It hasn't been a particularly salubrious time for me. I've been lying low because a half-witted family of viruses has raided my immune system. I've got what’s commonly dubbed as common cold. My doc tells me that these little chaps responsible for my present state of unease are variously called rhinoviruses, coronaviruses, echoviruses and coxsackieviruses. My already innervated body is trying hard to fight the stupid intruders. To top it all, a bug bit me -- now I don't know which one -- under my eye, giving me a blubbery bad rash. I think the pack of viruses -- realizing that their ungrateful host did not like the surprise visit -- called for the villainous bug's help to enfeeble me completely. Whatever it is -- that is cooking up -- I am sure it is a conspiracy against me. These cretins can be a dangerous lot, I tell you.
I was in Kashmir, this last week. It was a whirlwind tour, as my sojourns always are. Five days. Six nights. Like some Mediterranean cruise where people jostle to feed you, pamper you, fatten you. I think I have put on a little flab. It makes me feel guilty, like nothing else. Kashmir was good. Ever beautiful, serene and quiet. Every time I go to the vale of violets and violence – I see very little change. The same gossips. Same old stories, I’ve heard a thousand times and yet I listen to them. I can’t reason, why? Midwives tales. Dull, drab afternoons. The famous nip in the wind. The chill piercing your toes. The unsettling feeling. Funny Urdu accents. Occasional bombs. On the flight back to Delhi, as you see the majestic Himalayas fade in the distance, you know you can’t unbelong to the crimson land that has spawned you.
This is the onset of winters in Delhi. I don’t know how long I continue to breathe her hodgepodge airs. Right now, people in the capital are fighting street battles with the government because our courts have decided to seal a million livelihoods – in one quick order. With no rehabilitation or re-location plans in clear sight, I understand it is a desperate situation. The highest law of the land may throw law books at your face but try explaining that to a person with a family and no alternative income. No state social security. In the era of globalization. We pride to call ourselves the world’s biggest democracy yet spirit away the only means of sustenance available to an ordinary citizen of this country. Outside of our plush ac-cars and designer offices, life is but an endless struggle for the hoi polloi.
I sleep -- unconsciously fighting the virus-pack – subconsciously floating in my daffy dreams. Savoring in the delight of my heart’s sweet-ache. Yeah, Eyes. Those eyes come to say something to me. I never understand what. I never may! Yet I love them. Is it sane to dream in our times? I think we dream so we don't have to be apart so long. If we're in each other's dreams, we can be together all the time. Even in a time of 9.5% growth.