What’s my Caste

“आप कौनसी जाती के हो ??”

This was the second question a farmer asked me when I happen to visit a lake in his village to catch a glimpse of the migratory birds that arrive each winter. Well the first one was where I was from!!

I was at a loss of words, who asks a complete stranger in first meeting about his caste? Or does which caste I belong to define who I am? Or he wanted to make sure whether I was worth having a conversation with?

For the first 2 decades of my life I wasn’t too aware of the caste structures, its intricacies and the prejudices that followed it. It wasn’t something that needed answers while growing up.

Was it because of the privileged background that I came from or was it for the fact that I carried a surname that stood out ?? I am sure the answer to both the above is definitely a YES!!

At home no one discussed it and at my school no one bothered about caste. It was only the Mandal Agitation that bought it out but again it was in the margins only.

It was only after I moved back to Udaipur in 2000 that the caste, sub-caste and the practiced hierarchy was revealed.

I am glad that this factor seldom crossed my mind then and even now. I personally do not want to fit myself into these brackets. As a political worker I keep getting these suggestions to play up my caste equation, for it will ensure that I get a minimum assured support from my ‘community’.

Lucky are those who can play it up for their advantage, I would much rather attach with all the possible identities that the God has blessed me with and not confine myself to one sub-set !!

And till the time I keep doing this, I will always be at a loss to answer a question on my ‘जाती’. Let others imagine my identity, for in my head I will be no different from the one I am standing next to.

BTW the farmer at the end of our conversation offered us some fresh मूली and गन्ने from his farm to take back to the answer of his first question i.e. our home in Udaipur.

2020

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In some few hours we enter a new year : 2020

2020 is the year where the Mayan’s Calendar was ending; supposedly bringing an end to the world.

2020 is the world where the climate change was supposed to kill us all – information courtesy Hollywood.

2020 is the year of The Metal Rat according to the Chinese. It’s going to be a strong, prosperous, and lucky year. Everyone will show determination regarding their goals, aspirations, and even their hobbies.

2020 is a 4 Universal Year in Numerology, because 2+0+2+0 = 4. 4 represents order, responsibility, stability, family, home, manifestation, conservation, peace, physical reality, and practical solutions.

In short we have nothing to worry this year and continue to do whatever we have been doing this year. For someone it means spreading happiness, for some it means continuing being their meanest best and for some it means living a life of an Ostrich i.e. to just bury their heads in the sand to act oblivious to their surroundings.

While there are some who all are all set to spend doles of cash to user in the New Year and there are some who wants to enjoy the simple pleasures of life like reading or watching a movie or catching up on series and thus for the latter here is my list of favourite of the above three categories that they may care to consider:

Book: God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. This is a Booker Prize winning book and perhaps the only book that I have read more than once. I have all the possible versions of this book: Hardback, Paperback and an e-book.

Movie : Schindler’s List. This is a little macabre to user in the New Year but it shows what lengths some of us i.e. humans are willing to go to bring out the evil side and some bring out the goodness even in the face of such evil.

TV Series : Succession. The series centers on a dysfunctional family who are fighting for control amidst uncertainty about the health of the family’s patriarch. This one is available of Hotstar.

Take a call, usher in the year and play your part in 2020 !!

GOD BLESS

HAPPY NEW YEAR !!

RIP – Durga Nursery Road

More than 50 years back my grandparents bought an agricultural land on the College Road – an area that was on the outskirts of the walled city. They christened this farmland as Durga Nursery named after our family’s ruling deity Durga Mata. This farm eventually turned out to be our family’s permanent abode and also a place for my grandmother to test her agricultural acumen by growing varied crops such as sugarcane, wheat, corn, cotton and grapes.

This farmland was the very place where my grandfather was cremated and where a memorial stands in his name and over time even my grandmother was cremated here and here lies her Samadhi Sthal.

