So finally, it seems I’m on my way home for Diwali.
Actually, I shouldn’t really call Patna ‘home’ b/c I’ve been away from the place for soooooooo long (more than ten years now!) that I feel disconnected from the place. In fact, I used to feel more at home in Bombay & would yearn to get back as soon as I could whenever I used to travel. Except when I was going to Delhi where I have friends, friends & more friends that I have an absolute blast with!! What keeps me going back to Patna, apart from the fact that my parents live there, is the thought of being taken care of & chilling out for a few days without having a zillion things to do, places to be at etc.
Anyway, coming back to the context of this post….I had planned to take a train from Calcutta to Patna & fly on my wayback. Unfortunately, two days before my departure (tonight) students in Bihar went on a rampage to protest the violence against North Indians perpetrated by Raj Thackerey & his release from jail. For some inexplicable reason, they started burning trains en route to Patna, so all trains to & from Patna were cancelled over the past two days. Thankfully, just in time for my trip home, the trains have resumed.
The thought of not being able to make it back home for Diwali had depressed me a bit. Festivals are the times when I miss family the most. Not that we have extravagant celebrations on Diwali (the Hum Aapke Hain Kaun kinds….God, they were so over-the-top & fake!!), but I like to be with my family on the occasion. We light diyas/candles, cook good food & just generally meander about the house. Everyone around you is with family during Diwali & is so happy that it sucks if you’re not happy too!
Coming to the issue of Raj Thackerey, I cannot believe the man has caused such unrest in the country (yes, it’s not limited to Maharashtra alone anymore) and still keeps getting let-off from prison!! What I want to ask is: who gave him the right to take law in his hands & go around beating people up? Why is he such a hypocrite? Like there are no Maharashtrians living & working outside Maharashtra & outside India? Take Gujrat & Madhya Pradesh for example. These two states share their borders with Maharashtra & are teeming with Maharashtraisn. Going by his logic, they too are snatching away employment opportunities from locals & should be beaten up & sent back to Maharashtra!! How would he react then??
For one, I have always taken exception to the ‘Jai Maharashtra’ slogan that politicians & celebrities keep chanting at rallies & award functions. Since when has Maharashtra – or any state for that matter – has become bigger & more important than India? No wonder that it’s been 60+ years since independence & we’re still walking on crutches on our way to development. Development cannot and will not take place till we leave our narrow-mindedness behind and stop letting ‘self-proclaimed’ leaders divide us on the basis of ethnic lines.
Why is the government not able to keep him behind bars for good? Are they even interested? How can one individual get so much bigger than the law and the principles of democracy & freedom that this entire country is founded upon?? Even Mumbaikars are scared to go to out on the streets thinking of the rioting MNS supporters. Since when has it become acceptable that one man can cripple an entire city by fear, holding millions of people to ransom?
Hopefully, things will be better after Diwali. Not that I expect some miracle to happen…but we could all surely use some lovin’.
Happy Diwali everyone