Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Epic Haircut

Haircut in Pune, India at my regular barbershop- Rs. 60 = 90 Cents
Haircut in Kapfenberg, Austria - 20 Euro - So I was told.

"Let's save some money, what worse could happen?" This soliloquy have had me doing things which I sometimes regretted later.

I was in FH Joanneum, Kapfenberg Austria for my Erasmus semester. This town albeit small has most facilities available. Breathtakingly beautiful, It's situated in the eastern extensions of Alps.
It has a small castle atop a mountain, a river carrying crystal clear water, a rail route which is well connected to Florence to Zurich to Vienna and Prague. But being in Austria, it also means that it is more expensive than rest of Europe.

[image courtesy - Bruck-Kapfenberg Steiermark - Familienort Österreich]

So when I went there after my summer break around end of September last year from Pune, India, I had already applied few money saving tricks. One of which was having a fine haircut so as to defer the next haircut as long as possible.
[My haircut in November 2016 - Clicked at Pisa, Italy.]
It worked for October and November. Around mid of December, all the Austrian students in our hostel went to their hometowns for Christmas. The hostel had only a few foreign students. Those must be the most silent days of my life. In such ambience, mind tricks you doing something adventurous which you have never done before.

My hair had grown to extents where I had to cut them. I was told by some of my hostel mates that Haircut means making hole in the pocket as it costs them 15-20 Euros. Some get it cut from their room mates to save that money. I invented different plan. I searched on google "How to get self haircut". Google gave me few links out of which I chose this one -

"Pretty impressive.. I think I got this.. Let's do it, what worse could happen? If something goes wrong we will go to the proper saloon before anyone could notice it" I thought. Perfect.. So the very next morning, I woke up pretty early so I will have the bathroom for myself. I was excited and couldn't wait to see the look on my roommates faces when I would flaunt my work when they wake up. They would think that they wasted their money when they could have also done the same for last few years. This thought gave me Goosebumps.

I got a pair of scissors, a comb and a trimmer. I laid old news papers in the bathroom and on basin so as to make the cleaning stuff easy. I did not want a single hair on bathroom floor left afterwards.

There was some adjustments I needed to do. I did not have a hand held mirror. So I removed a panel from the toiletries shelf. I was ready. As suggested in the video, I started nice and slow over the ears. Consciously checking for the left right mirror image adjustments. Carefully clipped layers after layers in a tapering fashion. The sides looked nice. Then I started on top and cut it like a pro.

The last part, back of the head was tricky. This was the toughest part as suggested by the youtuber. So, with intuition and makeshift work of the mirror I started giving it a taper shape. After few strokes.. moment of truth.. did I make it right?

I couldn't see back of my head, so I got my phone, recorded the video of back of my head and saw it..

What I had done.. it looked like rats had chewed upon my hair. There were patches of hairs and bare scalp peeking through it. That was the ugliest thing I had seen since I was there in that heavenly country.

All the enthusiasm vanished.. I did not leave any scope to do the damage control. No hairstylist could repair it. “I will have to go bald.. and I cannot even make the excuse of some family rituals at Tirupati Balaji. Winter is coming.. what if my head cannot sustain the cold temperatures without the cover of hair?” I panicked. After few moments of blackout gathered myself up.
[My hostel premises in December - January]
I went to my Ethiopian roommate. I woke him up.. He looked at me, then back of my head, supressed his laughter and without saying much started doing what was the only option. He trimmed back of my head with the trimmer and rest I did. I was looking like a wrestler. Those were the times I realized how it feels in cold without the protection of hair. It took me two months the entire snowfall season to get back to normal.

[Clicked in Bruges, Belgium a few weeks after my epic work of art.]
Later I came to know that some hairstyle saloons in Kapfenberg offered haircut to a price as low as 9 Euros.
No, the haircut did not make me cry.. this information did.


Published on Quora -

Monday, September 5, 2016

I have informed you thusly

Following is the response to an answer for a question - Why did China invade India in 1962? on posted on May 15, 2015. I knew PM's strategies to woe china will not work, so I have informed you thusly - one of my favourite Sheldon Cooper[1] quotes.