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A quaint lane with minimum thoroughfare: on one side was our home besides 2-3 others and on the other University’s residential quarters. As children we were not allowed to venture outside our homes after sunset as there were jackals in the vicinity that would scare us late at nights with their cry. Monsoon was a season where we had company of the reptiles: घर के अन्दर, घर के बाहर. इतनी आदत सी हो गयी थी की जब कोई गेस्ट से सापों का वाबस्ता होता तो brag करते की यह हमारा पालतू है और कुछ नाम भी दे दिया करते थे.

I think it was in the early nineties that this road was no longer being called ‘College Road’ but started being addressed as ‘Durga Nursery Road’. I do not know was it the commercialization of the road that bought about the name change or it was the other way round. It had seized to be a quite anymore.

This road not only faced the ire of rampant commercialization but also the fact that it’s one of the major roads that connects the sectors with the city. We no longer see peacocks dancing on rooftops during the rains, snakes rarely give us company and the temperatures too do not dip as you turn towards this road.

We have buildings with basement but no parking facility in them; high rises with absolute zero compliance with the norms. Coaching Institutes with no parking provision, for their students in their premises.

Last nail in the coffin has been the recent decision by the administration to have a divider running the length of the road. A 60 ft road now gets divided into two, with footpaths and cars being parked on either side of the road and Voila!! We have a road with a pliable width of only 20 ft on each side. This has actually made it a single lane road now.

Looking at the condition of the area and over-commercialization over the past few years, some of my well-wishers have been suggesting that it is no more a livable option and we move out to a quieter neighborhood but have always negated this option क्यूंकि अब जीना यहाँ और मरना यहाँ!!

Or maybe I am saying it too soon!!

 

AYODHYA – FINAL JUDGEMENT

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आदरणीय मर्यादा पुरषोत्तम राम,

आप सर्वज्ञानी, सर्वभूत और सर्वव्यापी हैं !!

जैसे की आपको ज्ञात है भारत के सर्वोत्तम न्यायालय ने आपके अयोध्या में जन्मस्थल को लेकर पक्ष और विपक्ष की सारी दलीलें सुन ली हैं और शायद एक महीने के भीतर अपना फैसला सुनायेंगे.

आप जानते ही हैं की क्या फैसला होने वाला है, जो की अधिकारिक रूप से आने के बाद महीनों तक चर्चा का विषय रहेगा और निश्चित ही मील का पत्थर साबित होगा.

मेरा आपसे बस यह निम्नलिखित निवेदन है की :

  • दो सदी से भी ज्यादा पुराने इस विवाद का अब हमेशा के लिए सुलटारा हो जाना चाहिए.
  • मंदिर – मस्जिद के नाम से अब लोगों का क़त्लेआम बंद होना चाहिए.
  • आपके नाम पर लोगों ने बहुत वोट मांग लिए अब भाईचारे के नाम पर वोट पढने चाहिए.
  • क्या यह मुमकिन हो सकता की इस फैसले से सब पक्ष संतुष्ट हो जायें.
  • इस फैसले के बाद दुसरे और विवादित स्थलों पर राजनैतिक दल अपनी राजनैतिक रोटियां ना सेक सकें.

आप हमारी आस्था में बसते हो, आप हमारे रोम-रोम में बसते हैं. अब यह कठिन फैसला सर्वोत्तम न्यायालय के पांच न्यायाधीश सुनायेंगे की क्या आप त्रेता युग में इसी निश्चित स्थान पर रावण वध के लिए अवतरित हुए थे !!

भविष्य के गर्भ में क्या छिपा है वह हम मनुष्यों को नहीं मालूम और न ही यह की इस फैसले की हम किस तरह प्रतिक्रिया देंगे. आप से प्रार्थना है की हम सब को विवेक दें और देशहित में, आने वाले इस फैसले को शान्ति और बिना किसी हिंसा से स्वीकारने की शक्ति प्रदान करें !!

