Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Identity - a Fiction

Some training in Bangalore took me to the city I had left more than a year ago. And it was a bit nostalgic to be back and meet some old friends. I had also decided to go to Mysore on week end to meet friends there.
As I crashed on the bed of the guest house room after an exhausting Thursday, the TV told me that there was a Karnataka Bandh the next day. Some so called Patriotic Kannadigas wanted to protect their language and culture from being westernized and being lost so they had decided to help the state and the country incur loses of crores of rupees the next day.
Just then Ajit called from Mysore.
“Tomorrow has been declared a holiday. Why don’t you come to Mysore tomorrow only”
“Is it?? I didn’t get any mail for this?”
“Oh! May be because you are not in the Bangalore users List”
“Ya! May be. Ok then I will come tomorrow only.”
“But try not to come by Volvo. There may be some trouble”
“Ok. I will catch the train – 11:15 one!”
“Fine then. See you tomorrow. By the way your favourite Sholay is coming on Max”
“Oh.. is it?? Hhahaha… have to see it..”
I put on Sholay where a demanding Gabbar Singh was saying, “yeh Haath mujhko de de Thakur”.
It is a serious scene of the movie and how it is more fun for us now, I amused as Mr. Gabbar brought down the two swords with an evil shriek. Is it so easy to cut off the arms of a person, I thought and moved on to Star Sports where the prolix Navjot Sidhu was into his normal fight with words.
I started a bit early for station next morning with buffer for any bandh induced delay. But there was none. The usual Bustling Bangalore Station looked like a lonely desert, due to the bandh. It took me hardly 10 minutes to get the ticket and reach platform 6. I had come quite early and even the train had not yet docked at the platform. So I sat down on the bench, took out my CD player and got immersed in the mellifluous voice of Hariharan.
I was pulled out of the spell by a rough, bulky man. From his dark face and thick growth of hair on his face, it seemed like he had just come out of jail. He spoke something in Kannad.
“Kannad.. Illa”, I replied.
“Listening.. What??”, he tried his hand at English.
“Damn!! Does he want me to share headphones with him”, I thought uneasily.
“Songs”, I replied.
“Hindi???”, he again asked.
I nodded in affirmation.
Then suddenly he started speaking angrily and quickly in Kannad.
“No understand….”, I tried to explain.
“Only Kannada songs”, he said pointing to the CD player. “No Hindi”
“what the hell!!”, I was frustrated.
Then out of no where he snatched the CD player and threw it. I was trembling with anger. Finding nothing to hit him with, I pushed him hard.
In return, I saw his arm in full swing and a perfectly timed slap landing on my face with a elegant follow through. I felt my face heat up and go red like a cherry.
Then suddenly I woke up. Sun’s rays were falling on my face. The CD had played out and the loudspeakers on the platform were playing some Kannad Song.
“Oh Shit! That was a dream”. I was perspiring.
Some people had arrived at the platform now but the train was still not there.
Then what I saw resulted in my heart missing a beat.
I saw that same bulky, ugly man whom I had seen in my dream walking towards me in slow heavy steps.
“Oh!”, my mind suddenly realized “I must have seen the person when I came here. And the dreaded image stuck”
But the man seemed to be coming straight to me. He indeed was. As he came closer I could smell that he was drunk. He came and said something in Kannad. I was reliving my nightmare.
“No.. kannad”, I replied hesitatingly.
“why.. you here…”, he asked.
“Going to Mysore”
“You from delhi??”
“ya..ya.. delhi..”
Then suddenly he burst out.
“why you northies come here??”
“this is our state… you spoiling our state…”
Then some abuses in Kannad.
“Go back to your state….. you don’t know Kannad… why you here.. Run away.. get lost”, he went on and on.

My shock and fear was being converted to a rage.
“What get lost…. Haan….What state ”, I finally replied simmering.
“Is this not India?? We come here to work far from home… and what get lost…”
“Get Lostttttt!!!”, he shouted with spit falling all around.
“Just shut up.. piyaakad saala… you get lost”. I shouted along with some Punjabi abuses.
He went off walking quickly from where he had come.
“What idiot”, I thought sitting down. “It is due to these kind of foolish people that some demagogues are able to divide people into hindus and muslims… kannad and non kannad.. northies and southies… How can any one even think this way…Who fills this kind of crap in the minds of people… Why is that people are finding their identity as a member of a state rather than a nation.. infact in today’s flat world it is more of member of world rather than nation also.. On one hand we talk of globalization and boundaries between countries dissolving… and then you see such kind of people intent to building back the walls…I will surely write a blog on this.”
As I was going through the turmoil, I heard a loud cry. Some 5 – 6 people armed with chains, rods and swords were running in my direction. The bulky gunda was leading the pack.
“Is this really happening???”, I was dumbfounded and frozen.
By the time I realized, they were on me.
Shouting obscenities in Kannad, they hit me with a chain on the back. A rod landed on my chest leaving me gaping for air. Then the bulky man said something to his fellows. And 2 of them caught my hands, stretched them and held them tightly there.
The bulky moved in with 2 swords in his hands, looking more menacing than even Gabbar Singh. “Oh Shit.. I was thinking about this last night only. And now it is happening to me.”
Bulky was saying. “You work with these hands in my state.. I will cut them off”
Then all of a sudden, my mobile on the bedside rang and I woke up trembling.

