This is a dedication from my side to the victims of a fire that raged on the ill-fated morning of 4 Jan 2019 in a nondescript town of India. The fire destroyed about 250 shanties and caused a loss of about 50 lives. May the souls of the victims rest in peace.
This poem reflects upon the crude reality that though there is massive development in countries yet the fruits of that development with just a few. We as people have moved away from the harsh realities that even their cries of distress cant reach to our ears.
Hi Daddy! look here I am posing for the camera take my pictures, says the little girl of about 5 years of age standing in the big wooden shoes kept outside the wind mill in Amsterdam. The father smiles and clicks several pictures all in different poses for her little model Hadid. Her eyes were brimming with aspirations and ambitions which were so strong made her believe she was a Gigi Hadid and was doing hoto-shoot. Funny enough then how later that evening I saw a pair of eyes that harbored in them a shard of glass directly piercing through the dreams and aspirations of the future telling a sad tale of desperation and the proverbial “limited means”.
I was sitting in a late night 11 pm tram in Amsterdam and I saw a young lady draped in a long overcoat buttoned till the waist. She looked dazed probably on cocaine or hash. She rode fast on a bicycle along the tram all the while trying to protect her modesty by using two fingers of her left hand to pin the front of her flowing overcoat which had noting beneath it. I observed her from the window of the tram and desperately wanted to have a look at what lay beneath the overcoat. Not satisfied with the leg show I strained my neck and stuck my face on the tram window until the tram accelerated and she was left far behind. However due to the frequent red lights she was able to catch up with the tram and I again caught a glimpse of those white legs.
However, on the next curve she came quite close to the side of the tram and in trying to prevent her bicycle from ramming into the tram she took a right and lost her balance. She fell down on her back with the both legs up and the overcoat parted right up to her panties giving the onlookers a show of much more than she had desired at least at that point of time. The tram went far and that figure on the road fell far away from my line of sight.
Both the events left me thinking about the prostitution industry in Amsterdam or anywhere for that matter. Somehow both the events seemed to be connected as if the little girl with dreams had grown up to become a woman riding the bicycle. Am I overthinking? Maybe prostitution is good and a source of income. Doesn’t it drive tourists to the cities like Amsterdam and Hamburg in turn jacking up the revenue from the tourism industry?
Having said that consider this, in today’s modern era where the major economies are driven by consumption and amassing of materialistic wealth, in that context our body is the most basic object that we can call ours and exert our rights upon. The act of paid sex which is the basis of prostitution and online porn for that matter pays a woman to give up that right for a few hours. Now which girl in a very balanced state of mind would have ever dreamt of giving up that right even for a few moments let alone for a few hours. Thus, it would not be preposterous to construe that this industry harps and takes advantage of a girl’s desperation and utter dire circumstances, sometimes tough childhood and molestation, that might have propelled her to make this as a sole source of income.
The red light street in Amsterdam on both sides of the canal
On the contrary people might want to argue that don’t we all give up our right to freedom when we sign to work for a corporate, to all those I would want to say this “think again guys, did you have dreams in your childhood and would you think you ever dreamed of putting a price tag to your bodies”.
Here is one of the quote from my interaction with a lady who worked as a prostitute at night which will make you think about it over and over again.
When asked “Are you happy and satisfied with your work”?
She took a deep breath and paused, probably to make the answer easy to grasp for me, she said “Try being caged in a glass enclosure with nothing but your make up on, with the onlookers giggling and wagging tongues at you and you would certainly know”.
Its almost everyday in life that we find ourselves not being able to muster the courage to bridge the chasm between our desires and reality. It is tough to make a decision and you know what’s tougher than that, its resisting the temptation to look at the other alternative and not feel a sense of despair at what we chose.
Here, through these I tell my friend who is going through a similar decision making phase. Most of the defeats happen just before the last hurdle is crossed, so sit tight and carry on, the shore is just round the corner.
After 3 months I finally finished “Tuesday with Morrie” yesterday. I deliberately left the book mid-way because after one third of the book I realised that this book is too good to be finished at one go. After all haven’t you always wanted to be with that one guiding light be it a friends, a parent or a teacher who does not preach but simply converses with you and somehow that figure leaves you too soon.
The writer Mitch Albom was Morrie’s student during his sophomore years in Massachusetts and the book is a description of a last few conversations between Mitch and his teacher Morrie. Mitch lost touch with his professor after his graduation day where he supposedly had promised to be in touch with his teacher. He gets busy with his life, trying to chase big dreams “working at a pace that knew no hours, no limits” when one day he sees Morrie on ABC TVs show “Nightline” hosted by the famed Ted Koppel. He decides to visit his old professor and thus begins his conversations with Morrie which are very suitably titled “Tuesdays with Morrie”.
I guess there is something in that name itself that made me pick up this book, the very first time that I read about it at the back of another one of Mitch Albom’s classic “Five people you meet in heaven”. “Morrie” makes me imagine an old and soft figure one talking to me in a husky soft voice which symbolizes words dripping out of a century of soft served ice cream of a life. Sometimes though you begin to imagine him as someone straight out of your 5th grade Moral Science text book who is propagating love and empathy in this world of hardships surfeit with climate problems related to data and what not How would Morrie know this lying on his deathbed in a developed nation watching Maple trees shed its leaves all through the day and ruminating about life. But the beauty of the book is such that it tries to address many problems without even addressing them in any particular form . When Mitch asks him which side wins during a dilemma Morrie quips “Love” and after a short pause completes “Love, always wins”.
The book although devoid of twists and turns keeps the user hooked though the authors ability to capture the rawest of human emotions into minimal words. Read it slow and don’t mind keeping this masterpiece half read, as Morrie says ‘Don’t let go too soon, but don’t hang on too long.” You wont need a context when you pick up this half read book again as your own life will provide you all the context you need.