Thursday, January 8, 2015

Today They've Murdered Cartoonists, Tomorrow They Will Come After You

Regardless of how racist, Islamophobic and arrogant, as its being suggested, reported and said across the sphere of Internet today, the reporting and publishing of Charlie Hebdo Officiel is or was, what happened on 7 January should not be justified. Not by saying 'oh, they were racist in their portrayal,' or 'their cartoons reeked of Islamophobia' and blah and blah.

So what IF it was?

Secondly, regardless of whether you agree with the notion of free speech or not, or how you may feel the liberals (west in particular) use it to and for the profit of their hidden agenda (whatever that is), those cartoonists (and others with them) did not deserve to be shot dead for it.

So what IF they mocked Islam?

Moreover, if you feel (because let's face it you are really not the thinking kind) that people -- who offend you with their wit, sarcasm or through the portray of caricaturing someone or something you hold high -- need to be taught a lesson for their such acts and the lesson is that they be massacred by the self-proclaimed managers of such overly sensitive deities, you really need to start analysing whether what you are feeling is derived out of your own incompetence to comprehend that if your religion can be shaken by a mere piece of cartoon than your faith in your religion is catastrophically misplaced.

In the end, try to feel (because as I said before you really are not the thinking kind) beyond the bullshit of religion and what it tells you to do and feel. Do try! Because if keepers of religion can murder cartoonists today, tomorrow they won't even blink an eye before murdering you, whether or not you drew something.

By David Pope
And as a friend tweeted earlier, "Cafe goers, school children, cartoonists. No one is spared." - is this what religion teaches? To kill?

Sigh!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Why I'm Celebrating 1 January As My Birthday Instead of 20 August From This Year On

By Sadho Ram


I was not born on 1 January. But the day is much more important to me than my actual date of birth, which is 20 August. Please continue to read on as I explain below.

But first of all, let me take this opportunity to sincerely thank everyone who has been kind enough to take note and wish me via Facebook and phone calls. It truly means the world to me!

More than a decade ago, when the world hit the New Millennium, things in my life changed. In the span of 4 years, I lost my parents (mother in 2000 and father in 2004). I wouldn't go into the details of how it happened, but just for the sake of context, theirs wasn't what you would call a 'natural death'.

But my life didn't stop. It went on, albeit a few minor hurdles. However, over the years, something kept transpiring and by the end of 2008, it became so much harder for me to carry on.

I despised the name I was given, the identity that was associated with it and all that it reminded me from my past, including the people. In other words, I didn't want to exist carrying all that further.

But I couldn't just 'un-exist' too, could I? I had a little sister to take care of, to see that regardless of what my situation is, hers is a good life.

So after much consideration and reflecting upon the possible repercussions of the decision I was going to take, I finally decided to denounce my name and the identity it carried with it and in the presence of my friend Swapnil Shahane, I named myself Sadho.

That was in 1 January 2009.

That day I not only denounced my old name, but also other societal norms like caste, religion, etc., among other things that an individual is made to carry upon being born.

People's reaction to my decision was very.. frustrating, to put it mildly.

Almost none of them took it seriously (some still don't). Everyone thought I'm just fooling around, because who really changes their name and shit, right? I kept bearing them on, while telling myself that it's alright, people don't really understand and sometime they need time. So it went on. I found a few who even though could not understand me completely, respected my decision to do so and started addressing me as Sadho.

Anyways, fast-forward to 2013, I was still struggling to get my name legally registered and get myself a government issued photo-identification under my new identity, (not to mention, and still dealing with people who refused to take my decision seriously).

But after several dozen failed attempts and reattempts, last year in December, it finally happened.

With the help of some really kind and helpful people in my life, I finally managed to get my name legally registered and got the PAN Card authority to issue me a new ID. The entire process was filled with ordeal and disappointments, and it was only made possible because of the certain few people who used their best resources to help me.

