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SIGNS OF THE TIMES: Unmissable skeletons popping out from every cupboard
By Humra Quraishi
At long last one has heard what seems the rather apt one liner: BJP, SP, BSP and the Congress little different …thieves stuffed in them! And heard this mouthed here and there, all over. In fact, today’s Indian cannot be taken for a distracting ride by these reshuffles on, at the Cabinet or even at the municipality levels. Placements cum displacements, shifts, changes, moves, counter moves are no longer good enough distracting tactics. Gone are those days!

The small screen together with the likes of Arvind Kejriwal are responsible for bringing about this awareness, this nudging the average Indian …nudging him and her to look somewhat beyond, crane the neck to look far beyond centre stage, towards the Right too, towards those skeletons popping out from every single cupboard of the day! Creaky or brand new! And yet we sit helpless, like mute spectators of the day.

In fact, each time I see Arvind Kejriwal on the small screen he looks frailer yet more than determined to fight the frilly top. He is diabetic and with that it’s a sheer wonder he is managing to take on accompanying stress and more of it - offshoots which invariably come along with such subtle or semi -revolts.

And do you think this churning which has so well begun, gather much momentum or get sidetracked? No, not necessarily get trampled and tattered by police boots and force but, as I have been writing all along, simply because we sit malnourished and almost semi starved. The daily realities and those ongoing survival struggles are hitting hard. With that little grit to take on …

And though I have never traveled towards ‘Mummies Land’ Egypt, but seeing the average Egyptian’s well built form they seem better fed and stronger structured than us. Perhaps, one of those basic reasons why could simply march towards Tahrir Square! No, not fainting on way or getting bullied by the rulers of the day.

Rulers of the day, here? Any guesses? Here, it’s the mosquito! That tiny machchar! Yes, its ruling psyches and much more! And it would be apt to mention right here that another of those one liners doing the rounds is this: what the Taliban and Khaps couldn’t do is being done by the machchar of the day! Yes, the dengue scare is hitting so hard that its back to full sleeves and that all - well - covered conventional dress code! Back to flowing dupattas, covering the head and arms and the very back! Naïve us...as if, like men the mosquito will not find inroads!

GULZAR SAAB, SIMPLY EMOTIONAL …

I bond with the emotional. Probably that explains why each time I have interviewed Gulzar saab, its that emotional poet in him, which left an impact. In fact, I have seen tears rolled down from his eyes when, during the course of an interview, I’d asked him about the Kashmir Valley. And with that he’d looked so emotional and said that the Kashmir Valley fascinated him and Raakhee so much that they’d chosen it for their honeymoon. Adding more along the emotional strain, “Kashmir is an integral part of my emotions, it’s a region which is close to the region of my heart. Was earlier even planning to make a film. I’d even named the film – it was to be titled ‘Is Vaadi Mein’ and it was based on Krishna Chander’s short story collection ‘Kitaab Ka Kafan’- but, then, the Kargil War had broken out …And not now, for now it would be just writing for me. In fact, my colleague Salim Arif is keen to make a film on the Kashmir Valley and if he decides to go ahead and I could do the script and story for that film.”

Today Gulzar saab is focusing only and only on writing. But if you were to ask him whether he’d be penning his autobiography he says, “Kahaan gunjaish hai ! You journalists have already written every single detail to my life. There’s nothing which is hidden, and all’s written about. Also, few years my daughter Bosky had written a book on me. ”

And he is one of those Bollywood personalities who till date concentrates on Urdu. Yes, he writes, reads and converses in Urdu. With that in the background I’d asked him -.In the times we are living in, is it tough to be Urdu speaking? Did you ever suffer from a complex on account of this?

“No, never. I have always been very comfortable with Urdu. In fact, the only time I’ve suffered from a complex was from the fact I couldn’t complete my graduation. For a long time this bothered me as in those days a Degree meant a lot, but I couldn’t complete my graduation because of financial conditions/constraints. And, perhaps, to make up on that front I took to reading and writing. Today focusing on writing...” Adding, “Writing has the capacity to absorb all upheavals, shocks, pains, the conditions you’re going through. It is like driving along a road, which could be rough or uneven or bumpy, yet you somehow manage to go along.”

And I simply had to ask him this - Gulzar saab you haven’t seemed changed or aged in all these years. The why to it ?

He’d simply smiled and said, “Of course, I have …the hair is thinning. But if you insist then the reason is the joy brought in my life by my grandson, Samay … Every evening I play with him, take him to the park and being with him is so very rejuvenating, so very joyful...”

*(Humra Quraishi is a freelance columnist based in Delhi and is currently a visiting Professor in the Academy of Third World Studies in Jamia Milia University).


News Updated at : Thursday, November 01, 2012
 
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