First of all, nice to hear from a Chinese. I thought you guys are not allowed to write your opinions freely on internet. Myth busted.

In the first half of the answer, you mentioned how tiny was the 1962 war for China. In the second half, there comes the Chinese soldier's account. You see why it was a big deal for us. We lost considerable number of soldiers in that war. The war which was just a conflict for China, exposed India's defence limitations and humiliated the Indians. It has scarred China's image for every Indian. Pakistan could gather courage to invade India in 1965 due to 1962.

The 1962 war was really small for us too, considering the geographical extents. However, the way Chinese invaded Tibet and India unexpectedly, has left a deep sense of doubt in Indian minds regarding Chinese intentions.

Today, Honestly, I feel that China uses the border tactics to create pressure on Indian leadership to open Indian markets for Chinese goods. It's more like an economic nerve now. Once in a  while Chinese soldiers come inside Ladakh, the leadership claims Arunachal Pradesh and on the other front they try to push their products in Indian market seeking more favorable deals from the Indian government in exchange of being quiet on the border.

You guys are over producing. Admit it, you want markets to sell your stuff. Today's world, no one wants to rule over a land by conventional means. They want  to rule with economics. The country who sells more product in India essentially is draining resources from India.

Now, Indian PM comes with idea of 'Make in India' to drain less resources from India. Brilliant idea!.. I don't think he's going to succeed in China. Why would Chinese want to 'Make In India' if they have all the raw resources and people in their country? So, Indian PM shuts Indian market for Chinese goods.. oh but wait, he cannot do that.. Chinese will start claiming AP and parts of Ladakh.

I appreciate Chinese tactics. It's not good for my country, but good for you guys. And also, having a shrewd and powerful neighbour to compete against, is improving India's defence and gameplan also. Better than having a lousy and annoying religious nut neighbour.

On a lighter note, due to 1962 war, Mr. Ratan Tata (Former chairman of the Tata conglomerate) had a breakup with his American girlfriend and remained single till date.
The American girl thought that the sino-Indian war was a full scale invasion and refused to come along with Mr. Ratan Tata to India.

1. The big bang theory - Sheldon Cooper - I have told you thusly.

When Ratan Tata was quizzed about his love life in an interview to CNN International's Talk Asia programme, he said, "I was probably the most serious was when I was working in the US and the only reason we didn't get married was that I came back to India and she was to follow me. That was the year of the Indo-Chinese conflict. This conflict in the snowy, uninhabited part of the Himalayas was seen in the United States as a major war between India and China and so, she didn't come and finally got married in the US thereafter." Little is known about that American lady in Tata's life. In 1962, Tata returned to India because of his grandmother's ill health.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Hippies On the Plane

"Oh, they are for real!" That was my thought when I met this girl on a flight from Bratislava (Slovakia) to Charleroi (Belgium) .

I was always fascinated by the word Hippy. The image of rebellious free souls indulged in their own world and having attitude of a lone warrior against all evils was something which always intrigued me.

That day, when Alex sat next to me little did I know that I was going to meet a "tree hugging hippy".

She couldn't find a place to keep her handbag and I helped her by making some space. We took our seats.
She asked me why I was travelling to Brussels. I said I had an appointment there but it got cancelled, so I am just travelling. She asked what kind and I answered, and she exclaimed.. ah Engineering.

Alex - Do you like it? (Engineering)

I - umm.. it's complicated. What do you study?

Alex - Business Management. Are you from India? you look like one.

I - Yes.

Alex - Oh, you guys have such an ancient culture. I like India.

- Have you been there?

Alex - No, but my brother has visited India. One of my friends is Indian. I know about Yoga and Chakras. I wonder how it feels like when someone awakens the Chakras? Do you meditate?

