The very fact that none of us have a choice to die closes all avenues and norms of ‘freedom’ that we keep talking about time and again through centuries. We are all born out of other humans. We evolve into humans. We carry out tasks like other humans. We basically move up and down and in circles like every other human. In these movements through time and air, we entangle ourselves into thoughts, theories and actions. We react, we act, we feel and we live. We force feed ourselves into gaining knowledge of the unknown given that we feel very strongly about the power of the universe that we are all a part of! However, in the process we fail to acknowledge that this very universe didn’t give us the key to be equal and to be free in our human form 😂 What it has done though is this. It has given each of us a desire, a little code of information in each of us that makes us all exactly equal and exactly similar. So I don’t understand these baseless debates around equality and around freedom.. Doesn’t suit us humans to even talk of freedom because for sure, the only certainty that we do know of, that is, death, we don’t even have the freedom to choose it so what on earth are we talking about and killing each other and fighting for?!
In many households, the home owners eat a different kind of rice to that of their domestic help. In many households, the drivers or housekeepers sit on the floor or stand at the gate or sleep in the car waiting for the owners to arrive or waiting to serve their owners.
People separate themselves from people based on their work profile, based on their materialistic possessions. Then it becomes the core responsibility of the people, of all people, to eradicate those differences and to view each other simply as ‘humans’. Because this is by far the most hardest thing to do as people love to fan their egos, the discrepancies enhance and the distances increase.
We then come to view the world in segments. We then come to take it for granted that our domestic help is there to clean our house up, that’s their job; we pay them. We don’t work with them to clean up! Most don’t even take their drivers for a drive or drop them back home once their job of serving you is done; because that’s not your job!
Paying them is not serving them. Paying them is a way to make sure that they are able to buy whatever goods there is that they need to keep their bodies running. Money doesn’t buy anyone the thoughts or love or feelings.
If a human is available to serve you, it’s not you, the human, that they are serving. They are serving the highest in you by the highest in them; so that you, the human and they the human are equally benefitted through the process. Hence, help them. Work with them. Eat together. Pray together because that’s when you would heal and also relearn to love humans beyond boundaries and definitions.
When a child is born, the umbilical chord is cut by someone, he is cleaned up by someone, he is wrapped up by someone and he is fed by someone. He, is dependent on everyone around; he trusts everyone around; he is a part of them and they are a part of him. To him, they are all part of the same ‘life’. Trust, faith, love and being take care of comes as part and parcel of his very entity. Right after he is born, he places his trust in everyone without knowing his relationship to them, without knowing what work they do professionally, without knowing how much money they have or how much money he has. He is born a human and he comes with his basic rights of trusting humans for being human and for making him one of them in time, through what they all share, ‘life’ 🙂
Then why through the years, these very core rights of his on humans needs to be earned back?! Why does he doubt intentions of others?! Why does he think twice and even thrice or several times before loving another human?! Why his vision of ‘trust’ gets restricted?! Why?!
Life, never said to the soul that was born that ‘go and earn money, earn a name for yourself’.. Instead life said, ‘go and live me. Live me well.’ .. And ‘live well’ took into materials so deeply that the very core of his rights as a human, on other humans and on life itself, got blurred.
Why would trusting another human beyond relationships be so hard?! Why would loving another human beyond defined boundaries be hard?! These are what we were born with, these are what we are made of! So why would we bring and build other humans differently?!
The curiosity list for 2017 would perhaps have the following ..
1. Has Narendra Modi lost it?! Will he be able to hold the nation together or will he make a mess of it?! What will he do?! Where’s India going to be?!
2. What’s Trump going to do?! Is US going to be a Twitter led country?! Or will the Russians take over US?! Will US suddenly have more jobs?! What’s going to happen with the economy?!
3. What’s Brexit going to be like?! Jamie Oliver is already closing some of his restaurants in the face of Brexit .. Will we have no jobs in the UK at all?! What will happen to the immigration?!
4. Will we come to an end of gender violence?! Or will we write and share more posts around ‘women empowerment’?! Will we really achieve the ‘equality’ that we have been talking about for years?!
5. Racism. Will we see a sharp rise in racism across the globe?! Will we be judged more on our colour than our abilities?!
6. Rape. Will we see a sharp rise in the rape statistics across the globe?! Will more and more women in DRC and other parts of the world be made victims of wars?!
7. Will more countries turn out to be like Syria and will we all be a witness to an end of another country and a rise in the refugees across the globe?!
