Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Raise A Banner

 'It is raining regularly since last week. And though, it has given respite from the sweltering heat, it has made walking on the roads almost impossible. That naala is overflowing again and all the debris mixed with rain water is on the road. We can not walk without getting our pants dirty. The construction material (bricks, sand etc) which was dumped by the authorities to be used to restore the naala is just lying on the road for so many days with no sign of work starting any time soon. The contract was given to the local contractor (who is also a gunda) and he is not bothered about completing the work. And the dirty water of the naala has also become a breeding ground for the insects. The road inside of our mohalla was supposed to be upgraded with concrete. Instead, red soil was used all over and now the heavy rains have turned it into a red-half-solid-slow-moving river. This contract was also with the same gunda. No body is doing anything and we are all taking a different and longer way to go to our offices. Its Ok, beta, you do not worry about here. We are managing. You take care of your own health.’

The weather is hot today. It is impossible to sit in the room in peace. The sun is out. There are no clouds. There is no wind.

'You do not worry about here.' Really? I am sitting almost 9000 kms away in the comforts of a apartment room in Zurich and I hear this from Papa, who still has trouble walking properly, using a longer road to go to office because some bastards are ignoring the work that they were supposed to do. For  a few minutes, I was(and I am) literally boiling inside. I do not care, if everyone else is ok with the situation and too used to let things be as they are, but I know this,’ If my dad has a problem, I have a problem'. What is even the point of me making good money and leaving somewhere away, if I can not make my dad happy and content and insure him something as basic as walking on the road? It’s useless, pointless. It’s a guilt-ridden day. Everyday. My own every little complain and whine about my life and circumstances is so otiose and superfluous. I am ashamed of myself. I feel like waste. Maybe, I really am.

That naala has been like this for as far as I can remember. Even a little bit of rain, the dirty water mixed with all the garbage comes on the road and you can not pass without closing your nose. The pot holes in the road which become invisible due to flowing water make it impossible to walk. If you dare, you are sure to walk into one of those holes and you will take out your leg with the pants all dirty cursing the unknown. I have seen so many bikes, auto rickshaws etc stuck in the holes. Is it that difficult to restore a road and a naala that it has not been done in 25 years. And the public is accepting as if it’s the most usual thing to live with. But what can one do, if the contractor is a local gunda? Is there any viable option for the public to bring authorities to their senses, apart from staging a mass hunger strike(if at all) and risk being beaten by police. 'Aam aadmi se yehi umeed ki jaati hai, Aamaadmi ki tarah jiyo, aam aadmi ki tarah bardasht karo aur  aad aadmi ki tarah mar jao!' is all that’s left for us. Isn’t it?

The sun is about to hide behind the mountains. And from no where, I see some clouds hovering over the horizon. The black, heavy ones. And a light cool breeze is flowing inside the room.

Bringing a revolution is difficult. No one has time to listen to your speech. You can not convince your friends, family, let alone the entire public, just by speaking. Everyone waits for you to lead and show the way even if they are convinced of the cause. They will follow the leader. It is a huge responsibility. Discarding the social life and taking up violence to bring a change, is a path, which I am entirely ignoring for now, as a bloodbath is never a solution for any thing. So, you do not want to be the leader and you can not take up arms and you are too hungry at most times to do a hunger strike. What options are we left with? Personally, I think being anonymous has great advantages. Everyone fears the unknown. If there is no face, there is no stereotype, there are no faults, no weaknesses. No body knows what an unknown face is capable of. After hearing the above problem, I got thinking, if anything can be done by not being known and not making speech and not trying to convince your community. A simple deed in the right direction speaks volumes rather the words. Public humiliation is a powerful tool. No one wants to be in the centre of a storm. So, a Naala is to be restored. A road to be built. How about hanging a banner right in the centre of the road, on the site of overflowing naala, using as many abusive words as possible blaming the  authorities involved, asking questions, why work is not being started. Listing the problems on that banner in a clear way. Use all the cuss words,(Come on, Nice Language will not cut ice here) but do not name a person specifically, but the organization.  It will be signed ‘Everyone’. But off course, it will be a work of one (or at best few like minded) individuals. People will frown at first, laugh at first, may be some one from the authority will tear it down the first day. We do not stop. We do it the next day using more aggressive language. People from the community will understand, may be give support. Plant an idea to hang it from their homes. We continue. Imagine hundred houses in one locality hanging the same banner, day after day, night after night. How many banners will the authorities take down. Imagine every house in the city hanging a banner of the common grievances which the people are facing.  I have a gut feeling, it will work. The method may not be right way, but its definitely righteous considering the shitty form of governance which we are being subjected to currently. It is just an idea, and I would love to get comments/inputs from others  who stumble upon here  to refine this more (or any better ideas). So, if you see a banner hanging from your house in the near future , you will know, who put it there. But this is thing in the future. In the present..

