Tag Archives: compassion

The Fighter Father


She was 6 years old. She stood frozen with her mother on the streets of Kanyakumari at 4 o clock in the morning, hoping the dawn to break, and the noise to fade away.Her Father was trying to fight it out with a rogue taxi driver, who thought to extract the maximum from clueless tourists…
“You can grab my collar Sir. No insults traded. I am a Taxi Driver. My work is to make money. Earn it . Sweat it. Cheat. or Snatch it.
What if I do the same to you? Look at your wife and daughter!”
But wrong was wrong. Who will see the right, if everybody was blinded by choice to the might of the wrong?
My mother warned, ” Someday you will not be in a state to fight any more. We will sit beside you and moan. You are a fighter- F.I.N.E!  But You are a husband and father too…”

That day came soon. Two decades later.

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22nd June, 2014. I watched the news flash blood soaked images of Daddy frantically. The scrolls reading-“A Thief had attacked a  Scientist, in a communally charged area…The DRDO Regional Director, while trying to nab a pickpocket in Charminar, stabbed...”
He walked valiantly into the Police Station, grabbing onto his cuts . Blood oozing out like water from a fountain.He told the Police who he was and called up Mother to say he was fine and fainted.

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48 Stitches. 46 cms long cut,4.5 cms deep, nearly missing the spleen and vitals.
Had it hit? I don’t even want to imagine that!
Lying on the hospital sofa for 10 days and more, I wondered…
My Father was stabbed while trying to get back the stolen cell phone of a colleague.They had been there in Hyderabad to attend a Director’s Annual Conference. That was the last day of the 3 day meet.
He was to catch a flight back home that evening.
23rd June was their Marriage Anniversary.

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Here sat my Mom receiving flowers from an ocean of visitors. Yes. Get well soon.
Doctors cluttered to ‘personally‘ talk to the man who was all over the Newspapers. Political parties queued up to offer their ‘apologies’. Colleagues across the country from almost the entire DRDO spectrum, were a pillar of strength that even family couldn’t provide. Unknown people walked in to get a glimpse of The Man
Here lay a HERO. My Fighter Father.

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What was so unusual about this?! Each day,each moment,in each corner of India, somebody burgled somebody else. So many other somebodys watched over passively,”it happens!!“. Many somebodys lost their lives- stabbed, wounded, bleeding till death… So W.H.A.T?!

Yes there was something unusual for sure.
Here lay a man, who bled for one, who wasn’t related to him by blood.  People didn’t do that every day, not even for themselves.
What did he gain?
An indefinite vacation in the hospital-thronged by well wishers. A tonne of apples, oranges and pomegranates. A much needed company of his children. Lights-Camera-Action! from the media, who savoured each bit of such ‘nearly extinct human species‘.  And the idea that he was so liked by so many, so much regarded, so very connected to so many unconnected people.
What did he lose?
Buckets of blood, that would take months to replenish. Some really important tasks that had to be done for the family. His own very expensive glasses.The clothes, that were a gift from his children.Lots of money on buying overpriced flight tickets,   & on uncountable phone calls. Flak of cynics who thought he was foolishly quixotic.

Oh! That meant there was more to be lost than gained.

I listened to him narrate to the visitors. Couple of Muslim representatives from a political party visited to apologize. They had met the convict, a “17” year old Muslim boy , in the juvenile home. He had asked them to convey his Sorry to my father- or so did they say.
Why was it being viewed from a communal angle I really couldn’t comprehend. The thief was Muslim, but so were most of the Nurses who took care of Daddy, just like his daughters. And so were many empathetic sympathizers.

It struck me then that we had completely forgotten about the boy. He was a Muslim so what? We didn’t have any anger against him, neither against a religion that was being made a casualty like truth. He was a victim as well- of poverty, of ignorance and of society’s indifference to humanity and compassion.

The boy had stabbed while my father held onto his hand, trying to reason with him, “you are my son’s age. Please give back whatever you have stolen“. But in a bid to escape, he had nervously stabbed and run away.

