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Friday, October 02, 2015

On Gandhi Jayanti

When one is handicapped, one gets nasty scares and also feels absurdly proud about doing very little things. This morning I cleaned the bathroom thoroughly for the first time since the accident – I mean thoroughly, not only scrubbing the wc and the washbasin but also the entire floor and even the drain pipe and grille. I nearly slipped and fell on the soapy floor once, and God alone knows what would have happened if I did, my leg still being held up by a plate screwed into the bone. Then I thought it prudent to kneel on the floor. After the first ten minutes the pain started becoming unbearable, and I began sweating like a pig, but worse was to come: when I tried to get up, I found I couldn’t! And I was entirely alone, it goes without saying, without even a phone in my pocket. I’d have died before I would scream for help. Anyway, to make a long story short, I managed to scramble up eventually by using both hands, the door handle and the towel rod – thank heaven one of them didn’t come off at just the critical moment. If this is a foretaste of the future, it is sombre indeed… of course I shall cope till I can’t cope any more, but karma could have been a little kinder.

Rajdeep sent me a couple of links that have made me sombre too. I just read a book about Japan going through difficult times, now that growth has slowed to near zero for decades. And yet an Indian who visited Japan recently found this. I am quite sure now that India will never catch up, not in a decade, not in a century. Meanwhile, what do Indians do? Well, an ex-justice of the Supreme Court goes around abusing Subhas Bose (can’t even think of original insults!) – someone who has personally achieved nothing in his life that will put him in the history books, too – while Tagore’s ancestral house is being allowed to degenerate into a slum, Arvind Kejriwal has (quite predictably) become a hugely forgettable sick joke, and while India ranked 135 out of 187 in the Human Development Index 2014 after 67 years of trying, the sickest (read most privileged-) part of the population is going gaga over how Zomato is ‘conquering’ the world and how our dollar billionaires are proliferating. And the absolutely real problem with this section is that they feel neither retarded nor ashamed. I would so like to know that a few of my old boys and girls are doing something meaningful for the India that matters: the billion people who still just keep scrounging to keep their heads above the water. One particularly moronic ex-student actually wrote that Facebook deserves 'respect' because it has a billion users. Respect. Respect.

The parents of a current pupil came over to discuss her progress, and in the course of the conversation told me that they run a clutch of family businesses, one of which has 700-odd employees. That impressed me, and I am not easily impressed. But what really made my eyes light up was hearing how much the lady’s old and ‘retired’ father contributes still – from managing the finances to looking after the household to dropping off the child at school and tuitions when the parents are not around: the woman tearfully and gratefully admitted that ‘without my father none of this would have been possible’. If I have any prayers at all, I would pray that I can be that kind of father to Pupu in the years to come.

It’s October now. How quickly the year has flown! The days are still muggy, but the nights are much less so: it’s time to start hoping that we’ll have a long, chilly winter. It rained heavily today, but that didn’t much help to get rid of the sweltering heat, so I am sulking.

When I narrated my ordeal of the morning to a class in the evening, several girls laughed. Yes, they laughed. Not one boy did.

oh, what the hell.


Soham Mukhopadhyay said...

Dear Sir,

It was horrifying to read your experience on cleaning the bathroom.Thank god you are alright. You should have taken precautions like keeping your mobile within your reach(as you've mentioned). I really feel sad for this country- where an NRI becoming a CEO of a multinational company gets more media coverage than an Indian, being a children's rights activist, winning the Nobel prize. As for girls- they are a sick lot, by rule. It is saddening that they laughed on hearing your ordeal.

I wish you a speedy recovery and get well soon, Sir.

with best wishes,

Noodle said...

Oh Sir! You have a lovely, well-maintained house, and that's why I will take the liberty to say that surely the washroom is not far from the rest of it. Then why o why?! Anyway, now that all's well and no damage has been done, I really hope you will not be tempted into another cleaning spree until you are completely healed.

Take care, Sir.