After completing a post-graduation in broadcast journalism, with high expectations of getting a job or at least an internship in the media industry was the dream Nandita had in her mind. A post-graduation degree from a renowned university was what she had when she entered the first office she entered to apply for the journey of her dreams. After receiving her curriculum vitae, they told her that she will be contacted when an action will be taken upon her application. She waited. For a month, she was antsy and falling and climbing the cliff of hopes.
She received nothing, so she was advised that she should apply in a few more companies. She did as she was told. No reply ever made way to her. She grew anxious and started questioning that what the problem was. She consulted with her seniors and they asked her to apply for internships. She did as told. On entering the office for the first day as an intern after multiple unanswered applications, she felt happy. She was finally on her road to success.
The next 1 week went where she was embarrassed and bewildered. Why? Because she lacked the basic skills required for working in the media industry. She felt low all the time and after months of hard work and learning, she was finally ready to embark on the journey.
She lacked skills. This is a simple thing to say and the situation is bad enough in India itself and our students are dreaming of getting jobs that can rival to that of the global jobs. The focus is on the theory subjects and passing the exam. The schools and colleges not equipped enough to help the students gain enough skills to make them ready for the future. The ancient tattered syllabus of the education system is also a reason why the practical knowledge is not the focus.
Skills are not only for getting good jobs but they also provide the individual satisfaction to the students as they know what they want and are able to get it. The area of interest is quite clear to them and they know exactly how they have to walk down that road.
For a student just out of the education system so old, all that he needs is practical knowledge and skill. The rapidly changing world needs the people who are skilled to do their work. The various programs started by organizations and government are the only ways to acquire the skills. The mainstream education system has proved itself highly incapable in providing what the students require later in life.
Skills based education is the only way that is going to provide just a small solution for the unemployed youth. With skills, they can set higher goals and at least try for the best. The start-ups also require a basic set of skills and this can prove to be a tool for the frustrated and hopeless youth
I always wondered what it would feel like to give up. Is it that easy to give up?
What were they thinking about before they gave up?
Were they happy that everything was ending at last or they were sad that the things were ending this way?
There are so many questions that remain unanswered to the naked eyes. Why can’t we see that a person is thinking about ending his life? How ignorant a mind and a pair of eyes could be?
Looking up to the stars tonight, a thought crawls into my brain. Are you happy now that all of this has ended or it just doesn’t matter anymore?
Didn’t you find it easy to leave the fight and just refrain from answering the obvious?
Wasn’t it better to give up when no one cared to stop and actually look at you? Did you feel the pain when all of them just passed by, laughing and giggling in their own blissful world?
Why fight, when no one cares that you exist or not?
There were some tears shed, after you were gone. But if they cared so much, how dare they be so ignorant?
How could they un-look the pain you were in?
Aren’t they feeling guilty now? The answer is-No.
Go out, stand still and shout out loud. Shout that you need help, you can’t take it anymore, and it’s unbearable.
See what happens. Do they stop and listen to you or call the staff of the Looney bins?
A crowd consists of busy people.
Safe line, everyone has one. What made you cross yours? It wasn’t safe anymore, right?
You couldn’t feel the love you had for the things that you prized most and held close to the heart.
You were slowly letting things just pass by, slip out of your heart, wasn’t that so easy?
As you planned how to do it, you went through all the memories you had- good as well as bad.
You were searching for something that may stop you but you didn’t find any.
And at that moment, you felt so hopeless. You were so frustrated that you wanted to tear the world apart. But you don’t have the strength left to do that, so you decided to tear yourself apart.
That’s easy, you thought.
Don’t you ever feel guilty that you chose to leave?
No, because when they didn’t care enough when you were crying, then why would they care if you died.
A journey taken upon by two individuals to the unknown,
To find a myth that they heard stories about;
A game of trial and error started and words were read,
Words of wisdom the only torch for them for the darkness they knew nothing about.
The ship set for the destination promising a better future with happiness,
In the search of the unknown,
A unicorn, they wanted, was it really a myth?
They are about to find out.
Tear stained puffed cheeks welcomed the journey with a hearty embrace,
A farewell before the exploration;
Praise them both, for they started the journey when it was on the verge of a premature death.
To prove that it is not a myth, there are a need of few ingredients;
This myth is delicate in nature and takes its sweet time to be cooked,
The need of precision and care is utmost.
Buses in Kolkata are lifelines for the commuters from all age groups and professions. The blue big buses along will the red mini and the super-fast durpalla buses competing to gain more passengers- a sight that is a habit for the city. They not only carry passengers from one place to another but they also carry the stories rich of cultures, languages, history, politics and so much more.
