Goodbye, 2016! You’ve Been Good to Me!

I came into 2016 with a lot of hopes. Since I was ending 2015 on a high (my first novel, Of Knights and Lilies came out!), I figured there was so much more to do in the coming year. Things to do and places to be in! And though it seemed like my life was rollicking dangerously on its hind wheels sometimes, as I look back, I realize that I wouldn’t change a single thing about 2016.

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Through rainbows and epiphanies, I’ve learnt quite a bit about how the world works. There are people who want to bring their tyrannical authority to work while chucking humanity and common sense out the window. Some are a saving grace and a ray of bright opportunity that one can never thank enough. And then there are people who’d love to see you sit back and relax. 2016 has been a television soap opera mix of all these characters.

While this mix has been quite an eclectic one, it has actually taught me more about opportunism and how it can be used both ways. Harsh opportunism comes up while using people for more than bargained, while positive opportunism brings happiness and chance to all parties involved. Maybe 2016 has made me a little more worldly wise, but then I hope I don’t lose touch with humanity while I’m at it.

Outside of my world, the big, bad world was undergoing some serious shock treatment. Cowards attacked an IAF base in Pathankot, Brexit happened, Trump became President of the United States, Modi stood tall amidst Opposition mudslinging, Amma passed away, and Modi’s demonetization move. While 2015 had been a year for bringing women’s rights to the forefront, 2016 became a year during which gender equality was the matter in question. And rightly so.

On a public forum that I follow, there was a person who posted an incident that showed how women were not being allowed to go out and work and their freedom was being curbed, even in this time and age. There were cries of outrage over this. “Women should be allowed to go and work,” one said. Another said, “If a man can be allowed do all that, then a woman should be allowed to do that, too!” The response that stumped me was something on these lines: “In earlier ages, there was no proper care for women when they menstruated or carried children. For that very reason, men went out, worked hard, and earned while the women took care of the house. It is because of this that traditions are built around it all.”

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I had stared at the comment, uncomfortably numb at how the opinion and choice of the woman was conveniently left out of the equation. And what of the oppression? What of the fact that all these man-made “rules” were imposed on the women? I could go on for ages about this, but maybe this isn’t when it should be done. Mentality is a little inherited, a little cultivated, and when the conscious does not know when to rein it in, maybe many are a lost cause.

2017 promises to be a wonderful new year. As I look forward to a wonderful personal and professional life, I also hope and pray that the world doesn’t burn down to ashes as 2016 promised. Let’s hope that all the signs that 2016 gave of bringing the party down are just signs. Let’s hope that we are proven wrong. And let’s hope that there is hope in the world, after all!

Not once can one trust the evil schemes of time

Nor can you be victorious in time’s endless fights

Epiphanies so rare and drudgeries unfair

Opening your eyes in manners sublime

Devoid of conspiracies and hateful crimes

All is but of a mastermind called time.

 

Happy New Year 2017, folks!

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Picture Courtesy: freepik.com
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I Will Pray For Paris!

The backspace button on my keyboard saw the most hits today as I sat, trying to put how I felt into words. On one hand, there is the emptiness in the pits of my stomach, petrification swimming through the hollowness. On the other hand, there is pure hatred seething through my veins; hatred against the monsters who deem fit to take lives unflinchingly and term it an act of God. And to top it all, the irony that Life condemns you to: an act of hatred in the City of Love. Not to forget the bombings in Beirut and Baghdad that barely got the media attention that Paris is receiving right now.

How can one not be repulsed by the atrocities that these terrorist groups get away with committing? Why isn’t the world coming together to flush out these cowardly militants? When we can go forward in terms of technology, why should we bear the carnage caused by these gun-wielding, slogan-shouting poltroons? Why can’t the world’s superpowers, knowing to what extent these terrorists can go to, join hands to wipe them off existence? Why are we being subjected to this irrational and inhuman culling time and again? How long before we do something about it instead of just saying that we need to do something about this?

There are a lot of questions that need answers but don’t have answers. All one can do as an individual is pray.

I pray that the families of the victims find the strength to allow their dear ones to move on to their next destinations. I pray that the victims find themselves a peaceful place, wherever they now are. I pray that France soon gets back on its feet from the horrific blow that it has been dealt. I pray that the world does not forget these blows this time. I pray that governments will find it in themselves to forget their stupid rivalries and instead focus on the imminent threat to the world. I pray that these self-styled lawmakers are shut down, once and for all. And above all, I pray that good prevails over every other trouble-causing evil in the world.

Imagine yourself sitting in the comfort of your home and watching the news on TV. Terrified people rushing about, trying to get to safety. Worried family members trying to unsuccessfully trying to contact their loved ones. Hostages posting SOS messages on Twitter. Now imagine yourself in their place. When the mere thought of leaving the world and bereavement brings you to your knees, there’s no understanding the pain which the people are going through.

It is not only the immensity and the gravity of the situation that brings my blood to boil. It is also a million tragic memories that make their way through to the surface, bringing along with them a tide of sympathy and a form of empathy for the people of Paris.

Mumbai, 1993. Indian Parliament, 2001. World Trade Center, 2001. Delhi, 2005. Hyderabad, 2007. Samjhauta Express, 2007. Jaipur, 2008. Mumbai, 2008. Sydney Café Siege, 2014. Peshawar, 2014. Yemen, 2015. Kenya, 2015. There are a lot many other incidents that I have not mentioned, but that does not make them any less serious than this list. Any act that takes lives cannot be an act of God. It simply cannot.

I am sorry that I cannot do anything where I am, except write and express my deepest condolences. I am sorry that the world has come to such thoughtless violence. I am sorry that the superpowers of the world hold no power in bringing out these filthy rats infesting the gold of our civilization. I am sorry that all the good in the world is being overshadowed by the barbaric impulses of a section whose people are self-appointed enforcers of God’s laws. I am sorry for every inhuman incident that ever takes place anywhere. I am sorry if my prayers don’t bring fruit. But yet, I will pray.

Yes, I am an Indian and I will pray for Paris.

And for every other savagery in the world to end.

Be it India, Australia, China, Ghana, Yemen, Argentina or the United States of America. Or any country in the world.

Because in addition to being an Indian, I am also a global citizen.

Because above all, I am human.

I will pray for Paris!

I Will Pray For Paris!