This was his 4th such crime. He had been caught by the Police earlier as well and put in the juvenile home.
Did it reform him in any miniscule manner?
He was fed and clothed and sheltered there and sent back with a license- to steal, rape, kill, whatever? Oh! He was a juvenile after all.
And in a country like India where birth records were as cautiously maintained as its Family Planning efforts, 17 years 11 months and 17 years 12 months definitely could be differentiated with pin-drop precision?!?

A thought to be spared also was- had not Daddy been in such privileged position, would  justice still have been delivered? Would he still have received the medical aid and attention with urgency?

He narrated, how he incessantly kept on insisting who he was, before he could get the Police help and bring in a sense of urgency. Had he been a somebody, he could have simply bled to death in a Police station while trying to file an FIR.

Then there were many who were good economists. They aptly calculated how he wasted more resources than he could save.
Well, Ethics and Economics never got on well!

But there were many many others who were proud of him and considered him unconditionally brave. Had they not stood with us in such trying times, it was hard to say, if Daddy could have recovered the trauma.

Such times in life are a watershed. They are revelations of who we thought are friends but turn out to be strangers by choice- bystanders in our life’s battles. And of who we thought were strangers but get strangely enmeshed with our lives.

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35  then, his blood boiled against the unjust, unfair, corrupt.
53 now, but the Specific heat capacity of his blood has still not gone up with age. And so he let his blood flow for the right, 20 years back, and still can- 20 years from now.

Papers would get new sensational news, the ‘ reformed juvenile‘ would be back again, people would forget most of this story soon.
But some of it would certainly be remembered, that there are still such foolish, impractical and unnecessarily brave people left in this big bad world who make most of us pause and introspect what we are and what should we be!

Hyderabad gave us the blood that flowed down from his body, and as tears down our eyes. Hyderabad gave us the Love, that bound our hearts and our lives. Hyderabad thus gave us the people we can so truly call- Blood relations. 20140628_212134

Yet a line from the news flash haunts my mind constantly, “This incident has nothing to do with DRDO affairs”.
True. But how promptly we close our eyes, ears, mouths, minds and hearts, at the slightest thought of “unnecessarily involving” ourselves in “unrelated” events that do not concern us.
Every truth is seen as an alleged lie. Every lie is treated as a proven truth. So much so that, we never step out from our comfort zones in seeking the right, in fighting the wrong.
Until the accident has happened to us, we think ‘it happens!!’, but we never ask, ‘why?’,  ‘How can we fight it out?‘ We just promptly declare, “this alleged incident has nothing to do with our affairs.”

Nothing has changed and nothing was supposed to- to be practical. But what has changed is, the thought that Heroes do exist and most of them donot make it to the TV. They are Anonymous. They are among us. They are within us, waiting to be woken up from slumber, called up to say, ” yes, it has something to do with me, although it has nothing to do with me.

PS: Rajiv Gupta Uncle and Laxmi Aunty. I have no words to thank you. And perhaps family is never thanked. All I can say is your affection makes me miss even the hospital days. 🙂
Vikas Uncle and Poonam Aunty, Paritosh Uncle and Sandhya Aunty and Venkat Uncle- for all that you have done for us, ‘Thank you’ would be a very small word. You made Hyderabad a home away from home.

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What Does it take to be Happy??


I know this picture didn’t seem pretty enough..surely not one to be put in this Blog…my blog…owned by somebody…who had been so choosy throughout her life…

But then…surely it was something that made me think again…about what I am …what I could have been …what I never was…or what I never would be…

Being too much fussy about the perfect shade of pink for my skirts ….other than the 8 other shades that I already had …I had rather forgotten to think…to think about those girls of my age…who would never know what a pink is…

The story of the little boy who ceased to complain about the shoe that hurt his feet..until one day he found one who didn’t have feet at all..seemed just too touchy feely …to shed a tear or two and quote as an ideal story to any sensible circle….the mails about how much food we waste and how much we grumble about the taste, while millions died of hunger…seemed just a thing to pass on to all those on my mailing list…and show how sensitive and humane I was….

