ATHEIST: I am an atheist but it does not stop me from praying every morning. In New Delhi, there are Mosques, Temples and Gurudwaras behind my room. They are pretty far but every morning at 5:30 AM, I wake up to the sounds of prayers. So I join them. Here is my prayer:
“Oh God, bless all of them, Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. They are all fine people. Please, please bless them and tell them not to use loudspeakers since your hearing is not impaired.”
DELHIWALLA: There is certain charm in the hustle-bustle of Delhi. I could live here if I had a good, meaningful job. There is never a dull moment if you go on the road. There are people walking, riding bicycles, rickshaws, sometimes riding horses or camels, motorcycles, tuk-tuks, small cars, imported luxury Mercedes cars, and screeching past them are the huge buses and trucks. They all used to belch thick heavy smoke trails, the men puffing cigarettes and the machines giving out diesel smoke. Now no one smokes and all buses, tuk-tuks and a lot of the cars run on CNG, so there is no smoke trail.
TERRORIST: I traveled on the Metro yesterday and my train went past a school. It was a spacious school with children playing soccer on a neatly groomed, large playground. It reminded me of the Delhi Public School -- one of the most expensive and prestigious schools in Delhi. The DPS was here when I used to go to a government school in Delhi. My school had few teachers, let alone a playground.
I used to walk past an officer’s club. They had beautiful grounds and even a swimming pool. My father was a private, so we were not allowed in there. I could not understand why the government would spend so much money on them and not on us. They were already getting paid enough. They could afford to pay for their own recreation. Privates' salaries were low so I thought the government should pay for them to belong to a club.
Social injustice was as rampant then as it is now. I could feel it even when I was ten or eleven years old. I remember during Junior High, one of my fervent desires was to have a few nuclear bombs. Then I could detonate them over India. I believed that only after the whole damn place was destroyed could a new India be born, an India with social justice for all. I am sure with some encouragement and proper, or improper, depending upon your point of view, guidance I could have been groomed into a suicidal terrorist.
Looking at that school brought back those memories from forty five years ago. I guess there may be a “sleeper terrorist” some place inside me! But that person is happily in deep, deep sleep :)