Flying During The Pandemic

Rapid test at the Srinagar Airport
Flying Vistara- The airlines no longer leave one seat in the middle to maintain social distance. The flight was jam packed. Though, they were nice enough to give me an upgrade.
The person sitting on the middle seat, has to wear the coverall. Very few people chose to eat, for safety’s sake and because it looks so comfortable.
Air hostess giving instructions.
Air hostesses in their coveralls at the Indira Gandhi Airport, New Delhi.
Travelling solo to Kashmir. First trip since the spread of the pandemic. I chose to carry my own safety shield.
No one maintains social distance, at the airports.
This is the way Indians maintain social distance.

‘The world won’t fall if you’re not holding it up…just take a minute, put your mind on ice. And you try and you try and you’re trying. But the burden is heavy and overgrown. And God knows that we all get tired. It’s a long night, when you have to do it on your own and I hate how you talk to yourself. It’s not weak if you need to be held. So cut off a little slack and roll all your cavalry back. My love take care of yourself.’ The song by Maisie Peters plays on and I wake up from my slumber, thinking I’m in bed listening to it on repeat as usual, SC trying soothe SB.

But I was on a plane, landing in Kashmir, after the ordeal at the airport. So, if the travel bug is biting you, drive down because flying is a terrible idea. Now, don’t go blaming my fear for it. The pictures should be self explanatory. The chances of picking up an infection are terribly high. I should have worn the PPE kit, I had bought and covered my hair. Also, it would have been a good idea to get the boarding pass printed, instead of downloading it because the wait and the chaos at the airport, thanks to that, was maddening. Incase, you are planning to fly, reach there not 2 hours earlier, in fact I would suggest two and hours before your departure. There’s absolute chaos at the airport and flying would have been a better idea, two months ago, when the flights were empty.

More than seventy percent, of the people on the flight were of course from the CRPF, BSF and the Indian Army. How I know this is because there was a separate queue for them at the airport. We should brace ourselves, the shit is just beginning to hit the ceiling.

Punjab Bandh

‘Kisan Bachao, Mandi Bachao’- the slogan being raised in Punjab and Haryana today, the 25th of Sep.
Sukhbir Singh Badal led a tractor protest accompanied by Harsimran Kaur Badal.

An effigy of Pm Modi, was burnt today by the farmers in Punjab. This was in protest against the three Farm Bills, which have been claimed to be ‘historic’ by the PM and as ‘a corporate feast in the garb of reform’ by his detractors. Here are the details of the Bills-

Bill No 1- Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce ( Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020- The main points under this bill are- To create an ecosystem where farmers and traders enjoy the freedom to sell and purchase farm produce outside registered Mandis under the states APMCs. To promote barrier free interstate and intrastate trade of farmers’ produce. Creating a facility to trade electronically. Reducing the cost of marketing and transportation.

Bill No 2- The Farmer ( Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Services Bill, 2020. Here are the details-Farmers can enter into a contract with agribusiness firms, processors, wholesalers, exporters or large retailers for sale of future farming produce at pre-agreed prices. The transfer of risk of market unpredictability from farmers to sponsors. Farmers can engage in direct marketing by eliminating intermediaries for full price realisation.

Bill No 3- The Essential Commodities ( Amendment) Bill, 2020. This what this Bill says- To relive commodities like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, onions and potatoes from the list of essential commodities. It will do away with the imposition of stockholding limits on such items except under ‘extraordinary circumstances’ like war.

Though on the onset, the reforms seem to beneficial to the farmers, 250 farming organisations are protesting, today. The farmers are unsure whether they will be able to sell their produce, without getting manipulated by the corporate structure and the states are worried that, the slow dismantling of the Mandi will eat into their income.

The Farmers are demanding the following, from the government-

1) Roll back of the ordinances

2) Protection of the APMC ( Mandi)

3) Loan Clearance

4) New Laws for regulation of MSP. (Minimum support price)

Shaheed

Aaj humne sunah mohabbat shaheed hoti he. To humme khyaal aaaya ke khwaisheen, chahahate aur hasrate shaheed hoti he, yeh kambakht dil, mohabbat ko kaise shaheed hone deta he.

Mohabbat to kuch tare banke, asman mein tim timati he. Kuch aziz jo jald hi raakh ban gaye, unki yaad dilati he. Kabhi hum unko dekh, kabhi woh humme dekhte hue, muskurati he. Tasveere, ghar ki chaukhat, aur har ek kaune mein bas jati he. Halak mein ek cheekh ban kar tham jati he. Mohabbat kaise shaheed ho jaati he?

Mohabbat to kabhi chand ban jati he. Eid ka chand. Unn ratoon ki yaad dilati he, jab koi madhoshi mein, darwaaze pe dastak deta tha. Ankaheen batoon aur hum dono ke haathon mein woh chup jati he. Mohabbat kaise shaheed ho jati he?

