Sunday, March 01, 2015

Trust

It's been so long since I wrote something on this blog. I don't even feel like calling this a blog anymore. It's more like a "taken for granted" device for me. I come here, rant, vent out and leave. Without bothering about who reads it, what people think. Not that I write something offensive or malign anyone here, but still, writing senseless things all the time is worse than writing a hate post. At least a hate post will be worth reading.

People change. I say it every time in different words and tone when I write my thoughts. Yes, people change. Differently. But the impact is mostly the same. Every time someone misquotes you, you get angry. And lose trust. The cycle gets repeated. Every time something happens, you realise that there exists a new kind of trust. It was always there in you but you never realised it. You never realised it until it broke. And it cannot be mended again. 

You be with a person for years. At times the relationship does not remain at the same level. You have your own set of differences and priorities in life. But yet you are connected. There are some things you would want the person to tell you. There are some things you would want to know no matter what kind of relationship you share with them. Just because you have had a special bond in the past. You deserve to know some things. And when you find out that they were hidden from you, you lose trusting. 

The impact of losing trust can only be felt. It can never be described. You scream, you cry, but there is no way you will get it back. The worst thing is, you will no longer get it in anyone else. It kinda dies at that moment. And never comes back. 

When I look back in life, and think about all the incidents when my trust broke, and just for the sake of respecting the relationship, I ask myself what if the person comes back to me seeking forgiveness? Well, the person must think he is wrong to seek forgiveness at the first place. But still, being highly optimistic, if that's the case then what will I do? Will I forgive and let go? Or will I be firm about the decision that I have taken? My mind favours the latter. But the heart is still a bit partial towards the former. The reason is simple - if I am getting the thought then somewhere it's still there in my heart. All I need to do is let one agree to another. 

We set boundaries for ourselves in our mind. There is a tolerance point for everything. Most of the times people around you know that point. In some cases they are too dumb to realise it. But when you come across the specie that knows exactly what the point is, and yet pushes you beyond it, then dude you are screwed. And if you give in, then that's the end of the life you once dreamt. The person will step over you from hereon. Again and again. And you won't be able to do anything about it. Till he does something irreparable. And that will affect you more than it will affect him. He is just losing you, but you will lose something more than him. You will lose the trusting ability. And that's the end of one aspect of your life, forever.

There is no solution to this situation. I have rotten in it, so will you. I am trying to mend myself. If I do, I will let you know how I did it. If you have done it already, wait for a while before telling me. I am not yet ready for it.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Duryodhana - Villain or Victim?

"What do you think about Duryodhana?"

"He was a bad guy."

When asked, this was the only answer I got to hear from people who have read/watched Mahabharata. We see what we have been asked to see. The good and the bad are defined well in advance. Everything comes in a box format. A box of right things, a box of all the things wrong. We choose what belongs to which box as per our convenience. We are easily scared. We call our threats bad or wrong.

Every villain was a victim first. Some chose the difficult path of trying to change what others thought about them. Parashurama was one such person who chose to change the world in the right way and became God. Most chose the easier route of Adharma that caused wars and destruction. Their acts have been defined as results of their karma and every outcome has been called Niyati (destiny). If you believe in this theory, then not a single person was a villain or a saint. Karma and Destiny chose them as scapegoats and humans ended up hating or worshiping them. Just to ensure that people kept worshiping the gods, they called themselves destiny. 

Every era had a villain loathed by people. Gods were born to kill them. Every Indian epic talks about one (or more) such villains. These villains were as intelligent, knowledgeable, learned and strong as gods. But they were the victims of injustice and partiality. Thus they chose the wrong path. Ravana, Karna, Hiranyakashipu, Duryodhana, Shakuni - name them and you will find the references about why and how they were the bad guys. Many authors have written about Ravana and Karna and tried to justify their actions. Most of these books call them good guys. Jain Ramayana in fact talks about how Ravana ended being reborn as their first tirthankara.

Mahabharata is probably the only Indian epic that has plenty of key characters with black, white and grey shades that changed the course of history. There have been plenty of books written by various authors about Krishna, Draupadi, Arjuna, Karna and the war of Kurukshetra. In each book, Duryodhana's adharma was highlighted. But what really made him a bad guy is overshadowed by his actions. Duryodhana was the reason why the great war of Kurukshetra took place. He manipulated in the game of dice with the help of his paternal uncle Shakuni due to which Pandavas lost everything including their wife Draupadi. But what was really his story? Why and how did he choose the path of Adharma over Dharma in spite of living among people who knew and preached Dharma. 

