Thursday, 4 December 2008

Strange Kenny Behavior Log

Yes. I went to the Mumbai Gathering at the Gateway last night. I don't know why exactly. But when a friend suggested this a few days ago, I decided to give it a try. Ideally, I would have parked the child with her father and gone there myself. Or the three of us would have gone together, the child riding on his shoulders as she does when we go to Tirupati. Or something else. Ideal situations do not my current life constitute. Therefore it came to pass that the child (in Purple and Pink) and myself went bravely into the crowd. Thankfully srgntpepper, chivalrous as he is, insisted that we go with him and his wife and not entirely by ourselves.

After some serious browsing since Monday, and thanks to Kiran, I decided to go to JJ Hospital on my way to Gateway. Anyway it is like visiting another city from where I am located (a fact I was thankfuly for last week!).

I took some material to the hospital. Srgntpepper and I tried to chat with the particularly harried looking ladies there to get a sense for how else we could help. Got some leads. Went back and then were truly on our way to the Gateway.

First of all, all the good stuff.
People were not emotional and crying. Thankfully. There were tons and tons of young and old around. It was bigger than anything I have been in in a while now. I am sure we will get some numbers from media people today. But we are talking thousands, of course. Although there was no particular 'agenda' for the gathering (as far as I could tell), and there was no one 'organising' the whole thing, there was a serious semblance of purpose in people, and none of the attendant chaos you associate with us hot-blooded desis. People were full of enthusiasm, anger of course, at various things, but mainly enthusiasm and energy. And a feeling of togetherness and oneness. The crowd walked to the Gateway, stared at the Taj Hotel, and looped back, shouting slogans and holding up placards. Interesting things for sure. And OOH. Several renditions of National Anthem. Child and I LOVE to sing it. And everyone did stand (if not in Attention, somewhat still).

So now what I could not endorse and did not like.
Litterbugs. It was warm. Child and I were dripping with sweat. I agree. The body cells need life giving water. But dont throw the empty plastic glasses and bottles on the road. The road does *not* need that. I am going to buy that long spear like stick next time and walk around collecting rubbish into a trash bag.
College kids. I know. You are young. Severely self absorbed. You have come in a large group and want to stick together. You have a very clever idea of making that human chain and herding everyone inside it. Chivalrous boys of course on the outside. Wonderful. But keep in mind that we older ones dont need you to stampede us while keeping yourselves together and safe. Of course I am glad they were there in such numbers, hope for the country lies in their hands. But still it was annoying to have ones feet unnecessarily stamped upon.
Pakistan is just another country. I am not one to claim anything right now about who sent these guys here. But shouting Pakistan Murdabad is to me, not helping. I would much rather go after our corrupt politicians (which several people were, good). Another slogan "Itna Bada Hindustan, Kya Karega Pakistan" Funny! While I am being un-Kenny like let me go ahead and make this statement. WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER (even if precedence points towards it). Of course over there among the many-headed, I kept my opinions to myself, who would have heard a short dorky lady carrying a child?
Paper Fliers. Yes, we have to make a point and circulate it to the masses. But in the end it is as much part of the rubbish as the paper you buy shengdana in. And litterbugs will throw it on the road because, of course, the World Is Their Own Personal Trash Can.

Thirdly, personal stuff.
I am eternally grateful to srgntpepper and wife (she is too sweet; and is remarkable in her ability to not sweat) for going with me. While it is generally foolish to go into a crowd of that magnitude (with further complications of generic threats of further attacks and so on) with a small-ish child, it would have been too crazy to do it alone. Of course I would have hung out in the fringes and not walked too far if they weren't there, but what would have been the whole point then? I hope I did not cramp their style too much and mess up their agenda infernally.
My body has changed. It has nothing to do of course with the terror attacks. Perhaps the Suryanamaskars. I carried the pink girl for a LONG time. On my hip. I could do it. It was not a long walk (by my standards, and with race day 1.5 months away) but with the crowd and the slow pace and the shouting all around, it took a while. And I could do it, sit in the car for nearly two hours in the commute back home, and still go for the run at 5:45 am today. Its hard to fit into Sari blouses now and I am becoming more of a Tomboy than ever, but my low Fe count notwithstanding, things are looking up. Go knock on some wood for me.
The child. My little monster. Heavy and legs too long. Complained incessantly before we were to go over. But woke up from her nap in a good mood. Got ready in five minutes. Read her Enid Blyton in the car when we went in to JJ (She did not want to come in and I figured it is better she is with the driver in the car than inside a hospital). Shouted Jai whenever they said Bharat Mata Ki. And Mataram when they said Vande. Most importantly remained enthusiastic throughout. Now if I can only figure out how to answer her questions regarding 'terrorists' and capture her on video saying 'protest march' we will be all set.

