Urban candles and notions thereof
What appalls me is not the fact that we are secure and fat and educated. It is just the opposite. Overtures appall me, knee jerks appall me, facebook appalls me, the youth appalls me, girls appall me, boys appall me. The delhite as I call myself, ready to post a picture or two. I am the person who voted a neoliberal dispensation to power, I am the person who is a master at compromise now. Compromise comes as a natural to me. I am the person who’s always complaining about state subsidies to the poor, haranguing with my ‘colleagues’ about the all so known pilferages that plague the subsidy system. I am the one, one among the many with a ‘Face’ today who want a better phone, a better road, a better network. I am centric. That’s not a bad thing to be. I guess?. I am a city dweller, I pay my taxes, I stand up in obeisance to the national anthem, I’m considerate enough. I think I’m a good human being.
I AM PLAGUED. I AM SICK.
My roots are traceable to the rural hinterlands of Uttar Pradesh. When December 16th happened, I was up in arms. I arranged for people to show up at munirka. I was in the thick of things, my blood boiled down to a simmer, I thought I was making a difference, even if a small one. I was content though. Things started to clear up after a little while. I am no longer the person I ever was. I am thoroughly conscious of my presence. Conscious, that I do not intrude into some ones domain even if unknowingly. I am scared that I am a boy today. I am a plague. I am sickness manifested. I am an Indian male.
What had the Badaun sisters done? Did they steal out of someone’s shelf. Were they “unscrupulous elements” according to this “old and glorious and immutable” culture of ours. Were they eating Chow mien or talking on phones? Did they even dare to watch television ever. I bet not. I bet not. They were just teenage girls, living the big Indian dream. Im sure they were aware about the neoliberal euphoria that has swept this “ great nation of ours”. Im sure they had shouted ‘Ab ki Baar’ at least once. At least once I’m sure.
Being born in a Dalit family, therein lies the catch. Why didn’t anyone point it out before? They were taught to be lesser mortals, since time immemorial. Their mother must’ve been taught the same. The father would never have dared to ride a cycle in front of an upper caste house, the bidis must’ve been a secret affair. The food must’ve been onion, salt and roti. The water must’ve been from the well outside the village. Life must’ve been live-able. Communions work that way. Proponents would say that boundaries were laid down by the manusmriti.
And they lived happily ever after. Yes in the meanwhile, the Girls were found hanging, reports suggested that they were also raped by the lords. They had every right to do so. Even the chief minister was nonchalant in saying that the English speaking reporter was safe, so why was she so curious.
The girls had gone to relieve themselves at night. Days are for men. They always were. The girls were always theirs. They always were.
And they lived happily ever after.
Back in Delhi. I am watching the IPL. There’s a new flavor which a popular pizza delivery joint has come up with. Its on the cards. I just hope that the guy is late today.
The heat brings with it power cuts. Yesterday night it was. I lit up a candle. And I lit up a candle. And I lit up a candle. Punjab qualified for the finals.
And they lived happily ever after.