Duryodhana was the eldest of Kauravas. He was born to Gandhari and Dhritarashtra. When Gandhari accepted the marriage proposal, she was unaware about Dhritarashtra's blindness. She accepted her fate and went ahead with her decision, blindfolding herself forever. Gandhari's brother was unhappy with her marriage to a blind man, but kept quiet as his sister was going to be the queen of Hastinapuri post marriage. When the time came to choose the King, Dhritarashtra, who in spite of being the eldest son of the King Vichitravirya, denied the throne of Hastinapuri because he was born blind and Pandu was made the King instead. Shakuni, Gandhari's brother felt betrayed and swore to destroy Hastinapuri's prosperity and peace.

Time changed, Pandu went to a forest for hunting and ended up killing a sage and was cursed that he would die the moment he touched any female. He decided to renounce the kingdom and live in the forest as a hermit with his two wives Kunti and Madri. Dhritarashtra was the king now. Pandu would never bear any children through his wives due to the curse and it was certain that Dhritarashtra's child will be the next king. But again, destiny had something else in store. Kunti's son was born first and as per the rules he would be made the king when he grew up. 

This was the beginning of shaping up of Duryodhana's future. Pandu succeeding yet again agitated Dhritarashtra and Shakuni. Shakuni, the biggest manipulator, decided to create hatred in Duryodhana's head towards his cousins Pandavas. Duryodhana and his brothers bullied Pandavas, tried to kill them, humiliate them from time and again. Shakuni always told Duryodhana how Pandu and his children are the reasons he would never be the king. How Dhritarashtra was incapable as a king as he was blind and if Duryodhana didn't get rid of Pandavas, he would lose the throne to Yudhishthira.

At each stage of his life, he was fed with hatred, jealousy and envy. When Yudhishtira became the king of Indraprastha and Draupadi's palace was created, Duryodhana was filled with envy. His humiliation upon falling into the trap of one of the illusions of the palace made him hate Draupadi and he decided to take his revenge. 

At first, he tried to duplicate Draupadi's palace and failed. It irked him further. He was ready to attack Indraprastha when Shakuni stopped him and said that he had a better idea that will not only make Duryodhana the king of Indraprastha, but also make Draupadi his servant. 

Disrobing of Draupadi was the gravest sin that was committed by Duryodhana and supported by Karna. Some of the books say that Karna was the one who suggested that Draupadi should be disrobed while Duryodhana ordered her to sit on his lap. A lady could sit on the lap of only her father and husband. It was considered an insult if another man invited a lady to sit on his lap. After Dushassana's attempt to disrobe Draupadi, she cursed the Kauravas that all of them will be killed in the great war of Kurukshetra. 

The war was fought, Duryodhana was manipulated by his Uncle Shakuni through the war. By this point, he was blinded by his ego and power. He didn't fear anything as he was confident that he would win the war. He had strength by his side. Greatest warriors had sworn to protect him. These warriors were invincible. But slowly they all died. On 17th day of the war, Duryodhana was left alone. All his brothers were dead, Karna was dead, Bhishma was on the bed of arrows, Drona was dead. When Gandhari decided to make Duryodhana invincible, Krishna manipulated. That resulted into Duryodhana's defeat. 

Draupadi cursed the Kauravas that they would die and rot in hell. But a lesser known fact is that Duryodhana goes to heaven after his death. When Balarama comes to know how Bheem defeats Duryodhana in the mace fight, he curses Bheem to rot in hell for breaking the most important law of mace fighting that a fighter cannot hit his opponent below the waist area. He tells Duryodhana that he will go to heaven as his death was caused by committing adharma. 

If you think about his life, if you look at it from his point of view, he was nothing but a mere scapegoat even before he was born. His father supported all his actions, never stopped him from committing wrong. The blind king never bothered to create cordial relationship between his sons and the sons of Pandu who were his responsibility after Pandu's death. His Uncle Shakuni became the reason of his death just because he felt cheated when his sister was married to a blind man. The war of Kurukshetra was inevitable, but he became the key reason behind it. His entire life he was made believe that he was being victimised. He was a mere puppet in the hands of those with ambitions, hatred, grudges and manipulations. Because he was born for that and because he was destined to be so.

