Friends, semicolons, countrymen, lend me your sparrows

I get stuck in traffic while going to the office every day. During this time, young women in rags approach my vehicle to beg for alms. Emaciated babies wedged in-between their hips and the dull tangerine sky. It is an amphitheater of despair. A showcasing of les misérables. Well, we are all miserable. But if you are reading this, you probably have it better than them. I know that I do.

Because it boils down to simple and cruel economics. Money matters. Some have so much of it that they do not know what to do with it. Many others cannot seem to put their fingers on how much would be enough, so they work to earn until the day they are bed-ridden and dying; staring at the ceiling, listening to the cold and mechanical buzz of the air-conditioner, and wondering if they will ever see a slideshow on the shit they have accumulated, as an acoustic guitar plays in the background.

Then, there are the sparrow people.



Get the duck out of here: Rohith Vemula

India is talking about Rohith Vemula’s suicide. Many are calling it a murder. People want heads to roll. They want to taste the winds of change on their fat tongues. After all, the right to protest is crucial to societal advancement. Even Pythagorean cups must spill over, if need be.

But I don’t understand why Rohith is seen as a martyr. He killed himself, unable to cope with caste-based discrimination in the education system. The young man gave up on the fight. Even if he intended to make a statement on victimization of Dalits, it still meant there is one less person now, committed to change, in the country. His death, while it may not diminish the cause, will add precious little towards it.


Snakes and bladderworts: Nobody wins

Snakes have a nasty reputation because of widespread ignorance about the nature of equilibrium in the wild. And our impact on the environment. They aren’t superficially considered cute like baby seals or magnificent like tigers either.  The truth is that they are beautiful and peace-loving creatures who want nothing to do with us.

We don’t leave them in peace though. We take from this planet beyond what we need. We give back nothing. Even animal conservation, in many places – especially third-world countries, is a cruel joke. One that finds its roots in pretentious altruism and the commerce of greed.


Paw and order: The act of killing

Recently Kerala, a southern state in India, has ordered the mass slaughter of rabid stray dogs. This was after government officials made panicky and untrue statements about their menace. And for the past two months, stray dogs (not just the rabid ones) have been mercilessly hunted down.

The State government’s reaction has been an expected one. Some of the authorities are claiming ignorance. While others – fabricating the truth. A few are talking about vaccination drives and exporting dog meat as practical solutions.


Let us prey

Those with the
sharpest beaks
are taught to sniff
out the weak;
especially the ones
with the tiniest
mouths to feed.

In the wild, even the cruellest of circumstances doesn’t seem unfair. When a raptor swoops in to prey on an injured rodent, the scales of justice do not tip in favour of evil. If a flock of parakeets evict a new born woodpecker, it doesn’t constitute to a crime.


The great Indian chop suey

Rufous Treepie. Thiruvanmyur

Rufous Treepie. Thiruvanmyur

I had written this after the Uber incident last December. An unfortunate time when the Indian government decided to ban a taxi app, pass the paneer tikka and inform the masses that safety has been restored on our streets.

I re-posted it after reading a recent report about one of the accused in the horrific 2012 Delhi incident in which four guys who brutally gang-raped and murdered, inside a bus, a 16-year-old girl. Among other frightening perspectives, the accused spoke about how rape victims must share the blame. That “she should not have fought back”. It is not an uncommon train of thought in India. Some of our politicians believe that. Women politicians too.