Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Who belongs to the future?What about the present?

Scene: Sector 17 Chandigarh, one of the most happening market places of India
There were lights, there were people, there was noise and then there were candles. People standing in front of the fountains and they were all lovers of the country, patriots you see. I was standing right in front of them, outside a showroom, looking at the blinking lights of the candles and the movement of feet. There was a gathering and people were supporting Anna Hazare’s fight against corruption. There were few young guys, wearing white kurtas and sporting a bandanna with Ashok Chakra printed on it. They were very excited, telling people about the Lok Pal Bill. They were explaining to the gathered masses that what good the Lok Pal Bill is going to do and how is it going to prevent the corruption in this god-damned country.
I was looking at them, feeling happy about witnessing such a mass movement in this country, first time after I was born 25 years ago, and I was feeling proud of those guys, wearing all white and making the crowds believe, hear and understand.
Then I saw three young ones moving in between feet of the people. Their movements were brisk and they were breaking something with their hands. It got me curious and I moved towards them. As I approached them, I saw people looking at me and some of them even smiled at me but my focus was somewhere else and as I sat on the floor with those young ones, I could sense all the activists sensing my weirdness.
I asked them about what were they doing. [I already knew that they were breaking the unburned wax with stones and bricks in their hands and putting it inside their plastic bags so that they can sell it or make candles out of it.]
They all were abusive and they were speaking in much distorted Hindi, mixed with the dirtiest [abuse] gaali’s that one could not speak or even think of.
TG: What are you doing?
Boy1: [he ignored me for a while, looked at my beard and then smiled and then said], breaking wax saab.
TG: What for?
Boy1: We will use it at home, it is getting wasted here, at least we can put it to some use. [यहाँ पड़े पड़े भी खराब ही हो रहा है, हमारे काम आ जाएगा]
TG: Why did they light these candles?
Boy1: They are all crazy but why do we care, we getting work. [दिमाग़ खराब है इनका, पर अपने को क्या, अपना तो घर चल रहा है ]
TG: What will happen if they light these candles?
Boy1: India will be corruption free. And someone in Delhi has lost his head, they say if we light these candles, minister log will save him. And we will have a better life, all of us. [इंडिया सॉफ हो जाएगा, और दिल्ली में किसिका दिमाग़ खराब है, उसको बचा लेवेंगे मिनिस्टर लोग , और सबकी जिंदगी ठीक हो जाएगी, हम सबकी भी]
TG: How?
Boy1: Why do I care saab! They all are free, probably they do not have anything to do, they have come here to score points with girls, why do I care, take the wax and use it, tomorrow restart the whole process for food. [खाली लोग हें साहब, काम होगा नहीं इनके पास, यहाँ लोंड़ीयाबाज़ी करने आ गए हैं, हमारे बाप का क्या जाता है, मोम ले जाओ, मोमबत्ती बनाओ, आटा खरीदो, रोटी बनाओ, खाओ और सो जाओ, कल फिर खाना ढूढने का है ]
TG: OK. How old are you?
Boy1: I am 12, he is 11 and that little sonofabitch is 9 only. But he is all set to sell of his own mother soon. He is too smart for his age.
TG: Where do you live?
Boy1: Ghaziyabad saab। We stay here with our uncles. You a musalmaan saab? [आप मुसलमान हो क्या साब? ]
TG: No. I am not sure about that. Why do you ask? [ I was taken aback and I was about to say that I am a Hindu but then I realized that I am not sure about my religion anymore]
Boy1: You have long beard and that makes you look like a Muslim. [इतनी लम्बी दाढ़ी है आपकी, ऐसी तो सिर्फ मुसलमान लोग रखते हैं, मुसलमान नहीं तो ऐसी दाढ़ी क्यूँ राखी है?]
TG: Its my hobby. [शौक है मेरा]
Boy1: You have weird hobbies, are you crazy? [अजीब शौक पाल रखे हैं आपने, सनकी हो क्या?]
I could not help smiling.
In the meantime, the little nine years old sonofabitch has gone close to the area where candles were still burning। The little one was actually smart and he started pulling the burning candles and started putting them inside his bag.

One of the activists said, : Don’t go there, first take off the dead candles and then come here when they are also gone.

The little one passed one heavyweight expletive and moved back.
They squatted and started waiting for the burning candles to go down.
I got up and started moving back.
In the background one of the activists was explaining another fellow about how this all was about the future of our country about the coming generations. He also said that we have to think about the coming generations, so that they live happily.
I laughed at myself because if I am future and younger generation of this country, who were those three who were busy collecting wax from the ground and knew nothing about Anna Hazare’s fast and March Against Corruption.
I wanted to ask them about education and school and then I realized that asking that would be a sin and I left the place, with a heavy heart.
The future belongs to us, they say. I wonder if they are a part of that 'us', or even I am a part of that 'us'?
No body knows!

P.S: I am optimistic by birth :)