Monday, November 9, 2015

An Unlikely Diwali

I noticed him, sitting on his bed, lazing around while my mother ran around the house, yelling at the maid to dust properly as she herself cleaned and washed out the curtains and bedsheets. November had begun and so did the cold, but with Diwali just around the corner and the yearly house cleaning had begun. I could see him clearly annoyed at the fact like his house was being topped over and being scubbed nice and shiny. Just like me, he didn't like change. Maybe he'll miss the smell of the old house, as mother saw to it that house smelled of new paint and turpentine. A makeover to wash over the old. He stuck his little nose out in annoyance as I laughed in amusement.
Even though he didn't fit under the normal companions-to-have in society, little did he know that he meant the world to me. He didn't talk much and couldn't understand my language, but our eyes did all the talking. His brain might have lacked the normal intelligence of a normal human, but he was in every way smarter than any other person I'd ever known. His beady little eyes looked up as he caught starring at me as I quickly looked away and pretending like he wasn't there. He and I were on a time out. He had, after all, spilt a whole carton of milk on my favourite sweatshirt that very morning. I couldn't give him the satisfaction of knowing I was staring at him, let alone thinking of him. He always got out of tricky situations but this time I didn't want to give in. I couldn't almost feel his mischievous eyes on me, as I imagined him laughing his heart out.  I couldn't stay mad at him for long, even if I tried and he knew that; so before he could approach me, I quickly walked out and locked myself in my bedroom as he yelled my name. I'm sorry, but you mess with my favourite sweatshirt, you get the silent treatment.
Somehow I managed to nod off to sleep.
Not knowing how, or for how long, I found myself waking up to the noise of firecrackers and rockets as people all around me we're celebrating the festival of Diwali. I sat quietly and stared out of my window to the multicoloured and glittery skyline as the smog got heavier and the burnt smell hung in the air. I knew mom would soon come up demanding I dress up and come to the pooja so I decided to get ready. 
When I suddenly heard him scream in pain. I ran downstairs and took him in my arms as I hugged him and whispered soothing words in his ears. Nothing seemed to work. My mom then quickly shut all the windows and doors in hopes of making our house a little more soundproof but alas, nothing worked. I brushed his soft brown hair as I tried to put on the TV to his favourite channel but he just yelled lounder and hid under the bed. Little did I know that my little furry friend was going to be this scared of crackers. The sound of his cries made my heart bleed as I sat helplessly trying to soothe things for my little furry companion as the sounds of the firecrackers just got louder as his cries got softer and he whimpered in pain. Maybe the festival of light isn't really a festival for him at all. "Hey there buddy, I'm right here. Right here with you." I whispered as his terrified eyes looked at me in question,"But my ears hurt. Do something." 
Atleast I can lessen the sounds for my dog, but what about his other furry friends on the street? Who will look after them I wondered.  

PS- so as you know Diwali is just around the corner and you may be tempted to go and spend thousands of rupees on buying firecrackers. Not only is it harmful for the air, but it's physically and emotionally painful for all animals. Not only dogs, but birds, cats etc. So it's my humble request that you have an eco friendly Diwali and say no to crackers. I don't have a dog, but I wish I could have. This little short story could not cover even half of what dogs go through, but please I urge you to think about them and hope you have a safe and happy Diwali & a happy new year. 

Hope you enjoyed this. 
Until next time readers 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Secularism: an ancient terminology.

Secularism: According to the internet, "One manifestation of secularism is asserting the right to be free from religious rule and teachings, or, in a state declared to be neutral on matters of belief, from the imposition by government of religion or religious practices upon its people." 

I'm sure most of you have heard about the recent events happening in our so called 'secular' and democratic country, where a man was lynched to death due to the suspicion of the fact that he might have cooked beef in his house in UP.

Wait, hold on a minute, WHAT? I'm sorry but when did we get the authority and the right to publicly lynch a person to death due to something he has done inside the confines of his own house? Unless he's cooking meth or raping a minor or cannibalism is in the picture or any other such humanly unaccepted behavior; nobody, and I mean nobody has the right to kill someone. Can someone also tell me as to why there was an official check by the police force to see if he had beef or not, before they could arrested the mob that lynched the man more important than just throwing the culprits into jail? I'll eat beef, pork, chicken, octopus, lizard too if that’s my fancy within the premises of my house, but what I cook and eat is my business and my business only. Not my religion, not the government, not the police, not my neighbors, not anyone. What I chose to cook and eat is none of the outside world's business? Understand that please.

Do people understand that a Muslim man eating beef inside his house, does not in any way related remotely to the fact that he is demeaning a Hindu's religious sentiments? Dear Hindu extremists, the world does not revolve around you or your religion. Sincerely, the rest of the world.

 If a man wants to eat beef, he wants to eat beef. It's that simple. Stop hiding behind your religion curtain and giving us Indians sad excuses for such kind of barbaric actions.

India for centuries is known for its secular society with its various culturally diverse groups all living together without any extreme incidents like this? Even our ancestors are better read in this topic than the present society.

I mean, all that talk about development and digital India and we can't stand someone eating beef inside their own house? *slow clap*

The Maharashtra beef ban is one of the stupidest ban's our government could have ever come up with, and seeing the recent attacks regarding this issue; seems likes the rest of India wants to catch up to it too. If you really gave a shit about our sacred cows, maybe try to get them off our roads and stop them from eating garbage. Cows in India die more from road accidents and consumption of plastic from garbage cans than anything. If they're so sacred to you, then please see that you spend money on the cows and their hygiene and give them grazing fields to feed on, give them the respect you think they deserve when you argue how lynching a man for eating beef is justifiable. Can you do that?

I think we all know the answer to that question.

So before you go spewing rubbish and giving us speeches as to how you did that to protect our Hindu religion, remember you're in a secular country. A country where a Hindu can eat pork in the same room as a Muslim can eat beef. If you're going to ban beef in Hindu majority states, then please ban pork in Muslim majority places too. If you're going to ban sale of chicken for a few days to protect the sentiments of the Jain community, then please by all means ban the sale of liquor and pork during the month of Ramzaan for the Muslim community.

If you still don't get the meaning of secularism, dear government, please go back to history books where India and Pakistan were one and we lived with the Muslim eating beef community just as they lived with our pork eating Hindu community. What a person's eating preferences are, is something not to be even thought of or let alone debated on. But I'm ashamed of being in a country where what I eat can be the very reason I can be killed. Just where is my country heading too?

So here's my take on this debate.

Dear government and so called "Hindu-religion-protectors", first things first, bans do not work in this country. Instead you promote the cause of the ban to a level even Salmaan Khan's films don't reach.

Second, anything and everything a man of the religious minority does, is not related to Hinduism, especially if he's a Muslim. I mean even the Arabian country's allow a man to have pork inside the confines of his house. Saudi Arabia countries are better off than us in terms of such tolerance. Let that sink in.

Third, you call this society we live in as a secular society. Learn the meaning then, or just don't call yourselves secular. If there was a secular India, it's sure gone away now. There's nothing secular about our nation presently, so stop being foolish and trying to sell us out delusion. Nobody is buying it.

Sincerely a-18-year-old-girl-whose's-scared-for-the-future-for-her-country.

Until next time readers