I - As I know it, awakening the Chakras and be the enlightened one is a difficult process which requires years of practice. and I don't meditate. Most of us don't. It's because of the western people who are following Yoga now, that we (Indians) acknowledge that it's a kind of life reforming technique. Otherwise, most Indians do not follow it even if it was originated in India.

Alex - I see. Don't you believe in it?

I - We do, it's just that most of us are busy in making money and following the west that we tend to ignore our own culture. We want to become a developed nation like the US.

Alex - But why? I think that the western countries are polluting earth, if everyone starts to do the same then we will kill the earth.

I - I used to think like that, over the years my perception changed.

In order to earn respect, nation has to become strong. I have met no one who praised my country because we conserve our Tigers and our rain-forests. It's not an easy job to protect wildlife. Still, they call us third world country.

Now a days we get recognition because we are developing as a economic production house just like China. In order to earn respect and protect our borders my nation has to be heavily industrialized. No one cares if a weaker country gets invaded. We have to be strong so that the world would care about us because they will then have mutual interest in our sovereignty.

Alex - Why would someone will invade India?
The powerful people spread fear in the masses because they want to control us. They mix.. what is that chemical.. ah.. Fluorine in our water so that they could lower our IQs. The dumber we are, the more obedient we will be. Have you noticed the chemtrails.. these days?

I - What is that?

Alex - The white lines behind airplanes?

I - Ah, okay that what about it?

Alex - It lasts for hours these days. Earlier it used to get dissipated so quickly. They are spraying these chemicals above us to get the same effect as what Fluorine does to us.

I - I feel like those are conspiracy theories and they might not be true.

Alex - Yes, it's true.
They are polluting earth so fast. They don't want us to know. They are producing carbon dioxide and also extracting it from Ocean beds so fast to make money. You know oceans absorb the CO2, but we are producing it so heavily that it will remain in atmosphere for ages.

I - I agree on the CO2 production part. It's bad.. and no one is doing anything about it. But the genie is out of the bottle. You cannot ask the developing nations to slow down especially when it established that Industrial nations dominate the world. Who wants to be a weak nation and get patronized by a superpower?

They meet for Climate change conferences and do nothing about it. The carbon credit system was good. The carbon producing nations has to pay those who have forests to curb it. But I don't see its effective implementation. Then how it is going to stop? You tell me, what are you doing about it?

Alex - Well, I oppose consumerism. There is so much already available, we can use it instead of making more. For example, I buy second hand clothes. There is a shop in Brussels where you can buy used clothes. It's not that I cannot afford new one, but if we all buy used goods, we produce less, the less the demand, the less there will be exploitation of resources and people from underdeveloped countries.

Also, an airplane produces so much carbon dioxide. I don't prefer to fly because of that. I generally hitch-hike.

I - well, that's a noble thought. But, I think that when people buy clothes made in underdeveloped countries, they are kind of supporting their economy. I am aware about the exploitation, but I think it's better to have some food than starving without it. They will slowly move up from the poverty.

And hitch-hiking.. well it's easy to get ride for a girl like you.. :) what about guys like us in a foreign country?

And as I said, the chain reaction has started. If it's going to end in the apocalypse, then it will.. I don't think anyone can stop it.

Alex - We will stop it. I will stop it.. you will see. Smiles..
For now, I will study for my French exam tomorrow.

And then she went on reading her notes. I looked at her matted hair, the ornaments in it. I wondered if she will remain as hopeful as she is after the college or will become disillusioned about changing the world on her own..

It was like glimpse from the past, the hippy in me, now brick in the wall.. maybe the Fluorine works fast as one ages.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

पुतीनच्या वाट्याची सफरचंदे

दुपारी होस्टेल वर आल्याआल्या समोर सफरचंदाची पेटी दिसली. कदाचित कुणीतरी ठेवली असतील घेवून जायला. पण एवढी पेटीभर सफरचंदे कोण ठेवेल उगाच असे वाटून मी घेतली नाहीत. वर आल्यावर रेक्टर काकूंनी विचारले.. ल्युबिश याब्लक? उम्म.. ताक.  दोन सेकंद तर्क लावला..चल्ला फुकटची सफरचंदे.