It so happened that one day I came to know the value of a choice …how unhappy I was being able to afford one..and how glad they were..never been considered to make one…

As we set out to explore the New Friends colony near our apartments…I had no idea I would be made to face an inevitable insurgence within me…

After having a sumptuous dinner..the custom said an ice cream cone wouldn’t take too much space in an already overstuffed stomach…So we set out to the Gelatos an Italian Ice-cream corner…Fussying over the flavors and the scoop or the cone choice…each of us got to have their say…

Well Gelatos had to taste good after all the bucks we blew away for those meager spoonfuls…But Lo!…each of us screwed our brows over the taste and the middle class man in us began lamenting about the wallets being emptied over the cones…

And that made us hold on to the cones…trying hard to like the taste, convincing ourselves..it wasn’t all a waste….

Shops…book carts…cinemas… salons.. spas…food courts apart from the young funky mass thronged the place…After all it was the New Friends Colony…one of the Posh areas of Delhi…but then wasn’t it a part of this planet..where also lived many semi-clad, half naked, half-fed-hollow-eyed people…millions of street children…just like us but unfortunately so unlike us…

Time had taught them to know how to make the best of their surrounding…what if they didn’t have the best of the lives…they would still flaunt an animated curve under their running noses…Really time had taught them well…

Such a bunch was hanging around us too…a 7 year old “big” girl with her year old sibling hanging around her waist…and a couple of other under 10 boys …

well begging was their job…not that it was the best profession in the world…but they just had it…call it livelihood …or call it liking….

It wasn’t that great when you saw those blank faced children tugging at your tea-shirt as you licked on your cone…Not that I have poured out my sympathy to such children of the street all my life…not that I feel that’s the only option they have…not that pity is the only thing I can offer them…but yes…yes that it was easy for us to sit back and scorn at how lazy and sly these kids were to beg around…to shop for our sympathies…while I felt why couldn’t my mom offer me the glass of water as I sat gaping at the TV in an AC room…thinking it was too hot for me to step out….

It has always been like this for us and it has always been like this for them…each of us have inherited our fates and fortunes..and each of us are trying to convert it into something a bit different than what we have been handed over with….

Well…it didn’t take them long to realize …the ice-creams didn’t taste that great to us…and perhaps they could have a day with it…as one of us handed over the cone to one of them with an expression of relief of getting rid of that melting thing….I found my insides melting away…yes an inevitable insurgence gaining pace within me…

I had a tough time explaining my never understanding self…it wasn’t the 80 bucks that would go away…if I gave away that thing to that creature near me…It was The knowing…that how can she like something that I detested…how can I accept that I was sooo Lucky that I was not her,…when all my life I had grumbled about the things I never had…. about the happiness that God gave me so little….about the fate that was never right..and so many things that made me sooo unfortunate…..The Knowing that how can she be happy taking something in …that I was so happy getting rid off….??

The Knowing hurt me badly….it really did…

I gave her the thing anyway as did the others…the pale-faced jumped off in delight…having had her delicacy of the day….

I was losing myself again….

The winter couldn’t chill me…neither could the ice-cream as I watched the goose bumps on their naked bodies and felt too hot inside my jacket…Huh! The jacket wasn’t right of course!!….or perhaps right wasn’t I…..

They went away merrily…but I couldn’t have my calm…not that I had my calm earlier…grumbling about things I never had…rather than being grateful for the things I had…was my habit or perhaps my hobby….

Well food was not something I ever put in garbage bins….even the lights and the fans I always put –off when I left the rooms irrespective of office or home…Squandering away resources has never been my virtue…

So this story gave me a different lesson…

The question that disturbed me was “What does it take to be happy…??”

