Friday, April 04, 2008

I Love The Smell Of Napalm In The Morning...

... It smells like... VICTORY!

This is my favourite line from the movie Apocalypse Now. Brilliant movie, with brilliant picturization. This line is towards the end of the Battle of Kilgore and said by the Colonel (who likes to fight or surf.)

Tonight, while returning from the gym, I was thinking of a headline I read in today's paper. A BEST driver died at the wheel and the bus was moving backwards. The alert conductor applied emergency brakes and saved the passengers. The poor driver was only 45. The report spoke of the stresses on a bus driver, driving through narrow lanes, with zigzagging vehicles and people all through.

Firstly, I pray for the soul of the driver and I hope his family gets adequate compensation (what would be adequate???). I hope his kids get to goto school and study to improve their and their mother's lives.

Yesterday morning, I saw a guy cleaning my car. And I wondered. People talk of savings and onsite et al. We are so caught up with our petty financial worries and life in general, that we forget to thank the Almighty for how fortunate we are to have a good education and the means to a great life.

What we consider as regular or a given might be someones life wish. In this context, I am reminded of a favourite Hindi poem of mine (unfortunately, I forgot the names of the poet and the poem), that I learnt in my 12th standard.

It spoke of children of rowmen of boats on the river Ganga, diving into the Ganga to retrieve coins thrown by passengers of the trains running above. Later in the evening, the boys wear clean shirts and oil their hair and the girls wear jasmine flowers in their hair. Its a beautiful scene that has stayed with me after all these years.

My life in Tokyo was so posh, that I sometimes wonder what good deeds I might have done in my life that enabled me to live such a life in something very close to heaven on earth.

I used to think that like most others, I too would have trouble accepting the life back in India. The quality of life, the fight of getting through each day.

But tell you what! Im actually feeling no difference being in Tokyo and being in Mumbai. Tokyo was a beautiful home for me for one and a half years almost. That's quite a bit of time and compares with the early part of my life, where we used to stay in a place for roughly 2-3 years only. Being in Mumbai, I only look back on Tokyo as a beautiful dream and with a gratitude for having been able to experience Japan and its culture and people in the very best sense.

Trust me, my trip to Japan has changed me so much as a person. I cannot believe that I am the very same person that I was before my trip. More optimistic, more risk taking, more self-knowledgeable, more worldly wise, more accepting, more humble (???). I have changed. And for the better, even if I do say so myself.

When I look around myself in India, I ask myself: "Hey, why cannot I devote my life to helping the people around me? Why cannot we improve ourselves? Why cannot we dream of being a First-World country? What stops us? Even if something is stopping us, theres no obstacle in this world that hard work cannot overcome. Impossible is nothing!"

Each day, when I talk to Dad, I feel grateful to him for all that he is and for the various sacrifices he has made for his family. Each time I look into my Mother's eyes and each action of hers, I know there might never be ANYONE in this world, who could love me so purely and selflessly, just coz I am her son. When I look at my sister, I see a good individual who is successfully progressing towards becoming a well respected Chartered Accountant.

I love the smell of India in the morning... It smells like... home.

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