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blank for real?

Round at the curb towards my home in amboli in andheri, is a little plastic tent on the pavement against a co-operative housing soc.'s wall. (to go ahead to my place, i have to chose to walk either by a huge overflowing dumpster on one side of road, or a roadside orgy of shit. well, usually i time right at the moment to walk in the middle of the road through that distance. )
the place has plastic strewn all over by the tent. the family, it seems, is in the business of sorting out the different kinds of plastics that are dumped. 3 yr olds, 30 yr olds, 60 yr old family members are usually busy separating bottles from plastic bags from plastic objects from... the odd thing is the tenants keep on changing every 2 months while the tent remains the same. i guess. well, i have been here 6 months, and seen 3 families.
well, anyways, the object of this post is something else. it concerns the current tenants. it apparently is a family of a couple with more than handful kids and a few elders. (i am vague about the numbers because the number actually seems to be variable!)
Today evening i saw a mundane thing thats stuck in my head. a question. let me tell you what i saw. a normal scene really. replicated all over mumbai. the mother was eating the left overs in a corner by the road. the elders were lying inside the tent. a 3-4 year old was playing around his father. an infant girl in front of the father was crying. the father had his mouth open. his hands hanging loose by his side. gazing straight ahead in void. his gaze was unmoving. his body was so loose, it couldn't possibly lift by its own will. he was unmoved, unchanged for quite some time.
i wonder what he was thinking. or if he was thinking at all. has he mastered the zen art of not thinking? of all the things, this is the question thats stuck to me.

in most part of India, people are systematically taught in schools and homes not to think by themselves. to think is to be not obedient. and what greater virtue there is but that of obedience?
and then have you talked with labourers who throng the city in millions? these are the brave ones in their village. the smart ones. and ask them something about themselves that needs thinking. they avoid thinking all together. i am not quite smart myself, i am quite slow actually, and i am not trying to judge a people. I am just pointing out how the national apparatus is creating daily wage labourers killing the possible excellent thinker, officer etc. not that labour is bad, but not having a choice out of it is not agreeable.

and here is this guy. possibly he doesn't know where is he going to set up the tent next; what will shut up the infant from bawling; will she survive; a car might take too sharp a turn; what will feed him and the family tomorrow; where will he get the wood that is used in the stove they cook their food on...

shut down. doped out.
i would too, if i were in his place. india, is he a soldier for you or a martyr already?

Comments

Strider said…
so true...
I dont think I am nay different...
product of the same damn machine...
some of us are only lucky enough to have a peep outside the cave....
what can you do?
immigrate?
Parul Sharma said…
a person from that strata of society has no choice but to think.

to think about survival.

to think about living next day.

to think about where will he get his next meal from.

to think whether he will be able to provide a good life to his children.

and think is all we do.

we think we know it all.
we have a viewpoint on everything.

how government should be run but we don't vote.

how politics has ruined this country but no one wants to take a plunge to clean it.

how team India should be selected but we don't support them in defeat.

we have thoughts for everything but
action is not our forte.....
Ajinkya said…
quite true.
we have abdicated our citizenship. options are to act or to flea.
personally speaking, fleeing seems more attractive. if i were to act, i would soon, with my inefficiencies and naivete, be stripped of my life and thrown into a unceasing vortex; for an idea of nation that i doubt should exist; for a people i doubt, i am capable to empathizing and acting on behalf of; for fighting a lost battle. i have duty to my life and to those involved in it, to make the most of it. i would try to make the little circle around me that much better instead of trying to decide about the others.
Parul Sharma said…
a person from that strata of society has no choice but to think.

to think about survival.

to think about living next day.

to think about where will he get his next meal from.

to think whether he will be able to provide a good life to his children.

and think is all we do.

we think we know it all.
we have a viewpoint on everything.

how government should be run but we don't vote.

how politics has ruined this country but no one wants to take a plunge to clean it.

how team India should be selected but we don't support them in defeat.

we have thoughts for everything but
action is not our forte.....

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Ctrl-tab
Ctrl-tab...
Scroll Scroll Scoll..
Alt-tab
Alt-tab...
Catch yourself slipping away.

Deep  breath. 

Close the browser. silence the mobile and turn it away.

Open an offline-real-paper diary. Stop your thighs from lolling impatiently. Stay still. 

Pick up a pen awkwardly. ahh, the fingers are stiff. It will take a  while for them to get used to holding a pen. Quick finger exercise - open the palm, stretch finger outwards, close into a fist, dig the fingers in. Repeat.
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Shut up. The last consequential email came two months ago. Nothing of consequence is online.

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