Archive for April, 2015

the bike, the shoe and tears


Nirved was a young and ambitious man doing engineering from a reputed college. His college had a policy that students who had their homes within a radius of 40 km can opt to not stay at the college hostel and come from their homes instead. This policy was a boon for Nirved’s family because the additional fee of keeping Nirved in a hostel would have been difficult considering Nirved had 3 sisters all of whom were studying in different colleges and Nirved’s father was the only earning member of the family. Nirved nonetheless was a brilliant student and he was sure he would get a decent job during the on-campus recruitment drive. He wanted to spend more time on studies but it took him almost 4 hours daily to commute to college and then back home. He had been telling his father to get him a bike but his father was unable to buy one for him and this made Nirved very angry. Nirved assumed his father didn’t understand his condition and was in no mood to buy what he wanted and was just postponing the idea.

Few months later, Nirved got placed in a multinational company and everyone was very happy. Soon he was out of college and got his offer letter. The place of his work was even further from home and he still didn’t have a bike. He kept on cursing his father for not gifting him a bike. The thought of going to office navigating the traffic snarls of a big city and then back home was something which irked Nirved. He joined office and saw that most of his colleagues either had a bike or a car. He was the only one in his team who used to commute using public transportation.

Months passed and Nirved still didn’t have a bike. One day he decided it was enough. He thought he would stay as a paying guest near office to cut on the commute time. It meant Nirved will have to pay for the new place and since it was in the city the rent was high. His parents convinced him to not shift to a new location but Nirved was adamant.

The day he had to move, he was already late for office and by mistake he wore his dad’s trouser and shoes. He rushed to the bus station but hardly had he walked some distance on the pitched road when his heels began to hurt. He realized it was his father’s shoes he was wearing and a small nail that was nailed to keep the shoe together had come out. Since he was already late he continued walking towards the bus stop. A few steps more and he felt his socks were wet. He lifted his leg and noticed that the shoe soles had almost peeled off. The water on the road had seeped through the holes to wet his socks. He nonetheless continued to the bus station.

When the bus conductor asked for the ticket price Nirved took out the wallet from his back pocket and realized it was not his but his father’s. He opened it up and instead of finding money saw only a few paper slips. Nirved kept some money in his office bag and paid for the ticket but thought of inspecting his father’s wallet. The first slip was of a Dell laptop reading which Nirved realized that Rs 15,000 was still left to be paid for it. He was the one using the laptop since college. He took out the second slip which was a note from the place where his dad worked. On the top of the note was written “Hobby Day” to which his father had replied, “Collecting and wearing new shoes.” Only today morning when Nirved’s mother told Nirved’s father to buy a new shoe for himself he told her this one (which Nirved was wearing now) would last for at least 6 months more. Nirved’s eyes swelled with tears.

He took out the last slip which was a newspaper cutting of a bike exchange scheme. Nirved’s dad had an old motorcycle which along with Rs 50,000 could be exchanged for a new bike. The day of the exchange was today in the afternoon. Tears kept rolling through Nirved’s eyes all this while. He got down the bus at the next stop, took a taxi back home, reached for his father and hugged him tightly. He kept crying profusely and told his dad that he will not move to the city and he doesn’t need a bike either.

This is a short story – a token of appreciation for my father, inspired by a WhatsApp message i received today.

who needs to get a life?


Belur Math – located in Belur, Howrah district, West Bengal, is the headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission. There are several shrines inside the math but the main one is dedicated to Ramakrishna Paramhansa. The grand monument was consecrated on 14th January, 1938 and was built with the infusion of Hindu, Islamic, Christian and Buddhist motifs. The mission is the cultural and spiritual center of everything involving Swami Vivekananda and Ramakrishna Paramhansa. It runs schools and hospitals in many places across India. It is also involved in various charity and social upliftment events. The place holds special significance for Indians, especially those from West Bengal. Since the place is very close to the place I stay in India I have been there on countless occasions and every time it provides me the peace to look for answers that I need. It’s a serene place located on the bank of River Hooghly and is usually full of pilgrims from across the India.

the ramakrishna temple inside belur math (source: google)

On 3rd March, 2015, around evening and some time before the math closes for public, there were a couple of blasts near the second entrance. From what I know it was at the place where devotees assemble to keep their shoes before having a dekho of the entire campus. Sources have claimed the blasts to be because of crude bombs or powerful fire crackers. Some sources also mention the presence of metal pieces. The impact was strong enough to break some window panes. There was obviously some pandemonium and security was beefed up. Thankfully no one was injured but in lieu of the Burdwan incident it’s important that every angle is investigated to assure the public.

I don’t believe in creating unnecessary hysteria to unnerve the public but I believe in factual reporting of incidents. Considering the importance of a place like Belur Math, obviously media should have reported about the incident but most people came to know about it from either Facebook or Twitter. Some media outlets picked up the incident but as a non-issue and the attitude of most celebrity journalists was the same. Most surprisingly, a Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP, Derek O’Brien, whose party runs the government in West Bengal dissed at the “twitter armies” for making “mountains out of mole hills”. I expected him to be a bit more sensitive towards the issue. According to him people discussing the Belur Math blasts didn’t have a life and he even ended the tweet with a happy smilie. I expected him to be a bit sensible too but alas.

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Since we don’t know the details of the blasts we can’t say anything and since we can’t say anything we can’t dismiss the blasts altogether. The best thing to do would have been to assure the public that there is nothing to worry and that the government is probing all angles. Derek could have said that the situation is under control and requested the junta to not spread rumors but what did he do instead?

Now coming to the point of making mountains out of mole hills.

In December, 2014, there was a fire in St Sebastian Church, Dilshad Garden, Delhi. It was an unfortunate incident and since the church suspected arson an SIT was established by the Ministry of Home Affairs. Derek O’Brien still went on a frenzy. He has a right to get horrified and angry and sad and join all-faith dharnas but he could also have been composed and responsible and wait until the result of the SIT was out.

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Nonetheless, moving on.

In January, 2015, there was a fire in Church of Resurrection, Rohini, Delhi. The police suspected it to be a case of accidental fire by short-circuit but what did Derek O’Brien do? He again raised a frenzy of another church “burnt down”? Really? Had the result of the SIT on the St. Sebastian incident come out and it has been established that it was burnt down by some miscreants? I believe no, so how was Mr O’Brien so sure that even this church was “burnt down” and not a case of accidental fire. For all we know, even the St. Sebastian fire may be accidental.

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Nonetheless, moving on.

There were a few more incidents of drunken dare and burglary at some Delhi churches and Christian schools but by now Derek O’Brien had rigidly assumed that all these incidents had a “pattern” and were incidents of “targeted violence”. He obviously did not tell us the source and reasoning of his assumptions. He suspected the timing and wondered if it was to polarise the polls. You must be wondering if the Trinamool Congress was contesting the Delhi Assembly election. Oh, come on. They were concerned about the prospects of fellow secular friend Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party.

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So I am wondering who is the one not having a life and creating mountains out of molehills. And if Derek O’Briend thinks that temples across India are not vandalized and priests either killed or terrorized on a frequent basis then he is living a life of ignorant bliss or he has been reading a selected few newspapers and watching a selected few news channels.