Mohabbat to zare zare mein buni jati he. Ghar ke saman mein payee jati he. Har ek kamre mein, unke hathoon se banayee, kuch tutti hue lakad ki cheezon mein payee jati he. Jab mathe pe haat rakhe to, unn thapado ki yaad dilati he. Humesha, Palash Sen ki awaaz, mein payee jaati he. ‘ Kesse bhulegi mera naam?’ cheekhte hue, pucch jati he. Mohabbat kaise shaheed ho jati he?

Mohabbat to aankhon mein aur duaoon mein payee jati he. Dal ke kinare, kuch paani se mile aansuon me chamakti he, ya shamshan ghat mein kissi ki bahoon mein ashk bahate hue dikhti he. Mohabbat to jism pe sihahee se, aur dil mein tanhai se, gadd jati he. Mohabbat to inn sabh mein bat jati he. Mohabbat kaise shaheed ho jati he?

Kudos

Jaya Bachchan’s who is known for being a spitfire, gives it back to the government and how! Though, one is not a fan of Rhea’s behaviour and under no circumstances can one support her but it is obvious to anyone, who is not looking at the the world through bhakt tinted glasses that the BJP is using this to divert people! Check out the speech, it will make you realise that the shorter a woman is, the less she likes being bullied ( kidding) and they give it back as good as they get it.

#Justice

We kept assuming that the media frenzy would come to an end at some point but it goes on and on. On the other side, ‘ Roses are red, violets are blue, let’s crush the patriarchy me and you!’ is the status of my left leaning friends on fb. Twitter comes out in ‘joint support’ for Rhea. I should be standing with her….I tell myself. But my mother’s life, comes in the way!

Everyone man or woman should be against the media trial, that the Chakraborty family is being subjected to and this is not the way to treat a woman. What Sushant’s family is allowing to happen to this woman, the vilification of her will not bring back their son.

Having said that, I want to know, how many of you have lived with someone with Bipolar Disorder? I agree if smoking weed is that serious a crime, then half the saffron clad men in this country should be behind bars. But have you ever been on psychiatric pills? I have overdosed on my mum’s pills and I have been hospitalised for it. My mum was on them for over 32 years before she died. Do you know what a lethal combination, that is? I understand you can’t stop someone, we tried to stop my mother from downing cough syrups and failed many times. But if you are procuring weed for someone who is on those drugs, then I really don’t think you have their best interest at heart.

Forget the weed, what business does anyone who is not a person’s legal heir, related by contract or blood have of wanting to control the wealth of a man who is not well? I’m asking this question based on the leaked audio that Rehea’s team has put out, as defence. How can a woman who has been living with a man for not even two years, want to form a trust and become a trustee? He wasn’t of sound mind? I beg to differ, more than fifty person who have been diagnosed with this, choose to not be on medication and continue to live productive lives, managing their time, assets and wealth. Yes, there is the risk of being suicidal, at all times. Anyway, he came from a huge family, why were they not present during these conversations?

Forget the money, who records these private conversations and makes videos, plus leaves with a person’s prescriptions unless and until they are accumulating evidence, to prove on a latter date that the person is not off sound mind? Why were fellers being sent to the media immediately after she left his house? I might be a woman but by no stretch of the imagination can I stand by her side. Yes, depression can be a genetic disposition but it is also something that gets triggered and aggravated by events and people. I blame Sushant for not having known better. The trick to our sanity is knowing who and what impacts us positively. Exercise, the right food, the right people can have a positive impact. The highs and lows can be dealt with in other ways and even if medication is the way, there’s no way to know how much is too much. My mother’s doctors recommended electric shocks, they recommended what we only got to know later were excessive meds when her body started to reject them, towards the end. The doctors recommend what the person who takes the patient with will vouch for. If that person, claims that you are violent or too moody or too depressed, the dosage will be given accordingly. That person, the caregiver, what their view of your illness is, will skew the way the doctors will look at you.

Plus, if you personally know anyone with advanced degrees in psychology, you will realise that they are not some great readers of the mind. Their conversations and their mentality will mostly convince you that you’re fine making your decision by yourself. Everything depends on the doctor’s life experience and that is too subjective. At my brother’s death, Dr Sandeep Vohra, who was my mother’s psychiatrist during a session with me, started crying! Here I am in a complete shock, the man who is supposed to help me deal with it, is crying. Once, during a session with my mum, he called me into the office and asked me to not marry a particular man. My mother’s first psychiatrist in Jor Bagh, Dr Kothari, got into depression himself, due to which we had to change psychiatrists. This the reason why abroad, where mental health, is considered a serious issue, therapists have their own therapists to speak to. Dissing all shrinks in one go, wasn’t my intention. The psychotherapist I respect, they put in the time and effort. The psychiatrist, I find, takes the shortest way out. I’ve been lucky enough to meet some nice one’s in my life. Forever I will be grateful to Akash Dharamraj, who taught me the spiritual path, will save me, from my own demons. It’s a pity, she’s no longer with us.