All in all, it was a good experience. In terms of tangibles I suppose I got little out of it. But I did feel inspired to see so many people care enough to come there and shout slogans and endure everything. And I definitely felt that a 'oneness' that cuts across class, religion, age, and what not, is at least a theoretical possibility.


dipali said...

I'm glad that you went!
At least I got a Kenny perspective of the entire shindig:)

Perakath said...

What race? Mumbai half-marathon or something?

kbpm said...

i wish you were here...

yes of course. i am four time veteran of the half and am going for the jugular this time :-)

choxbox said...

good girl kenny. looked hard for you guys on tv, couldnt find you though.
wished i could've bin there too.
give a high five to the wee one for me.
btw low fe and all? eat lots of black kishmish and anaar.

PG said...

yippe!!! not that we have won a war or something but i think this is a good beginning. all you moms are brave. hats off to you. honestly i would not know what to answer the kids.
we should do some more of these protest marches against the politicians - at least it keeps our politicians from making hate speeches and unleashing elements ....

Airspy said...

well..parenting in these times..maintaining a good emotional quotient as an added task ...check this one out

kbpm said...

that article makes excellent (if alarming) reading.
while i am not unaware of my responsibilities as a parent, sometimes its just too hard. i dont like subterfuge. i rarely lie. but do use a non-emotional, matter-of-fact voice in communicating facts. hope i am doing right!

SrgntPepper said...

hey, sorry to drag you. Was not totally thrilled about entering the melee with a kid in tow.

Yes, it was pointless other than being a show of strength and maybe a way to work up courage to do things differently.

My first test is due tomorrow. One of our underpaid-paid under govt-employees left word yesterday that he will be coming by to collect this annual fees. Intend to say to him that I have stopped paying fees, and that i am ready to face the consequences. let's see who chickens out first.

Ludwig said...

> with race day 1.5 months away

You're starting to terrify me, per usual. I don't think I'll run with you. Yeah, I know, Saras guys and we'll stick to Lit Soc.

kbpm said...

fine be that way. see if i care. tbhthtbth (as Calvin would say to Hobbes).

well it was a very interesting experience for us as a unit. child & i are pretty hardy creatures you should not worry.
good luck with that! hang in there!

wordjunkie said...

Hi, just saw yr post on Kiran's bog, regarding visiting a family in Powai to help. I live there too, and could join in over the weekend. Is there a personal email I can correspond to you with, to coordinate?

Sraikh said...

I was thinking as I was reading this post, that
a)whether I would have gone with my troop to such a gathering.
b)Could I carry my child for 2 hours.

I think the answer to both would be NO. I'm glad you went and glad that your back home safe and sound.

PS:will you allow openid commenters so that I can use my asaaan login instead of my blogger

karmickids said...

What a brave girl you are, to take the child to the gathering...I quailed at the thought...but loved reading your version of the event..

kbpm said...

lol on trying to find us on tv. no hope of that. i am too short. :-)

sraikh, kiran,chox-
might not be the best idea to take children to such things. for several reasons. given a choice i would not have. i should be wallowing in mommy guilt now, technically... :-)

& sraikh, will see what that means in my options page now.

choxbox said...

why not? if you are going to say there could've been a stampede type scenario or something more sinister, well, given the nature of recent events anything can happen any time and anywhere. the gateway gathering was safer certainly.

i'd say in some ways its a good thing to take a kid there. after getting mega doses of terrorist related stuff, it might actually be good for them to see that folks are not happy with it and would like to do something about it.

kbpm said...

agree with you on the issue of stampede or another attack not being that bothersome to me. ones gotto do what ones gotto do.
also agree that she absorbed a lot and saw that people want things different. there was good amounts of positive energy. huge amounts.
my objection was to some of the sloganeering, which i philosophically disagreed with. and I do think that veering away from feelings of hate and vendetta and working for ourselves and not against someone else is something i want to try to instill in child (maybe its impossible, but still, thats the goal). Oh well I can argue more but will let you interpret this..

and also generally the concentration of germs in a crowd that size crossed my mind several times!!

choxbox said...

point are there..