To name a few of them, Neha Vaswani, who from helping me file the papers to finally using her personal contacts got the entire process done. Anshul Tewari And Guneet Narula, who truly tried all they could do to make sure the issue is sorted out. And finally, the guy at the PAN Card office in Delhi. His name is Azam and he, even though there were some issues, made sure that my new ID is issued to me. No amount of 'thank yous' would ever convey my gratitude to these people.

All this while, I kept celebrating my birthday on 20 August, but somewhere in my mind there was always this thought that I shouldn't, not on that date at least. But I wasn't too sure of it. So I made another decision, this time to start celebrating 1 January as my birthday instead of the 20 August.

Swapnil with me. This picture is from 2011.
Why?

Because it makes more sense to celebrate and acknowledge the date (1 January) as my 'birthday' on which I denounced what I despised and everything else that used to establish my relation to the people who are responsible for making me and my sister orphans.

So once again, I'm really thankful to everyone who took note and wished me on 1 January 2015. You guys (and gals) are awesome and made my day one too! Thank you!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Mukhagni: Putting Fire Into The Mouth Of My Dead Mother

By Sadho Ram
Couple of weeks ago, I came across a set of very intriguing images on my Facebook News Feed. The images were such that it immediately attracted me towards them and reminded me of my father’s funeral pyre. I’m sharing one from the set below :
Artwork by Urs Fischer


Usually it takes over three hours for a body to turn into ashes and cinders, but, I remember very clearly,  when I put fire to my father's pyre -- his body completely deteriorated after over two decades of alcohol consumption and having poisoned a week ago -- melted in manners as if it was made of wax (just like the sculpture in the picture above).


The fire didn't even last for an hour. I stood there, right by the pyre, not at all feeling the warmth of it, because there wasn't any. It was surprisingly cold, almost like the night in an usually slightly hot month of May.


Although, not my first, the experience of seeing my dead father's body melting into the fire was surreal for me.


About four years before this, I had also put fire to my mother's body. The images of that night are still very vivid in my memory.


It was the night of 30th August. The year millennium. We had all come to the Jangipur Ghat in West Bengal. It was here where all the Hindus came to put fire to their dead loved ones.


There's a term in Hindi for it - 'mukhagni', which translates to "to put fire into the mouth of a corpse at the time of lighting the funeral pyre". And you actually do put fire inside the mouth. I remember when I was told to do so, I freaked out. Even protested. Shouted.


“How can anyone ask me to put fire inside my mother's mouth? Don't you know it would hurt her.”


No one said a word. Everyone just looked at me with pity.


“Why can't you all see how calmly she is resting? Why would you ask me to put this burning stick inside my mother's mouth?”


What do you expect, I was somewhere around 13 then.


It was agonising for me to comprehend the fact that I will have to perform that one task which will eventually wipe off her existence from the face of this earth. I couldn’t come to term with it back then. I’ve not managed to come to term with it even today.


I remember my father, who was otherwise lost in his grief (I had never seen him in such heartbroken state), coming to me and trying to explain to me why I must go ahead and do what the pundit was saying. I still couldn't. So he held my hand, asked me to close my eyes and took it toward her face. He then took me towards her feet and put the burning stick there. As soon as it was done, couple of relatives and staffs started piling the candlewood logs on top of her. I shouted at them. Again. Almost breaking away from my sobbing father’s arms.


"Stop. Stop. Why are you putting all these heavy woods on her? She can't take the burden. Please stop."


"She is beyond all that now, son," he whispered into my ears, holding me tight.


"Your mother is beyond pain and suffering. That thing burning there is no longer your mother. She is finally at a place where she can find peace."



Today is 30th August. And it's been 14 years to be exact now.


But I'm still not sure if she is really at a place where she has found peace.


You see, I don’t believe that those who were not allowed peace while they were here, can or will ever find peace anywhere. She was not allowed her share of joy and peace, and I refuse to believe anyone who have tried to tell me how she is now in a much better place. She is dead.


There is no better place after life.


