she ever trusted me neither did I her, but we had a certian respect for each other, and that was enough to get us through and stick by each other. Except for the swords hanging over each other, the cops over hers and my NGO connections over me. In some sort of an usaid way, we knew each other and we were very careful around each other, very watchful as to not hurt each other's sentiments, and yet made sure we got our way or atleast reached a negotiation point.

Now if you want to get the true picture, and image of M Didi, imagine this. Every single day, M didi would dress up in the most fanciest of sarees or salwar kameez, which cost an average of 10k to 25k, with a whole lot of gold which approximately could have weighed in kilos, ofcourse spread from head to toe. She had golden red hair. She usually carried a purse with lots of money, not sure how much, but any amount you asked. She had it at hand to give it to you. She never took much in writing but the people who borrowed were always very promt in returing. A warning for those who are already drooling, you cannot get within 20ft of her if you dont know her, black cats or white cats, they are there even if you cannot see them. Her average earnings and investments were high enough to make the Tata's drop their jaw. She has had a difficult past, was sold as a child, abused, worked her way out of bondage and paid up all her debts. She moved past all that held her, and worked her way up to the top of the lot, in the process ended up doing the same to many others. This is the point that fate brought us together. When I met M didi, she was right on the brink of wanting more meaning to life, and that process had already begun with her adoping a little girl . She dotted all her love on her and like any mother wanted the best for her. In the middle of that mess, a spotless clean place for that little angel.

Wondering why, I should write something about her, maybe only to tell myself that change is possible, hope always burns in the wierdest of places and it does burn bright.

Like I said, even after all this background, knowing her much more than I care to reveal, she is true flesh and blood. Wonderful, exhuberent, eccentric, business women now social worker, who managed to turn things around for herself and is now working at making it a better place for all those other women who have it tough in that same situation and for all those women who she herself put on the road to self destruction.

Hats off to you M Didi, you make me believe in people. You make me believe in hope in the most difficult and unimaginable places, in change, not in a day but in the process itself which has been as enriching for me as it has been for you. God bless and cheers to more of you Goldilocks. A fairy tale no less.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Through the fog, a ride on the cloud



Have you ever felt like you are going this phase in life, where you seem outside yourself; where the world just passes you by; where life is going through its usual routines but then you feel like someone else is living that life; It feels like, I have absolutely no memory of the last few months, and how it has passed me by. A lot has happened but yet nothing seem to have registered. Right through a death in the family, to shifting continents, to reading, through music, then yet nothing had the power to wake me from this dreamless slumber. Can one be void of feelings and emotions, where there is no reason to take a decision even at the most crucial time, hoping that the decision would just comeby. It is like there is no feel of the time, the seconds or the minutes or the hours or the days or weeks. And it isn't like there are no vague states of awareness, a reason or a thought, that I am going through this phase, yet I just don't seem to be able to push it to the level of consciousness. So as of now, I still feel like I'm floating or looking through a cloud... more like there is a lot of fog around me, and with me watching my twin live my life. More like a kite without it string, or just the string but it just doesn't seem to be held, more like its being carried by the wind...

It does not mean that I haven't the realization or that I haven't done anything to get out of this stupor. Questions have been raised and debated in my head, actually who am I kidding, a very minimal effort has been made to get out of it yet... And part of that effort is me attempting to make sense to myself by writing this piece. And the only reason I can come up with is, may be there is a sense of being unproductive. Which makes me ask myself, have I lost the fire and passion in life? What is worse is, though I have gone through such phases ealier its only been for a very short period, there was always something to wake me out of it or bring me back. Now that this phase has lasted longer, and the few efforts I have made seems to have failed, I only hope to figure where this drifting will lead me....