Tuesday, July 17, 2007

They say blood is thicker than water. Amongst all the blood relations, the relation between a mother and her son has to be the strongest one. And most often, a relation of blind faith and loyalty, and absolute denial of the cold facts and the hard truths of the world.

The mother of the Glasgow bomber; her son burned himself in trying to kill innocents and what was her first reaction - that her son is totally innocent. Some other people who worked with him, or had links to him were also caught. All the mothers said the same thing - that their sons are innocent harmless human beings.

Now, the mother of the bomber is saying that she knew sometime back that something was not right with her son. She also knew then, that he was going on the wrong path.

Why didn’t she say that before? Did she ever talk to her son and try to change his sick and stupid beliefs and opinions? Did she ever talk about her son to the police? Something tells me that the parents knew all about him. Maybe not the bombing itself, but everything else.

Whenever I read about some shooting or extortion in my state, I always ask mom why the mothers of all those terrorists are not reporting their sons to the army or police. These mothers know very well about their sons’ whereabouts and what they all do. These mothers know very well that their sons are extorting money from everyone in the state, and killing and terrorizing innocent people. The family can disown a terrorist, a whole neighborhood/locality can denounce him but a mother will never do that. Behind everyone’s back, she will always have a link with her son.

Mom never has an answer for me. But I know she has the answers deep inside her heart. How can the mothers do that? They are their own sons, their own flesh and blood.

There is my 2nd brother, the black sheep of the family. Though he hasn't joined any terrorist outfit, I and everyone in the family hold him responsible for our transition from an upper middle-class family to a poor family. The fact that advice and threats, money for business and money for further education, love and hate, empathy and pity, trust and distrust haven’t changed him at all doesn’t concern mother. The fact that he’s almost 35 and all those years haven’t touched him and made him a better person, has always escaped mother.

So for her, like every other mother in the world, her son is actually innocent and harmless. It’s his lazy evil friends, it’s the neighborhood he grew up, it’s the schools he studied, and sometimes, it’s her husband – our father.

How people turn blind, deaf and mute when the accused is their mother, father, son, daughter, brother or sister? When I was 12-13, there was this friend in our group. I remember the day his mother was caught with an auto driver. There was all this commotion in his house, relatives and neighbors were coming and giving advice to his father. Some were telling him to divorce his wife; some were asking him to think about his kids.

That’s when we turned to this friend in our group. We wanted him to say the word; we wanted him to shout that his mother was a prostitute and that he will never talk to her or call her ‘mother’ anymore. We wanted him to say the words so very badly. As kids, we were cruel and stupid. If I remember correctly, he screamed angrily that his mother could never be a prostitute. And he never ever said a word about his mother after that day.

A decade and some years later, I know he still loves her but I also know that the love has been mixed with buckets of hate and hurt. And that concoction has been hidden and locked away in his heart, perhaps forever.

I went home last year for one day, after staying away for 7 continuous years. I met him and he arranged for a driver’s license for me. His family is still so poor, he was never able to finish his education, and he’s unemployed but he survives by running around and arranging driving licenses, passports, domicile, birth and date certificates for other people. I heard later from elder sister back home, that sometimes he works as a laborer when there’s no other work.

His mother died a long time ago, within a year after the incident. Fainted one fine day and she was gone forever. His father remarried and they got back a family. I also had a long talk with him, he was happy though the hint of some forgotten sadness flashed occasionally in his eyes. Still, I could have saluted him right then and there, saluted and bowed to his fighting spirit. My 2nd brother wouldn’t have survived a day if he were put in that friend’s place. And with mother to hold him in her lap instead of letting him walk, my 2nd brother wouldn’t have lasted a fucking minute.

A mother’s love can be the strongest and most nurturing love we’ll ever know in our lives. But it also can turn into a very dangerous thing when it becomes an over-protective, encompassing roof over our heads. And if it ever happens, take a walk outside and let a little rain and sun wash over you.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

It’s fun to know languages other than your own. There is no language in this world that I don’t want to learn. But sadly, I know just a few.

Today, in the cafeteria, three other guys were sitting at my table. And all of them were speaking in Tami. And the best part was that they absolutely have no idea that I can understand a little bit of Tamil. One was cribbing about the food in general, and another one was pissed off with some dish comparing it with their original beloved Tamil dish. That’s when the third guy pitched in, calling the other 2 guys assholes and asking them to shut up. I almost choked on the food, trying to stifle a laugh.

I just know some words and phrases but my Tamilian friends used to tell me that I know more bad/swear words in Tamil than they do.

Speaking of languages, why do some people force down their language down other people’s throats? One of the first things I learned after leaving home, is that when you are in a group, switch to a common language that everyone in the group is familiar with. It doesn’t matter how many persons from your own state/community are there in the group. If there is one single person who doesn’t know or speak your language, switch. That’s it.

But no matter what you do or where you are, you’ll always come across people who break this simple rule. If you ask or remind them, they will look at you as if you have abused their mothers. And their most common answer is, “Why?? Ours is such a beautiful and sweet sounding language.“ The second most common answer is that they are speaking with a brother/sister from their own community/state.

Anyone will tell you that if you don’t know a particular language, it all sounds the same – just noise. So even if your language can invoke the rain gods and make flowers bloom, kindly switch.