Was he a bad guy? Maybe he was, but he was made one and not born one. Karma and Destiny played their parts in changing his life from what it could have been to what it was. He committed adharmas, but you cannot overlook what led him to commit those. Again, it's not a justification to one's actions. It can never be. He was a puppet, in the hands of what was already destined.

PS: This post was originally published on CampusGhanta.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Life starts to suck the day you become independent

When I made this statement, a friend said that I should stop sounding like a 40 year old. No I don't blame them. When you start working even before you are out of teenage, you would definitely sound 40 in your 30s. My first job started as soon as I was done with my 12th standard exam. After that I paid for every small or big things in life - from college fees to mobile bill to shopping - everything. And that was a good life. I did take my parents' permission for every small thing I bought, but they rarely objected. I knew the value of money even before I had learnt to spend it. 

This was probably why I studied so much. I chose subjects I usually failed in. And excelled in them. As much as I valued money, I learnt the importance of having fun in life as well. I learnt how important it is to do things you like, how important it is to meet people - old and new - from time to time, how important it is to travel. Travel with different people. Travel alone. Sit in a strange city and do nothing. Roam around from morning to evening till you are dead tired. 

All these things became much much easier after I became independent. But this small advantage had many disadvantages. I remember school days. I wasn't worried about how am I going to be able to afford something. I was never a spender. I had limited number of clothes and shoes, I bought books as required, I was too fond of stationery but never spent crazily after it, I was allergic to cocoa thus my chocolate expenditure was as good as nil. But it was a good life. I never felt burdened by anything. I didn't really understand the concept of earning that much then. 

But you don't live the same life. Things changed drastically for us. From an extremely comfortable life, I was thrown into a normal routine life of most. I didn't really have to struggle to make my ends meet, but I had a very plain and simple life. Any additional shopping had to be planned well in advance. That's when I decided to start working. Because I wanted a comfortable life. Not for only me, but even for my family. And it wasn't that difficult. I had a much better life now. And a happy one.

My jobs never took away the pleasure of free life. My jobs were usually flexible. I had the usual amount of fun one usually has in college. But I lost the luxury of being carefree about things. I no longer exercised the option of calling dad and demanding something. I earned, saved and bought what I wanted. I had to wait for some time before I could get what I wanted. It wasn't the wait that bothered me, it was the burden that did. I hated this entire - I can take care of myself - phase. I still do. I would want to have a tension free life where I am not working to earn. I love to work, but I would want to work because I want to and not because I have to.

I think I am going through this phase because I haven't really been free. There was a phase when I wasn't working for two years. But at that time I was in law school and I had other responsibilities that didn't allow me to have a job alongside. Thus I was never out of job. 

Thus I am tired. I hate this entire setup of being independent. I don't want a new life just so that I can get rid of this phase either. It's not earning money part that I am tired of. It's the responsibility and taking care of one's own self part that I hate. And I want to get rid of it asap. Yes, life really starts to suck once you become independent.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Why I write

We take inspiration from so many things. This post is inspired by A book by Manto with the same title. It talks about his journey as a writer. How he started writing, how he became a popular short story writer. The book has such essays. They are simple. Just like a blog post. Written in simple words. It's almost like talking to him in person. He talks to you through his essays. And that's what I would want to read rather than reading something that gives me the title of elite reader.

Coming back to the header - this is one thing I have thought about so many times. Why do I write? Me, or you or anyone else? What is going on in my mind when I pen down a particular word? Or a sentence? My posts are usually outcomes of the emotions I am feeling on a particular day. This is why when I start writing, I complete it in one go. I cannot carry it forward to the next day. New day, new emotion. Thus the old post cannot be continued. That's how it works with me.

Probably that is precisely why all my posts sound the same to me in my head as I write when I am feeling one particular kind of emotion. That emotion is difficult to explain in words. But when I read them, they are all different. It's amazing how I can write about different things even when I am feeling the same emotionally while writing those. 

I don't think I can write for an audience. I do write, but they do not reflect me. I don't see myself in those writings. They are just there. For people. Not for me. And that kind of kills the entire purpose of writing for me. But I still write for an audience because of reasons known to me.