आपका अनुयायी,

दीपक

GAVRI

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After years had the chance to watch and enjoy ‘GAVRI’ yesterday at the residence of Shri Raghuveer Singh ji Meena – Ex MP from Udaipur.

I remember as a kid an entire trope of Gavri performers from the nearby village of Badi would perform at our residence. If my memory doesn’t fail me Kuka, Chapliya were the names of some of these local Folk Artists. What really amused us kids then was these men dressed to the hilt as women !!thumbnail (9).jpg

Times flew by, did manage to get a glimpse of Gavri performances being played here or there and yesterday was really up, close and personal.

For the uninitiated Gavri, is a 40-day long festival celebrated in July and September of each year in the Mewar region of Rajasthan. It starts from Rakhi and concludes 9 days after Ganesh Chaturthi. It is an ode to Goddess Gauri – the wife of Lord Shiva thus the name GAVRI, her blessings are invoked at each such enactments.

Only men perform so they even play the characters of women. This is performed by the Tribal community of Mewar – an area that compromises of South Rajasthan.

 

During the 40-day Gavari season, all players IMG_20190912_131901-01.jpegpractice strict austerities to maintain reverent contact with the living earth and the immanent spirit. They avoid not only sex, alcohol and meat, but also shoes, beds, bathing, and eating greens (which might harm insect life). They eat only a single meal each day during the season. They also cannot go back to their homes during these 40 days no matter what the situation demands.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gavari 

 

I am sharing some of the pictures of yesterday’s performance.

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The government or for that matter even us, need to share some responsibility to protect and promote these local traditions or it will be matter of time our new generation will only read about them in their textbooks and newspapers.

University Elections

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छात्रसंघ चुनावों के नतीजे २ दिन पहले आ गए. जीत का जश्न और हार का गम अभी जारी है. दोनों ही जाते से ही जायेंगे.

लेकिन एक सवाल जो हर साल होने वाले इन चुनावों में मेरे मन में आता है की इन चुनावों में छात्र हित में क्या काम किया जाता है? एक साल बहुत कम है कुछ बदलाव लाने ले लिए, लेकिन फिर भी जो ज्ञापन, आंदोलन चुनावों से पहले होते हैं और वोह छात्र हित की बातें बाद में नज़र क्यूँ नहीं आती.

हमारा निवास उदयपुर के उस रोड पर स्थित है जहाँ शायद छात्रसंघ चुनावों की सबसे ज्यादा गहमागहमी नज़र आती है. मेरे स्कूल के दिनों में चुनाव के वक़्त तो घर से बहार निकलना मुश्किल हो जाता था यहाँ तक की लोग अपनी दुकानें भी बंद ही रखते थे. नामांकन रैली, वोटिंग डे और विजय जुलस ऐसे दिन तो जो इस एरिया में रहने वालों की दिनचर्या में बदलाव ला देते थे.

मैंने कॉलेज मुंबई से किया जहाँ इस तरह के डायरेक्ट चुनाव पर पाबन्दी थी. कैंपस में शान्ति थी. 7 साल के कॉलेज में (ग्यारवीं से पोस्ट ग्रेजुएशन तक) सिर्फ दो बार ही वोट पड़े वोह भी एक प्रयोग के रूप में और शुक्र है की वोह भी बाद में कंटिन्यू नहीं करे गए.

लेकिन हमारे यहाँ यानि राजस्थान में स्थिति सुधरी लिन्दोह कमेटी की सिफारिशों के बाद, पहले जैसा हुडदंग नज़र नहीं आता था, थोड़े नियमों का पालन होने लगा, थोड़ी सख्ती दिखने लगी. फिर भी एक आदर्श छात्र चुनाव प्रक्रिया आने में अभी और वक़्त लगेगा !!

