I’m just back from Indore, where I went without a tangible purpose, over the weekend. I’d had enough of student life. I wanted the life of a wanderer. I wanted time to introspect... and emerge anew. Of course, I was only partly a wanderer – I had money, you see! Still, I did spend a lot of time with myself.
So when I was finally free from Rohit (O yeah, coincidentally, he too visited Indore these days – and I strictly asked him to leave me alone!) and the yummy poha-jalebi he dished out on Saturday morning, I found myself in a decent hotel room, all to myself. And for the first time in a long time, I felt good about this. An afternoon outing saw me roaming around in search of a stock of juices on which I intended to sustain the two days. Was a time well spent – observing people and their small talk, walking along slowly. Be it this time of lazy sunshine, or the evening maze of tangled weekend urgency, I noticed one similarity – people in general tend to do their own thing oblivious of what circumstances around. What with the school-boy flirting with his classmate on the streets, suit-clad honchos stopping their sedans in Lalbag for a pee, locals haggling with handicrafts-people from all over India for 5 rupees, hoteliers suspicious of a boy renting a room all alone... India is still the same in spirit. In many ways, it bodes well for a community searching for life amidst all the temptations of the world. In other ways, could it bode ill for the future generations? Do we have the capacity of assimilating the West and the East in a natural confluence of benefits, leaving behind the limitations?
Reading The Siege of Mecca by Yaroslav Trofimov in this period has opened up a world in front of me which I knew existed. We have to stop blaming Islam for each and every damnation on earth. What’s wrong with Islam? Absolutely nothing. With some of its followers – maybe yes. Some have the wrong notion that ‘everyone needs to follow my religion, in my way’. But then, that’s the virus festering in all major religions all over the world. Hinduism suffers from it, Christianity does too. Other religions, I don’t know – I haven’t been exposed to them enough. It’s only when the sense of individuality gets superseded by group behaviour norms that you see radical fundamentalism of the nature largely attributed to Islam. I’m sure the way things are going – Christianity oppositions in Orissa, misguided Hindu stronghold in Gujarat, to cite a few – these two religious behemoths are soon going to join the ‘radicalism’ bandwagon. And we have no one else to blame but ourselves. Though we live superfluously together, our mental disconnect with each other widens by the day. We are unwilling to change.
These are random thoughts completely incomplete with respect to my entire sojourn in Indore, but they form some bases of my life now. Yesterday, incidentally, was International Peace Day. And it was a watershed day for me. I made peace with myself, drew a roadmap for my future pace in life, and also reinstated my conviction: I will change. If the world thinks it worthwhile, I will be an example.
Development, Environment and Forestry? – they will automatically fall in place.
--- Siddharth Iyer, PFM 09