रूम वर आल्यावर पिओतेक ला विचारले. काकूंचा वाढदिवस वगैरे आहेका फुकटची सफरचंदे वाटायला? त्याने मोठ्या प्रयासाने शब्दाला शब्द जोडून सांगितले -
रशिया ने युक्रेन वर २०१४ मध्ये हल्ला करून क्रीमिया विलीन करून घेतले. त्याचा निषेध म्हणून पाश्चात्य जगाने, म्हणजे अमेरिका व नेटो देशांनी रशियावर व्यापारी बंधने लादली. आता असल्या बंधनांना मानेल तो पुतीन कसला. रशियाने पण आपली चाल म्हणून युरोप कडून आयात होणार्या बहुसंख्य अन्न पदार्थावर बंदी घातली. त्यात पोलंड च्या सफरचंदांची लागली. रशिया पोलंडच्या ५० टक्क्याहून जास्त सफरचंदांची आयात करतो. पोलंड ला या व्यापारातून ५०० मिलियन युरो मिळतात. आता जर रशिया घेत नाही, तर एवढ्या सफरचंदांचं करायचे काय? म्हणून पोलंड च्या उत्पादकांनी ही जास्तीची सफरचंदे सरळ सरळ फुकट वाटायला चालू केलीयेत. गावागावांमधून ट्रक फिरून सफरचंदांचे क्रेट गोळा करतात आणि होस्टेल्स, संस्था, संकुलांमध्ये नेऊन ठेवतात.

त्यातलीच एक पेटी आमच्या होस्टेलमध्ये आली.इतकी वर्षे झाली, पण रशिया, युद्ध वगैरे शब्द कानावर आले की उत्सुकता लपवता येत नाही. नेटावरून खालील माहिती समजली.

पोलंडला रशियाचा राग आहे ही काय नवीन गोष्ट नाही. मग "सफरचंदे खा आणि पुतीनला वाकुल्या दाखवा" असले कार्यक्रम लोकप्रिय होतील असा शेतकऱ्यांचा अंदाज होता. ही जास्तीची सफरचंदे या प्रकारे खपवण्याचा उद्देश होता. पण या प्रचाराला फारसा प्रतिसाद मिळत नाहीये. शेतकऱ्यांचे आणि इतर उत्पादकांचे नुकसान नको म्हणून पोलंड ने कर सवलती दिल्यात. आणि युरोपियन युनियन कडून मदतीची अपेक्षा आहे. इ.यु. ने १२५ मिलियन युरो द्यायचे ठरवले ही आहे, पण ही रक्कम ५०० मिलियन युरोंच्या पुढे तोकडी आहे. ई.यु. च्या राजकारणात सामान्य शेतकर्याचे नुकसान. पण त्यांना नुकसान भरपाई मिळेल. युरोपचे शेतकरी आत्महत्या करायच्या आधी ज्यांच्या मुळे ही वेळ आली त्यांची हत्या करतील.

आपल्या कडे शेतकऱ्यांची कर्जमाफी करतात तर उपकार केल्याप्रमाणे. शेतकरी संघटना नेत्यांचे पाय धुण्यात मग्न आणि त्यातलेच तात्या नाना भाई तरूण नेतृत्व उद्याचे निर्लज्ज आमदार आणि खासदार.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Renaissance of Marathi Cinema

It's been almost two weeks since I have watched Sairat. It captured my mind and it's not going anywhere soon. More than the ending, I am now intrigued about the whole Sairat phenomena.

First, Its music. Raj has written about the songs of this movie on his blog.

Then, Sairat's director- Nagraj Manjule. His life is no less than a movie itself. He is a paradigm shift for many of us. I watched his interview "Great Bhet" by senior journalist Nikhil Wagle.
How many times have we heard that people can change inside out over the time period? Honestly I never totally believed that persons can evolve so drastically.  Even the story of Walmiki didn't feel right to me. Nagraj is a living example of such shift of personality. He failed 10th exam twice, was a narcotic addict, had violent past; today, he speaks eloquently about most sensitive issues of mankind. He doesn't just speak but expresses it through his art. He is not just a loner artist deeply hurt with the realities of life, he has made that pain his strength and became one of the most successful personalities of Marathi films.