20 comments:

Amrut said...

Dude... You get a A++ for fiction!!! Too good... Fast paced with the ever present message...
Impressed mightly...
As you put it, "I wanted to read more of it"... Just too good....

Cuckoo said...

Excellent piece of fiction with message of current days. You are right, it is a chunk of people of misguide others for their own benefit. Now I am waiting for quite sometime for Delhi to be renamed like other cities.
Nicely narrated, at one time I thought it happened with you in real. :P
LOL@ your Punjabi abuses.

Fleiger said...

Those are dark dreams my friend... I would get to the root of the reason why you get such dreams (what with the earlier one and now this)

Anyways, nice story, and nice subject. Finding kannadiga-marathi fights everywhere I go currently, and its not because I am marathi that I am saying 90% are started by kannadigas.

SiD said...

@amrut: thanks dude.. and quite opposite, i liked urs much more!!

@cuckoo: i wish delhi will not be renamed...
regd this being close to reality..i guess every fiction has some inspiration...
for this it was the same tirade by the bulky man(after i woke from 1 dream).. which I happned to witness in bangalore... in fact the image of the bulky man has been built same as the 'original'

SiD said...

@fleiger: Wanted to tell something.. and chose the dreams to say this...

well.. i have not been witness to a kannadiga - marathi fyt... but i hope these reduce...

kamal said...

hmm dream within dreams...

well I had fully expected a full debate on the humour and intent of the blog by some Kannadiga... but may be blog is not that widely followed a thing!!

SiD said...

@KT: I am not targetting each and every Kannadiga in this...
The inspiration for this is a real incident to even which you were witness...
and I dont think many will disagree about the fact that this thing is prevelant..
and as regards debate - I am welcome to it..

Fleiger said...

Yes, somehow we are witnessing more xenophobia now that we have open economy. Its not just confined to India, but India being so diverse in everything, it is expressed more...

SiD said...

@Fleiger: yes..may be u r correct.. due to the booming economy and fast changing life styles of people has this effect.. that raises the question - are we moving too fast..

acc to me, even if we are.. we should carry on!!

SUPRITHA.S said...

hey..chanced upon ur blog!!...
awesome post!!!...

Fleiger said...

Of course we should carry on, there is no point in stopping the advances we are making for some "challenged" individuals...

SiD said...

@supritha: thanks... glad to know that people are understanding it.. on my company blog, I got comments saying. they didn't understand the post at all !!! ;)

@fleiger: exactly nmy thoughts!!

Fleiger said...

Company blog?

Anonymous said...

hey nice post...
wat u'v written is wat actually might happen here in sometime!!! there are people who would really treat u like that, but wat the heck, just a nightmare!! or is it a dream for some :D????

i liked that introvert manual, neat ;)!!

SiD said...

fleiger: Oh.. I guess it was after u left..
We have something called Infy blogs now... :) so I post the same posts there too.. for infy friends and readers who dont have net...and all for all those who r on bench ;)

@anonymos: thanks for the comment..
would luv to your name know too :)

flyaway mind said...

these senseless activities in the name of boudaries are mostly politically activated..just another attention grabbing activity....

Neha said...

Pleasant post once again. I have been visiting your blog habitually from fairly some time and I truly like you fashion of writing. The way you articulate and put thoughts in trivial things is incredible to be appreciated. And the message in every post is something praiseworthy. Keep up the good work - social wakefulness, good reading and entertainment. Thanks for all these.

SiD said...

@flyaway mind: yes.. u r ryt.. these are politically motivated.. but strangely enuff.. people get Motivated.. thats the sad point..

@neha: thanks for being a regular visitor.. guess u dont have a blog..do I know you??

Neha said...

No we dont know each other. Just came across your blog thru a common friend - vishesh. No beating arnd the bush, i visit just for some nice reading. I do have a blog but I aint good at writing not even regular. My blog:-
http://nehapandey.blogspot.com

SiD said...

@neha :oh.. ok...anyways.. thanks for the nice feedback.. keep visiting ;)