Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Questions! Do we have the answers?

All of us seem to be experiencing anger and a sheer sense of outrage at the recent Mumbai blasts. Anger at the senseless killing, anger at the inefficacy of the system and anger at our own helplessness. Anger is natural but when used with care it can be a tremendous source of power and influence.

What do I feel post the blasts? I feel detached yet there is an anger that stems from sheer helplessness about the situation, an anger that spills over into my normal life unsuspectingly. I cannot imagine that someone can wreak violence to this extent. To stealthily snatch away the lives of hundreds of people who they didn’t even know or have a personal vendetta against. At the same time it doesn’t make sense to expect others to think the way we do. Each one of us is so different and motivated by different goals in our lives. So were the killers. They killed; they achieved their goal and what they had set out to do. But they were not there to see the aftermath of their gruesome act.

What do I want? Do I want my city/country to never ever face terrorist attacks? Do I want to experience this same of detachment when I read about the loss of lives, lives that should never have been lost in the first place? Do I want to feel that sense of grief and anxiety that those families experienced when they had no clue about the whereabouts of their loved ones? Do I want to be insensitive and feel that it cannot ever happen to me, it happens only to others? Deep within I know what I want-peace, simply peace. So that nothing can tear the fabric of our city and of our souls. I want to see my city bustling and vibrant yes but also clean, with open spaces. Spaces free of ugly monstrous buildings and accumulated garbage. And I don’t want to just sit and grumble about civic authorities and about the sheer indifference of the Government? I want to do something, to start somewhere...
I listen to stories from friends who have had narrow escapes, hear about acquaintances who lost their family members; read the newspapers that continue to carry stories of those who died, of lucky survivors, of post trauma stress disorder, of depression and of burying the unidentified. We may declare that our spirit is indefatigable, we bounce back quickly and we are an intrepid lot just because life resumed the very next day. It did resume yes but did we really penetrate that masked front and ask anyone how their spirit was and how they really felt?

There is no question of winning as a city and as people. Some view it as battle to be fought. But it cannot be fought with a festering anger that has no focus or direction. It can be fought only with a clear mind. The journey against terrorism has always been there. Each one of these shocking experiences enable us travel it step by step. Let the breaks in the journey not disillusion us and make us feel vulnerable to those whose job is all about destruction and death. Alternatively, let it create and foster in us a sense of unity, endless hope, faith and strength that no outside influence can ever dissolve or shatter.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Renovating one’s home is no mean task. A strange sense of being uprooted, as if it isn’t happening to you and very much akin to renovating one’s own self. As my home underwent several changes with each passing day, it seemed to transform itself and along with it, so did I. Perhaps like a makeover that leaves you feeling different-fresher, brighter and lighter.

From repairing of its cracked roofs, waterproofing, plastering, painting, new upholstery, new curtains it underwent the works. There seemed to be more space, although the objects were the same. For me it was a matter of looking at it differently. A change here, a shift there and a simple moving around of furniture changed the entire feel of my living room. And its energies.

Right now I don’t feel like looking back as to when and how it began. The decision had been taken and there it was. It began with a simple putting away in cartons. Simple, it wasn’t .The books alone occupied 6 huge cartons. My mother in law who was visiting me then sweetly suggested that I should consider starting a library! By the end of 2 days we had a room which was stuffed with cartons. All neatly labelled, stacked but decidedly overwhelming.

I saw my home being transformed from a veritable junkyard to some semblance of a home over 3 weeks. At first I refused to look at the junk. I turned a blind eye to it all as if I was a guest and it wasn’t my home. I would head straight for my own room which was a mini junk yard in its own right and that remained my comfort zone for many days. I saw myself looking at the various objects scattered all over the home-the ones I had collected, some junk, some precious.And I looked at them with a new insight.

Did I really need so many artifacts, some of which were in poor condition but were being held on to by “clutter bug” me for sentimental reasons? We discovered old memorabilia –my husband’s toys and old books, my college notes (!), old letters, even post-its. One by one, bit by bit I gave away old clothes, curtains and books and discarded the unnecessary stuff.

I discovered many old photographs and along with my daughters, made a collage of them and had it framed. That was truly a bonding time with family.Amit and I shared the stories behind the photograph’s past and had lots of laughs over the funny ones. Just the right time to get nostalgic! With no television and computer, the world didn’t seem all that bad. It was refreshingly different.

It has been over a month now. Most of the work is done, just a few jobs here and there. Hammering of nails, putting up pictures, arranging things in order- I am now getting used to my “old-new” home and a “renovated” me!