Wednesday, May 22, 2013

CHATTER @ WECHAT



I can think of at least a 100 people whom I would love to chat with, ask questions, know their viewpoints and tell them my own. I am a people’s person and love to have long talks with cupfuls of tea or a few leisurely drinks. So yes sieving through that long list and short listing my top few to share the privilege of WECHAT was a tough assignment. To make things easier I decided to begin the rounds of chat with a divine intervention.

Ever since I was a kid I loved to chat with my friend Lord Krishna. Oh! Please do not get me wrong I am not the religious discourse types, but I like to talk to him about every day things- people, relationships, money, career and the like. One question I have often asked him in the recent years and would love to get an answer via WE CHAT is – why didn’t he enable Draupadi to be strong enough to save herself and instead chose to come himself to her rescue? I understand the importance of having worthy episodes in your biography if you are a God, and also the ethical rightness of responding to a devout cry for help. But wouldn’t it have been a sterling example for all Indian girls to be empowered themselves instead of letting your lousy husbands lose you in a bet, their relatives insult you and then a brother-like God come to your rescue. In the wake of the Delhi rape case I asked this question too often, has our mythology set the wrong precedents so much so that the woman is blamed for crimes against her, giving the lame excuse that she crossed the Laxman-rekha, and all kinds of restrictions are put on women in the name of their safety. We do not blink an eye when a husband treats a wife as his property and why the victims lose IZZAT while the criminals have human rights activists shouting themselves hoarse to treat these monsters with sympathy?
I definitely would ask my dear blue god about his concept of true love? Is the kind of love you and Radha shared possible for humans like me? What is the most important lesson we can take from your legendary friendship with Sudama? Is it possible to have a true friend beyond the class boundaries?

Once Krishna in his charming way gives me some answers I will let him go back to manage the affairs of the world and settle to talk to my favourite revolutionary of all times, the one and only India’s very own Che Guevera Bhagat Singh. His atheist beliefs are well-documented and his beardless and short hair pictures are popular even in the Sikh heartland Punjab. So I would want to ask him on behalf of a lot of my Sikh friends that how does one prioritise when an issue is important to you but it demands disobedience to your religious principles? How much of what we wear or don’t wear consists of our religious identity? This is a common conflict I see in lots of Sikh families where the youngsters want to do away with their beard and kes (hair) and the elders consider it absolutely impermissible. I would ask- How would you evaluate the direction in which this country’s youth are headed? You were just 23 when you made the choice to lay your life for your country and now most 23 years olds would be unable to even give one full day of their busy lives for India, what would you say to them? What would be on your reading list dear Bhagat, in our times and yes would you like to meet Che Guevera some day? I hope he would say yes to the last one because two great revolutionaries, they would surely churn out lots of food for thought for all of us.

Hitler would come next, because all my life I have tried to understand how hatred could drive one person to such a violent extreme. There has been much analysis of love and of individual violence, but the kind of collective violence he engineered is unparalleled in history. Well I would try not to ask him about his strange and funny moustache:-p but I would want to ask him what his regrets are, if any? Does it hurt to be one of the most hated men of all times? Today when the world sits on a nuclear pile of explosives one extremist like you could push the world to its very brutal end, would you do it differently if you had a second chance? Is a person’s family tree so important, is race so important? I would ask Mr.Fuhrer how he managed to deceive a whole nation to participate in his idea of an ideal state.
Referring to some other great conquerors, warriors and political leaders I would like to know his opinions about Gandhi’s non-violence and Martin Luther King’s struggle for civil rights and Nelson Mandela's campaign for social justice.Who do you think is remembered more and fondly you or any of them?