So stop telling me what you don’t know. For it’s the one thing I don’t need people telling me about someone who they never knew.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Trust Me When I Say, You'll Be Wasting Your Time By Reading This

By Sadho Ram

I cannot count the number of times I have wondered how would my life be had I been speech-disabled. There have been so many occasions where I have regretted having the ability to speak.

Now, this is in no way a proof that I don't value it. It's just that there's this constant feeling inside which makes me wonder about the (im)possibility of such a life.

I mean, what use of such an ability which only hurts the ones I care about? More or less, it has been the case that whenever I have opened my mouth, I have uttered something vile or disgraceful for the ones I love and have loved.

There have also been times, where I have actually considered the very possibility of impairing my speech by myself. And the strange fact is that the thought doesn't scare me even one bit. It somehow seems like an ideal way to keep my unwarranted anger inside. Because it is something, which has only ruined the good stuff in my life so far, and I'm sure it will in future too.

Or, maybe I should train my mind to be in control and not wander.

But, the very idea of being speech-disabled is so fascinating to me, it almost makes me want to rip apart from venom-spewing tongue out of my mouth and wonder what the heck did I just do!

Maybe, one day I actually will..




PS: The sketches are totally not related to the whole thing. The whole thing, as I said in the heading itself, was a total time-waster.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Profound Realisation In The (Prolonged) Moment Of Crisis...

By Sadho Ram

Sometimes, it so happens, I'm not sure about things that I do on daily basis. But, again as it so happens, this feeling of being uncertain doesn't last long enough to warrant any additional thinking.

Like for example: the futility of taking a bathe everyday.

PS: That's a sadhu, not Sadho.
Now this is a feeling I encounter when its just another option for me. But as soon as this option turns into a privilege, the very feelings of being uncertain departs my mind as a soul would body.

So, now that due to unmanaged circumstances, I am rendered out of taking bathe everyday, I realize that there's no futility to it. That how essential it is not just for body but also for mind and our emotions. I not only understand the profound impact a normal shower can have on us but also accept that I've been a baboon whenever I thought that there's nothing more futile than taking a shower. Sigh!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Just Another Monday Afternoon..

By Sadho Ram

I look forward to my Mondays as others may look forward to their Sundays. Its the day when I can choose to stay in bed for as long as I want and not worry about anything. Some days the Mondays are exciting, some days dull. It's a natural cycle.

Today is Monday. I am inside the quilt, reading Hanif Kureishi's 'The Last Word', a brilliant novel about an aspiring writer paid to write a biography of a larger than life writer.

N is sleeping next to me with her face resting on my right arm, while her right arm resting comfortably on my stomach. It feels good to have her by my side while I am lost in the world of my own. Relaxed, calm and in the moment to experience its comfort. N's warm breath feels soothing, almost like as if caressing.

She woke up for a second, apologized for dozing off, turned towards the other side, while putting her left arm on my thighs and going back to sleep again. I look at her, and go back to reading the novel, while waiting for the engineer from LG to come to repair the microwave at my place. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Comment On How We Make Anything A Norm In This Society

By Sadho Ram

Sexist representation of women is not something that is new. In fact it's so widely and regularly done, that most of the times we don't perceive it as sexist. And when we do, we either try to ignore it or simply shrug it off as 'it goes' attitude (and for those who object, we tell them to have a sense of humour).
You see, that's the thing about how such things -- things that never should have happened in the first place -- become a norm in the eyes of the society.
Every sexist representation of women that -- we accept, ignore, shrug off OR lecture others to have a sense of humour about -- only adds to the norm. It only, each time with more authority, establishes it as something that's not wrong, something that's cool and something that is not happening, because that's what every sexist representation of women tries to prove.
And, it won't stop. Because, thanks to each one of us, sexism has indeed been made to appear as if it doesn't happen anymore. Or so it seems.

And that's how you make a norm.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Catapult

By Sadho Ram

Life suddenly seems as if it has come to an unexpected halt.

