Be a Rebel!

One of the most famous songs of our generation, “be a rebel!” from Rang de Basanti! has very deep connotations if you look at it.

Be it the kid in you who only studied subjects because you liked it and not for the love of few marks in some silly exam,

Be it the professional in you that did something because you were doing what Nike was asking you to do, what you love! and not for the want of a hefty pay check,

or

Be it the parent in you, who ignored a boss’ s call just to have those wonderful moments with your kid letting go of the brownie points that you could have gained over someone else, in front of your boss at an odd hour,

If you haven’t done anything which comes under the category of being a rebel, be it big or small, you haven’t really created that much important difference which, courtesy you being born a human, were gifted with the power to do so.

One thing that continues to haunt most of us is looking forward to that day, when we make it big.

The definition of being big might vary from person to person.

stock-photo-the-word-rebel-illuminated-in-lights-540518656

From some, it could mean appearing on air while being covered for establishing a successful start-up,

For few, it could mean getting selected in the civil services exam,

For few, it might mean, leading one of the bigger companies, be it Microsoft or Apple, 

For few, it could mean excelling in the political arena,

and

For few, it could mean becoming an army officer or a pilot.

Whatever it might be, one thing that remains common among all is the will to be something more than what you already are, which gets represented in the form of want, aspiration or the ambition.

And the higher the degree of rebellion and the subsequent path you choose, the higher the chances you would have made it big considering all standards of society and by all stretch of imagination.

So, be a rebel, be fearless not just for the want of it but because you want to do something, which you tend to relate to, the most in your life and witness the difference and subsequent happiness explode right in front of your eyes.

Source for the Image: https://www.shutterstock.com/search/rebel

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ज़िन्दगी: तो मैंने भी जी ही ली है!

Happens not so often when someone or some incident tends to stick with you, to the extent of feeling the urge to write about the same.

And one such took place yesterday.

As I was about to cross a road on one of the signals, this gentleman with a beedi in his lips, held my hand, as if seeking some form of support.

On turning around, I noticed, this gentleman, who looked to be in his 60s, wearing a uniform, which you tend to identify with a watchman or a security guard.

The first thing, courtesy the nature of the mischievous mind, that popped up, made me wonder where this guard would be working and was the asset he was supposed to secure in safe hands.

On second, I realized that he wanted my help to cross the road. As we walked hand-in-hand, crossing probably the toughest obstacle of his life, at one of the most traffic-laden signals, his puffing the beedi and trying to breathe couldn’t go away unnoticed.

As we reached our final destination, he finally spoke:

साहब, आप सोच रहे होंगे, कि ये बूढा सिक्योरिटी गार्ड क्या किसी को सिक्योरिटी देगा?” as if he had read my mind, he continued:

साहब, क्या  बताऊँ, आर्मी में था, रिटायर होने के बाद सिक्योरिटी गार्ड बन गया. एक वक़्त था, जब हम साहब लोगों को गोलियों से बचाते थे, अब तो रोड क्रॉस करने में भी मदद की ज़रुरत पड़ती है.” as if he had found his much wanted ear to listen to all that he had preserved for long somewhere deep inside his heart.

साहब सोचा था, आर्मी में आ गए तो बस ज़िन्दगी सुधर गयी, मुझे क्या मालूम था, कि ये दिन देखने पड़ेंगे. खैर, धन्यवाद आपका, ईश्वर आपको खुश रक्खे. बाकी ये सब तो चलता रहेगा, आखिर ज़िन्दगी तो मैंने भी जी ही ली है.” and then he continued, on his apparently, lonesome journey.

Somehow, the last line, struck a chord somewhere, “ज़िन्दगी: तो मैंने भी जी ही ली है!

What we think will happen, doesn’t always happen our way, for it was so, then we might as well become the source of creation.

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And even if its possible, am sure, it must require lot of hard work and striving to reach a stage, where the last line changes to, “ज़िन्दगी तो मैंने ही जी है!

The journey from life leading you to you leading your life; from someone controlling you to gaining control over your mind, body and emotions; from you being a sorry figure to you enjoying each and every moment of your life; from you being the dependent one to becoming the dependable one; wonder whether all this requires an art or a skill.

And even if it exists, how may one access the same?

Wonder, whether it might need a lifetime to figure the same out?

Wonder, whether this was what we were supposed to do?

Wonder whether this is what it is, to experience the life to the fullest?

Wonder, whether wandering wild in the search of any such thing, makes sense?

Wonder, whether the sense itself was non-sense? 😉

But the very thought of moving from “ज़िन्दगी: तो मैंने भी जी ही ली है!” to “ज़िन्दगी: तो मैंने ही जी है!” is an incentive big enough to at least give a shot to try certain things along with your regular chores, isn’t it? 🙂

Source for the Image: http://hd-wall-papers.com/wallpapers/life-images.html

Men in Uniform!