आशा है आने वाले समय में हमारे छात्र संघ चुनावों में धनबल, बाहुबल और जातिवाद से निकल करे ऐसे नेताओं की फौज तैयार करें जिनको देख कर युवा और खासकर युवतियाँ राजनीती से जुड़ना चाहें देशहित के लिए.

जब तक यह हो क्या यह संभव है की अब हर साल होने वालों चुनावों में पिछले बार वाला अपना लेखा-जोखा प्रस्तुत करे?

The Artist House

“It is also to be noted that standards of morality in a society change with the passage of time. A particular activity, which was treated as immoral few decades ago may not be so now. Societal norms keep changing. Social change is of two types: continuous or evolutionary and discontinuous or revolutionary. The most common form of change is continuous.

However, a practice which may not be immoral by societal standards cannot be thrusted upon the society as immoral by the State with its own notion of morality and thereby exercise ‘social control’.

The words ‘obscene, indecent or profane’ are disjunctive, implying that each has a separate meaning. Prurient appeal is an element of the obscene, but the normal definition of ‘indecent’ merely refers to non-conformance with accepted standards of morality.”

These above paragraphs have been delivered by none other than the Judges of the highest court of the land i.e. The Supreme Court of India.

I quote this judgement in the context of the recent hullabaloo in Udaipur on the opening, functioning and now censuring of The Artist House (TAH).

I have a confession to make here, I have not visited this place even once and there was this one time I did want to go but was refused entry as ‘Stags’ weren’t allowed that night !! Our group of boys (In our head we still are) couldn’t take anyone as our better-half’s had gone for their annual summer pilgrimages ( I hope you do get the joke or else read no further) and we obviously couldn’t take anyone else for fear of its repercussions and reprimands.

However, since then whatever updates I have seen of Social Media about the TAH, I am scared to even venture anywhere near it, for fear of being ‘UNCLED’ by the extremely hip crowd. I mean, to see such a crowd enjoying is something that reminds me of my Mumbai college days of the 90’s. OK!!  Even then I was never the cool kid but of what was still then just a ‘Metro Phenomenon’. And then TAH happened to Udaipur.

Hats off to the guys behind this place for their vision and adventurousness to give such a place to Udaipur. I have family and friends visiting this place with rave reviews.

But the way this place has now been targeted is appalling, if there is a legal problem then so be it and let the owners deal with it legally but I have a problem for this place being branded immoral and a den of all the vices. There is no one set moral system that fits all and even if there is one who decides for me?

The values and morality can’t be cherry picked and please do not impose a warped ideas of what is right and wrong on educated, adult, youths ( I do not know if I fit in the last category) of Udaipur !!

So go ahead and enjoy The Artist House, dole out the bucks and remember they close at 11:00 PM now !!

WAIT & HOPE

“All human wisdom is contained in these words: WAIT & HOPE!!”

I read this beautiful quote a few days back and this set me thinking !!

What do I really hope and wait for?? For starters there are zillion things but if it were to ever boil down to one thing besides the happiness of my immediate family is to see that one person pay for their deeds.

Like a typical scorpion I can forgive but can’t forget, but with this person there is just so much negativity filled inside that even the former can’t happen.  With a character flaw so strong that even Ekta Kapoor’s vamp can be put to shame. So while I wait for Karma to work its magic and I just hope things the payback happens sooner than later while the angst is still there and the magnanimity of others doesn’t take over !!

I can’t help but wonder a what if scenario !!

What if the drama was nipped in the bud?

What if the lies were called out?

What if fleecing the terminally ill didn’t happen?

What if the kleptomania was there for the world to see?

What if people didn’t easily let get themselves thrown out?

What if the legacy wasn’t for them for usurp?

What if the forged signatures were available for the world to see?

What if your own makes you pay for your deeds?

What if ……..

Shakespeare’s Mark Antony’s famous words, ‘The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones,’ aptly captures their continuing deeds !!

In the end I just hope that the good doesn’t get buried inside and wait to see that each and every lie extracts its price!!

