Thursday, November 27, 2008

India, My India

It was in those days when parents could not hide the newspapers from us. It was in those days when we had hardly any distractions. It was then that YOU decided for me what course my teenage will take. You sent letters of open threat to my house, my parents, and my friends’ parents. We grew up in times of utter anarchy. We grew up looking at our 15-16 year old classmates dying horrible deaths as ‘those boys’ running for their dear life in the open fields of Punjab. As children, we were awed by the museums featuring the pictures of ‘boys’ yet unbearded and already garlanded in ‘encounters’. You decided when my friend’s father, who shaved his beard and lived without a turban, would die. You decided how much scare could I take before my father came home. You decided that I would cover my head when I go to school, would not visit a beauty parlour and will not get my hair cut. You decided who I would meet, how I would live-because it suited your plan of action, it suited your religious fundamentalism. You decided that my parents tell me about the ways to save myself if you or your mates happened to come hold me and my home at ransom. You decided that I live with a burning tyre around my neck for the rest of my life. You decided that I grow up hating India.

But,
I won’t allow you to corrupt my child’s mind.

“Mama, Is India unsafe?” “Mama, Should we be living here?”
“Why not child?” “India is our home. India is safe. Where do we live if not here?”

You WILL not decide for my child if her country is safe for her…
You will not gloat thinking she is having nightmares after watching the bare bloody footprints and shoes scattered in civilized wilderness.
She will watch Tom and Jerry for as long as she wants.
At least till she has children of her own.

34 comments:

grewal kiran said...

di,I dont have words what to say,your words touched my heart.I am too scared...

zirelda said...

Hugs for you. I wish there were more....

Something more than fear, something better than what I see on the news...

chandni said...

Amen

Mithe said...

Nothing to say but lots to think...
Very very touching. You are right-terrorism is one facet of our lives that we have to counter head on. It's difficult for the young minds still uncorrupted to get a glimpse of something so evil that it may leave a lasting scar on their soft mindset.But, you don't need to worry for ypour children ma'am. They don't know what a resilient person they have in you!!

Usha Pisharody said...

She will..

And that is the succor that we can give our children.. the fortitude to hold on fast and dear to their motherland.

No matter what!!

Sujata said...

Amen....

sukumbho said...

You have the guts to face the challenge head on. Candid courage. Responsible restraint. A resonant response. Your message is well taken. Let it pass thru generations.

Jagjit said...

Hmmmmm. Not seen those times, but you described that so well, I feel having been there.

And yeah, the terrorists would no longer decide what lies ahead of us.

But recent blasts and other terrorist attacks in Bombay do make us all think - is India safe? If you ask me now, I don't feel safe. If only I was an hour early from office, I could as well have been sitting in the taxi that was reduced to an unrecognizable mass.

The reason I am alive is just that there is something called probability.

There's one thing though - in Bombay you start valuing 'life' a little less. Maybe that's just what I feel. Excellent Post!

Ritu said...

Oh dear, you reminded me of those times .... when my mother locked me up at home and posted a guard outside if she had to go out, if my brothers did not go to school, I stayed at home

I grew up in Nagaland and Manipur for four years .... Oh dear

Mampi said...

KiranG-Scare should lead us to empathy.

Z-Your hugs mean so much. We are going through difficult times. Your words add courage to the soul.

Chandni - Soum-ameen.

Mithe-Wish we could give yours and Rasan's generation a little more peace than what we inherited.

Usha-I was waiting for a reaction from her and it came like a bombshell. But she is in good spirits now.

Sujata- Soum-ameen. Thanks.

Jagjit-Can understand the fire you have burning around you. May you, and all the children of all the mothers stay safe.

Ritu-Life was tough, but this is tougher to face-a motivelss, faceless violence...

Rajindarjit said...

Thought for today posted here by you is an alarming one for all of us.
As you have touched, the happenings of previous years too, we gone through, we can well imagine the plight of Bombay- Niwasis, who are facing the man-made calamity.