It's simple. Writing comes naturally to me. I can write a post in 20 minutes to half an hour. Writing one thousand words is not a big deal for me at all. But rarely does that happen that I like something written by me. There have been times when I wanted my writing to reach to the masses. Not because I wanted to be popular. But because they conveyed message I thought was important for others to know. But most get ignored. I feel bad for a while. And then move on. 

Writing is food for soul. It's an exercise mind needs. It's a validation of my sanity. And existence. It makes me feel alive. And for that I don't ever want to stop writing. I will continue penning down my thoughts even if that happens once a year. But I will continue doing so. I am scared that the day I stop writing, I will feel dead from within. It's almost like accepting defeat from one's self. And I cannot do that. It's somehow important to me. And I am glad it is like that. There is something I know I will always enjoy doing. It keeps me going. And I will always have something to look forward to at any point in life.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Bombay food

I haven't written anything about Bombay in a while. Not that I am left with regular readers for this blog would would know that I used to write about Bombay every now and then. Bombay or Mumbai - to me both are the same. Bombay is just a habit as I have known that city by that name for years. It's that weird habit and attachment you have with old names. Maharashtrians have this tradition of changing the name of the girl after marriage. Your name, your identity that you held for years suddenly changes overnight. But her family will always relate to and call her by the old name. Same is the case with this city. Some people act like its khadus sasural wala and force everyone to call it Mumbai. Stupid analogy, yeah. But you do get the drift right?

Anyway. There is this very typical thing about Bombay. Like if someone goes to Haridwar, you ask them to get you a bottle of gangajal, when I travel to other cities, people ask me to get vada pav for them. Yes we do get vada paavs here at every corner, and they are tasty almost everywhere; but getting them at 5 am is expecting too much even from Bombay. And if you are a gujju, then the list includes thepla dhokla too. 

Yes. Vada paav. The best ones I have had so far is at Ashok's vada paav near Kirti college. If you are from Bombay and haven't had vada paav there, what are you even doing in this city bro? Then you get this awesome vada paav outside mithibai college. I guess their butter layer in it is thicker than the paav.then you have datta vada paav across Bombay and express way, dattaguru at panvel, Joshi vada paav in Pune. But yes, all these can be missed, but not Ashok Vada Paav. Go and eat that right away.

Misal. Another maharashtra specialty. Again, you can hardly go wrong with this dish. It's mostly spicy and has gujju farsan in it. It's so spicy that you can't make out any other taste. And it tastes the best with paav. Probably the best misal place in Bombay is mamledar misal in thane. (I know thane is not Bombay, but for food we can adjust this much.)

Then you have thaali pith and kothambir vadi. Thaali pith is maharashtrian version of thepla. And kothambir vadi is another dish with coriander and besan. You either steam and serve it or shallow/deep fry it. It tastes superb either way. Some people ruin it by adding shengdana to it. This state people add shengdana and vataana to every damn thing. Anyway, coming back to these two dishes, again you cannot go wrong with any. And you get amazing ones at any maharashtrian food joint. Datta again being the best place to have it. And Sapre.

Sabudana vada. And Piyush. Place to go is Prakash in Dadar. Sabudana vada - I am sure most of you know. Piyush is liquid Shrikhand. If you are not a fan of sweets, it will kill you. It is extra sweet. And then you have jhunka bhakhar. Again a dish made of besan and bhakri - roti of different/mix grains. Earlier you had Jhunka bhakhar kendras across bombay. It was a kind of food chain. Now you see fewer of them around, but they are still there. The best one I knew was at nariman point. It was a sea facing joint behind NCPA. College time regular joint. They served the tastiest parathas and sandwiches I have ever had anywhere. It shut down. Again something you really really missed if you lived in Bombay a decade ago and never been to. Then there is puranpoli too - sweet roti. I hate it so I can't tell you where you get the good ones.

I must have missed out on quite a few dishes and places. Food everywhere is unlimited. You have plenty of varieties at almost all the places and in all the states. Almost all of us can write/talk about it all the time. All of us have favourite places to eat out at - restaurants and street food joints. Bombay has so many khau gallis. Most of them are in gujju areas. Bombay is full of gujjus anyway. But you still can't miss out on Maharashtrian food. If you visit Bombay, read this post. You don't have to meet me now. Hah.