So I frantically packed my bags the night before I was to travel to Delhi for my birthday but more so to meet my mom and dad who I haven’t seen in a fair amount of time. Mom insisted that I travel to Delhi this time round as it has been nearly 2 years since the last time I celebrated my birthday at home, the last time being just before leaving for higher studies to the UK.
I guess celebrated is a word my mother would use but for me I prefer to keep my birthdays a clandestine and low key affair. I tend to shy away from any form of celebration/cake-cutting occasions as I feel they are unnecessary, maybe even burdensome with all the social pleasantries. I love having the cover anonymity and an Enigmatic aura, generally not really involving myself in things that do not require my attention. I guess for many, the occasion serves as a purpose for people to remember you on a special day.
However I prefer to look at birthdays as just another day in one’s life, a constant reminder that one’s age is increasing and they get a year closer to their own demise. I recall the phrase ‘abhi bhi kuch banna baki hai’ from the Sharukh Khan ‘ad’ in a magazine I was reading on the plane, this was something that really ‘hit home’ which turned into some real food for thought moments. Even though there is no pressure at home I still have a rising concern that I really need to start living up to people’s expectations. A Window seat looking out into the clouds with a setting sun, one could not ask for a better view or situation to take some time out and do some real introspection into their own lives.
I landed in Delhi ahead of scheduled arrival time, Outside it was raining but not the kind of rain one usually expects in India in the monsoon season. It was the kind of rain you would find on a cold day that I had come across in the UK and Scotland. I for one am not a fan of rainy weather (I love sandy hot beaches and nice cold pina-colada to go by), things tend to get wet, the musty smell, damp and dank conditions also do not help. Not the kind of start I was looking forward to.
Noida is a very interesting city; it is divided up into a multitude of sectors, highly organized with many separate communities and facilities. There were massive constructions going on, 30 and 40 storey flats/malls as far as the eye can see, an almost royal metropolitan kind of feeling like being in Manhattan New York. With such a description you would expect the city to seem like some sort utopian destination however the dust raised from heavy construction settles halfway below the skyline and in the morning light gives a stark contrasting view of unfinished buildings almost making them seem as rundown/abandoned flats, imagine a kind of nuclear fallout scenario. If you have seen the movie Blade-Runner or any kind of dystopic city based movie perhaps that would provide a better insight into what I am trying to describe.
A city achieving post modern status, yet one doesn’t need reminding that as a nation we are sometimes still stuck somewhere in the dark ages. It has been nearly a year since the Nirbhaya gang-rape incident in Delhi. It is painful watching the national TV debates, especially when people ask meaningless questions such as ‘What was she doing there?” Are we as a free and secular society not allowed to go anywhere without the fear of getting attacked?, especially laughable when applying it to her journalistic profession.
Anupam Kher has put it rightly not only are we looking at Financial Bankruptcy but also heading towards Moral Bankruptcy as well.
Arnab Goswami mentioned that people’s thinking needed to change; this reminded me of a very ‘I wouldn’t say intelligible but certainly thought provoking to say the least’ kind of conversation with my usual autowala that I regularly commute with. My flat recently had an influx of NGO’s who came from different countries for charity work. Many of them smoked and drank but nothing disorderly towards the community. My autowala said that the foreign women lack moral values since they smoke and drink, I then posed him a question of whether it was ok for men to smoke and drink? He said “yes”. I asked him why to which he replied “Because it’s ok for men to do it”.
I was a bit confused really the basis for his answer was lacking but it pointed towards something that was deep set in our way of thinking. I am not advocating for smoking and drinking and saying that they are good habits, I personally cannot stand smoking however that shouldn’t be a basis to judge someone morally and to entirely categorize a set of people. In this case being that women who smoke and drink must be lacking moral values. It is a segregation of sorts, because we still have preconceived notions about what men/women can do and should not do in ‘our’ society.
We still hold onto values which are deemed as good, some no doubt are, but how many are actually detrimental to our modern society? Is it that too much change is not a good thing and if we switch to an entirely new thought process we lose our uniqueness in the world and became an imitation of western society?
Change needs to happen because as a country known for being one of the most racist in the world along with highest amount of rapes is a poor reflection of us as a whole in the world. People might be ‘thinking that it’s time for a change’ but really a ‘change in thinking’ is required first and foremost.