Everything I do seems to have lost its charm. Or to put it in a better manner, I somehow seem to have lost interest in almost anything that I do or doing these days.

Mistakes have become an active part of my life both personally and professionally. As a result, I feel demotivated, demoralised and defeated... even though there is no war that I am fighting. Or maybe I am. Who knows!

There is also one more thing that is happening, I am losing interest in people in general. I live alone, so I only step out when I need to buy groceries and food items. Other times, I keep myself within the boundaries of my house, locked and glued to my laptop screen, working away the hours of day and at times... night.

I am scared to mingle with people of the outside world.

But that is not what I want to be. I don't want to be scared or to keep myself locked within the boundaries of my house.

I want to live and not just exist.

I am man with dreams in my eyes and purpose in my mind.

I want to break free from the shackles of my own mind and catapult into a free-self, someone who can learn to be empathetic, someone who understands the value of life and people in it... someone who is not afraid to live.

I wish to be catapulted into the world of calm and sanity, where mindlessness has no place and where light shines through even the darkest of nights.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Parasites!


By Sadho Ram

…and you thought I’m dead. And you celebrated my death. And you laughed. Hysterically. Insanely. Knowing that I’m dead. That I now am burnt to cinders. And you uttered your frustration of not being able to utter it while I was living. While I had what you considered not mine. But yours.

You feared that I would bring you out of your ignorance. Your age old slumber. Your blind hope. You feared that I would shatter your love for superficial things. Artificial beliefs. And you panicked. You shivered in your slumber. And you decided to kill me. You decided to hang me by my own rope. And you did it. You killed me in your foully ignorant thought. And now you are moaning? Because you know it hurts. Now you feel the pain that I told you would.

But you are afraid. Still too weak to show it. So you laugh. So you celebrate your own failure. Your own death at your own hand. You… you ignorant son of a conscious whore. You loathing seed of a foolhardy man.

You know it takes honesty. And you know it well. That thing called honesty to confront honesty. As it takes a hand to shake another. As it takes lips to kiss another. But you did never consider it a part. It was just a trait. It was only an option for you. A mere excuse for you to hide. To take refuge when you needed. When your own failure haunted you. So you played a game. A game of seeing the reality as it should and accepting the make-believes as it was intended. And what did you do, you courageous carrier of deceit and failure? You chose the latter!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Of Vultures of The World and Lovesick Crow!

By Sadho Ram


‘When the ‘sexed’ vultures of the world are eyeing the cuckoo,’ I said to my friend, ‘She doesn't fall for the ‘love-sick’ crow.’

‘Crow?’ asks the friend.

‘Yes, you idiot, that's me.’

Hell, the ‘crow’ still makes an effort though, however lame it is. And then vultures yell and the ‘horny-ies’ bark- ‘bow, bow... look at him! Got what he deserved. (bow, bow, and bow) instead of kissing she pissed on him, bloody piss-taker... bow, bow.’

I howl back ‘fuck-woof, you bastards.’

‘Damn, have I become an animal too?’ I then think. Yes, yes, yes... that's what her ‘socially cultured’ rejection has caused. A loud cry of pain erupted within and an animal was aroused. Ho, Ho, Ho, Haw, Haw, Oo-hoooo!

‘Is it a crime to like a ‘blue legged’ bitch? Or is appreciating her is committing a sin?’ The animal in me now gets thinking.

Ha!

‘You see now, O’Dea’ friend, what the ‘... cultured’ rejection has found? The ‘creepy & awkward’ animal which eats ‘sweet candy floss’ gets profound.’ Oo-hoooo!

‘So, what’s the end conclusion, my animal friend?’ – Inquires the sane.

One of the vultures gets the cuckoo,
Takes her high on his flight, yuhoo!
Then ignores her plight
And bangs her tight!

‘That, my friend, is my version of conclusion, mixed with total jealousy and oozing hatred as perfect solution.’

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