DEATH & GRIEF

Over the past two years the world has seen so much death and miniscule are those whose family has remained untouched by this pandemic. We all have lost a relative, a friend or even an acquaintance.

Alas life moves on for some and for some it comes to a complete halt with loss of one’s bearings but in either case what remains are the memories.

The moot question is how do we grieve?

George Bernard Shaw in The Doctor’s Dilemma: A Tragedy had said,

“Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.”

So when we laugh or smile, do we ever stop grieving or has it just been pushed aside for the time being?

Is grief quantifiable?

Is shedding tears a true barometer of one’s grief?

A cousin of mine visited a salon immediately after her father’s passing away, for her hair needed some touch-ups in order to look ‘decent’ for the condolence meeting. Did she stop mourning because of this or her grief any less?

Is grief directly proportional to emotional and financial needs?

How long do we grieve or what should be the mourning period?

Are those 13 days enough for one to stop mourning?

Do the dead keep living in our memories forever?

If yes then how long before it just remains a faded memory?

While we mourn the dead, do we forgive them too?

Personally for me each time I look back at some dead people, their evil deeds eclipses whatever good memories I may have had of them.

Nothing explains these questions better than the below mentioned three movies that deals with the topic of losing a family member and how each one reacts to it:

  • PAGLAIT

This is a film about a young widow who is indifferent to the death of her husband and unable to grieve on her loss. On the other hand are her in-laws who can’t get over the loss of their son and sole bread winner.

  • RAMPRASAD KI TEHRVI

This one is about siblings arriving at their ancestral homes on the death of their father. Each one trying to ascertain their financial gains, supremacy and it’s the grieving mother who is left alone to decide her future and legacy.

  • KARKHANISANCHI WAARI

This one is a Marathi film about a family who undertake a road trip to bury the ashes of the family patriarch and the custodian of their family land. How each is on this trip for their own gains mostly financial while the wife of the patriarch gets no time to mourn as she soon realizes the patriarch has a mistress tucked away somewhere.

Each of these movies showcases death and mourning thru a typical Indian point of view wherein entire immediate and extended family huddle together to comfort the mourning family. But it’s also the time skeletons tumbles out of the closet, relationships redefined, some new ones forged and some old healed wounds scratched opened.

Dealing with death is never easy but it is always there, staring right across our faces – ALWAYS FOR EACH LIVING SECOND OF OUR LIFE.

SEX & GENDER

How times change and with it the things kids learn in school!!

The other day I was walking with my 12 years old son and he asked me the difference between SEX & GENDER? Luckily for me I knew the basic difference and the gaps were filled by him in broader terms. He knew these terms because as a 7th Grade student Sex & Gender studies are part of their curriculum and he learned about these terms that day itself.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CVvR2ndvWYx/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) released a new training manual for teachers recently. The training material describes concepts such as gender identity, gender incongruence, gender dysphoria, gender affirmation, heterosexuality, asexuality, bisexuality, among various others, in detail.

The training material also lists out a number of practical strategies for making schools sensitive and inclusive for transgender and gender non-conforming children.

I am glad the schools are open and willing to teach and talk about topics like sex, gender and stereotyping.

According to the medical website www.medicalnewstoday.com 

“Sex” refers to the physical differences between people who are male, female, or intersex . A person typically has their sex assigned at birth based on physiological characteristics, including their genitalia and chromosome composition. This assigned sex is called a person’s “natal sex.”

Gender, on the other hand, involves how a person identifies. Unlike natal sex, gender is not made up of binary forms. Instead, gender is a broad spectrum. A person may identify at any point within this spectrum or outside of it entirely.

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/232363

As a child of the nineties we lived in a world which was so different from today’s reality. The issues remained the same for a teen then and now but they were not taught and discussed this openly.

The children live in an era of information overload and as parents it becomes imperative that they are given the right tools to process this information.

Till not too long away I too was ignorant to these terms and found the terms he/him/his in some Instagram bio pretty amusing. Then I met a Gen Z, with whom I shared my amusement. As a vocal and woke Gen Z, I was given an immediate crash course on the new Gender Identifications.