I had all the stuff that I wished to have at some point or other in my life…I had all the people I ever needed,… caring for me at all the walks of my life…I had all of the everything that was tangible and intangible…virtual or real….

But something I never had was happiness…Now tell me what does it take to be happy…I was utterly confused about all the choices I had and always disturbed about the choice that turned out to be not so commendable….

Here I remember a video that I so proudly added to my Orkut…called as ‘Chicken –la –carta’…it had won an award in the Berlin Film Festival for the best Documentary…

A worker in a restaurant brings in the left-over chicken bones in a big bin for the poor and hungry children of his village…and as the children pounce onto the Chicken bones…with so much of hunger and so much of happiness…this is what the video says…

“Let me tell their story,

You won’t think it’s true..

I have not forgotten ..

So I am sharing it with you…

For all the things we know …

What have we really learned??

Though I close my eyes…

The images remain…

And their story begins again…

Let me tell their story

That no one else can hear…

How can someone’s’ laughter

bring me close to tears….

And you will never know…

Cause you have never been there…

After what we have seen…

Can we close our eyes again…???


Well how true…”How can someone’s laughter bring me close to tears…??

For all the things we know…what have we really learnt…??”…

Yeah…I really doubt what I have learnt…and I am really confused as to why their delight was despair to me that moment…Perhaps because they were happy with something I was so unhappy with ….Perhaps because they knew what could make them happy and I didn’t …Perhaps because they knew their choices well or Perhaps because they didn’t have any choice at all…

yeah with all the things they could never have …they only could have a choice to rejoice…with whatever they had…

Usually as I pen down my thoughts…I become clear by the end of the last full-stop…about what it was… that was so very disturbing…about how to handle the thing…the feeling …or rather the fact that it was disturbing me…

But unfortunately it isn’t so this time…I am utterly confused as I had never been before…I still don’t know how to go about the choices in my life…and I still find myself wanting sooo many things that I do not possess today….I still don’t know how to have The choice to rejoice as the only choice in life….I still don’t know whether I am happy…and I still don’t know…how should I go about if I am unhappy today…..

Well Happy or Unhappy…I consider myself fortunate that I am not her…

I consider myself fortunate that I can afford to have a choice…what if I haven’t figured out which is the right one…there would certainly be hidden The Choice to Rejoice in the choice heap….and one day I would certainly find it in the pile…

But then apart from the million other questions that have remained unanswered within me…this one would take me a life time to figure out….”What does it take to be happy?? ”…..

Tell me ….”What does it take to be happy??”

Wasn’t I the “SOMEBODY” this time?


Somebody..just another person from somebody’s family…n that somebody already a long distance relation….UFFF!!..I wish Mommy would stop acting like my Public Relations Officer…
My Mum’s brother’s wife…..Wel I love her ..she’s my ‘Mami‘..Okk
Then comes her sister…Hmmm… I have been friends with her since school.. but I just call Her ‘Masi’…

But then..come her In-Laws into the scenario….OOOOO my God..how do I ever know why I am to be extra nice to them… ????!!

But then who is my PRO??..my MUM..and there’s no ‘NO’ that she would listen…

 So here’s the story finally….

One fine evening I set out in the Metros from Central Secretariat to Rajiv Chowk and then from Rajiv Chowk to Dwarka Sector-9….I was to meet my sister Golu and Mami who had come to visit me in Dilli…I being a ‘busy’ person never could give them time..Office was all I saw every day from 9 to 9 and the four walls of my flat was what they saw every day from dawn to dusk…

Frustration drove them away from my place to my Mami’s sister’s place…

Time had already come..and they were supposed to be leaving the coming Saturday..I really had no option but to go there and bring them back home…

 So I set out….

For me crossing the road had always aroused something  called “crossophobia”….But then fighting off the traffic and getting to the Metro Station I managed to get a ticket to Dwarka…

My colleagues Shilpa and Chhavi were with me..but I never stopped panicking…A small town girl ….with a small chicken heart!!