Then the music composers of this film - Ajay-Atul. The duo never took any lessons in music. They don't know how to write music notations; yet, they have produced original tracks and symphonies which can make a seasoned musician question god that why he chose them over him.

Sairat is an iconoclast movie; on so many levels. It's been three weeks since its wide release and it has earned 700 million rupees (~11 million dollars) on its humble 40 million rupees (~600 thousand dollars) budget. That's hell lot of money for Marathi movie. It has almost twice than the second most successful Marathi movie Natsamrat. Signs are that Sairat will surpass 900 million mark in its full theatrical run. Natsamrat is also this year's movie. That means suddenly Marathi movie became significant earners. Now, the question is- What the F..?

Incompetence disguised as lack of audience in the 90s

I am pissed. This is clear sign that Marathi movie market was pathetically underrated for last so many years. Those creepy movie makers who made excuses that Marathi audience is not into Marathi movies and cried for patronage for Marathi cinema were actually losers who took Marathi cinema down the drain over those years.

Epitome of narcissism - Sachin getting himself praised in his own function.
Marathi audience has not suddenly became rich or aware of their heritage. While Tamil, Telugu movies were crossing 1000 million marks even in last decade, Marathi movies limped to cross 50 million mark.

Those movie makers who ceremoniously become judge of dance shows, crown themselves as showman of Marathi cinema,  the onus lies on them. Not only they undermined the cinema, they made a clown of versatile actors in the charades of what they thought were funny movies. Such a waste of the likes of Ashok Saraf and Laksmikant Berde.

Dawn of hope

Thanks to the brigade of new creators who proved that Marathi cinema was actually victim of mediocrity of the 90s. This new breed of directors liberated Marahi cinema from those hopeless dungeons of cheap entertainment. Big thanks to Mahesh Manjrekar for starting the success trend with Mi Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy. Likes of Umesh Kulkarni, Ravi Jadhav, Subodh Bhave, Nikhil Sane took it ahead. Popular talk shows like "Chala Hawa Yeoo Dya" gave good stage for promotions for these movies.

The force behind Renaissance of Marathi Cinema
However, it still was not clear if Marathi audience got aware of their heritage suddenly or it was the quality of the movies that improved. The phenomenal success of Sairat has made it completely clear now. Marathi movies was an untapped market. It is a good example how a potential can remain hidden in plain sight.

Though hugely because of the incompetence of the Marathi movie makers of the 90s, Marathi cinema got disparaged by the Hindi film industry. Now the balance has shifted big time.
The so called big budget albeit mediocre filmmakers of Bollywood movies must be shitting bricks watching over the success of a sensible film like Sairat.

Monday, May 9, 2016

सॉरी नागराज, मी सैराट ऑनलाईन पाहिला

(potential spoilers)

इतकी हाईप केल्यावर दम तरी कसा काढणार? त्यात रोज whatsapp वर काहीना काही नवीन.. "इतका मोठा ससा नववीतच कसा" वगैरे.. आणि सैराटची पूर्ण गाणी युट्युब वर आधीच रिलीज करून झिंग लावण्याची पूर्ण व्यवस्थाच केलेली होती.

मग काय बघितला. इथे पोलंड मध्ये रिलीज होण्याची शक्यता कमीच होती तशीही. पण पुण्यात तिकीट काढलं मी. एका रिकाम्या खुर्चीने माझ्याऐवजी बघितला तो पिच्चर थेटरात. उसूलोका वैसे पक्का हू मय..

मागे बाजीराव मस्तानी च्या वेळी पण असेच कंट्रोल नाही झाले, पण जसा तो ग्राझ मध्ये रिलीज झाला.. मी परत थेटरात जाउन बघितला. ग्राझ मध्ये आला नसता आणि ऑनलाईन पण नसता तर म्युनिच ला जाण्याची पण तयारी केली होती. पण तशी वेळ आली नाही.