I remember the time when one drunk man got into our bus and the sarcastic witty remarks from the daily passengers of the bus. He may or may not have received a stink eye or two from a few passengers, but he also gave us the smile and laugh to last the day spent in the usually hectic lifestyle of a metro city. The smiles and laughs were common at sight everywhere even under the humid onslaught of monsoon.
During the oh-so-famous political bandhs of the city, the passengers made friends of lifetime, because a friend during bandh is a friend in biryani, phuchka and cha. The hands leaping out of the doors and helping a co-passenger on-board decided that the seats saved next day and the days to come.
Talking about Kolkata is an incomplete conversation if there is no chorcha (conversations) on politics. The commuters in the bus may not know each other’s name but they definitely knew the political orientation of the fellow passenger. The haughty conversations embedded incidents that had appeared in the morning newspaper or the previous day’s evening broadcast television.
The voices rose a pitch higher, hand gestures more dramatically moving and the listeners getting engulfed in the war of words- a common scene in a bus in Kolkata. Office time rush wasn’t as intolerable as it seemed to be with people hanging out of the buses, sweat, loud honking and so much more that you cannot like.
This time when I went back to the city of joy, something was different. The city that once bustled with locals and visitors speaking world’s sweetest language wasn’t at its polite best. My fellow passengers in the bus had their earphones nestled in their ears, banning any new idea from entering. The only conversations echoing in the buses were that of the excited girls and the occasional innocent questions from the toddlers.
A man willing to start a conversation and him failing, stoic faces looking ahead because they have better places to be at, politics is no more a topic for common folk, the lack of office gossip. The floorboards of the buses are desperate to squeak with the excitement of the passengers, but they are pressed under the increasing weight of unshared loneliness, unspoken words, mute eyes and so much unvented despair.
Will it be too much to ask for my old city buses back?
To a person who has never set foot in the southern regions of India, it is a puzzle only solved by the popular perception of coconuts, gajra, lungi and white shirts on sight. A blessing in disguise for a student who loves travelling came in the form of a call letter that demanded her to go to the Tuticorin in Tamilnadu. The funds arrived, transport arrangements made, a bag packed, snacks brought and the time came to do a little research on the area in concern.
We researched about the possible places to visit with the budget slip attached and the problems we might face. The language barrier isn’t very common to a Hindi speaking person in India. So, a trip to the land of non-Hindi speakers faced the suggestions of using English wherever possible. The common perception was set firmly in the mind that everyone in South India speaks and understands English.
Train arrived late; the station was filled with large families consisting of members ranging from every generation and generous piles of luggage with dubbas that probably carried food. The first encounter came in the form of co-passengers who spoke fluent and heavy-duty Tamil incessantly. A bewildered expression might have adorned our faces that the Tamil was now spoken in less loud voices.
A night’s sleep later, came the sticky and feeling of humid summer only peculiar to the coastal areas. We now knew that the locomotive has entered the land of coconuts and lungis. The female vendors had gajras on pinned on their hair and the aroma of idlis and vadas was fresh in the air. The day went by for us in the same bewilderment and the sight of beautiful new landscapes passing by.
A change of train later outside the Tuticorin station, the usual chanting of autowallahs outside the railway station wasn’t what welcomed us. While asking about the directions to the bus stop from a gentleman, we got to know that he knows just threadbare English. Somehow we managed to convey a few keywords thus receiving a bit of understanding. The gentleman was generous enough to lead the way to the bus stop and the as the story follows the work was done with a lot of time to spare.
The ultimate desire to see the oh-so-famous Kanyakumari’s sunset and the place where Swami Vivekananda found peace hit hard. While asking for directions to go to the town English didn’t work as opposed to the common perception, keywords and smile did. As suggested by some people earlier, the next phase of the trip was done by travelling through road. Since there were no direct buses, we had to catch another bus from a small town of Thirunavelli.
The small town resembled any other town in the country just with an exception that no one understood Hindi and the communication was difficult. While we brought some food for the journey, a friendly face at the small grocery store helped as much as he could with the broken chain of keywords. The route from Thirunavelli to Kanyakumari goes round the Pothigai(Agasthyamalai) hills that holds aesthetic and religious values for the locals.
As the trip continued from the small towns like Nagercoil to big cities such as Chennai, a few of the popular perceptions attached to the area weren’t proved to be as true as they are told. In the mid-summer months, the sun in Kanyakumari doesn’t dives into the sea as expected by many. The sunset isn’t as spectacular in April to December because of the rotation circle earth passes through around the sun.
A mug of original Arabica and Robusta coffee is bound to pinch your pocket in any café or restaurant, but the frothed coffee tastes just the same (maybe even better) in the tiny, clean shops in Kanyakumari. Unlike the popular chai culture in the other regions of the country, coffee is what keeps the people running in Tamil Nadu.