And his recommendation led me to watch this amazing series called – Sex Education on NETFLIX. The characters face these questions with confusion, aplomb and denial. They use the terms that I was given a crash course of !!

Although the series is set in United Kingdom the feelings, angst and the confusion a young adult feel is the same everywhere. We are yet to reach their level of openness but at least the new curriculum is making that beginning and talking about it.

I am glad to see the change happening and hope our children grow up to become empathetic to the new normal.

Proud Congressman

मुझे भारतीय राष्ट्रीय कांग्रेस का सदस्य होने पर गर्व है.

मुझे गर्व है मैं उस दल से जुड़ा हुआ हूँ जिसने पंथनिरपेक्ष भारत की संरचना की.

मुझे गर्व है पार्टी के शीर्ष नेतृत्व पर जिन्होंने हार के बावजूद कभी अपने मूल सिधान्तों को नहीं छोड़ा.

आज के दौर में जहाँ शीर्ष नेतृत्व पर हार का आरोप जड़ना fashionable हो गया है. हम सब कांग्रेस जन को अपने अन्दर झांकर देखने की भी ज़रुरत है.

यह वक़्त है पार्टी को मंथन करने का इन निम्न बिन्दुओं पर:

  • कांग्रेस जन को एक तराजू में ना तोला जाए. समय है सच्चे और भितरघातियों में फरक करने का.
  • पार्टी के वफादार और नेता के वफादारों में फरक करना होगा.
  • ऐसे लोगों को चिन्हित करने का जिनकी पूरी राजनीती एक दुसरे को निपटाने में ही खप जाती है.
  • ऐसे सदस्यों को चिन्हित करने का जो चुनाव के वक़्त अपना कार्य क्षेत्र छोड़ कर ऐसे जगह लग जाते हैं जहाँ उनकी जान है ना पहचान.
  • सत्ता में भागीदारी चाहने वालों को सत्ता में पहुँचाने के लिए किये गए कार्यों का हिसाब देना होगा.
  • नेताओं को टिकेट वितरण से पहले कार्यकर्ताओं की भावना का ध्यान रखना होगा क्यूंकि ऊपर से थोपी गयी उम्मीदवारी कार्यकर्त्ता को हताश और मायूस कर देती है.
  • नेताओं को सुनिश्चित करना होगा की उनके अनुयायी पार्टी के अधिकारिक उम्मीदवार के लिए ही काम करें.
  • पार्टी की वजह से सत्ता सुख भोगते नेताओं को पार्टी का हित सर्वोपरी रखना होगा.

जब यह सब होगा तभी सच्चे कांग्रेसी अपने को ठगा महसूस न करेंगे और जी जान से काम करेंगे हमेशा के तरह.

जय हिन्द – जय कांग्रेस

दीपक सुखाड़िया

ECI

Respected Election Commission,

It has been a week since the assembly elections were declared in 5 states and today also marks the last day of holding virtual rallies.

In this past week new COVID-19 cases in these election going states have at least doubled:

StateNew cases on 8th Jan 2022New cases on 8th Jan 2022% Increase
Uttar Pradesh6401147352.31 Times
Punjab177359393.35 Times
Goa178937282.08 Times
Manipur761552.08 Times
Uttrakhand61030055 Times

In view of the stark rise in the Covid numbers will you continue to ban physical rallies??

If yes, then how will you punish the guilty?

With an abysmal rural net penetration of 37.74% how will the candidates reach the voters?

Wouldn’t this hamper the holding of free and fair election?

Some experts have said that the elections were to be blamed for Pandemic’s second wave last year. In Tamil Nadu state your office was publicly rebuked by a court for not taking action earlier to stop big public rallies there.

“Your institution is singularly responsible for the second wave of Covid-19,” the Madras high court had said.

You have the powers under Section 153 THE REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE ACT, 1951:-

“Extention of time for completion of election.—It shall be competent for the Election Commission for reasons which it considers sufficient, to extend the time for the completion of any election by making necessary amendments in the notification issued by it under section 30 or sub-section (1) of section 39.] to eof  can be exercised only after an election schedule has been notified.”

