Monday, December 24, 2012

Beyond the rapes

The past few days have been particularly traumatic for the psyche of Indians, and particularly females. Tempted as I am to make this blog a medium of venting my anger, which by the way stops at nothing less than wanting the accused to be released among the crowds at India Gate and letting the 'things take their course', I intend to write on some of the other, more subtle but more dangerous facets of this chronology. 

The dastardly acts of the men on a moving bus need no more specific mentions. But let us face the facts. A rape is a rape, irrespective of where, how, when or by whom it happens. So this case, outrageous as it is, was neither the first one nor the last one. It was also not the most condemn-able one. There are rapes happening all over the country. As I type and as you read, for all we know, there might be one happening within walking distance of where we are. And this really scares the shit out of me. 

However, if we manage to look beyond the maddening haze created by the protests and the aftereffects, there are much more frightening things going on, pleading for an answer. Sharing some of those

  • Attitudes of the Leadership - In hours of distress, public looks up to leaders. People want to know what the establishment thinks about things. What we have been seeing is a leadership lying low, burying their heads in the sand like a crazy ostrich and just waiting for this phase to pass, so that once again rapes can be delegated to the side column stories that appear on page 4 of the regional newspapers. 
  • Silence of the political brass - When I see Obamas of the World striking a chord with the common public, I long for such a figure in my own country. Alas, all we get is a rehearsed recorded message which I feel was better off not being there. It is amusing that whenever the PM talks, news reads 'PM breaks his silence'. The opposition is equally silent. Utterly shameful. 
  • Irresponsible Journalism - The less said the better. The drunken lumpens was a real abyss. The publicity stunt of Times of India, even giving a 'sensational' name to the girl, is unwanted and unwarranted.  
  • Labels and Responses - Comparing protesters with Maoists, asking why they need to be responded to. Action against VK Singh. Justification of Lathi Charge and tear gas shells. Shutting down of Metro Stations to force people away from protests. How are all these things justified in a civilized society?
  • Questions on the basics - Trying to fix the blame on provocative girls rather than the animals who rape them has become a fashion in the name of pragmatism. Focus should be on instilling fear in minds of rapists. Most of the rapists will never even be reprimanded. This must change. And ultimately, the answer is nothing but education. Not degrees, mind you. Education. 

End of an Era

There are two types of ODI matches. Ones with Sachin in it, and Ones with Sachin not in it. Alas! There would now be none of the first type. 

There will never be the conviction of things being fine because one short, unassuming genius is still out there on the pitch. There will never be the madness, the euphoria and the craze that accompanied each shot that raced to the boundary, each dive that saved a run, each ball that trumped the batsmen. And of course, there will never be the trademark grin that came to be feared by bowlers all over the world. 

Sometimes it is hard to imagine how one sportsman could inspire such fanfare, close to worship. However, anybody who fell in love with Indian Cricket in 90s will agree that it all started because of one person. He was the one who symbolized not just an escape from defeat, but a surge for victory. With him at crease, Indians believed that all bowling attacks are manageable, all totals are achievable and all series are winnable. There was aggression in his unassuming style. There was steely resolve in his subtle frame. There was an unending desire for dominance in his mild manners. He was the symbol of a resurgent India, looking desperately for symbols of pride in the midst of economic, political and social turmoil. He was the only good news in the gloomy newspapers. He was the stuff dreams were made of. 

What can I say today that has not already been said, as a fitting tribute to the man who gave me millions of little joys, over and over again? Just going through the earlier days when I blogged about him...

I wrote about him when the Wankhede crowd booed him, later holding 'Sorry' placards, when he completed 20 years, when he completed 100 centuries, etc... just wish to recount the same...

To sum up, there was a 'troll' going around on Facebook... Mayans were right... the world did end in December 2012!!

We will miss you in India colours, Sachin! Hope the team finds someone worthy of the No 10 Jersey soon!