बास.. आत्ता सैराट.. फक्त सैराट.

ख त र ना क.. आयच्या गावात.. भन्नाट पिच्चर बनवलाय. नेहमी प्रमाणे म्हंटले असते हॉलीवूड च्या तोडीचा आहे.. पण, कदाचित आता एखादा हॉलीवूड चा पिच्चर सैराट च्या तोडीचा आहे असा उल्लेख करेन मी कधीतरी.

एव्हाना सगळ्यांनी पाहिलाच असेल.. मला एवढा का आवडला? काही नवीन स्टोरी आहे? नाही.. मग?

सैराट ला मातीचा गंध आहे. सल्या परशाला जेव्हा म्हणतो "तुझ्या भल्याचं सांगतो तर तू आमचाच टांगा पलटी करतुया लका", किंवा परशाचे वडील त्याला रागवतात "दिसभर कुठं कुत्री मारत हिंडतया" तिथेच तो मनाशी कनेक्ट होतो. कुठेही कृत्रिमपणा नाही, अवघडलेले डायलॉग्स नाहीत की बळच म्हणून घुसडलेले हौसे नवशे गवशे कलाकार नाहीत.

गाणी.. आणि त्यांचे चित्रण.. अजय अतुल ने त्यांनीच ठेवलेलं माप आणखी उंचावर नेलय. हॉलीवूड च्या सोनी स्टूडीयोत रेकोर्ड केलेली त्यांची "याड लावणारी" सिम्फनी.. आणि तेवढ्याच ताकदीची स्लोमो मध्ये चित्रीत केलेली परशाच्या प्रेमाची वाटचाल. अप्रतिम.

एक मिनिट, पण हे तर एखाद्या तमिळ किंवा मल्याळम सिनेमा मध्ये पण बर्याचदा दाखवलय.. मग आणखी काय असे आहे यात, की हा असा अविस्मरणीय बनावा?

आहे.. २०-३० सेकंदाचे प्रसंग. जे तुकड्या तुकड्यात येतात पण ६ तासाच्या या सिनेमाला ३ तासांचा रमणीय अनुभव बनवतात. नागराज मंजुळेंनी मराठी मनावर खूप उपकार केलेत.. त्यांनी चक्क प्रेक्षकांना विचार आणि तर्क करता येतो, याच्यावर विश्वास ठेवलाय. उदाहरण..

प्रिन्स चे त्याच्या शिक्षकांना मारणे, तात्यांचे त्याच्यावर काहीच न करणे, आणि नंतर परशा समोर त्याच शिक्षकाने अर्ची बद्दल अपमानजनक बोलणे याचा खुप मोठा अर्थ आहे.

अर्ची आणि परशा पळून गेल्यावर, तात्याला त्यांनी फेट्या शिवाय बसून व्यासपीठावर नवीन महिला आमदाराच्या विजयाला पराभूत नजरेने पाहणे, आणि पार्श्वभूमीवर "सावित्रीबाई फुलेंची भूमी" वगैरे भाषणाचा आवाज.
तात्याच्या मनात काय चालले असेल, अर्चीबाद्दलची स्वप्ने, आणि स्वत:च्या राजकीय कारकीर्दीचा झालेला अस्त.

आर्ची च्या मागे बाळाला घेवून जाताना "संस्कृतीरक्षकांनी" प्रेमी जोडप्यांना मारहाण करताना परशाने स्तिमित नजरेने पाहणे.

शेवटच्या प्रसंगात आर्चीचे काका आणि प्रिन्स घरात त्यांचा अल्बम बघतात. कुठून कुठपर्यंत झालेला या जोडीचा प्रवास याची पूर्ण कल्पना घेतात आणि तरीही..

