Sep 5, 2006

Sunday Stories

Saw Lage Raho Munnabhai last weekend… My roomies resorted to a tactfully conjured concoction of bribery, blackmail and sheer muscle force to make me wake up on time for the 11.30 am show, the fact that it was a Sunday morning not to be missed in the fine print. Finally yielding to sustained pressure from multiple dimensions, I agreed to comply, provided they didn’t mind taking me along, without a bath. On my part, I offered to spray a copious amount of deo and perfume upon my bodily self. Thus the deal was struck and we set out on our flight to fantasy.
Not a brilliant movie in terms of technique, but a pleasant watch and of course with lots of take-home wisdom.
Sometime back, somewhere near the latest blast in Mumbai, I left a comment in one of the blogs I read on and off. The write-up was on the spirit of Mumbai which rises above the embers of violence, everytime and on the commendable job of the NGOs in a moment of crisis. It was a fairly good post which spurred me into thought. All that brouhaha about the spirit of humanity is fine with me, but why in the first place should the threat spring up from within? What makes a man kill so many innocents? Personal vendetta garishly mixed up with ideological megalomania could create an explosion that reverberates far beyond its times. The collective memory of the masses is phenomenally short lived and is perhaps what we dub as “the spirit” of the human race.
Life goes on. Because no one cares, as long as it doesn’t happen to them. And if it happens to them, they would go and perpetrate it to some one else. And thus the vicious circle sustains. No one bothers to find the starting point of this maddening race and no one wants to end it where it started. What makes a man who is capable of immense love, harbor lethal hate? Why don’t any of the world bodies spend sufficient time and money on studies into a terrorist’s psyche?

Well, the comment I left on that post, was somewhat on these lines. I ve always belived Gandhiji to be a myth. Someone glorified beyond reality by his admirers. Or someone not so relevant to the current state of affairs. Though I have deep respect for the “myth” of Gandhiji, the lurking doubt in the corner of my mind never vanished.
Lage Raho Munnabhai, is a simple story, spluttered with stray incidents from real life. The solutions provided weren’t very realistic, nor did they reach deep within. But there were essayed in such a manner, that they created little ripples which had the ability not only to reach far and wide, but also permeate beyond the petty superficial prejudices. In the heart of the plot, lies the spirit of the Mahatma, seen by the hero as a hallucination. The capacity to forgive, the strength to tell the truth, the patience required to wait for it to bear fruit, the stamina to take the straight route are simple lessons that when learnt in spirit and practiced in essence could solve many a burning issue. Above all having a constant view of the bigger picture, would show how small and insignificant our problems, hopes and dreams are, and yet how potentially constructive or destructive they could be.

Though all this sounds incredibly unrealistic and impractical, if when imbibed in the little things we do everyday, life tends to be a lot easier, for us and for the world.

I am still not able to dispel the doubt I have about Gandhi, the man, but the movie did clear a little bit of the haze that clouded Gandhi, the philosophy.

That evening, we went strolling in the lovely Bangalore dusk, and stopped by a roadside shop to have some snacks. An old man, probably in his seventies, picked up a conversation with one of us. The others were in a mixture of suspicion, mild amusement, and complete detachment. The “uncle” ended up inviting us for tea with “aunty” the following weekend, and even pointed out his house to us. The old man looked dignified, spoke flawless Urdu (according to S.N) and his house was a tastefully done brick and plaster upper class residence, all of two storeys.
We bid a polite goodbye, promising to keep up the appointment. As we were returning to our home, the myriad of emotions were given voice. The doubts, appreciation, and dispassionate musings were raised.
S.N, the lady who had engaged in the conversation recounted above, said “ He seems to be a nice man, even reminds me of my grandpa, and it is so rare in these days that someone invites a stranger to their house for tea. But still, we can trust no one”. Letting out a feeble sigh, she continued “Too bad we live in such times”.
And all the chatter died a natural death.


catch 22 said...


Dewaker Basnet said...

quite an interesting post here eh...we are the victims of sad....a very well written post..

Nero said...

Yay! I've been waiting for such a post after the one on reservations. Thankoo Ma'am (there's only so many lyrics and tags a blog can take)

EnGeetham aka "My Song!" said...

We are so caught up about the idea of india being the urban one; that is furthered by all the surveys put out by electronic and print media catering to this market; i'm certain in villages things are bit different. there was someone who invites us to their home since my wife wanted to see her grand dad's home and insisted we have 'ilaneer' before we left and dispatched his son to climb the tree to get it... The problem in big cities, despite the crowd, and inspite of so much physical proximity, we have the iron-curtain around us and any unknown is suspect...

The Soliloquist said...

@catch : :-)
@dewaker : Thanks.. And do keep visiting.
Nero: :-).. I was getting tired of them myself.. ;-)
@engeetham :true. But my question is where does this trust go off to in the transition between the small town and the big city? What is it that claims this simple human emotion as its victim? Are we compromising on the essential to get the superficial?

Karthik said...

Nice thought that - Gandhiji a myth !! Hmm .. Am actually one of those people who believes strongly that - history is written by winners !! And i guess more than his idealism or whatever, the circumstances prevailing in the late 1940's were what led to independence !! But then again, that;s a touchy subject ..

Small courtesies, yup .. Even in this day and time there are people who do that - like the friendly young guy who offers his Side Lower seat to a middle aged lady, the middle aged ladies who patiently pass your ticket in a crowded bus and strangers who rush to help when u faint on the road !! After all these are the little things which sustain life and sometimes we do it quite unaware - almost by instinct .. I guess that explains the TEA offer !!:D

EnGeetham aka "My Song!" said...

kind of weird, having a discussion in the comments section :)... where does the trust go - i think its just falls through the divide between the wider spectrum of have-lots and have-nots in the cities; and its in human encoding that anything unknown is suspect (except if one is a kid), i guess. I saw this in Brazil, where its far far more distinct; places like Sao Poulo can amaze you; and in the same breath can depress you intensely... anyways, i guess this is what makes living interesting :)

The Soliloquist said...

@ karthik: i wouldnt want to dispute on 'recorded history' of events that lead to independence... but the characteristics that are associated with gandhiji, seem too much for one single individual to possess.. Maybe the country needed a mascot, and he was projected as one...Nevertheless, all those ideologies arent something we could brush off as utopian or irrelevant...
As for the small coutersies, 'this uncle' even fixed an appointment with us ... Wouldnt call that a courtesy that a mere invitation would have been...
I went on to theorise about a long lost daughter who has left the shores of the country and whom one of us might resemble. Was promptly chided for my "fertile imagination".

@engeetham:Money and wealth neednt be the only contributing factor. people today have less of tolerance for others and a lesser tendency to think beyond themselves. Its always "my career,my family, my feelings, my ego, my self-respect,my future". And never beyond and above that..

justrohin said...

Hi after a long time I could decipher your post without consulting the dictionary :) As for the old uncle who invited you and your deciding whether to visit him or not I think it is more of a personal choice, had I been in your situation I would have grabbed the opportunity with an outstretched hand :)

As for Bapu, that person has been recognised and praised by individuals who themselves have achieved much much more in life in terms of knowledge and stature. So I dont think it is relevant for us to discuss him as for me I worship him from a looong time.

Even if I can tread on his path of truth for the rest of my life I would say I have followed his teachings to the largest possible extent.

A pity that most of us Indians today question his persona and his teachings whereas the rest of the world swears by his teachings.