The weather has changed drastically. Wind is blowing. I also see few drops of rain.

I have no complains of my own. I am content, may be even happy with myself. But, the situations like above have a dampening effect on me. I feel like betraying someone. Maybe I am betraying only myself. I am too weak to do anything as of now. I have options. I have ideas. So many. But I am afraid. Off what, whom, why..I do not know. May be only of unknown. May be I am only words. I have self-doubt. Too Many. I doubt my ability to resolve the doubt. At present, I am not the change which I want to see in the world.  But, I do want to raise a banner, where no banner flew before.

It has started raining heavily and even small blocks of ice is pouring down. It is creating a noise on the door. I resist. But then I kneel. I open the door. I let the few pieces of ice hit me. I let the rains fall on me.  Every fallen piece of ice is like an idea. I have to pick them up and make good use of  it, before it melts and is same as its surrounding, water. 

P.S - There are two videos linked in the above blog.
First one on the line - aam aadmi...
Second one on the line - raise a banner...


  1. Nice idea. A Banner can always plant an idea and it can aware the society about the problem which is known to everyone. There will be effect but do you really think that impact/effect will last longer. I am not sure and I want to someone to implement this idea. But common man elude everything to procure its 3 basic requirements. They keep working until someone slap their face and tell them to follow one path. So they need a leader it whether he is Hazare or ramdev or Ghandhi or any politician.

  2. @chidi - It will be interesting to implement this idea first on a small scale i.e a small city dealing with small localised problems. You in? :)

  3. @Kunnu I am common man buddy who is busy enough to fulfill 3 basic requirements of life. ;) ;)

  4. @Chidi - Every one is a common man, till he starts doing things uncommon, extraordinary. Do you have it in you?

  5. @Kunnu: Not at all... Leading and extra ordinary qualities are not my area of expertise...

  6. Kunnu, its as if you have echoed my thoughts, albeit in a much better way...perhaps the fact that we are both Leos....we think alike.

    If you have time read my previous post.

  7. @Alka - Thank you for coming here.
    I had already read your blog and left a comment just now. And I am not sure..if I am a Leo..I always thought, I was a Saggi!! :P

    Not that there is anything wrong with it or it matters in any way.

  8. I really love ur idea!!!! If we hang the banners in our houses, would the authorities take it down? I mean, it is our house after all n when we can hang chaddi-baniyans, we can definitely hang a bloody banner!!!

  9. Hiee:-D just a suggestion kunal:wneva u write a it short..i learnt it a while passing onto u :)ok now abt ur post..i loved the way u wrote it like a true writer.u beautifully enmeshed ur minds two which is der in zurich n the other which worries abt things bk home..n i agree to wt u said abt raising a banner.a voice abt it..many a tyms ive seen simple thongs like street light on in the mrng wen there r still
    millions who dont hv access to it..i thot..but yet hvnt done anything abt it...y.??ders a lot to dat as well...neway i cannot type more from dis qwerty:-/ kp discovering.phew:-P

  10. Akriti - Thanks for reading this... :)

    I know, what you mean,when you say, keep it short. I always wonder myself, if the blog has not been written too long...but you see..we the writers...always want to write more and know..what I mean :)