But its sad and touching to feel it.
Who did it ,are not human beings they are acting like beasts.

Rabb di chakki chaldi hauli a but peehandi bareek a.

God has his own ways to explore the bad element where man power becomes helpless.

May God give peace to the departed souls, who faced it in a heroic way
while on duty or otherwise.

You expressed the happenings in a vey touching and unique way.
Very weldone !

Write-ups help a lot to the next generations.

God Bless you with more zeal to express the realities of life. Ameen.

Dhindsa

my space said...

mampi..u touched a chord ..mumbai is in a bad shape..hope we can all fight this terrorism together..

Iya said...

Hugs!!! and i am speechless.. its been such a heavy day..and i dont know what to say after reading ur post..some more hugs..

Indian Home Maker said...

mampi this really made me cry. I had been watching TV numbly, just glad the kid were home with me ...

I loved your strength in it. Needed something so strong today.
Take care, Hugs, IHM

churningthewordmill said...

very nice post manpreet..
others shudnt be allowed to dictate what we do or not do...but sometimes we are in situations where we are the helpless victim.. look at bombay today- most ppl have sat at home for fear of attacks... we shudnt be scared of the terrorists..but we are ...cause afterall we are only human.
mandira

philip9876 said...

That's the way my dear friend. And trust me, iam gonna come back to India. Have kids in India. Raise my kids in India. Make them enjoy life just as i did (in fact more than how i enjoyed).

Iam not going to run away from this country and take refuge saying that India is no longer safe. If this is a fight for our survival, our innocence, so be it. Am willing to pay the price for it.

But no matter what, my kids will grow up in India itself. Once they grow up, its for them to decide their future.

Monika said...

I have tears rolling down my eyes... remember mom and dad always worried abt my tayaji's family who were staying back in punjab... some horrible times they were...

and have learnt something...sadly no and the times are repeating with places changed... its very disturbing

amen to ur wish.... i was so want it to come true

PS: i have linked this post of urs

Pinku said...

Amen.

and lets not just leave it to God to take care of our prayers. Lets get out and ensure we make this country the safest for its citizens. let no one want to flee for fear of terrorists or lack of oppurtunities.

Mama - Mia said...

amen woman!

i had tears in my eyes reading this. we need all the hope and pride we can instill in our kids!

hugs

abha

Mampi said...

Mama-I dont know when He will punish them? Better we do that dirty job ourselves.

MySpace-Yeah, now more than seeing and showing sense, it is time to act.

Iya-Yes, speechless... all of us are, except the blabbering TV and politicians.

IHM-Why doesnt the TV understand the trauma our kids suffer?

Mandira-We are human so we sit at home. They are inhuman so they hold an entire city to ransom. Where do our kids go?

Philip-That is the spirit. We hope there will be better times when your children will be born; and still better times as they grow up.

Monika-Any sane person would be driven to tears in this scenario. Wish your son grows up to find some better times.

Pinku-Yes, you and I and all like us, we need to make noise about how we want this, and how we DO NOT want this to be handled.

Abha-That is for us parents and more specifically mothers to do. Thanks dear.

RiverSoul said...

Your words have touched my heart
And i'm speechless.
Thankyou, for this post.

How do we know said...

God, I love you Woman!! And i love that grit. Way to go!

Manasa said...

Loved the post. We should face the situation and be brave; fear kills us more than death.

Trailblazer said...

Wow. Fabulous. God bless you.

Afaque said...

It has been very depressing... and your post made it even depressing but thanx god in the end u gave some hope of light by showing your resilience to fight back...

Balvinder Singh said...

Great post. I love the spirit. Yes we have the right to live the way we like. This is our country. A handful of misguided goons don't have the right to decide our lifestyles. But we have to make our country safe so that our children could live fearlessly.