चित्रपटात जातीव्यवस्थेवर कुठेही थेट भाष्य केलेले नाही.. तरी त्याचा पूर्ण परिणाम येतो.  गाणी सिनेमाचा वेग कमी न करता उलट भन्नाट वाढवतात. झिंगाट सोडले तर प्रत्येक गाण्यामधून स्टोरी खूप वेगाने पुढे सरकते.
शेवटच्या प्रसंगात बाळाच्या पायाच्या ठशाबरोबर एक जखम मनावर सोडून हा सिनेमा संपतो.

खूप प्रश्न उसळतात.. चीड येते.. मोठ्या कष्टाने सावरलेले एक खोपटे क्षणात उद्ध्वस्त झालेले असते. पण मग आर्ची आणि परशाने तरी काय केले.. आई वडिलांची खोपटी तर त्यांनीही उधळून लावली. आणखी कोणत्या प्रकारे त्यांच्या आयुष्याला वेगळे वळण मिळाले असते? कोणाचे कुठे चुकले? अशी हुरहूर मागे लागते.

जाती बरोबरच गरीब-श्रीमंत भेद करणारे, समाजात स्थान जपण्यासाठी प्रस्थ तयार करणारे आणि मग त्या वाढवलेल्या अहंकाराला जपण्यासाठी कुठल्याही थराला जाणारे लोक आज सगळीकडे आहेत. अशा या वातावरणात आर्ची-परशाचे उस्फूर्त प्रेम एकतर टिकणार नाही किंवा असेच चिरडले जाईल.

आपल्या समाजात आज गरज आहे ती हा माजोरडेपणा संपवण्याची. माझी जात वरची, किंवा मी श्रीमंत किंवा मी पुढारी म्हणून तूझी किंमत कमी.. हाच सर्वात मोठा रोग आहे आपल्या समाजाला. जातीभेद आणि रंगभेदापेक्षाही हा माजोरडेपणा जास्त घातक. यावर उपाय? एक भेद संपवला तर माणूस दुसरा भेद उभा करतो. संपूर्ण मानवजातीला मिळालेला शापच तो.

नागराज मंजुळेंंचा फ्यान झालो. परशा, सलीम, प्रदीप, अर्चना, हैद्राबाद ची मावशी ची पात्र त्यांनी खूप विचारपूर्वक बनवलीयेत आणि कलाकारांनी पण त्यांना तेवढीच चांगली साथ दिलीये. करमाळ्याच्या परिसरात चित्रण करून त्यांनी आपल्या गावाला एकप्रकारची अमरत्वाची भेट दिलीये.

"सैराट झालं जी.."

Monday, May 2, 2016

बदलुराम का बदन जमीन के नीचे है

मागे एकदा ब्रिज ऑन रीवर क्वाई वर लिहिले होते. त्यात कर्नल बुगी मार्च हे गाणे सैनिक मार्च पास करताना वापरायचे याचा उल्लेख केला होता. असेच एक आणखी रेजिमेंटल सॉंग फेसबुक वर अमित ने शेयर केले काल परवा.

"बदलुराम का बदन" हे ते गाणे. गाण्याच्या ओळी अशा आहेत -

"बदलूराम का बदन जमीन के नीचे है,

बदलूराम का बदन जमीन के नीचे है,

तो हमे उसका राशन मिलता है"

असाम रेजिमेंट चे गाणे आहे हे. या गाण्यामागची कथा थोडी करूण पण गमतीशीर आहे. 
दुसर्या महायुद्धात असाम रेजिमेंट बदलूराम नावाचा सैनिक धारातीर्थी पडला होता. पण त्याच्या हुशार क्वार्टर मास्टर ने त्याच्या वाट्याचे रेशन चालूच ठेवले. पुढे जेव्हा कोहीमाला जपान्यांच्या वेढा पडला, त्या वेळी हे जास्तीचे रेशनमुळे ब्रिटीश-भारतीय सैनिकांना आणखी काही दिवस तग धरता आला अशी ती कथा.

