Signs Of The Times


    By Humra Quraishi
    It’ll be stupid of me if I write about this peaking heat and also about this latest petrol hike, as these onslaughts are there to stay. Even the thick skinned can’t avoid this latest hike. The government is squeezing , extracting that proverbial pound of flesh , pushing thousands towards that edge. You don’t have to be an investigative reporter to see the haggard and hapless. Ever increasing numbers of the lean getting leaner by the day. In fact, it wouldn’t be amiss to mention that with disparities on the rise , there could be only one convenient option : distractions thrown into foreplay or at any other stage ,so that the masses don’t come up with half cries of revolt . Full throated cries beyond their means, for battered and malnourished lies the average Indian .

    We are anyway a depressed lot .According to an earlier conducted WHO sponsored study a high percentage of Indians are sitting depressed – around 9% of Indians reported having an extended period of depression within their lifetime, nearly 36% suffered from what is called Major Depressive Episode (MDE) with symptoms characterized by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy and poor concentration, besides feeling depressed.

    Needless to add that this latest petrol hike will hit and depress many more . Left to live and die in this state of utter helplessness .Which will worsen in the months to come .No betterment chances , no matter which government comes and goes .As opportunists hold sway .As we sit stranded .Caught between the devil and the deep sea .

    What was the need to come up with this hike ,at this stage when strong hot winds are enough to hit ! And don’t expect any relief .No going back on this hike , for any of the governmental setups – either here at the Centre or at the State levels .

    Sit back . Read along ,these lines of Nida Fazli , in this stark hopelessness .

    ‘Just keep on living /Just keep on living like this / Say nothing /When you get up in the morning /Take a head count of the family /Slouch in the chair and read the paper /There was a famine there /And a war raged somewhere else /Be thankful that you are safe /Switch on the radio and listen to the new pop songs /When you leave the house /Paste a smile on your face/ Pack handshakes in your hands /Keep a few meaningless phrases on your lips /Be passed through different hands like a coin/Say nothing /A white -collar / Social respect /A few drinks everyday/ What else do you need /Just keep on like this /Say nothing …’


    As we go around in this fish market or call it by any other apt term , searching for the next President , America’s well known psephologist Professor Allan J Lichtman of American University ( Washington ) lands in New Delhi this week , to deliver lectures. No , apparently not to guide us in this search mission but to throw light on America’s forthcoming Presidential elections .

    I have just about one basic query – will it make any difference in America’s political intrusions in this sub -continent . Obama had begun on a heady note, but the enthusiasm got more than diluted as the months passed by .Those loud and clear wooing tactics complete with well rehearsed and well tutored salaam – alaikums fizzled out as ground realities worsened .What with increased drone attacks , more killings and bomb blasts . American forces have officially departed from Iraq but not before placing those dummies and not before wrecking the very fabric . And destruction continues in Afghanistan and in the regions around , with America’s expansionist plans well in place .There be little difference in those policies and plans , no matter who gets elected or thrown out .


    In this heat and dust and penniless situation if you find commuting difficult ,sit back .A new heady distraction seems coming up, in the form and shape of ND Tewari’s DNA test results .Blood already extracted or collected from Tewari’s veins. And the moment it gets declared that he is indeed Rohit Shekhar’s. biological father , discussions and debates and talks will take off on the small screen Just wait for those take offs .Much will be discussed. Many more intrusions into his ‘private life’. Right from his sexual escapades to those partnerships .

    Sad it is that these so called seasoned politicians like Tewari go about in this reckless way .Leaving you wondering : Where are the real men ! Where are the heroes ! Those men who protected , who were protectors , who gave up their lives , for a crusade ! Those men who rendered poetry , held those dastangoi sessions . No , not necessarily in air conditioned dens but under the clears blue skies or under the shade offered by trees and along the banks . Anywhere and everywhere but sans that synthetic format .

    Men were men when they walked about in dhotis , khadi spun pyjamas , shervanis , achkans . They carried personalities. That grit to stand up and take a stand .Little heard of those pouncing or prowling sessions. More of those traces of subtle romance , that abundance of that big heap of emotions, that gentle relay of innocent romance .Not just on the small or big screens and not just along the yahoo strains but even on the street stands and chowk – corners .They took the trouble of not aimlessly throwing about pelvic thrusts but took pains to woo. That gentle inter-webbing of words, amidst that intensity .

    Today , why these obnoxious sexual encounters ? These raw rapes , raping of not just forms but shattering of souls ? Why this madness ! Probably because we’ re fed on wrong notions of manliness , on bizarre notions of love and all that it holds out , on that lopsided mixing of wants and urges to complete the mess . Fools we’ re to go mixing love with lust !

    Today’s human forms could be attired in the trendiest possible trousers , stolen or imported from those cold bloodied cowboy belts , but there lurks sheer shallowness ,synthetic sheen , dumb hollowness of a terribly made-up kind.

    And much in contrast to those horribly twisted notions that developed we stand or sit in any of the government appointed positioning or postures , the crudest forms of abuse are witnessed in big bodied metros of this country .Nothing really coming in way, as legislators go watching porn and much more along the strain. Cheap thrills and those kicks! Thus goes the trend .


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