Monday, August 17, 2009

Beer fueled optimism

It was the weekend before the weekend of the 15th of August. It was late on Friday evening and we had driven down from Boston to Jersey City, NJ right across the Hudson from the brilliant glowing night skyline of Manhattan. The good stuff and the coolers were in place in the gazebo at Avalon Cove where some lucky friends had an apartment overlooking the water as seven of us guys found ourselves taking in the view of the million odd building lights from the island on the other side cold beers in hand. The city that never sleeps shone crazy bright that night as if only to keep us awake and talking as Friday slipped into Saturday.

The truth must be spoken and like all conversations in a guys only gathering, the start point was definitely not out of the ordinary. A vigorous and somewhat healthy discussion on the artistic merits of "" [Guys, it's worth the visit and girls, PLEASE DON'T GO there as it's not worthy of your type of curiosity] and of free speech ensued. Somewhere between the first beer and the second, the conversation took an abrupt turn. It's hard to remember what caused the sudden change in the frame of reference but we were plunged into a world of Gandhism, and why it'd or it'd not work; whether India's historical passivity as a nation was an indicator of its wisdom or its cowardliness; the wretchedly desperate lives that a majority of our countrymen are condemned to live; Naxals, Maoists, Sangh Parivar maniacs, Islamic extremists, corruption, inefficiencies and their cures if any: all of this came spontaneously tumbling out in fountains of passionate debate. The fires of the argument raged into the morning long after even they turned off the technicolour lights on the Empire State Building.

Exactly a week after was India's Independence Day. It's easy to laugh away all of our bluster as the usual tall talk fueled by alcohol. But I thought it was a really note-worthy fact. Here we were a bunch of young yuppies, half a world away on the banks of a foreign river in a foreign land with no apparent cause for discussing such a head intensive topic. Yet we were completely immersed in it, cocooned by a variety of our concerns and solutions which we saw as the most appropriate for a land that tied us together despite all that distance. In chai wallah stands across the country, in railway stations and bus stops, in offices and pubs, on cricket grounds and wherever else the youth of my country gather I imagine such topics being simultaneously broached. Whatever may be our limited suggestions, that we are ready to talk and invest our passions into at least thinking of a way out is a major first step. After all, we very well could have stuck to more appealing topics like Savita Bhabhi for what our time was worth. There's a buzz in the air whenever the word "India" escapes a pair of lips and there's no way to deny that fact.

Not all of us are going to go ahead and act on those brave words of ours but even if 1 in 10000 takes that next step, India's got it made. All those concerned voices booming in chorus is sure to make the earth shake and make that handful of people stand up and take notice. Naysayers, smirk away as you look on the impossible odds stacked against us, but deep inside you do know that India's time is coming!

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