Returning home is anxiety raising its head like a ‘jagged ominous rock exposed by the receding tide’ with every step taken on disembarkation and walking the extended airport walk to the waiting chaos of Indira Gandhi International Airport.
The question ‘Now What’ ricochet around me as neighbours barge into our still to be cleaned dust-laden apartment wanting us to sign a petition against a proposed petrol pump in the green belt of our colony, DLF-1. It is a reasonable demand and we sign the petition, but then the intrusive-icy is a nothing-new novelty.
A week later home is no more a transit place as we settle down to daily routine of morning walks, time out for chores, writing, reading and meeting with friends and relatives. The cricket fever is in full swing with the ongoing World T20 (limited overs) match and we desperately contact our cable service provider to renew our connection. We get the connection with a caveat… have to lump the streaky visuals and disappearing vocals. The company boys troll the house but to no conclusion and finally end up with asking us to get a complete wire changer. One small mercy….. we can continue with our old television set.
The city/country is simmering with reservations, nationalism and sedition condiments. The reservation cauldron will soon run over if attempts are not made to contain it. Our neighbor informs us that during the Jat quota bill agitation, whence basic supplies were disrupted, people subsisted on rationed water, delivered via water tankers. The Jats are residents of Haryana state and they feel they need special seats in education and job markets. The pugnacious lingering reservation policy for different castes and communities is going to the death knell of any progress. The lower castes, the Dalit and others need special favours but at the rate everyone wants to be part of this creamy layer is anyone’s business. As a friend remarked that probably India is the only country where people want to be considered backward.
Maybe the intentions were good when the concept was inaugurated but increasing demands and misuse has eroded the very concept of reservation. I recollect how a classmate in school was complacent about her medical college entrance as she was applying through backward hill tribe. She was studying in convent school, her father was in the Indian army but she preferred the easy route.
When my children were applying for professional colleges in India we decided to send them to USA simply because we did not want to pay capitation fees or make them go through the grind for limited seats. We have crossed the bridge but seeing newer parents quibble over the educational options of their children, I am glad of the past. As someone commented that at this rate ‘soon the upper castes, Brahmins will be agitating for their share of the quota.
Add to this headache the engulfing surround sound of anti national and intolerance debates and cause of frayed tempers and ‘stressful existence’. Reading and listening to news about Jawaharlal University, Hyderabad University, about Indian colleges ‘on boil’, The continuous blame game between the Left, Right and Center political parties and their followers appears to be more of personal agenda than thought of sufferers.
I had studied in a Convent school and am grateful to the nuns in helping mould my thought processes. I willingly followed whatever we were taught or told and now when I think about it we, including our parents, were too much in awe of ourselves studying in English medium schools to question anything. The present generation, our children and grandchildren, decide what is right for them, to accept or reject the Brown Sahib attitude, to imbibe what is best of both cultures. There are loose canons, people, who indulge in intimidation and arson, giving vent to their complexes sometimes aided by governmental ineptness, changes and detours.
Living out of country makes you more In-your country and though frazzled by non-working Internet, phone services and general maintenance, the emotional bondage makes you look at the discrepancies through impassive eyes.
Glimmer or sparkle of hope is through fiction. I was given “KITTY PARTY SANYASINS’ written by a friend’s friend Ananya Banerjee, a tongue-in-cheek account about ’40 plus’ five friends getting together over brunch to talk sense and not gossip, to ‘catch up on their lives’.There are tales within tales with a golden-haired, green-eyed Indophile lending a semblance of maturity to their meetings. The group reminded me of 19 year olds, undergrads of Allahabad University, India, (1970’s) who would spend intense hours over coffee and bowls of chicken chow mein and chilli sauce shredding relationships. It was the impact of the Women’s movement and though we did not have a nom de plume. I suppose it set the tone for our future gender interactions. Thank you Ananya for the memory jog..
Another fiction I am reading is THE BOOK OF GOLD LEAVES by Mirza Waheed. The story, set in Kashmir valley during the political strife of 1990’s, is about two young lovers and their reactions to the engulfing violence. Few pages into it I am beginning to understand the emotional strain/strand of violence threatened relationships.
Check Out *Jat Quota Bill: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jat_reservation_agitation
*indianexpress.com › india › india-news-india › Haryana Jat Quota Stir