Friday, December 26, 2008


As the jetlite flight started descending over Nagpur Airport and I could see those small tiny houses dispersed in between green fields I was thinking how far has my city come. Or how far have I travelled away from it in last so many years. Both physically and mentally.

Nagpur is obviously not the same. But neither am I. We both have moved on. We both have changed. Taking a different trajectory from the time we both lived together.

People who know me, know that I, amongst other things, am unabashedly pro-Nagpuri and unabashedly pro-America. And I am apologetic about neither. Why pro-America? Simple answer - 'I have my reasons'. For a more elaborate explanation we need a whole new post.
Coming back to Nagpur, the obvious reason being - 'I am rooted here'. But let me go a little deeper than that.

Every time I come to Nagpur it feels like coming 'back home'. Whether I returned from my hostel life for vacation, or when I was working in Mumbai and came home or now when I am in Chicago and come to Nagpur. The feeling on landing at Nagpur, whether Airport or Railway st or Prasanna bus stop at Bole petrol pump,is similar. It just feels good. It just feels like my city, my home town is waiting with open arms to embrass me.

The feeling can best be described by the beautiful urdu word - Mehefooz. Yes, thats the closest I can think of.

The familiarity with everything just resonates from the word go. The language,
the traffic, the unnecessary honking of vehicles, the arrogant shopkeepers, the total disregard to value of Time, all ring a familair bell. It's home. It's here that my foundation was established. My family, my friends, my school, my childhood everything is deeply rooted here. This non-metro, second tier city of India, smack on the center of India's map.

This is the longest both me and wife have stayed in Nagpur in a very long time. And goes without sayin we are having a ball. That's an understatement actually. To put it in marathi Amhi jeevacha Nagpur Kartoye.

From eating different stuff every day to going to my paternal and maternal relatives almost every day, to flying kite, to playing with my niece and nephew, to having picnic in places around Nagpur, to taking long morning walks on well paved roads, to giving random calls to folks and making programs at run time, to meeting old buddy at coffee house, to contributing nothing to random family discussions and observing the ruckus to simply doing nothing and lying on bare floor and dozing off in afternoon naps.. we are making the most of it and we have not had a single dull moment so far..

The good part is I have been able to impress upon the positives of Nagpur to my non-Nagpuri wife. And best part is, I din't have to try too hard. Nagpur has changed for good.

Off course there are few things that haven't changed and won't in the future..

-General apathy towards Time and Appointments
-Method to chaos
-Endless discussions on any damn topic
-Pure and Wholesome Loudness of it all.

My battery is fully recharged now. I am taking a good mental picture of this vacation and leaving it on a positive note. Mumbai's tragedy on my first day of arrival overshadowed my stay initially. But now after having stayed with my family,cousins and friends I feel relaxed, re-fuelled and ready to go back.

If there's a notion of another life, and I am asked to choose a city I wish to be born again, it will be Nagpur for me. Simply No contest.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Still Hurting

I was hoping to calm down in a few days. But looks like this anger won't recede easily. I wrote a long emotional post full of expletives and profanity 2 days back, but refrained from posting it. I thought I could handle myself once I cool down.. But may be, being in India and in Mumbai at that, is not letting me. And in a strange way I want to continue being angry.. And I want India to be angry.

This hurts. This physically hurts. There's a strange toxic mix of anger and sadness inside me. Not sure there's an antidote for that. May be a complete annihilation of POK..

But then again, when I think with a little context and put some perception around last week's grand display of inhumanity, I think India had it coming. For too long India has taken it's one billion "cheap" human population for granted and it had it coming for a while.

Nothing happens in a vacuum. There are a series of events, series of missteps along the way that bring about such devastation on a nation. Those 20 odd, punjabi/urdu speaking young men were holding the entire might of Indian state hostage for a reason; because *they could*! And that to with relative ease. They have exposed something about our internal security apparatus that we always knew but were in denial.

And more than that they exposed something far bigger. Those 20 assholes exposed the dis-unity of the Indians. And that hurts like nothing else. Even during this extreme point of pain and crisis, when country should have come together with one voice, the Indians have responded, as only we could - incoherently, clueless-ly and with a sense of hopelessness.

India is the next 'Super Power' ?? My foot. You wanna know what super powers or wannabe super powers do when such inhuman acts are forced on them externally? You don't have to look too far; Indians, just check your big neighbor next door, and you may get some clues.

But it's not enough to just sulk at this point.To try and understand what happened and why, one has to connect the dots to the past. That's the only way we can make some sense of this spectacular dance of inhumanity. be continued