Chats with three men in a row I think I would definitely need some lady to chat with now, and who else but one of my favourite writer’s and feminists of all times- Virginia Woolf. Wow lady! I must compliment you for inspiring many generations of women to have A Room of One’s own !!But dear let me tell you that just like you then women still live in “potentially dangerous space” everywhere in the world. Even today it seems “women are imaginatively of the highest importance; practically completely insignificant.” I would ask her to elaborate on her notion of trickle down patriarchy. I would ask her how we can manage the struggle to recognise women’s unpaid work in today’s highly commercialised work. What made you choose to integrate your creative work into social thought? And on a lighter note I would ask her how does it feel to have her face a wide range of gift-ware and memorabilia like book marks and mugs, does it dilute some of her strong stance or just popularises it?
Next up would be someone I observe carefully every day but have reserved my views about for some time now. The intellectual-looking, possessor of the strongest vocal chords in the universe, the TV journalist-crusader 
Yes I am talking about the same-wardrobe-all-seasons, the same-pitch and tone-all issues person who screams his lungs out because the nation wants to know. I want to ask this person how they decided to compensate for the dearth of real horror genre in India in primetime news. These mighty people must tell me the nitty-gritty of running a kangaroo court on TV screens where just like the brand of coffee endorsing their channel there is instant justice and punishment.
I want to ask them are their panelists (who either silently nod their heads in disagreement or frustration from their tiny window on the screen or ONLY agree with the huffing and puffing journalist of courage) paid or their silence is golden.
I want to ask them, who decide what “breaking news” is. Is it called so because most of the times I feel like breaking my TV or my head when I hear them shout BREAKING! In the race of becoming “your channel got this first” how did you come to presume that the nation really wants to know only your opinion on everything?

I would also love to chat with someone I call a Facebook fanatic. I want to ask her does she think that the earth now rotates on the frequency of her status updates. Why does she think that the world would end if she does not display the picture of her lunch and dinner plates? I would tell her that using infinite smiley faces and cuss words in her updates and comments is so juvenile, has she ever tried using her mind instead? I would definitely like to ask her home remedies for a sore thumb caused by constant typing. Does she know that there is a whole world outside the Facebook home page and friends’ photo albums? I would want to ask her what is her tip for time management, how much time can one waste to take bathroom breaks in the middle of day and night chats? The number of friends on your list is just that A NUMBER or do you think that number is directly proportional to your well-being and “influence”? I would also like some light to be thrown by her esteemed FB self on how many starving children she thinks she has fed by a click? My parting message to her would be- “Darling, facebook likes are the wrong scale to measure self-worth or any one else's worth, remember the last time you looked at the sunset or walked in the park(without peeping into your Smartphone every two minutes),so sign out of  FB and log into real life !”

Once I am done with my vicious outpour I would like to sit down for some soothing chat with two of my all-time favourite writers- Ruskin Bond – the bard from the Mussorie hills and Paulo the Alchemist Coelho. I am sure both these soft-spoken gentlemen would be kind to answer my questions about how to maintain calmness in chaos? How to find the answers and how to choose the right word to express what you have found?

I wish I had enough energy to chat with IPL team owners and fans, cyber stalkers, public property destroyers, the US President and my great grandmother, but I’ll not be greedy and as the cliché goes last but not the least I would like to chat with my favourite costumed crime fighter- Spiderman. I am sure he can tell me why we need to believe in superheroes? I would want to ask him about how can a commoner like me save the world even if I manage to save only a small bit.

And then following his dictum- “with great power there comes great responsibility”, I will not misuse my WECHAT power and call it a day pondering on the lessons I take home from all these eye-opening sessions.


Orange Flower Awards

@IAmSufiZen

COMPANIONS CALLED BOOKS

To Kill a Mockingbird
The Catcher in the Rye
Animal Farm
The Alchemist
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Romeo and Juliet
Frankenstein
The Odyssey
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Count of Monte Cristo
Eat, Pray, Love
Lolita
The Da Vinci Code
The Kite Runner
The Silence of the Lambs
The Diary of a Young Girl
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Notebook
Gone With the Wind
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I WILL RING THE BELL.WILL YOU?

The Human Bean Cafe, Ontario

The Human Bean Cafe, Ontario
my work on display there !!!!!