My Mami’s Brother-in-Law had come to pick me up. I reached home, freshened up….I was soooo happy to see my sister…again..

Engrossed in each other…we enjoyed a lot…Well…she was my GOLU after all !!!

Calls from office kept on blasting my head off…But then I was audacious enough to switch off my cell phone and take 2 days leave…

A day we spent at their place hardly doing anything and…just punching each other as soft-toys….rolling on with laughter and basking in the warmth that childhood sometimes offers  J

…Seemed as if this Happiness would just never end…. J

But then..moments tick away….and they do that really fast ..

We had to spend the second day of my leave at my place …and they were to leave the very next day… L

 Early in the morning at 5:30 again “somebody” ….woke us up…Golu and I were cuddling together in a velvet blanket and the very idea of having to leave behind this bliss was terrorizing…

What on earth makes those ”somebodys” awaken us at this weird hour when we are not supposed to be leaving the place before 9….??!!??

OOOO my god!!! Yet another Long Chain of emotions…for a long chain of SOMEBODYs…

MY MOTHER’S…BROTHER’S…WIFE’S….SISTER’S….FATHER-IN-LAW..was returning back to Orissa and we were supposed to wake up and say him a ‘sweet’ good bye…!!!

I could not express my discontent at being commanded to leave the bed..because I had always pretended to be ‘The Nice Girl’…but somehow irritation was simmering within ..as I sat there completely..glum…

 Everybody was happily chatting with him…but suddenly the old man realized that he could not trace me…. I was too silent to be myself J… and so he asked “Where’s Raina??”…

I don’t know….but I must admit..”THAT SOMEBODY”…had just spoken SOMETHING that stirred me from within…

….Two days had passed pretty swiftly….

He chose to be a silent old man and I chose to be the bubbly brat..!..

… I hadn’t bothered to speak a kind word to him  since the day I had come and touched his feet…as a mark of greeting…

Yes .. I must admit my Mum could inculcate the culture…but I guess…I could not assimilate it well….

Immediately after that, we defined our boundaries..He took the Common Sitting room and we confined ourselves to the bedroom…..We never spoke…

 ..And all of a sudden he called out my name..utterly strange..for an Old man of 70 to remember it…. and even stranger to acknowledge the my presence..at such a moment…

A quick question sprang up in my Conscience…

Wasn’t I the “SOMEBODY”…this time..??

…even before dawn had set in, I had seen him tip-toe through the balcony door..careful enough not to wake us up…straight … to the Tulsi plant..in a wet dhoti to offer his prayers….

my eyes were half closed then..or Perhaps..was I completely blind..??

 A tinge of respect for this old man…seeped into me….as I spoke to myself…I would no longer term him “SOMEBODY”…

 ….Now back from the self talk world..

I presumed my sweet self….and said that…”Aja were you looking for me?”

He then walked towards me and my sister and handed us each a crumpled 100 rupee note….

Speechless as I was …I noticed Payal holding a similar note…She was his own grand-daughter…

 I felt as if… I would choke … guilt piercing me from within….I tried dusting it off my body…but stubborn as it was….it stayed on…

  …Perhaps they realize the essence of life…

 Perhaps they know…Life is not just a Rat race to be won…there’s more to it…

And even if it’s one….then it’s okay to halt down….take time to gobble down the bait…… be caught in the mouse-trap….sometimes…

Because who knows!!?? ..how real is the bait and how mythical is the “real cheese”???!!!

 Anyways…

Today when I manage to earn a fair salary….the hundred rupee note should have felt humble on my palms….but then…”SOMEBODY…”..SOMEBODY special….has humbled my heart instead…. taught me the value of regard and appreciation towards life…the joy of sharing my life with millions of SOMEBODYs around me….the delight on touching their lives in a million miniscule ways…as they  have touched mine…

So..then when I would look down from heaven..I can give my best grin and say..”Look !!….people down there still say….there was SOMEBODY…who never forgot to smile…and… she was SOMEBODY …somebody really special….”