Popular perception will tell you that the people in South Indian states can speak and understand English, where the fact is correct to far less extent as it is known widely. Travelling breaks the wrong ideas attached to culture, place and people that had grown strong with time. It is always about what are you willing to let go of in order to let a more accurate and practical information enter into your brain. For me, the best way to travel is to let go of the popular ideas in exchange of receiving whatever is presented to me at the moment.
क्योंकिं साहिब, गलत थी मैं।
अरे मैं भी कहाँ, मेरा तो जनम ही गलत था।
कुछ भी कह लो आप, लोग हज़ारो वजहें बता देंगे मेरे गलत होने की,
उनके पास वाजिब सबूत भी तो है, मेरे गलत होने के;
मांगो उनसे, देंगे वो सबूत, थे उनके पास नए जमाने के हथियार,
लाइव गयी है मेरी बेशर्मी की तस्वीरें, मांगो तो सही, मिलेगा ज़रूर।
सुनो साहिब, छोटे थे मेरे कपड़े, गलती मेरी हैं,
ज़रा सस्ती थी वो झीनी चुनरिया, वही खरीद बैठी- महँगी खादी की जगह;
दुकानदार देख रहा था मेरी गलती तो मेरी तरफ झांक झांक कर,
गलती मेरी ही थी, पता ही न चला।
सुनो साहिब, गलती मेरी थी,
एक तो माँ बाप से पढ़ाई करूँगी की जिद्द कर बैठी, और ऊपर से दोस्ती कर बैठी,
दोस्ती भी किनसे, ना लाज है मुझमे और ना ही रत्ती भर दिमाग,
कुछ थे लड़के, मेरे दोस्त, सब अच्छे ही तो थे, कभी किसी ने मेरी तरफ उस दुकानदार की नज़रों से नही देखा; गलत थे वो,
गलती तो उनकी भी थी, क्योंकि मेरी गलती कभी बताई ही नहीं उन्होंने।
सुनो साहिब, एक और गलती मेरी
मेरी ज़बान की गलती, कमबख्त हमेशा चलती रहती थी,
जवाब देती थी उनको जो समाज मे सही थे, जो हमेशा सही रहेंगे, भगवान बन गया है उनका सही रहना,
मिला मुझे सबक मेरी गलती का;
पर आपको अब भी नहीं पता कि क्या थी मेरी गलती?
अब कबूल कर लेना बेहतर होगा।
गलती थी मेरी की मेरे कपड़ो से झांक रही थी मेरी गर्दन, चेहरा, हथेलियां और पाँव,
थे कपड़े भारतीय, पर थे तो कम ना और मुँहफट भी तो हो चली थी मैं।
एक बात सुनो और समझो साहिब, समाज की रीति और विचार कभी गलत नहीं होते, मैं गलत थी,
क्या आपको नहीं मालूम की लड़का लड़की दोस्त नही होते,
बहुत कोशिश की, पर कहाँ छुपा पायी अपनी ये ओछी हरकतें?
दिनभर घूमा करती थी उन्हीं दोस्तो के साथ, लोग सही समझते थे, बेगैरत और गलत तो मैं थी साहिब।
पर रोये बहुत थे, वही दोस्त, मेरे जनाज़े पर।
वो नादान थे, मेरे जनाज़े पर इरादा किया था कि इंसाफ मिलेगा मुझे;
बताया ना मैंने आपको नासमझ थे वो, मुझे इंसाफ मिलता तब न, जब मैं सही होती।
देखो साहिब, मेरी बेशर्मी पर पड़ी झीनी चादर उतारीथी भरे बाजार में, किसी ने गलत नही किया, रोका नहीं उतारने वालो को,
समाज हमेशा सही होता हैं।
मैं सबक बनूँगी।
माँग लेना मेरी बेशर्मी के सबूत, दिखा देना मेरी जैसी बेवकूफ लड़कियों को, चाहे तो इशारा भी कर देना मेरी ओर,
क्योंकि आखिर गलती तो मेरी ही थी।
I changed this. This change is for you.
I want to know how you live and love the way you live. I love my home, but for you I am willing to explore the world. With you. I want to know what makes you smile, what is it that has you so enchanted in it . I want to see how you want to live and live. With you. I want to see what is your home what makes you feel at home and be your home. With you. I am willing to take anything up on my sleeves. I want to be the companion you travel with in day and I want to be the lover you feel your home with at night. I’ll give up on my stability to see you go up the hills on one fine morning with a true smile on your face.
With you, I am ready to be a less concrete, more flesh.
Only, with you.