Under Article 324 of our Constitution you can inform the government of inability to hold polls looking at the rising Covid numbers.

Sir, these are extraordinary times – times that no one living has ever seen or imagined in their lifetimes.

As a citizen of this country, I urge and plead you to reconsider your decision to hold these elections atleast for the time being till this third wave ebbs. I would rather see people queuing up to vote for candidates of their choice than standing in the lines to have their loved ones cremated. I would rather see voters selecting their representative than having to select whether to bury their loves on banks of Ganga or to let them float away in her water.

Regards,

Deepak Sukhadia

Save our Children

Just when we all were heaving a sigh of relief from the Covid Pandemic, the world is hit by another new variant of Corona Virus – OMICRON. According to reports this is more infectious and rapidly transmitted but the jury is still out on whether it is more fatal than the previous variant.

Luckily for the adult population of India most of us are vaccinated barring some morons who are still showing vaccine hesitancy through their warped logics. What is really worrying is the unvaccinated under 18 population of India which is approximately 75 million.

The only reason we were able to bring down corona cases, was the rapid vaccinations of 18+ after the second wave. If not been for the deadly and tragic second wave the Central Government would have gladly exported our share of the vaccines leaving us unprotected and dillydallied on the vaccination drive.

Look at the slow and absolute abysmal vaccination timeline in India:

  • 16th January 2021 – Frontline and health workers
  • 1st March 2021 – For all above 60 and for 45+ with co-morbidities.
  • 1st April 2021 –  45 +
  • 1st May 2021 – 18+

It has been 10 months since vaccination started in India but the government is still undecided for our children i.e. population below 18. They have lost out two precious years of their childhood away from schools and friends.  While some have returned to school there is always a danger to fall prey to this virus. As a paranoid over-protected parent of 12 year olds I am done with seeing my kids sitting at home and living a life in a bubble. There is no end in sight with this new variant.

World over countries have started vaccinating their children against Covid. How different are our children physiologically from them so as not to be vaccinated?

Why the over dependence on just two vaccines?

If countries can use other vaccines safely for over a year now, why and what is stopping us?

I urge and plead the government to fast track the approval of vaccines for the children and ताकि वोह अपना बचपन फिर से जी सकें !!

FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT

Anna Sorokin

Ruja Ignatova

What does these two women have in common?

The former claimed to be a millionaire heiress and the latter started a multi-level marketing crypto currency. The thing that puts both of them at the same platform was their exceptional ability for exaggerated claims and fooling people out of their wealth.

They both believed in the policy “FAKE IT TILL U MAKE IT” unfortunately for them law caught with them before they could set free from their dubious past.

We all know of at least one such person with dubious and hyperbolic claims which has no bearing to their past and current situation. Being part of some organizations I see this all the time. The imagined closeness to persons in high positions and the overestimation of one’s influence is the life’s motto for some.

I know of a person, who changed their dead father’s profession of that of a contractor to a completely new one decade after his death to suit their then current political position. For some change in profession has been rolled on by the imaginary grandness of their forefathers. Sometimes the past is too uncomfortable or sometimes is doesn’t fit into the current scheme of things.

We live an age where social media is where images are created for the world to marvel at. The likes and the followers are bought and sold with aplomb. So if you have the resources at disposal, you hype up your profile or else you hype up an imaginary life. In either case the intention is to fake it till you place yourself in a space that you desire. Some make it and some don’t after all the art of faking is not for everyone to excel in.

Like someone said you can fake everything except money and you do not have to go broke faking it!!

HOW DO YOU REMEMBER ME

I heard this pretty interesting quotes some time back which says ”There is a truth that is mine and one is yours and then there is a third one which is nobody’s truth!!” and taking this further “we are never villains in our own story.”

I write this because just a few days back I heard about ‘The reason which a friend of mine had told some mutual friends about us drifting apart. It made me wonder how different can two people see things: things that may be inconsequential to one may be the raison d’etre for another. Maybe he had reasons to believe what he believes and I had mine to disbelieve them.

