Monday, April 16, 2007

Poverty: Not my problem


Chapter 1 : Growing up....

"stupid! I was so stupid then!!" From time to time if you can say this about yourself, its a sure sign that you are growing up! 'cause realizing u were stupid then, kinda makes u a bit smarter now. but is this growing up thing a continuous process? i think आपण प्रत्येक सेकंदाला जरी वयानी वाढत असलो तरी actually मोठे somewhat खटक्या-खटक्या नी होतो. These are the very rare moments which change us...even if that change is small or unnoticable, it is _always_ irreversible. म्हणून मी त्यांना 'खटक़े' म्हणतो. छोट्या-छोट्या गोष्टी असतात many times they are very personal and often unshared. Its fun to keep track of these rare events. They kindof show your journey in this world...rather the 'turns' you took in this journey. अश्याच काही खटक़्यांची गोष्टं....

I would never forget the warm summer nights of my childhood in pune. चौथी नंतरच्या मे महिन्याचे दिवस. अंबे असण्याचे आणि अभ्यास नसण्याचे दिवस. रात्री सगळी पालक़ मंडळी either balconey or सोसायटीच्या खालच्या कट्यावर निवांत गप्पा मारत बसायची. ती सुट्टी मला विषेश आठवते कारण त्या सुट्टीत मला भावाची "atlas goldline super" cycle मिळाली. ती इतकी उंच होती कि मला मधून पाय घालुन चालवायला लागायची. रोज रात्री गल्लितली १०-१५ पोरं cycle वर चोर-पोलिस खेळायची. For a long time I was dying to be a part of that action. एक दोन दिवस practice करुन मी पण रात्री माझी cycle काढली. सदाशिव, शुक्रवार, नारायण आणि नवी पेठ - ही boundry थरली. Ohh yess..I was no longer one of the little guys who played near the building where there moms can see them. This was the big league. I would race on the roads, just like big people. Felt great already! teams पडल्या..मी चोर होतो. रस्ते काहिच माहित नसल्यामुळे मी एका मोठ्या चोरा बरोबर रहायच अस थरवल.
and so the game began...पेरुगेट वरन‌‍ left घेतला, टिळकला right, मधेच कुठल्या तरी गल्लित left, परत right....we kept going. Damn these big guys were pretty fast. I was fighting to keep up. अस बराच वेळ चाललं. As I was navigating through these hitherto unknown parts of the city I glanced back to see if any of the "police" have caught up with us, and lost my fellow fugitives in the process. I found myself alone in the middle of nowhere. With no clue how to get back.
For the first few minutes I was confused. Then I was scared... started peddling aimlessly, hoping desparetly to see something familier. "अता घर परत सापडलच नाही तर काय?...कश्याला बोंब मारत ह्यांच्या बरोबर आलो..मस्त building मधे खेळत बसलो अस्तो! एक काम करु, पोलिस चौकी शोधू. अमित हारवला होता तेव्हा पोलिसांनिच त्याला परत आणला होता..."
I dont remember how I got back, or how much time I was 'lost'. But there I was back in the group all smiling and laughing. you know the best part? no one even knew that I was lost in the first place. I got into a big problem and solved it myself without anyone even knowing about it!!
that is like so...responsible, so "grown up". Ofcourse I ran upstairs and hugged my mom like a baby after that, But the moment was not lost....

I had tht "alone in the middle of nowhere" feeling again, when I deposited a check for almost 8 lakh rupees in BU. I mean what the fuck did I just do??? I had squandered my parents entire retirement savings, banking only on my hardwork and intelligence to get it back. And I had serious doubts about both. But as they say, its not an adventure if it doesn't scare u. I still remember the day I got funding and was in a position to repay every single penny. Man I felt so responsible, so "grown up". Of course I drank myself silly that night. But the moment was not lost….

असच एकदा आम्ही डेक्कन वर बिड्या मारत बसलो होतो. त्या आधी 'कु कुच कु' मधे एक मस्त कोंबडी पोटात सर्कवलेली. दुसऱ्या दिवशी MS साठी अमेरिकेला उडणार होतो. आम्ही 'जी जे घैसास' च्या steps वर बसलो होतो. compound च्या पलिकडे एक भिकारी उभा होता. beggers are as much a part of the cityscape as roads and sidewalk, so I saw him but didn't take notice as such. बिड्यांन वर बिड्या पेटत होत्या आणि अमच्या गप्पा रंगत होत्या. पण बळच माझ लक्ष त्या भिकाऱ्या कडे जात होत. तसा standard भिकारी होता,complete with फाटके कपडे, वाकलेल शरीर, सुऱ्कुतलेला चेहरा, the works! actually तो भिक पण मागत न्हवता, नुस्ताच सुन्नपणे बघत होता. आमच्या general गप्पा सुरु होत्या. topclass education, dollar मधे पगार, गोऱ्या पोरी, etc. basically bright future आणि राडा ऐश. Again my gaze drifted towards this begger dude. त्याच्या हातावर कुणीतरी एक रुपया थेवला होता आणि तो त्याच्या कडे फक्त बघत होता. I have never seen an image more devoid of hope. तशी आपली कातडी टणक असते but this paradox hit me. आम्ही इथे २५० रुपयांची कोंबडी रिचवुन ४-४ रुपायच्या बिड्या मारत होतो अणि तो ४ रुपये जमले तर रात्री उपाशी झोपाव लागणार नाही असा विचार करत असेल.

मी काही दुधखुळा नाही. I understand everybody cannot be equal. some are rich and some will be poor. But damn! I mean I can survive without a few useless luxuries like cigarettes but somebody give that man some food for christ's sake. fulltu senti होउन मी पाकिट काढल आणि हाताला लागल्या तितक्या नोटा त्याच्या हातात कोंबल्या. मला वाटल तो full खुश होइल, हसेल वगेरे. पण त्यानी त्या नोटांकडे पाहिलही नाही. सलाम केल्या सारख काहितरी केलं आणि compound ला धरत पुधे निघुन गेला. मला काही समजल नाही. I mean have seen more wretched looking beggers smile at a rupee and this guy was staring blank at 500 bucks. थोडे परत घ्यावे का, असाही विचार मनात डोकावून गेला.
मी अजुन एक गाधवपणा केला. तो जाताना त्याच्या डोळ्यात पाहील. Maybe I was smoked up but those were the eyes of a man who once had it all, and lost everything in an..instant. I could feel the mute reverberations of tht instant in his moist sunken eyes.
The paradox hit me like a bullet. I had everything to look fwd to, and tht poor old guy had nothing. At tht moment I was so god damn lucky to be me, and not him. But for a sec this thought occured to me...wht if I _was_ him. And tht scared the shit out of me. What would it be like to lose it all?
तेव्हाच एक खटका उडाला. I guess wht you need the most to survive this stay on earth is not money, not power, not people, not even food. Its plain and simple 'hope'. Everything can be built from it, everything. So buddy, you keep your hope thingy where no one can reach it, not even your closest and dearest. 'cause u lose him and u lose it all. Perhaps I could hve done without this incident, but it happened never the less.
And yes it did make me feel very "grown up".....

Take the highway they say, turns slow you down. but I think some turns are worth slowing down. कोण जाणे पुधच वळण तुम्हाला काय शिकवून जाईल !!

2 comments:

Sandesh Dhagle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nachiket said...

good logic.......read conditional probabilty....and it may be applied here.....btw......does logic work everywhere?....