I want to write a lot, but cannot. Courtesy, stupid kinda incoherence. I have a lot of old write-ups in digital format that I recently came across, and they save me my grace 😀 When I read through them, I see my own younger self – angry, frustrated, rebellious, antsy. If I were to think of the same subjects to write on, today, I might be a bit mellower may be, but I will not ever re-write them. I will share my old write-ups here, one-by-one. I begin with a Fight.
To read further please put yourself in the shoes of a retired middle-class old gentleman.
You have a house of your own. And a flat which you have given for rent; your only decent source of income besides the small monthly pension. The government levies income tax on that from you, and you being a good responsible citizen, pay it regularly.
Next, the government wants more. So it levies rent tax on the same property! Double tax! Robbery in broad daylight! To fill the hidden-somewhere chest that contains all the money pirated from the decent citizens like you. What do you do?
Pay up. What more? Or maybe if you are shrewd enough in your old age, hide your measly assets so that the government keeps guessing what to tax you on. In short, cheat the bigger cheat. But never fight for it. After all, you got to remember that you are an old man with not much time left in your hands that you may see the day of justice, if ever it is meted out. You know better than that; there is no justice for goof-ups in and extortion of civic rights. Big deal? Why am I even asking you this?
Now adjust yourself more in the shoes of that old man. To know the things better, put yourself in his bare soles when he was a child running errands to make ends meet; a part of huge hard-working and a very poor family. A snotty kid with no one to look after you. Wearing pass-down clothes, you would clean after yourself after your meals(if you were lucky enough to get that), do some odd jobs like selling peanuts and collecting cow dung running behind the farm cows. And in the morning with oiled hair and ujala-whitened white-blue shirts you would go to study in the municipality school. While coming back to home you would stare at the delicious-looking eatables that the vendors
sell, on your way to home from where you will pick your peanut basket and run to salt-sand heat the peanuts and then vend them.
Then one day you would be quite grown-up. SSC and all done with, ready to move to the big city, to learn more, work more and earn better. Things would change. You would be completely broke many times, sleeping on pavements, platforms and going to Degree College by the day, part-time job by the evening. You will manage to send some money back home to your old mother. And lie to her that Bombay is good and you are happy. After many cuts on hands, many miles of walking bare-foot, many hungry sleepless nights, many cheap swigs of alcohol with your likes and many heartbreaks you find yourself with a bejeweled wife in a modest house of your own. Children have great-sounding degrees and have earned scholarships and settled abroad. Daughters have been married off. Huge dowries, mind it. And you have managed to invest in one more flat. All with your hard-earned money. For which you didn’t care if it was your sweat or blood oozing out of your pores.
And now you have retired. You want to rest before you are rested in a coffin. You want to know how a peaceful life tastes like. But the government doesn’t want you to do that. The politicians in their old ages and crisp white kurta-pajamas want a lot more than what you want. They are more ambitious than you. And you will suffer to fulfill their ambitions. Big deal again? The poor deserves his poverty and communism is mal-defined. Pay the taxes quietly. Let the deserving ones have their share of it. Why should you get what you do not deserve?
The poorer and the unluckier are the ones who stayed back to avoid the big city, the ones who never got even a hut to live in(they were always razed down), the ones whose lands were seized for building factories on them and the ones who just never got a chance to live. They were not smart enough and so they will have to suffer. Fair enough? Can you put yourself in one such person’s shoes (haha, shoes)?
Now you are oppressed. Your only material asset is your land on which lies your portable hut. It is seized from you. The hut is bulldozed so that dams and factories come up. Development is necessary. And your old crippling father is left bereft of everything. Your silly things inside the house are broken like Barbie-doll legs and china toy-cars. I am sorry but your sister is taken away by the Officials to some shady place. I am not interested in talking about what happens to your neighbours and friends. And you don’t close your eyes once when all this happens. You stare and you cry and you scream. And you are slapped, beaten, kicked. The dogs and cats on your land run away to save themselves. But you are not allowed to fight back. Violence is bad, remember? It is devil.
Do you want to fight but? Ok. I grant you the freedom to fight back. But you know that you cannot, not without arms, guns, ammunition, and blood in your hands, revenge in your grotesquely distorted mind. Wait. You resemble a terrorist now. A naxal. In fact you are one now.
Time warp. You are in the old man’s shoes now, again. With well-settled children and old age hanging loose but heavily on your shoulders you cannot afford to fight back. Can you? You will accept your INR 10,000 and let the government loot away the rest INR 50,000. You submit like a good responsible citizen.
PS: All of these is a mixture of my father’s childhood, civic rights of the people in my country, some real life stories, my understanding of communism and socialism and how it has been twisted way out of line, and blamed for all the bad that is happening (and not the people who are playing mind games there)