well, hello blog! It’s been a long time…..
It was a full moon a few nights ago. An eclipse as well. While most folks (especially in India) are well advised to stay at home and avoid looking at the moon etc., I spent a considerable amount of time on the terrace of our building balancing a tripod and battling a mild gale in an attempt to take my first photographs of a lunar eclipse. Since I had a perfectly good view of the moon from my balcony as well, I moved downstairs later. It was mostly cloudy during the actual eclipse itself, so I spent some time playing around with the camera settings and discovered / stumbled upon some ‘exploding bokeh’ techniques that I found to be very cool. Shall upload pics of that experiment and some of the eclipse in flickr later.
After the eclipse was over and I was settled, I was standing in the balcony when I noticed the sky was perfectly clear. The moonlight was falling beautifully on the windows and practically shining into the room. It brought back a memory.
My parents were visiting us in Mumbai in August 2009. They happened to stay with us for the first 15 days or so, and it so happened that there was a full moon at that time as well. I am not getting into the details, but I remember my dad lying on the bed and looking up through the window at the moon. As it happened, the sky was perfectly clear that night as well and the moonlight came in just the same way, softly through the windows. I recall the smile he had on his face while looking up at the moon. A pleasant breeze was wafting in and he had that expression of being completely content.
He passed away a few weeks later.
The full moon on Saturday reminded me of him and the sense of peace I hope he was feeling. That’s the way I always want to remember him.
I miss you Dad.
Sometimes waking up in the morning & hunting for breakfast does this to you….
Warning: Reading the below may be injurious to health. Unlike having cereal…
Kellogg’s is crunchy,
Kellogg’s is fun,
Kellogg’s is better,
Than a tutti-fruity bun!
Kellogg’s is yummy,
Kellogg’s is nice,
But Kellogg’s can’t beat,
My dal & rice!
Kellogg’s a cereal,
Kellogg’s a school,
Make a drink, Kellogg’s,
Now, THAT would be cool!
Kellogg’s is healthy,
Kellogg’s is good,
But is Kellogg’s really,
A substitute for food?
Kashmir has been burning for a long time now, but the past months have probably been some of the worst that this beautiful valley has witnessed in a very long time. Kashmir is no stranger to violence but the current state of affairs is particularly worrisome.
No, I am not going to write about how the security forces need to show restraint. Indeed, it is difficult to show restraint when you are surrounded by a murderous mob that is intent on injuring, maiming or possibly killing you. It is very difficult to show restraint when your fellow officers are getting hurt and you could be next. At that moment, it gets personal. At that moment it is not about maintaining law & order, it’s about protecting your fellow men and yourself. The only way to get out of it sometimes is to use the weapon you have. When something as banal as road rage can cause tempers to soar, being in the shoes of the security forces is indeed a tough act to follow.
That being said, violence of any sort is really not the solution. No violence is pardonable – whether violence by the people or violence by the state. The fact of the matter is – there is no silver bullet, there is no One Solution. A multitude of problems demands a veritable multitude of solutions too. I do not claim to have the right solutions, but I would however like to dwell on just one thing that have been swirling in my mind for a while. Perhaps it can be a good starting point, importantly it is something that can be done for the people by the people.
I may be wrong, but I truly believe that to most Indians, there is India and there is Kashmir. It has nothing to do pointing at a map of India that has a state called J&K right at the top. As much as we would like to think and even declare that Kashmir is an integral part of India, unless we accept and include Kashmir and Kashmiris (whether in J&K or not) as part of the Indian mainstream and accord them with the sam rights that we come to expect as Indians, that map is just a paper exercise. Do we really think of Kashmiris as Indians first and THEN as Kashmiris? How many of us actually rise up to do something for the people there? I read an article today about how the curfew is causing shortage of medicines and milk in houses. There’s probably a shortage of other essentials too. I have been reading about how families have lost loved ones during the holy month of Ramzan. I know first-hand how it feels to have to mourn on a day of celebration. I can only imagine how so many affected families would be feeling. The violence instigated by a few is causing hardships to many. But does the ‘rest of India’ really care? The question is not – can we do something about it, the real question is – do we WANT to do something about it? Are we really serious about ‘including’ Kashmir as a part of India? For inclusion to truly work, it has to be social and economic as well. Political inclusion cannot work by itself, q.e.d.
Do we have the will as Indians to start the process? Or do we continue to ignore and alienate the people of Kashmir by treating it as just another tourism destination?
The future of Kashmir is not only in the hands of Kashmiris, it’s in the hands of every Indian. To win hearts and minds in Kashmir, we, the rest of India, need to accept Kashmir into our hearts and minds first. Many years ago, we created (or at least partly contributed) to a mess. We owe it to Kashmir to set it right. We also owe it to ourselves and our country.
Reached Nasik. Weather’s like Bangalore. Bad bad jam at Kalyan, averaged 80 otherwise.
Strangely, the (Airtel) network just wouldn’t register my BB all along the highway. Miraculously sprang to life when I got to Nasik. Spoke to someone in Airtel on the way but little help.
Up at 6 tomorrow, puja etc. It’s been one (Hindu calendar) year already. Very hard to reconcile though, the memories are so fresh it feels like yesterday….