DeeplyDip said...

absolutely. It is our life, our children and our country. We will not be feared by these attacks. And to make this a reality, we have to choose the right people to be our leaders. The present ones are just not right for the job.

D said...

:)
Just that.

Mampi said...

RiverSoul-I wish our posts could have some impact, somewhere, if only to check this madness.

HowDoWeKnow-You know what material you and I are made of ! And I guess, motherhood does the rest of the steeling to us.

Manasa-You are so right. If only the fear could go.

Trailblazer-God bless all! Thanks.

Afaque-Living up close with terrorism can surely bring up people without hope. But I learnt to value life even more. Even animals are fiercely protective of their babies; hum toe insaan hain.

Balvinder-Exactly, and in addition, We salute you, our police force, our paramilitary forces-and all those who protect us.

DeeplyDip-I so love Naseer from "A Wednesday." Every one of us should be one in the present day scenario.

D-Thanks, it means so much.

DeeplyDip said...

do visit my blog. an award is awaiting you :)

PARRY said...

Its not just religious fundamentalism. The situation we find ourselves in is much more complex and varied. Its got a lot to do with so many different agencies and institutions and ofcourse indviduals like you and me.
We can only hope for the best for our future generation.

Sidhusaaheb said...

Let me tell you about some of the people who have tried to ensure that even if I do not hate India, I am always reminded that I am a part of a religious minority whom a large proportion of the majority community would rather not have in this country and harbour a deep sense of hatred for.

I am 33 years old and none of those years since I started being able to sense all that was going on around me has gone by without many such incidents having occurred.

I am more prone to this because I am a practising Sikh i.e. I have unshorn hair and beard and wear a turban, than those who were born to Sikh parents but have given up on Guru Gobind Singh and some of his teachings.

To tell you about the latest incident, I was lighting candles and affixing those on the boundary-wall of the house on the occasion of Guru Nanak's birthday. Then I heard some one call out, "Oye Sardar!..." and followed that with some abusive words in Hindi. I looked up to see that it was one of two men on a motorcycle riding by on the road in front of the house, who had called out to me. I shouted back asking them to come over, so that we could...er...discuss things in detail. They sped off, though.

I have faced such incidents in different parts of India, but more so in the states where Hindi is the main language spoken.

During 1984, I had the most intense of such experiences. I not only got to hear some of the worst kind of remarks, but also saw almost every one whom I thought was a friend turn against me and my family. I heard neighbours say that they had to find ways and means of preventing the fire from spreading to their houses, when (not if) my house was set on fire. I saw my classmates at school treat me as an outcaste and heard them tell me that the Sikhs who were killed in the riots actually deserved to die.

The so-called jokes that they expect me to listen to with a straight face, even though those actually are slurs aimed at my Sikh identity are another long story. I have tried, but never really got used to those.

So, I never really had to go so far as to be indoctrinated by any terrorist to find reasons to hate India. All I had to do was to be born as a Sikh and to continue to live as one.

For the record, I do not hate India. However, at various points of time in my life, I definitely have felt as if I have no country in this world to call my own. Despite all of that, I do manage to feel and be fairly patriotic most of the time.

anamika said...

Touching post!

Mampi said...

DeeplyDip-Your award means so much to me. Thank you.

Parry-that is the one thing I dont want to let go of, the hope.

SS-It is a misconception that YOU are a target more than any of us, the so-called-non-practising-sikhs. A person born into a Sikh family is as much a sufferer as you are, suffering is in the mind, not on the body. A practising Sikh might not feel it so sensitively as you do, and a non-practising one might be more sensitive to this torture much more than a gaatrey wala sikh. I am done with my hatred. The moment I get to answer my children's questions, I realise that I have no right to feed them the venom of my own sufferings. Let them love or hate the country as they want to. After all, they are born in this country-even if by accident of circumstance.
I value your opinion and do not wish to undermine your feeling towards this country. You have your own reasons.

Anamika-Thanks my dear.