I don’t know how many times you have had the pleasure of meeting men in uniform who guard our borders day-in-day-out. But when you happen to do so, it becomes one of the most cherished moments of your life.

Few days back, I happened to meet a senior rank officer in the army. A very fit individual that he was, in spite of having served in the Army for more than 2 decades, he came across as a very well spoken and simple individual.

The simplicity was very much visible in the manner he befriended and the manner in which he went about describing various facets of his life. Though there was this one particular story he shared about how to overcome one’s fears in life is what I would like to share with you all.

Taking the liberty to quote him:

It was summers and everyone was asked as to who would want to venture out for the paratrooper training. Not everyone had the courage, those who had were supposed to give a simple test.

I was the fortunate or the unfortunate one, whatever you might want to refer to as, in that group of 20 who had showed interest for the training. We were all brought to a swimming pool and were asked to jump from a 3 m board. 

Though I was not that scared of jumping from a 3 m board, I was dead scared to drown for I was still an amateur who had mastered the art of floating in a swimming pool, that too in the not so deep side of the same. 

So, I went up to the trainer and asked him whether there would be someone to save me in case I started to drown. The trainer got infuriated and told me to bug off. Not knowing what to expect, I took a deep breath and jumped when my turn came.images 

As expected, no one came to my rescue when I was struggling to fight my way out from the swimming pool. Thinking that I wouldn’t be selected, I stood there in despair cursing myself why I hadn’t learnt swimming. 

The final list of the selected lot was announced immediately after the 20th guy had completed his jump. To my utter surprise I was selected. I felt like sitting on top of cloud nine, though I had no clue about what was to follow.

The selected lot of 16 wanna-be troopers were asked to report 5 am in the morning next day. By that time, we had all got into a habit of getting up early and were not perturbed anymore about the timelines that were provided to us. 

Perhaps, the mind and body can be tuned to become more and more disciplined and trust me there are no limits when it comes to going beyond what might be expected from you. I guess that’s why people in the army or in forces in general are able to achieve feats that a normal guy wouldn’t even imagine accomplishing. 

The manner in which we were taught to become paratroopers was immensely scientific and was made simple to the core. We were not taken directly to the skies for a jump, instead we were made what I would describe as robots who were trained to perform a routine driven set of actions which included our arms and legs and once we resorted to those actions we had no option but to be in the air trying to follow instructions for our survival. 

It’s not that we didn’t go through the fear. It’s not that those in army or forces don’t have emotions. Just that we are trained in such a wonderful manner that before going through those emotions we tend to do what is taught to us. The little mechanical steps that we take don’t give us that luxury or the option of going through our emotions, as we have no time but to react in the moment and survive. 

What a “faugee” learns is the art of survival which incorporates instant decision making (be it right or wrong), thinking on the feet and reacting to the situation at hand. Yes, planning, strategy goes hand in hand but it might be what you plan doesn’t happen and you are left with no other choice but to overcome your fears and do something which might be perceived as belonging to the category referred to as “out of the box” or “out of the world””.

We went on discussing his life before Army, during Army and what would follow after. Somehow, he had that aura and a power which could convince even myself for opting into paratrooper training, though good sense prevailed and I preferred not to venture out, though he almost had me convinced about the ultimate thing in life which everyone should at least try once in life ;).

By the time, our meeting finished, I had just two words doing rounds in my head, “RESPECT + INSPIRATION”.

Source for the Image: http://www.slideshare.net/doodla/indian-army-16316589

Scared, Are you?

A very recent incident in my life has made me “right” this one. It is not often that you want to avail the service of a public transport in smaller cities and towns in India, considering that the available space inside the same is utilized so efficiently that where only 2 persons are supposed to be seated, the conductor or the driver of the public transport will make sure that at least double the legitimate number is made to fit in the same space. If that was not enough, a couple of people who happen to be standing next to you, would be found leaning over for want of some space and air, coming through the windows.indian bus

But this is just the tip of an iceberg, when it comes to being scared of a thing or having some apprehensions about the same. A couple of days back, having heard so much about the state of the public transport in my city, I decided to experience it first hand. And there I was, travelling in this bus, which was supposed to take me from a place called Mahanagar to Hazratganj, which resembles the likes of CP in New Delhi, when it comes to the colour combinations that have been used to adorn the place.

Having barely managed to squeeze in the bus, I was lucky to have found a seat next to a gentleman, who looked to be in his twenties. One thing that foreigners find quite funny in case of us, Indians, is that no matter whether we know the person sitting besides us in a journey, we are very good and keen on starting a conversation with the unknown person available at our disposal.

Not only do we happen to talk about the general affairs going on in our country ranging from what Modi might be up to in the coming elections to would Dhoni be implicated in the IPL crisis that has ensued in recent times, but also about our own personal issues ranging from what my boss might have said to me the very day, to what would happen if my child happens to fail this year.

Keeping what I can call the tradition intact, the gentleman (whom I will refer to as G, from here on ), sitting to my left, started the conversation.