We drifted apart but have been friends though, for I strongly believe in that in life one should never burn their bridges because one’s path will eventually lead you to that bridge that you destroyed. We seldom realize life isn’t too short but rather its toooo long and there are no escaping people , even the ones you abhor, hate and loved and lost especially living in a small town.

We save numbers, add people on FB and follow them on Instagram and the whole rigmarole of reversing this process is difficult. Un-following / Un-friending and blocking serves their purpose but to a point only. They pop-up on mutual friends timelines and then there is stalking which some of us are experts at. The need to stay updated is a strong motivating factor, isn’t ??

Letting go doesn’t happen and why should it?? What if we become friends again?? Do we ignore and look thru each other or do we acknowledge each other. I am the latter variety. The grudge, the hurt will remain forever but so shall my ability to be friendly and civil. Like I said  – NEVER BURN YOUR BRIDGES !!

Till the time I return to the path leading to that illusive bridge, all I want to remember are the good memories and the interesting time we shared and yes there will be exceptions: People and memories that I wish to completely obliterate from my memory and that is a special place reserved for few ultra villains/vamps in my life.

So till them we all become evil in each other’s versions of the truth, let’s remember us in those happy times and let that be our forever memory.

PICHHOLA KA DARD

प्रिय उदयपुरवासियों,

सदियों से मैं आपके इस फलते – फूलते शहर की साक्षी रहीं हूँ

मैं यहाँ तब भी थी जब मेवाड़ की राजधानी चित्तौड़गढ़ हुआ करती थी. पिछोली गांव के निकट मेरा निर्माण 14वीं शताब्दी में पीछू चिड़िमार बंजारे ने करवाया था और तत्पश्चात महाराणा उदयसिंह द्वितीय ने इस शहर की खोज के बाद मेरा विस्तार किया.

मेरे ही एक द्वीप में बने जगमंदिर में शहज़ादा खुर्रम ने अपने वालिद जहाँगीर से बगावत कर यहाँ 1623-1624 में  पनाह पायी थी, जो आगे चल कर मुग़ल सलतनत के बादशाह शाहजहाँ बने. 1769 में जब माधव राव सिंधिया ने शहर पर आक्रमण किया तब एकलिंग गढ़ की खाइयों में भरे मेरे ही पानी ने आप के पूर्वजों को मराठाओं से सुरक्षित रखा था.

मेरे चारों ओर शहर वासी बसते गए और अपने सुविधा अनुसार मेरा उपयोग और उपभोग करते रहे. मेरी अनेक घाट आपकी कई पीढ़ियों के काम आई इनमें से कुछ अब आपकी पहुँच से बहुत दूर जा चुकी हैं.

कालांतर में समय बदला, राज बदला और साथ आये नए कानून. परिवारों को अपने पुश्तैनी मकान में बढ़ते कुनबे को समाने की जदोजहद करनी पड़ी. एक कमरा या छोटा बदलाव न कर सके. कानून ने उनके हाथ बाँध दिए.

वैसे आज कल मेरे प्रति आप सब का प्रेम देख कर मन प्रफुल्लित हो जाता है. लेकिन फिर सोचती हूँ यह प्रेम तब क्यूँ न जागा जब पर्यटन के नाम पर मेरा दोहन किया गया. आलिशान होटलों का निर्माण कराया गया और व्यवासियों ने कमाई के लिए रोड से ना ले जाकर अपने अतिथियों को मेरे सीने को चीरते हुए अनेक नावें उतार दी. शांत रातों को विलासिता भरे अनेक जलसों की साक्षी आप और मैं भी रहीं हूँ. लेकिन आपका दर्द शायद तब इतना न झलक पाया.

मेरे नाम पर कईयों ने रोटी सेकी : किसी ने हाई कोर्ट में अपनों को बचने के लिए नवीन निर्माण को पुराना बता दिया तो किसी ने शुतुरमुर्ग की तरह अपना मुंह मेरी रेत में छिपा लिया. रसूख और रुतबे के आगे सब जायज़ हो गया जो न हो सका तो बस आम शहर वासी का झील किनारे अपने आशियाने का अपने ज़रूरत के हिसाब से विस्तार.