We live in a society, where when you talk about your issues, people say you’re wanting sympathy, you’re weak or attention seeking. They ask you to brush your feelings and your thoughts under the carpet. ‘Don’t be so sensitive!’ ‘You think too much, feel too much!’ ‘ Look at how we dealt with it’. If you are man it’s worse. We are taught day in and day out to think less, feel less and in my case even write less. Itni bhi jagaah aap ko nahin milti he. Everyone wants you to sound and behave exactly like them. If you are a celebrity and you’re fighting to tame your mind and the system that has been designed for you to fail, I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like for SSR. To see a lifetime of work and charity to be reduced to being a ‘charsi’ ‘ difficult’ and ‘crazy’ is not how anyone should be remembered. Where is the justice in all this?

m I taking this personally?

6 months

Amma,

Can’t believe it’s been almost six months since you left. SC misses you a lot, sometimes just the sight of something that you wore makes her sob uncontrollably but SB quickly shuts her down. ‘ Wait a while,’ she keeps telling her. For an hour a day she lets her out, when I go for a walk or exercise but SB keeps SC on a very tight leash. She can get all of us into a serous jam and get the system, spiralling out of control.

Though, right now, she’s out and nothing SB says will calm down her nerves. Your husband is a little unwell, has a cold and is slightly feverish and you know how panicky and anxious SC gets, always imagining the worst. Its unfortunate that the people who would do anything for me , are either not in this city or have elderly parents to take care off. I wouldn’t want to impose incase of an emergency. Hopefully, he should be up and about tomorrow but I am sleeping in the drawing room. I should have done that, on your last night, had I known it was your last!

Sometimes, when I feel like this, I do long for ‘my person’, someone I know for certain would be around without any conditions. But alas! unconditionality is an illusion, like love. The rest of the lovelies I know, have been cribbing about coming to the hospital to meet me when I was unwell, picking up flowers for your funeral and what not, you don’t want to know. Fills my heart with joy! What you taught us, we should do for strangers and we did, is apparently too much to do for friends.

That’s why this midnight disturbance. Otherwise, all in all, I look like I’m better, na? I’m sure the love of my life ( Dustu) and the light of my life (you) are having a ball. I worry less about him, since you’ve gone. What crazy stories we tell ourselves! Sometimes, I imagine you both are the stars that I look up at and smile. Makes it easier. In any case, who the hell knows where you are? Ahh, your son, the saint, of our house may have landed in heaven but you my darling, I doubt would have got an entry there! Your lovely escapades, would have landed you in trouble and you would be getting a rap for them. The last minute pandering you were doing to the Big Man, should have made me suspicious, you were about to split. So, stars in the sky is a better story! Your tat which the Wall is helping me with, is going to have a few stars, too.

So, talking about the Wall, on nights like these, I wish I would have listened to you. If I would have, he would have been sitting here, right now, holding my hand, telling me not to worry and I would have worried less. You were right, he is the most dependable man, I’ve ever met. No games, no drama, he always says what he means and means what he says. He knows about every man, every aspect, everything about my life, so no one can yank me around via him. No one can spring something on him, that he wouldn’t have heard. It’s a different story no one will dare to. You knew he was fiercely loyal because once you jokingly tried to crib about me to him and he very politely asked you not to. After that, you were floored! How much you insisted I should marry him! But I was busy waiting for love. What’s love got to do with it? Apparently, nothing!

You know my greatest fear about marriage is – that people will control me through my man. My life can’t be a repetition of yours, I keep telling myself, otherwise I too will be given electric shocks!!!! Use the ‘ good guy’ to keep the lady in check!. You know the drill, you experienced the whole drama, it’s not the man’s family, it’s your own people who do it. If the man will pander to them, they’ll switch sides in a second. He could be doing the worst things to you but he should listen to them and you’ll be the bad one! But this one is quietly fierce, very sharp and hard to manipulate.

Though, men are different, when you’re friends with them and very different otherwise. At the end of the day most of them end up marrying someone like their mothers. Do I behave like anyone’s mum? Amma, how can I? I’m a terrible mix of you two, coupled with shit loads of cynicism. So fleeting thoughts, tomorrow morning I will wake up and if your husband is alright, yet again, I will think, ‘ I don’t need nobody!’ Hopefully, he will be.

P.S- It’s a good thing that we have cameras in the house and I wear a Fitbit. It seems technology is my only counter, since conversations are out of the question! Thank God I have never chucked a single phone/ camera/ letter/ photo/ card in my life. This Truman show that they all seem to interested in, should at least have some grain of truth to it. I’ve decided, to deal with the grapevine, I should wear a go pro on my head all the time. Then at least I’ll have proof against their malice. Before I die, it can be be put up, with ‘ fuck you, assholes!’ as it’s caption. Just kidding! But on a serous note, this how much money, where, what time you do what etc etc makes me wonder what kind of upbringing most people had. I know I have a self deprecating humour and my flaws are out there, for everyone to see but at the end of the day, God and you know what I did. I just hope it’s enough for you, two. Thank God you were not ‘normal’. I find these normal people, to be quite a strange lot -conference calls, call recordings, call up people to get info, my God! How boring are their lives, that they are sooo interested in our’s?