I am at the Kala Ghoda festival. The sun is just setting. A whole lot of ‘post its’ and small chits on a make shift wall stand out. From a distance, my wandering eyes rest on them for a minute. A few feet shuffles later, i mingle into a a crowd swarm just outside this stall. ‘Letters to Pakistan’.
Messages intended for Pakistan. For who in Pakistan, is not known. But headed in that geographic direction. Hand written scrawls to meticulously crafted chits, they are all there. They catch the breeze and flutter. The chits seem to battle for freedom. The glue continues to beat the breeze by holding on to the chits.
In this melee, messages catch the eye.
‘We will kill you’
‘When i become President of India, the first task in my mind i will distroy Pakistan’
‘A failed state like Pakistan is a state of loosers. India rocks’.
And so on. A sigh escapes my lips. So much hate. In young and old alike. My fresh eyes & tired soul search for messages of peace. Outnumbered, they sure are. But present.
‘War doesn’t determine what is right. It only determines what is left’ says one
‘War is expensive. Peace is priceless’.
‘Lets fight terrorism together’.
And so on. I read on. Searching. Browsing. Smiling. Hoping. Wondering.
Two young girls are reading with interest too. Animated chatter pervades. Between them. They read. Comment. Giggle. Make strange expressions that seem to be extensions of shrugs and something else.
They look up. Read. “Arms are for hugging. Make love. Not War’. They read that aloud. Again. In unison. Roll their eyes. One tells another, ‘get real guys’. The other giggles.
‘Get Real ?’ I wonder. I feel like a dust ridden statue in a museum attic. Especially so trying to map out youngster speak. ‘Get Real!’ That was some expression.
In sometime they are gone. Their conversations peppered with ‘Get Real’ many more times!
‘Would you want to write sir !?’ I hear another young girl ask me. Giving me a pen and a small chit of paper. She mans this stall.
‘Sure’. I say.
Steadying my hand is an effort, as the words flow into paper. I write : “We were separated at birth. Must we stay that way?”. I want to write more. Thinking of Hindi films where reunions of lost brothers happens in village festivals.
An echo from a recent memory rides high in my ear. ‘Get Real’ And that girly giggle. I stop. I contemplate. Should i hand over what i wrote ? I wonder how many more would laugh at what i have written.
Our history lessons are distorted. The media accentuates problems. Less said of politicians on both sides the better. Our armies bristle with aggression. War suddenly seems to be a video game and terrorists are characters that run on code. Toy guns or otherwise, children grow up with hate. And of course, poverty continues to soar and scores die and suffer.
I hear people dismissing what i wrote. But suddenly it doesn’t matter. I tell myself, ‘get real’. And hand the paper over to this girl who mans the stall. She promises to stick it somewhere.
I walk away. ‘Get Real’ stays in my mind.
13 thoughts on “Getting Real @ Kala Ghoda !”
Bravo Kavi! You did well to leave your little note admist and against the mindless notes of hate-mongers.’Must we stay this way?’ – We must not. We must bury our differences and forge an ‘entente cordiale’ with Pakistan. They are our brothers after all. Personally, I have many friends from Pakistan, here in London, I feel in them the same mistrust about India, as Indians feel about Pakistan.Again, I’m not advocating a ‘Yaadon Ki Bhaaraat’- style reunion but just a introspection of our attitude towards our neighbours, which in turn will influence India’s foreign policy towards Pakistan. This, I think, is ‘getting real’ and not some misplaced jingoistic warcries.
The common man is a mere puppet. He believes what he is led to believe by the politicians, the media and his negativity and feelings of hatred are further reinforced by actions of the religious fanatics on both sides of the border.
Our history is indeed distorted to suit the western viewpoint.
So how do we come out of this labyrinth of historic proportions?
Getting REAL is difficult because REALITY itself is fractured and elusive. Will writing a chit on a wall change Indo-Pak relations? Probably not. But will shrugging and girly giggles change it either? Definitely not. And I admire you for choosing the probable over the impossible, for being on the side of wistful HOPE rather than hip CYNICISM.
Reg history lessons, unfortunately, politics and politicians hold the key. That might explain why crucial papers (during the early years after independence and even now to some extent) were never released to the public for interpretation/ discussions.
Interesting coverage of the ‘letter- writing to Pakistan’:)
I wrote :
God made men, Men made boundaries.
Common interest is losing to political interest.
This mela seems to be the most interesting place to be now!
The people who should ‘get real’ are the ones who think that their problems will be solved by blowing up Pakistan, Afghanistan (why stop? Let’s do away UAE and Iran too!!).
I woner if you have read Three Cups of Tea.Such a simple idea (some would say simplistic) of educating and winning over people’s support one village at a time!
The idea of letter-writing to Pakistan is certainly novel! I hope Pakistan has not lost the capacity to understand what is written.
I totally agree with you. Cynics on both sides will never allow both the countries to resolve issues.
I think, even if a few, like minded people should persist. It may or may not happen in our life time.
Next birth, we may be born in Pakistan.Again from there we can try.
Kavi, my friend, what you wrote is as “real” as it gets. Your thinking continues to fascinate me.
We cannot afford the cynicism exhibited by the giggling and the thoughtless. The fate of humanity is decided, daily, in the small actions of the common man, pawn of the governments as he is. What can we do about that? So very little. But in our daily actions? We are very powerful in this way.
A smille to you and yours,
/* I write : “We were separated at birth. Must we stay that way?”. I want to write more. */
I’m glad you didn’t. This smacks of Nehruvian (illusionary) idealism. Before 1962, he thought ‘Indo-Chini bhai bhai’ , somewhat naively, and Chinese had waged a war and devastated us ! It hastened Nehru’s death.
There’s a beast in your neighbourhood and look at it for what it is !
As for hate. For what they did at Mumbai, what else could be expected ? That too in Mumbai city?
” There was collective public rage when their chief justice was removed. Pakistani public took to streets. No such thing happened when Mumbai was attacked. Their public response was disappointing and a valuable opportunity was lost” was an international observer’s comment.
Pranab Mukherjee did a great job in extracting admission from them,that the plotting took place on their land.
SAnjeev : Thanks mate. I think its time that we put our differences aside and work together. If the US and Russia can take away missiles pointing at each other..why must we keep them deployed ?
SGD : The common man is a puppet. with strings from across the world. A simple staid animal. We need to outgrow.
Sucharita : Thanks…but you have a way with words. Reality is elusive yet stays as close to truth as it can ! Hmm !
Naperville Mom : Thanks ! And of history lessons…the truth remains dwarfed by expediency. And that is a major disappointment
Hobo : So you were there too..Hmm
Jeevan : Thanks!
Roshini : Thanks…No i havent read this book. But i am looking at up at the next available opportunity !
Manju : I am sure there are as many saner percentage there, as there are here..Ofcourse !
Ns IYer : Yes sir..cynics on both sides have pulled us down, and kept us there. And we have let them do so. And i think we must do something this birth !
Pearl : Thank you. How well said. We just cant afford cynicism. And yes, it is in our daily options that we stand powerful !
Cyber Gipsy : Hmm. You make an interesting point !
And so, what do we do ? Pakistani public didnt take to the streets. So ?
And we extracted an apology ! So ?
Well, for how long are we going to keep fighting ? I am as devestated as any other person by what happened. But where will it stop ?
It can smack of idealism. But where does the other road lead to ?