Hi, so where are you going?”—G

Hi, to Hazratganj, and you?”—me

I am going to charbagh, to catch this train. You see, my luggage is kept right above me. Actually, my uncle’s son is getting married, so I am going for his ceremony. So, you are originally from Lucknow?”—G

Yes, very much :).”—me

By the way, yesterday I went to this place called Indira Dam. Have you been there?”—G

Ya, I have been there twice. Nice place, I must say.”—me

What nice! You know what happened yesterday. I went there with a couple of friends. It was 6 p.m. in the evening. As we were walking past this barrage, we saw this lady lying unconscious on one side of the road. One of us even thought about calling the police, but we were too scared to get involved.”—G

So, you didn’t inform the police?”—me

We did. But it was only after we had left the place, from a P.C.O. (Public call office) located some 2 kms away. You know how it is with Police. With no fault of yours, they might indict you for something which you cannot even think of in your wildest of dreams and even if you happen to find a good policeman, then also you wouldn’t want to be going to the court as a witness every now and then, for the case might go on and on, considering the state of our judiciary, which takes ages to issue verdicts on cases.”—-GPOLICE-BRUTALITY

Hmm! Then what happened. Did you follow up?”—me

Not really! We just hung up the phone, after informing the police of the whereabouts of the lady. Later on, we came to know that in recent times, a couple of people have been found murdered at the same place and people have even spotted a couple of bodies floating in the running water at times.”—-G

That sounds awful.”—me

Ya, so many things are so awful in our country, if I can refer to it as my country in the first place. You must have already noticed the cap that I am wearing. I am a Muslim and for Muslims, especially the underprivileged ones, life is not so easy. You see, for every other blast or terrorist attack that takes place in this country, we are the first ones to be rounded by the police. We are made to suffer for no fault of ours, at times. That’s why, so much of resentment can be found in the Muslim youths, who find it easier to astray rather than comply with the laws of the country. On top of that, these political parties try to throw freebies at us, thinking that we can be cajoled by their futile efforts, which is nothing but a mockery of the political system in our country.”—G

Hmm!”—me. 

I know, it is a very sensitive matter. Instead of treating us like aliens, the political parties will do good if they can just treat us at par with every other citizen of this country. Anyways, this gets prioritized only for namesake at the time of elections and later on it is found no where on the agenda that the political parties are so proud of presenting during their election campaigns.”—G

That is very true. But then why don’t you try to get rid of all these political leaders who talk as if they are the representatives of the entire Muslim community and take matters in your own hand, by creating awareness and vouching for some political and social work?”—me

If it was so easy, then don’t you think every other person would end up doing the same? These very political leaders create so many hurdles and for a common man like me and you, it comes down to a choice. Whether we want to continue living our lives in the same pseudo-peaceful manner or do we want to disturb the peace of our minds by going against the Hukumat.“—G

Hmm! You know, a day would come and in some ways, it has already, in at least the Naxal affected parts of our country, when people would take up arms and would revolt against the atrocities and crimes that are being committed by our administration.”—me

True! You know what is more moving on an emotional level. When we lose lives just because of maladministration and faulty decision making on part of our government. You see, what’s happening in Uttarakhand. So many lives have been destroyed. So many people have gone missing and no one can predict when their lives will go back to normal.”—GArmy soldiers rescuing pilgrims during their flood relief operation in Chamoli, Uttarakhand

Ya, it is very sad to see that knowingly we opt to sit on a time bomb, waiting for it to explode. Faulty constructions and the approvals for the very same granted by none other than our administrators, coupled with total ignorance of the environment has resulted in a major tragedy which will continue to haunt the lives of those affected for many years to come.”—-me

Yes, and the lack of preparedness on part of our government is a sheer nonsense, which shows that no one is really concerned about what’s happening with this country. Everyone is busy looking for avenues where they can make quick bucks in order to secure the future for themselves and their loved ones. Oh, your stop has come. I guess its time to say bye. How soon time flies by! It was nice meeting you. Allah ne chaha to fir milenge.”—-G

It was a pleasure talking to you. I am sure we will meet sometime in the future :).”—-me

And there I was bidding goodbye to this wonderful gentleman. As I got down, having experienced the journey which began as a test of the public transport in my city, I wondered whether the picture of my country that had been depicted of in the conversation that I just had with G, would ever improve.

Being an optimist that I am, I certainly believe that there is still time to bring our country back on the right track. Lots needs to be done not only on part of our government but also as individuals. It might require some sacrifices and hardships.

The question, though is, are we all prepared to think over and above our selfish ends and rise up to the occasion to eradicate the fear that has for so long kept haunting us for the want of corrective actions in our lives?

Source for Image: http://punjab-tim.blogspot.in/2010/03/no-seat-belts-requiredindian-buses.htmlhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/07/30/top-5-police-brutality-vi_n_115921.htmlhttp://www.deccanchronicle.com/130701/news-politics/article/congress-bjp-twitter-war-over-uttarakhand