शिकायत तो मुझे आप से भी है !! मैंने न जाने आपकी कितनी गन्दगी अपने में समा ली है. पहले तो ठीक था लेकिन अब इस बढती आबादी की गन्दगी मेरे लिए साफ़ करना मेरे बस में नहीं.

आशा है की आप मेरे चारों और बसे मंदिरों में शाम की आरती की घंटियाँ सुन मेरे लिए भी एक छोटी सी प्रार्थना ज़रूर करेंगे.

आपकी,

पिछोला झील

Lost Generation

Just the other day I was inquiring about the well being of the family of our office help. Luckily for him and his family they remained unscathed by this recent Corona Wave. However as a father of 2 young boys aged three and five, he was worried in respect to their education. Online classes were something his kids were too young to attend on their own considering he and his wife were working parents and they lacked resources to buy smart phones for them.

What we are looking at is a Lost Generation!! Generations getting lost at both at the starting point as well at the end of the Indian School System.

This pandemic with it has not only bought death and illness but also unparalleled economic misery. Millions have lost their jobs, earnings and have been pushed to poverty. As per a World Bank study the COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to push an additional 88 million to 115 million people into extreme poverty this year, with the total rising to as many as 150 million by 2021.This has a direct bearing on the education of our children.

We are looking at a delay in admission in primary section by at least a year or two as not many parents can afford smart phones for their children for online classes. Even if they do, how many have the inclination and wherewithal to monitor their child’s progress? At such a weak base we are looking at children with issues in future.

Moreover for students who are aiming for a good college- these online classes and economic hardships for some will putting a spanner in their future plans. Getting admitted in college below a student’s potential for lack of affordability of coaching classes / Fees is going to reflect on their Job opportunities and economic status their entire life.

Then there is an entire section of children who have been stopped going to school for lack of funds, to supplement family income or even become breadwinners. Will it be ever possible to get them back to the education system??

There are no easy solutions and not a comfortable path forward. With an imminent third wave in future, this academic year too will be sacrificed at the altar of the pandemic. I just hope I am proved wrong in the future and the future of our children remained unscarred by COVID-19.

नानीजी

दो दिन पूर्व नानीजी अपने भगवान् महावीर के पास हमेशा के लिए चले गए और साथ ही गुज़र गया मेरे बचपन का कुछ हिस्सा और छोड़ गया तो सिर्फ धुंधली ओझल यादें.

मेरे को उनकी पीढ़ी से जोड़ती वह आखरी कढ़ी थी जो हमेशा के लिए खुल गयी.

अब कौन देखेगा हम सब को मोटे से चश्मे के पीछे से घूरते हुए?

कौन प्यार से शब्दों के बाण और ताने मारेगा?

कौन अब कहावतों और लोकोक्तियों की बरसात करेगा. किस से उनका मतलब पूछेंगे ?

कड़क आवाज़ और उतने ही कड़क तेवर. नियम के पक्के और अपने धर्म के प्रति कट्टर. अगर मेरे दादेरे में हर कुछ करने की छुट थी तो गर्मी की छुट्टियों में नानेरे में थोडा अनुशासन सिखाया. अगर दादी ने थाली में झूठा छोड़ने में कुछ नहीं कहा तो नानी ने इस पर सीख दी.

याद रहेगी जेम पैलेस की रोठ तीज, वह रसोईघर के स्टील के डब्बे में भरे आटे की बिस्किट, वह नियम से रात को दूध पीना और वह नाश्ते में बनायीं गयी ताज़ा गरम मठरियां.

शायद मिलेगा अब भी वह सब वहां भी , लेकिन उनको देने वालीं नानी ना रहेंगी.

बचपन में उनके अनुशासन से थोडा डर लगता था लेकिन उनकी सीख अब याद आती है. कोशिश करता हूँ अपने बच्चों में भी वही सब सिखाने की. इस बात का संतोष है मेरी मां अपनी माँ की कॉपी निकली जिससे वही अनुशासन का पाठ मेरे बच्चों को समय-समय पर मिलता रहता है और नानेरे के जैन धर्म से जोड़े रखता है.

नानीजी आप हमेशा याद रहोगे.