Ruchira recalls the year gone by with mixed feelings. She moves from the individual to the social and political realms, exploring the many layers, in the Special Feature, exclusively in Different Truths.
2017 has been a fairly good year. Good because, on the personal front, there were no mishaps, sickness or bereavements. On the contrary, there was a string of reunions with friends and dear ones. Early in the year, I met up with two of my childhood buddies –we had been neighbors and classmates since our Guwahati days – after almost three decades! It was a whopping reunion. Our progeny was dumbstruck about how our ties had remained alive for so long. Another friend who lives in Muscat, Oman was on a
holiday in her homeland, and we got together after twenty-five years! Besides, there was a grand, gala, family wedding, where I ended up meeting at least half a dozen more of friends and relatives after a fairly long gap.
Happily, for us, the daughter has graduated as a physiotherapist from Delhi University. We silently send our prayers to the Almighty to guide her as she begins exploring new territories. We had an occasion to travel south- to enjoy the sun, sea sands. We were hosted- again by a very dear friend of mine. Standing on the beach at land’s end, watching the surging, frothy waters of the three oceans was awesome. Then there was the usual fare –watching some landmark films and reading a few good books, both my
Fortunately, summer of 2017 was not grueling; also there was some amount of relief for the Dilliwalahs since power outages were minimal and short-lived. However, our own little area in East Delhi was plagued by the man-made water crisis in late summer. What with the CMs of Haryana and Delhi squabbling over river waters, we, the humble, ordinary folks had a tough time.
In a broader perspective, the year has been worrisome. The social fabric being torn asunder by feuds, factions, ill-will, and mistrust between communities. The moral guardian a.k.a saffron brigade had a field day as did the cow vigilantes; old regimes were replaced by new regimes, a ban imposed on illegal abattoirs etc. Why, oh why, were people associated with the meat industry made to face hardships? Pray doesn’t the honourable brigade realize, this will ruin the country’s leather industry? Where will
fashionable femmes (of all backgrounds) procure fancy leather bags to flaunt at social-do s? Will they settle for ethnic potli and/or jhola? If cow leather is hard to get what will aam janata and others wear – hawai chappals or wooden clogs (khadau)? Tsk Tsk!
Talking of cattle, wonder why stray cattle loiter on the streets of major towns and cities including the national capital, causing serious transport menace? I mean shouldn’t the venerable gau matas spend the last years of their lives comfortably at home? Alas, all that the thankless children do is turn their bovine mothers/ grandmothers out on the streets to starve and die.
Politically, thorough the entire year, the main opposition has been facing torrents of jibes and ridicule from the incumbent government and the august brigade. Agreed all parties have their fair share of flaws, corruption et al. However, to give the devil his due, the UPA regime never peeped looked into the cooking pots of ordinary folks, or spell out where/whom to worship, who to date or marry? Is this the secular nation that the world has known India to be? Why is there so much hullaballoo about Love Jihad, conversion, and reconversion when several prominent political figures in the ruling party (also part
of the brigade) have wives from other communities? Shouldn’t they focus on developmental projects to undertake rather than keeping a tap on who goes to a temple, church mosque or synagogue or who buys veal which later turns out to be chicken?
I am an ordinary citizen; I do not follow political changes and upheavals too well, but as an educated and sensitive human being I am deeply pained by such malpractices and atrocities. Never in the fifty odd years of my life have I witnessed zero tolerance for faith other than one’s own. It hurts, and badly to find your near and dear ones from diverse communities crouching in fear, wondering what lies in store for them. Since ancient times India has been a Carrefour for divergent cultures, ethnic groups, faith and
traditions. Therefore, attempts to turn it into a Hindu nation are bound to be an exercise in futility.
As we stand on the brink of a New Year, let us all utter just a simple prayer: Shanti
Shanti Shanti. Let peace pervade in 2018!
©Ruchira Adhikari Ghosh
Photos from the Internet
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Born in Guwahati Assam, Ruchira grew up in Delhi and Punjab. A product of Sacred Heart Convent, Ludhiana, she holds a Master’s degree in English Literature from Punjab University, Chandigarh. Armed with a P.G diploma in journalism in Journalism, she has been a pen-pusher for nearly 25 years. Her chequered career encompasses print, web, as well as television. She has metamorphosed as a feature writer, her forte being women’s issues, food, travel and literature.