Saturday, January 29, 2011

Us and Them

Us and Them

TO BEAT THE COLD, I move to the small balcony of my third floor flat and occupy the folding chair, fighting for space with the LG washing machine the fordable press table the two crates of empty soft- drink glass bottles not forgetting Ranjit’s Golf set. However, to me what matters is the sensual pleasure of the slowly seeping in warmth, radiating from the low in sky sun and the warm, mild breeze caressing my exposed face and the fingers of the hand as I write.

My avuncular eyes scan the large span of green grass down below and feast on the spectacle of the tiny tots playing, tumbling, falling, giggling and indulging in every other antics they are capable of, under the watchful eyes of the young mothers, otherwise, engaged in gossip with each other, when not engaged with the cell.

Slowly, as then evening advances the mothers and the toddlers move in, most probably to prepare for the arrival of the husbands from work: I can already hear the occasional beep from the stream of returning cars.

The now vacant ground, down under, is soon invaded by a gaggle of a few preteens. Irritatingly, the pleasant to the ear, giggling of the toddlers gets replaced by the ear piercing shouts, cries and aimless chatter of the intruders; to them a part of their game or what ever they are indulging in and forces me to think of moving in, in any case with the sun sinking behind the building blocks in the distance, the temperature has also dropped a few degrees.

I add a few extra woolens, to those already covering me, to brace the cold outside and decide to take a walk, picking up some well needed body warmth.

I have recently moved in the AWHO Township at Greater Noida, replete with all the modern facilities, Army Club, swimming pool, market, shopping centre, community hall, and what have you , some already up others coming.

As I cut across the ground towards the under construction cluster of phase III of the project, I notice, for the first time, a sprawling shanty township, bang in the middle ,built and inhibited by the labour-force employed, the, same who had built the palaces for us and for themselves the hovels to live in , shanties constructed from corrugated iron sheets; ovens in summer and ice boxes in winters, lying cheek and jowl with each other: no privacy, no sanitation, no personal safety. How they live and survive and what goes-on in there I shudders to think

To my utter horror, I notice a group of youngsters, six to eight years of age, playing for money, with small stones, with amazing hand and eye coordination, hitting or missing the indicated one from a cluster of three: budding professional gamblers, exchanging the winnings and losings nonchalantly.

As I can for see,their future may not be secure but it is certain, the character in formation for the police and law to deal with a few years hence

Lucky is the girl child, working as domestic help, parents fully aware of the legal consequences, who does bring some money to keep the home fires burning, unlike the vagabonds with nothing to occupy there time, already stealing, from home or outside to indulge their passion.

What about there Right to Education, a safe childhood, security, basic sanitation, clean drinking water, and enough food to fill the belly?

Who is to blame for this sad state of affairs, the builder or some one else?

On the flip side, we,those residing in our spic and span flats, with our ostrich like closed eyes, totally blind to the fact that the help entering our portals, to wash, clean and cook is accompanied with germs, microbes, viruses to which she may have become immune, but not we nor our children, for sure.

I muse and brood helplessly, as I trudge slowly back to my cold, lonely now so uninviting flat. arriving to nothing.

Friday, January 28, 2011


When the Hospitals give up the doctors takeover, when the doctors give-up the Gods takeover, when the Gods too give-up the Pandit takeover, when the Pandit give-up, the Dom (the keeper of the cremation ground) take-over, when the Dom gives up the Panda (at Hardwar) takes over when the Panda give-up the Pandit once again take-over.

It all, the handing- taking over, happening in a short span of four days, one activity merging in the other seamlessly; visitors, relatives, friends: some crying others embracing, all touching, consoling, reassuring, advising ; life moves in a whirl.

And when every one gives up the memories takeover to fill the vacuum. That is the truth of life after death

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Monday, January 10, 2011

The Ladder

As I sit on the corner of the first floor of the Octagonal Atrium of the Polyclinic, the focus of the eye keeps shifting from the number on the display on the dental surgery, my number is 13, it currently shows 6, I recon I will have to wait for another hour or so, to the multitude of visitors down below the pattern change at every shift of the eye.

I look down at the latest issue of TIME, Asian Heroes of the 50 years, the lead article; it is more to keep the boredom of aimless waiting and no of visits to the Dental surgery, I have been snared in a process called ‘Root canal’ where is the root and where is the canal, what it means I don’t know , The Dental surgeon, a man of few words also has not bothered to throw any light all I know that every time I lie-down on the Dental chair, an annoying exercise starts, to say the least, a number of instruments of torture are pocked in the cavity of my tooth one after another, and then I am told to come again after a few days, a process repeated again and again for the last so many days

Coming back once again to the ever changing scene down below, the actors like the pawns of chess moving from one square to another; reception to pickup the token, with the serial no in the queue, to the plastic chair, all the time looking at the number on display, on being called for registration, to the Doctor and then if referred to the specialist and back to the window for further referral to a hospital, each stage referring one, to some one else.

I wonder why so many; are they really sick, some now familiar faces, remembered from earlier visits for the root canal.

They all come to get the aging body machine repaired-some, mostly, with minor scratches and dents others for major overhaul and refurbishing of major assemblies.

The Noida Polyclinic is also a club, a place to come to in the forenoon, the time well-spent meeting old friends and making new ones, also a chance to describe in detail, to the captive audience, sitting next to one, awaiting their turn, with one eye on the display and half a ear to the speaker, listening with disinterest to the litany of woes, along list of ailments also the trouble some in-laws the senile parents or the uncaring children.

A chance to criticze the inefficient system, the government of the day, the political parties, the new generation, corruption, even being a willing or unwilling part of it and of course the past glorious deed in the face of the enemy or the superiors.

The dialogue mostly cut in mid sentence with the no of the speaker or the listener suddenly flashing on the board

I also see with some fascination, the steel contraption, Angled at exactly 45* steeply rising from the floor
of the atrium, to the first floor of the Polyclinic that acts as a prism does to light separating the multitude of the patients visiting in various categories by age, by weight, by size, seriousness of the ailment, by the style of its use, albeit a serious threat to limb and life, an accident waiting to happen, a cardiac arrest, a fatal fall, a slip disc or a broken neck all very much a possibility.

The young, brimming with energy of youth, rushing up and down, totally ignorant of and with the disdain of danger, the recently retired Generals, rushing down : the General self impressed, with his latent energy and deceptive youthful looks, young in mind but aging in the body, ignorant of what damage he could self-inflict in his exuberance, the severely oboes matron puffing her way up and up, one tortured step at a time, breathless and about to collapse in the process, tearing further the already damaged heart muscles.

The contraption was erected, in the early days, a short cut, for the medical staff and not for the patients. It is surprising and beyond comprehension that no one has thought of barring it at least for the patients. Possibly the administration is too busy doing what administrators do to administer.

Observed and written some time back. Things may have change, I have been lucky in not needing to visit the clinic since long God has been Kind.