Elections 2019

Last evening voting finally ended of perhaps the longest fought General Elections of the biggest democracy of the world i.e. India and with that started the debates and opinions on the numerous Exit Polls conducted by one and sundry.

I do not know what will happen on 23rd May 2019 and I also do not want to believe these polls but what I do know is that these elections have laid bare our deep seeded hatred for each other, our communal outlook.

I am ashamed of the utter rubbish some of my social media friends have vomited in their posts unabashedly and unapologetically. They talk about US and THEM !! I mean which previous government has ever stopped them from practicing their religion other than some fake news they read, share and quote from some obscure social media updates.

What will be the takeaway for our future generations from all this. We all have our own individual allegiance and choices. We may not agree with one another but to fester and feed on fault lines of what happened 70 years back is helping no one.

Why have we come to point where everyday thing are measure on communal lines:

पशु बाँट दिए गए, भाषाएँ त्याग दी गयीं, बात ग़ज़ल/क़वाल्ली से लेकर दादरा/ठुमरी तक होने लगी, एक मासूम हारमोनियम को तानपुरे से लड़वा दिया. सियासत और चली तो शमशान और कब्रिस्तान को भी नहीं छोड़ा गया और बात तो तब सर से गुज़र गयी की जब ठंडाई और रूफ-अफज़ा के गुण गिनाने लगे गए !!

और फिर मित्रों ने कहा की इलेक्शन में यह सब तो होता है अब आगे बड़ते हैं.

नहीं भाईसाहेब नहीं!! जब गोडसे का आप खुलेआम महिमामंडन करते हैं तो यह सियासत नहीं आपकी कुंठित मानसिकता है. इतनी कड़वाहट और ज़हर को ना जाने निकलने में कितने साल लगे. ७० साल के घाव तो  भरने दिए नहीं, नए और दे दिए.

रहिमन धागा प्रेम का, मत तोरो चटकाय, टूटे पे फिर ना जुरे, जुरे गाँठ परी जाय.

रहीम कहते हैं कि प्रेम का नाता नाज़ुक होता है. इसे झटका देकर तोड़ना उचित नहीं होता. यदि यह प्रेम का धागा एक बार टूट जाता है तो फिर इसे मिलाना कठिन होता है और यदि मिल भी जाए तो टूटे हुए धागों के बीच में गाँठ पड़ जाती है.

मालूम है की शायद ही फरक पड़े, पर पढियेगा और सोचियेगा ज़रोर !!

BITCHING

Is Bitching the right word or is it too politically incorrect and for that matter is hearsay or gossip the right word??

Whatever term one may use it is here to stay and for everyone to hear, say and repeat. Just the other day someone remarked that even men are such gossip mongers!! Yeah yeah we are, but in 21st century are any gender roles strictly compartmentalized?? When she can do his work why can’t he do her work??

And what better medium to facilitate the above than the most used feature of our handsets i.e. the screenshots. The images/ chats get stored for eternity to be shared, used as a reference point and just to have a great time at someone’s expense. I know of a men’s whatsapp group that specializes in discussing social media updates of their friends based on these very screenshots.

Just wondering if it is about us, whether it is less offensive if you hear it from a secondary source and not straight from the horse’s mouth. I mean अगर मुंह पर नहीं बोला तो क्या फरक पड़ता है?? Some time back I heard about a relative making a snide comment about me, I did feel bad initially but haven’t we ourselves been guilty of the same.

Ideally there shouldn’t be any of it but we do not live in a perfect world and it is kind of OK if it isn’t malicious and outright slander like this person I know who has her life time built on slandering one and sundry and age hasn’t slowed her a bit !!

Karma is a Bitch and what gets thrown around comes around for you to haunt, ALWAYS!! And till the time it comes back keep taking screenshots and recycling information.

PS: Why does is it have to be the feminine of canine species cant it be the other way?? After all 21st century….