Brothers & Sisters

Arguments. Games. Grappling on the floor. Insults. Secrets. Humour.Tease.Laughs. Scheming against mom n dad. Confidences. Conversations. Shared dreams. Fights.Goofing off…

Doesn’t the mention of your brother or sister bring all of this to mind & more?

My brother & I have a special thing. I mean, wouldn’t you, if you had walked him, when he was but a lil baby & would grab your finger with complete trust ? Or the way he would follow you like a shadow wherever you went & not allow you a single moment alone with your friends? Remember the time during a Raksha Bandhan long ago when he gave you 1 Re as a gift , that too borrowed from dad? Or that time when you & he travelled all by yourselves on the train?

When you recorded songs together & couldn’t stop laughing ? When you could bully him into submission when he was little? And then you couldn’t really risk it anymore once he grew up to be bigger than you ? What about the time you broke the news of your intention to marry a non Tam Brahm, the first in the family to know? The times you shared your excitement about a new book or a movie? When you made up nonsensical stories together? When you simply talked nonsense which only the both of you could understand?

All this & more I share with my brother…. Now that he s been here for an all too brief two weeks , am amazed that its actually been almost ten years since we lived in the same house together. Growing up does have its side effects…

But then it does have its advantages too …as you gradually grow into a relationship based on more than just silly arguments…where you can be friends more than siblings, and where he suddenly  overwhelms  you with his grown up ness . I remember we had a pact in childhood – that no matter what happens or how much time passes or however far away we might be – we will never let anything come between us….I hope!

Today he is done with his student days & about to embark on his career , and I cannot but feel immensely proud of him.  All the best da…. (and remember to keep the dollars flowing in… especially since I have eulogised you in public 🙂 )

I really must thank my parents for having the courage to have a second child even after having me  🙂 Otherwise, I never would have known & shared all the quirky & wonderful memories  I share with him.

Siblings are the best, aren’t they?

Baba Ramdev ya Gabbar Singh?

Baba Ramdev  is holding the country to ransom.

And our weak government , already scarred by the furious popularity  enjoyed by the Anna Hazare fasting campaign across the country, sends top ministers to go haggle with him and to appease his ,well, hunger…?  Sort of like the tales of our mythology where the Gods sent the heavenly apsaras to distract  the penance of the Maharishis … Though by no twist of imagination can Pranab Mukherjee be seen as Urvashi ..!

But seriously, we are a democracy after all .Democracy is …. a Rule of the people?  So a Baba Ramdev can threaten a fast & bring the government to its knees. Anna Hazare can fast & arm twist the government to agree to pass something as dubious as the Lokpal Bill. MNS activists can cause  riots against non Marathis & cause damage to life and property , & pass unscathed. A Shiv Sena student can allege that a certain book contains opinions which are broadly insulting of Bal Thackeray & The Sena, & an institution as old & reputed as Mumbai University promptly bans the book without stopping to see if the claims are verified.

Yes, we are a democracy.

True , it is incorrect to club in the same camp the hooligans in the Sena (both of them) with people like Anna Hazare & Baba Ramdev   – but aren’t they essentially doing the same thing? While one is using its political clout & sheer hooliganism to get away with anything, the other uses the emotional clout it enjoys amongst the vast majority to get the government to agree to its demands. Who is  to decide what is good & what not? Or which method is more acceptable? We are debating the appropriateness of bringing the PMO’s Office & The Judiciary under the Lokpal, but what of these elements who hold the entire  system to ransom with abandon? What of these blackmailers?

So yes, we are a democracy. But do we deserve to be one?

I believe there is a basic  unsaid  premise of a democracy, which is a government of (mature) people, by (mature) people, for (mature) people. You can’t expect the freedom & therefore the responsibility that comes with it, to be appreciated & upheld by people who are, basically, immature. Therefore we have people like our politicians who can’t see an inch beyond their own immediate power & monetary gain, a media which can’t seem to go beyond increasing their TRPs & their circulation figures by simply pandering to whichever news is more juice worthy… and we, the public at large , who just can’t seem to cast away our apathy, mired as we are in our own selfish little worries –rise in prices, kid’s education, new job, child’s wedding  et cetera et cetera.

Baba Ramdev & Anna Hazare are loved & respected by millions of Indians and have the enviable position of being close to ordinary citizens while being in a position of influence. They would do well to engage with the government & the people  in a mature manner to bring about sweeping change.