So there’s been an awful lot of stuff that’s making me go hmmm of late. And everybody seems to be doing the whole here’s-something-I-read-and-I-think-you-should-too thing to the hilt these days, so I’m jumping on the bandwagon, because today I feel like sharing.
Of all the things I have grown to dislike about Bangalore, the autos top the list. Picking up your life and moving on to happier times is in some senses a cop-out. An escape from something you can’t fight anymore. So I’ve had it easy. But there are no words to explain how helpless and cornered I sometimes felt as a citizen in Bangalore. When I suffered the completely unjustified and anarchic monopoly of the auto-drivers. When I felt so foolish that I actually didn’t have a viable and dependable alternative in terms of public transport. When I was surrounded by kilometers of grid-locked traffic jams every day on my way to and back from work. So when this campaign showed up in my reading list, I signed up, even though I no longer live in Bangalore, because I like resolution. There’s a lot we can’t just unilaterally change about our cities, systems and infrastructure. It is very easy to crib till the cows come home, but if one signature is all it takes to start that long process of change and make Bangalore’s roads safe, accessible and happy again, then I’m willing to pitch in. Bangalore peeps, do take a look, sign up and spread the word.
A few years ago some funky junk called Pramod Muthalik caused a furore in Mangalore, after his goons cracked down on women in a nightclub, for being anti-cultural. While an opinion is fine, turning it to a baseless, unjustified act of violence is not. The attack spurred the Pink Chaddi Campaign, bringing million of women together against him creating enough of a stir to get the Home Minister to sit up and notice and even say that Mr. Muthalik and his group are a threat to the country and that the centre would need to keep a close eye on them. Today it seems his country cousin Vasant Dhoble is doing the same in Maharashtra. Its funny how this culture-insecure gene strain is so strong in us Indians. Do we think our culture and traditions are so weak that we are threatened by the slightest deviation? Are we so intolerant, even in a country of apparent freedom and liberty, of people’s ideas of recreation and leisure that we think it is our right to force our pinhole views on these matters on the public at large? Pritish Nandy has written a really witty, but sombre piece here about why he loves Mumbai and it really resonated with what I’ve felt about Bangalore so many times before. I found it off Tin Roof Press’s awesome retort to the whole Dhoble tamasha. She has a lot of links up there to give you an idea about the issue and all of it just made me really contemplative.
Today I heard news of a subset of Pramod Muthalik’s group trying to grab some eyeballs in Goa. And a feeling of deep dread combined with slight fear came over me.
Closer to my heart, there was this piece of all the things I’ve browsed through this week, that hit home hard. It was like the perfect articulation of some of the nonsense I’ve been dealing with in my head. And I don’t mean nonsense in a belittling way, rather as a description of how utterly confusing and nebulous the whole thing is in my head. I have spoken before about having that vague what-next-feeling, and I’ve spoken about teetering on the of something new, but not knowing quite what. I’ve spoken of angst. And then there is this new feeling that I have encountered. The desire to learn. And this post just put sense into it.
Then I saw this awesome album of pictures of a place I have been trying to go to for three years now. Outstanding, mindblowing, humbling pictures aside, the quote on the side of this one caught my attention (click the picture to expand, and see what I mean). And sometimes reading something simple, and having it touch you at a really deep level gives you this really inexplicable feeling of goosebumps, while your eyes well up. And that’s what happened to me. Has it ever happened to you that something simple feels so immense and you can’t handle it?
So there you have it. Go mull over these for a bit, and share with me all the things that have made you go hmmm this week.