Friday, April 2, 2010

But son! there's poetry in poverty!

Summers are here, ain't it?
So lets check out if they provide an AC on rent?
Can you please turn the fan on full speed?
Keep some more chilled water in the refrigerator
Ice creams, Kulfi? yeah!!
The quintessential summer night walks - in my case: Apna Bazaar to Versova beach and back.

But its hard to ignore the worst signs of summer: humidity, sweat and mosquitoes.
"Please refill the Good Knight, Mortein, All Out repellents!
Do we need to buy that cream, what's it called: Odomos?"
"Let me shift the bed in the middle of the room, right under the fan!"
"Bloody PSPO - ek kone mei hawaa nahi aati. "
Get that Tennis racket kinda thing and bring out the sadist in you - mosquitoes will have a bad time.
"Saala hum machchar ko hijda bana denge, woh kya banayega apan ko..." (will be lost in translation)

But one walk outside your home on to the main roads at night and you will realize what kind of horror does summer brings in a country and more importantly in a city like ours. Hell, no walks required, even on a weekend night, if you happen to return from that restaurant or the pub after hearing the trance music - make sure you at least look out on the roads. On my daily walks it is extremely painful to see people sleeping in groups on pavements, and millions of those murderous mosquitoes hovering over them (To romanticize I would rather put this way: people sleeping under the open sky with a cool breeze coming right from the sea nearby) But needless to say, the picture is far from pretty. They have no covers, hardly anything except some plastic sheets to sleep upon.

Once in a while I see a woman with a piece of cloth trying to drive away the murderers. A kid who just cannot sleep will twist and turn and keep doing everytime the group of mosquitoes play their music in his ears. Some lucky ones will be covering or sharing a mosquito net and of course the net is not set like a tent, its more like a blanket. Like a Twin Peaks corpse discovered lying covered with plastic (in this case it is net). By the way, those who are actually lying like a corpse are the over-dosed alcoholics - lying on the pavement with their right shoe dangling and the left foot completely out of the shoe and the shoe actually a few meters away. In one case, a drunkard's laptop bag with him was being used as a pillow - believe it or not. The irony of it all. The Metro being constructed, the Amrik Singh Cranes, heavy vehicles, the loud noise all adding to the night and those mosquitoes constantly hovering above those families, who are sleeping right below the over-bridge that is being constructed.

Even the worst or the best of the cynics ka dil dehel jaayega dekhkar. All throughout there was only one song that was constantly running in my mind:
"Ek Waqt (or Bakhat) Ki Baat Bataye, Ek Waqt Ki,
Jab Sheher Hamara So Gayo Tho, Wo Raat Gajab Ki.

The problem is when Mr. Mishra sings: "Jis Raat Sheher Mein Khoon Ki Baarish Aayi Re":
In a city like ours: the khoon ki baarish ka aana is not occasional, its a daily routine. See I told you, there is poetry in poverty.

Half of my disillusionment for today's night walk was the fracas and the mud slinging that is happening between Anjum Rajabali and Piyush Mishra on passionforcinema. Now I am not much of a follower, but once a week - I do take a round up of the website and the recent episode between writers has left me so disillusioned about writing for movies. Not that I am quite a writer, hell I dont even like to be labeled as a writer, Actually I cant write too - like if someone comes and gives me a plot: develop it, I cant. It is someone else's idea. I could only work on an idea that has organically come from within. But am I digressing from the topic, yeah: but then a reminder: thats what I also need to learn: to understand someone's idea and empathize with their characters and then go about writing it. Its not difficult, empathizing I mean, putting it on paper for screen - still remains difficult.

Back to the poetry: oops: Poverty. I often see that family on the Indian Oil Nagar-Link road junction - at nights, sleeping with those mosquitoes, as if they were their teddy bears and in the morning, most of them have gone to work except a few kids who are still unperturbed by the morning sun and the heavy traffic and who most probably will be getting up and start their daily begging or any other activity on the same crossroads. I think all night they must have been fighting with those murderers and its only by early morning that they must be getting to sleep, thus no amount of harsh sun or noise pollution affects them. As nights pass, I see them there daily but I never come to know, if anyone of them have succumbed to those vicious attempts by the mosquitoes or is any one less than what number I saw yesterday night.

Next time, if someone passes by and sees a family trying to sleep amidst those mosquitoes, it wont hurt us a lot to gift them a mosquito net. I will be doing that, when this month's salary comes.

And for my opinion on the writers' war of words: I love Anjum Rajabali's take on On the Waterfront: Ghulam was one of my favourite teenage movies: I still love it. I told this to Rajit Kapoor one day. So what if they copied or got inspired. And well, Piyush Mishra, the lesser I say the better. He remains a poet only a step below the czar - gulzar. And I remain a humble fan of his.

p.s: This picture was taken much before. I hope the reader may not feel that while I was observing the above mentioned, simultaneously I wasn't merrily clicking the picture.

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta


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