Category: Uncategorized

Dear Celebrity Obituaries,

I’m trying to choose the right outlet to express my loss for a beloved celebrity. On a social networking site.

R.I.P, the most often used, pithy and safe expression … it’s non-committal, on the fence and looking into the park with binoculars. No one sees you or notices you. You, however, notice it all with a token hands up in the air. A part of the tribe that wants to be part of the larger tribe. The Hail Mary #I’mwithit #IknowmyGK bandwagon. An apologetic meow.

Then, there are the quotable quotes. One step further towards committing to a stand. A neutral quote that allows you to wet your toe without getting into a provocative debate.

The forwarded article comes next. This one is a bit dicey. Is it safe enough to put your name to? Will it get the likes and will it position you as smart and up to date? Or will it give away your political ideology, your state of mind, your carefully cultivated personality type or upset friends and family? While you’ve wet your ankle by now, it still keeps you at the water’s edge. You are using someone’s views to position your own. The trolls are still distant.

Then there are the news clips and the documentaries and the audio-visual clips to share. The commentary may simper, be obsequious, surprisingly factual or just downright fake but there’s a choice to be made again. Will you associate with the genteel, intellectual, smart and factual or the frenzied, over the top and volatile editorials? Deep thought.

Then come the Originals. Downright direct, undiluted opinions. Fearless or foolish. Open to bouquets and brickbats. Expressing like or dislike of the person who has passed … may god rest his/her soul. Anything and everything is fair game to this opinionated soul. Measured, contradictory, rabid, dramatic, emotional, ridiculous, loving, angry, soulful, all embracing …. endless genres of expression. Loud roar.

So many choices. So much to weigh. My image is at stake. Definitely, my sanity. To be a fence sitter, observer, water temperature tester, ass licker, skinny dipper or just plain cussed … what will it be? Wary that the beasts on the social net whacking sites could troll. The cops could break down my door. Some jail time. Public apologies. Haters. Worshippers. Nothingness. Safe anonymity. What do I choose?

Worriedly,

A mourner.

Seriously, it’s not about me.

Dear old man on the street,

I look at you from within the comfortable confines of my car and watch how you make your way from auto to car to car to auto to bus to auto to scooter to mobike to car … asking for alms. You carry a 6month old baby in your arms and use her to appeal to people’s conscience. You are probably part of a racket that contributes apparent millions to an industry made of the the old, the weak, the physically handicapped, the lepers, the young and the babies. An industry that thrives within the underbelly of the city.
However brilliantly this industry functions, I can’t help thinking that this is no life for anyone. Why should such a vast multitude of people be deprived of education and of the right to live with dignity?
What would you do if you didn’t have to beg anymore? What would it feel like to not wake up one morning and walk through traffic fumes and the noise pollution and not put out out your arm in appeal for money? What would you much rather do? You’d probably dismiss it as a naive question from an entitled person.
I do wonder often times. Sometimes from guilt. Sometimes from anger and sometimes from plain curiosity. Most times from apathy … as I watch and turn away when you come to my window.
I do wish this world could be a better place for all.
From an observer

Dear misguided boy,

Thank you for taking the time to share your deep and profound thoughts on how women should conduct themselves.

I admit that I’m luckier than your sisters. My parents never made me feel less than my brothers.

I teach in a co-ed college. I see lots of boys like you. Spoilt. Angry. Confused. Filled with hate and resentment. But then, I also see some boys who respect, love and encourage the women in their lives.

Women will no longer be packed into your little boxes and hidden away so you can feel superior. Change is here. Some have embraced it. Some are fighting it tooth and nail.

You go ahead and write condescending letters, ok?

thanking you for your concern. And in sympathy for your sisters.

teacher didi and not ‘Oye ladki’

Dear Intolerance,

You’re quite a slime, you know.

What are you doing in our country? What place is there for you with your ‘My way or the highway’, ‘Divide and rule’ and ‘I know best’ attitude?

You have snuck in casually and brazenly without a by your leave.

The rate at which you go about your daily chores, Mera bharat mahaan will soon be replaced by mera bharat kahaan. Will you rejoice then?

Please don’t try our tolerance too much.

With growing intolerance for your ways,

concerned, peace loving citizens

To ‘paan’ spitters,

Specially those who like chewing and collecting the residue in their mouths for a future projectile like spit directed at walls, staircases or an unsuspecting pedestrian. I am categorically stating that i would not like to visit your home. The thought is revolting. You must be living in a spittoon.

I would urge you to travel outside of india. Please exercise this right you have appropriated of releasing the red colour residue in any and every direction. Use this right outside of India. I’m confident you will discover how lenient your country is compared to the others. And i trust the experience will not be enjoyable at all.

yours disgustedly,

wary pedestrian

Dear Mumbai roads,

It is with deep empathy that i write to you. You carry the weight of the city and yet no one gives you respect. There is no one to tend to your multiple fractures and your ill health. What you really need is the ICU but we all know that several contractors will vie for an opportunity to fix you up and then do a shoddy job because commerce dictates most decisions these days. You keep undergoing surgeries. Repair after repair but to no avail.

You may not believe this but even the vehicles that drive on you pray for your good health, when they aren’t cursing you for ruining their suspension.

Maybe, you should start an online campaign. You can appeal to the government and demand better services. You can appeal to be made at least as well as your peers in other indian cities. Alternatively, you could go on strike. Just collapse under the weight of the crazy traffic and refuse to get up till they fix you up right and proper!

Please do something about the ‘state’ you are in. Even Gujarat fares better than you.

Fervently yours,

A weary commuter

Dear auntyji in the car ahead of me,

You must have heard of the swachch bharat campaign? Does it mean anything to you at all or is it just something you applaud and think ‘others’ should follow?

You threw the following things out of your car window when we were all forced to stop at a traffic signal.

Bits of paper that had been torn up and that fluttered across the road like leaves. One torn piece of paper on my windshield
An empty packet of Lays
Orange peels

I’m sure that had you been at home … you would have got off your fat ass (wild, but an accurate guess methinks) to chuck it all in a dustbin. You would NOT have littered your living room.

What makes it okay for you to throw your personal garbage on perfectly clean streets?

You know the best moment in all of this? The street kid, who picked up pieces of your litter and handed them back to you.

from,

the car stuck directly behind you.