The Beginning

sunrise
The birth of a baby, the first day of school, the first day of college, the first job, the first kiss, the marriage – all beginnings, best cherished in their truest form. They are perfect in their caged moment, and with time, the excitement only ebbs away, leaving an imperfect world with you.

I wondered if I was defying the law of nature as I lifted by bags and left the house. I did not have to tiptoe; Pooja had decided not to come back home after a late night party. Yet again!

She had found another life without me. So must I.

It was still dark, just like my life. The winter sun would not be out for another hour or so, making the cab ride short and quick, leaving enough time for me to sit on the platform and reminisce my failures some more. I had made some extremely wrong beginnings in my life – a career I did not enjoy and a marriage failed to find love. Was it the beginnings that had failed me, or did I fail those beginnings. I could not decide. Either way, my life would never be the same again. Some wrong beginnings compromise the quality of life forever. I concluded.

The first rays of amber-coloured sun interrupted my thoughts. A beautiful dawn had rocked the world into motion. I envied the sun for its resilience; no matter how dark or long the night is, it comes back the next morning, without losing its value or vigour. It provides a meaningful beginning that moves the entire world, day after day. I guess it can for it is an unlimited source of energy. I wished I could have some of that energy to make a fresh new beginning, without the pain of my past failures. What stopped me, I wondered.

I wrote all the painful memories from the past down on a piece of paper. When the train arrived, I boarded it clutching the crumbled paper in my hand.

A new city was waiting for me, with a career option I had always dreamed of. Standing at the door, I waited for the train to pick up speed. Then, I looked at my hand that held two symbols of my miserable life – my past failures written down on paper, and the wedding ring. My past must not compromise the quality of my future; I reminded myself. I took out the diamond ring, put it inside the paper and squeezed the paper into a ball, as small as I could. With all the energy I had, I threw that miserable ball away from my life, burying the painful memories back into the city where they belonged.

I looked at the sun, and thanked it… for showing me the path to a new dawn!

Can we all get along?

With the parliament elections on, a political mayhem is rocking our nation once again. I don’t recall being so involved in politics ever before in my life. I wonder if it is just a side effect of age; or being in Delhi is to blame for it, because this city seems to be stuck in a never ending cycle of elections.

The good thing is we are seeing a much higher participation from educated folks. And, their involvement is not just limited to discussion; they did help improve the voting percentage in recently concluded Delhi elections. I think I can safely attribute this to two important factors – Modi and AAP. Without commenting much, I just hope this phenomenon is here to stay.

Citizens actively involved in making a responsible choice sounds absolutely perfect, but what worries me is the “political extremism” I witness on a daily basis. Supporters of one party wish for complete annihilation of other political parties. Some go on to the extent of bad-mouthing not just the leaders, but also the supporters of other parties. The heated exchange between friends over their differing political affiliations is a common sight on facebook.

I wonder why? Why do we feel so strongly attached to our political disposition that we are ready to sacrifice our friends? Why can’t we just speak your mind politely and cast our vote to whosoever we want, and allow others the liberty to do the same? After all, isn’t democracy about multi-party system?
Is it ego? Someone challenging our strongly held beliefs (religion or politics) makes our heart bleed. After all, how could we be wrong?

Or, is it insecurity or embarrassment of our candidate losing that makes us react in somewhat passive aggressive way?

Or, do we really fear the other options are so evil that our world will become far worse that what it is today?

Or, is it our helplessness of five years that makes us desperate when we get the only chance to give a better direction to our democracy, our vote?

No matter what the reason for our strong attachment to our political dispositions, one thing is sure – voting in India is a gamble after all. A roulette table to be precise – where you must put your belongings on the table and pick a number (or name). Then, the dealer decides your fate. The worst part is the stakes of losing are extremely high, because you may lose even if your number strikes; the candidate you vote for may turn out to be just another rogue chameleon. [So, we may be losing our friends for nothing.]

Am I saying there is no point in voting? Or, NOTA is the best choice?

Not exactly. All I am saying is – though it is important to rely upon our best judgment – let’s not put so much emotional energy into it, because elections are just a means to an end, an extremely important one though, the democracy. But, democracy only begins with elections. The real democracy must play out over the course of next five years.

Let us say I vote for AAP, another friend votes for BJP, and yet another friend for Congress. No matter which candidate wins, we three are still equal citizens of this country, and that MP or MLA must care for us just the same. Now, given the high ratio of politicians who default on their promises, it makes it important that no matter who we vote for, we must stick together. We must stick together, for if our leaders dare turn their back on us, we can drag them off their throne and rip them apart.

I know we are not there yet. But then, we will never be unless we step beyond our religious, political and regional boundaries.

So, while we ask ourselves ‘Who is the best candidate in my area?’ or ‘Who is the best candidate for PM?’ during elections, the important question we must ask ourselves for next five years is ‘Can we all get along?’.

If we can’t, we will continue to lose every five years.