खरेतर एका सैनिकाचे रेशन घेवून असा कितीसा फरक पडणार असे वाटू शकते. कदाचित बदलूराम पासून चालू झालेली हि प्रथा त्यांच्या क्वार्टर मास्टर ने आणखी बर्याच मृत सैनिकांसाठी वापरली असावी आणि त्यामुळे त्यांना वेढ्याच्या वेळी तेवढाच फायदा झाला असावा.

वर वर पाहता एका सैनिकाच्या मृत्यूची केलेली टवाळी असे वाटू शकते. परंतू थोडा विचार केल्यावर, या सैनिकाचा उल्लेख रेजिमेंट च्या गाण्यात करून रेजिमेंट ने त्याची स्मृती जपली आहे.
सैन्याच्या पद्धती आणि चालीरीती जरा विचित्रच असतात नाही? भारतीय सैन्याच्या प्रत्येक रेजिमेंट, बटालियन ला जवळ जवळ दीड-दोन शतकांचा इतिहास आहे. त्यात असे कितीतरी प्रसंग.

आसाम रेजिमेंट च्या सैनिकांना त्यांच्या ऱ्हायनोस या टोपणनावाने ओळखतात. या गाण्याच्या चालीवर, कडक युनिफॉर्म परिधान करून, थोडे हास्यास्पद पण तंतोतंत लयबद्ध असे पदलालित्य दाखवत गाणार्या या नवीन सैनिकांचा अभिमान वाटल्याशिवाय राहत नाही. 

दुसर्या महायुद्धात ब्रिटीशांच्या अधीन असलेली ही रेजिमेंट, कोहिमा इम्फाळ च्या लढाईत जापान्यांसोबत लढली.
याचा नक्की अभिमान वाटावा की दु:ख? एका बाजूला सुभाष चंद्र बोसांची INA आझाद हिंद सेना जपानची साथ देवून भारतातील ब्रिटीश राजवट उलथवून टाकण्याच्या प्रयत्नात असताना, कोहिमा इंफाळ च्या लढाईपासून त्यांची आणि पर्यायाने भारताच्या स्वातंत्र्य लढ्याच्या सैनिकांच्या पराभवाची सुरुवात झाली.

खरेतर INA च्या सैनिकांचे बलिदान वाया गेले नाही. त्यांच्यावरच्या देशद्रोहाच्या खटल्यांनी पूर्ण हिंदुस्तान जाती धर्म विसरून एकत्र झाला, ब्रिटीश भारतीय सैन्यामध्ये बंडाळी उफाळली आणि ब्रिटिशांना भारतावरची सत्ता सोडणे भाग पडले.

पण फाळणी नंतर INA चे काही सैनिक पाकिस्तानी झाले, काश्मीर मध्ये भारताविरुद्ध लढले. वर उल्लेख केलेली आसाम रेजिमेंट सीमा इकडच्या तिकडे झाल्या असत्या तर कदाचित आज बांगलादेशी पण असू शकली असती. रेषांचा खेळ सगळा.

आपला देश म्हणजे खरेच एक चमत्कार आहे. इतिहासात एकमेकांचे बारा वाजवणारे आज मित्र आहेत, खांद्याला खांदा लावून लढणारे कट्टर शत्रू झाले. लहानपणी पडणार्या प्रश्नांची उत्तरे आता मिळतायेत. इतिहास जपून का शिकवला जातो हे आता कळतंय. अभिमान आहे अशा देशाचा ज्याने भविष्याला ओळखून वेळीच आखणी केली. इतिहास जसाच्या तसा शिकवायच्या नादात आज आपण स्वताचे खूप नुकसान करून घेतले असते. पाकिस्तान चे उदाहरण समोर आहेच.

पण हे डावपेच नाहीत का? इतिहासाची मोडतोड नाही का? असेल. पण जोपर्यंत सर्वांगीण विचार करण्याची कुवत येत नाही तोपर्यंत याला पर्याय नाही. थोडक्यात "वर्तमानात का जगावे?" याचे उत्तर भारतीय सैन्याच्या उदाहराणातून समजते.