Amla and the Little Girl

It was a quiet afternoon, typical of North-Indian and Pakistani summer at peak, when people lived behind closed doors lest their children run out to play and fall prey to the evil howling winds that come travelling all the way from the deserts of southern Balochistan, Cholistan, and Rajasthan.

And it wasn’t more than mere eight years since economic liberalisation was initiated in 1991. So the Indian middle class at large had not grown accustomed to the air-conditioners, and not everyone had evaporative coolers either. Since those are also called swamp coolers, but the malarial-swamp that the North-Bihar already was, I guess people didn’t want more swamps to breed mosquitoes in! So they settled for fans instead. Needles to mention, these afternoons were laid-back. There were Usha-Lexus fans hovering over most heads, beside the halo of mosquitoes that would grace them in evenings spent outdoors. And these fans relentlessly moved the air in the room, sometimes even creaking as if humming a lullaby, putting people to sleep. And having spent most of the morning, rather first half of the day doing household chores, the women really treasured their siestas; so much so that they would even coax their young children into sleeping, keeping an arm around them, making sure they are in her clutches, else she might need to look after them. Restless with energy, the clever kids would close their eyes in no time, and would quietly sneak away whilst the mother they lay fast asleep.

(Excuse the repeated mention of mosquitoes. One hates them but one just cannot ignore them. Especially when it was around the same time that an uncredited piece of poetry called ‘Machhar Chalisa’ – a forty line ode to the mosquitoes, found a place in the vernacular newspapers, no kidding!)

But this little girl, obediently lay on her back staring at the fan as it moved with a stirring sound, wondering if she had those blades affixed her back would she be able soar in the sky, much like the choppers she would see often. And then the poster of some exotic place, on the wall across caught her fancy. Gazing at the waterfall in some forest, she fantasised going down that path every day to fetch water from her little cottage near the woods; typical of the fairy tales she had heard, since she hadn’t yet begun reading more than probably three letter words. Continue reading

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Revolutions Reduced To Hashtags : An Insight Into the Plight of the LGBT Section in the Hands of Heterosexual India

The Internet
Social networking sites undoubtedly are the most just spaces on the Earth as they have indiscriminately provided us all platforms to voice our thoughts, unlike in the real space where society is predominantly hierarchical and continuously restrains new thoughts under its rigid structure. (From what I see in India and would be true of a lot of other places.) They have taken the world by a storm. And consequently they have also given rise to this phenomena, where, almost everyone now feels the compulsive need to voice their opinion at the earliest, about anything that is ‘trending’.

People feel a certain compulsion to let everyone else know they are following the current events, they are knowledgeable and have an opinion that they think needs to be put forward. Moreover, they want to be quick or so as to say ‘first among their friends’ to have posted in those regard. And in order to do so, they do not actually delve deep into the subject but skim through it and often through the take of writers on popular sites like BuzzFeed, Storypick, ScoopWhoop, etc. This often leaves their understanding of the issue half-baked. And a lot of times shadowed by the opinion of writers on these websites. Originality goes for a toss. And before you even know, the hullabaloo dies out and another topic takes them slave, and this goes on. And these people form the enormous bandwagon of pseudo-intellectuals.

And people who genuinely ponder over issues are less likely to be as active on social media. And so when they do turn to Facebook, they see their newsfeed flooded with similar posts (often having surface level content) that happened like a wildfire overnight or sometimes within a matter of hours. It pricks them, and quite a few conclude they don’t want to join the herd in its fad. The thinkers refrain from giving what would be a worthy outlook, and end up keeping their ideas to themselves.

Following the legalization of same-sex marriage in the Sates on June 26th, the world exclaimed in support with rainbow-filtering their photos on Facebook, and so did much active netizens of India. And gay marriage undoubtedly became the most talked about issue, pushing behind other topics of concern, namely women’s security, unjust beauty standards, government surveillance, and net neutrality among others, that created much stir in the past year or two.

It’s an alarming situation. While people distributed leaflets, published newsletters, organized awareness workshops, took to the streets and marched unafraid, voicing their demand or support as allies to groups to bring a revolution in yesteryears that led to constitutional changes; today it has reduced to laconic reposts and hashtags. 

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