8. Will we let go off our climate policies and be a witness to the dark age due to a steep rise in pollution worldwide?!
9. Will we really have homes in Mars and will some of us actually go and live on another planet other than the Earth?!
10. Will we really have robots as our domestic help and drive cars for us rather than humans?! Are we really going to replace humans?!
I guess the list could go on and on and on .. But it will perhaps never cover the basic question that we should be curious about at the very start ..
‘When will I/ we be human?!’
And with this note of mine, I wish you all, each and everyone of you a very beautiful 2017.
At first I had this idea of doing a live video about my journey but now on when my day has come to an end (nearly) I don’t feel like talking! I am going to write instead.
That article on Sonagachi in scroll.in took me back to the years when I had read an article on Kerry Hilton and his wife Annie Hilton in the papers. I put two and two together and I wrote to Freeset. They got back to me within two days and asked me what everyone generally asks – why are you interested in visiting and meeting and talking to the prostitutes in Sonagachi?
That evening after thinking hard I realised that neither am I a social worker, neither do I work for an NGO, neither am I a writer and neither do I have any contacts with anyone who do social work of the kind that I am interested in. So who am I and what interest do I have?!!
The only solution that I had that evening / night was to write my heart out to someone who I believed would understand what I am trying to say when I say that these prostitutes, these women living and breathing in Sonagachi are the real heroes of the society that I belong to! The struggle they go through day in and out, what keeps them going? What are they made of?! What do they dream of, if at all?!! And I wanted to know them. I wanted to know that woman on the street dressed in completely low cut blouse walking with confidence, with a bright red lipstick and bright eyeliners and fearless! I wanted to meet that woman.
I wrote to Kerry’s secretary, Jo and she got back to me saying they were touched by my honesty and Kerry wanted to meet me in person but had a crazy travel schedule so we worked out a day which was today and I flew in from Delhi just to meet them and to be with them.
I went to the Gateway today, which is right at the entrance of Sonagachi and spend time talking to Annie, Kerry’s wife and the women. Now let me see if I can recall all their names; Kuntala, Kakoli, Chhaya ( and my brain gave up! Haha ) .. I met Kerry and I heard something for the first time .. Kerry said to me and I quote “We rarely get emails like yours” I was taken aback cos in my mind I sort of believed that a lot of people work with these women but apparently not! 🙂
Coming to my heroes; they are completely dignified, they take dignity to a whole new level. They take honesty to a whole new level. They remember their roots with utmost precision and they remember the day they were sold in Sonagachi. Each of them remembers the day they became “kharap” (a Bengali word meaning bad) .. And I nearly screamed my heart out and said you are not kharap! You aren’t bad. You can never be! They spoke to me about their favourite TV serial, their favourite actor and actress.. I can’t get Kakoli’s reaction to my favourite actor being Shahrukh Khan out of my head 🙂 🙂 🙂 She wanted to tell me what a disgusting taste I have in actors! But she quickly smiled and said – o Bhalo (meaning he’s good).
One of them asked me where I live? I said London. The next question was – where is it?! 🙂 and my head and heart aligned that very minute. I belong to a class of humans where London is known to everyone. I never had to struggle for a piece of bread in my growing up days. I never had to trade my body to pay my rent. I talk about living on the edge and I often give people the example of days when I was broke. I am ashamed of myself today. I don’t know what living on the edge is all about. So the reality that I live and breathe in, is not really real. It is a bubbled up reality that I live and breathe in and after today, I don’t think I can ever say that I have suffered in life – that’ll be a complete lie.
I can go on and on talking about my heroes and how they hold it all together and take it all in .. Scarred bodies, ill health, not knowing what their basic rights are as humans and so on.. The list is endless. But I will add something else to this list today and my (T) version is this :
As a woman when I share my bed with a man, without a doubt it converts into love for me. It has to be! A mental connect is far more important than a physical relation. And when I have spent hours with women who have shared beds with men where only a handful converted into love and a home, I cannot but applaud the intensity and degree of detachment that these women have in them towards their own bodies! And here on the outside, we talk of taking of meditation and taking our minds off materials and considering this body as an instrument to do what your soul wants to do! We learn these on the outside. These women do it and this is their living reality. So I ask, with a lot of conviction today, who do you call spiritual?! Them – who trade their bodies like real estates and commodities or us – who sit in silence and try to focus on the breath and think beyond bodies?! 🙂
I say, if you need to learn the art of detaching yourself and resigning to just ‘living’ then walk through the streets of Sonagachi..Maybe you can hold your head to your own heart and make sense of how ‘human judgements’ have over the years paralysed our society and the universe that we are a part of!
Kakoli gave me a strong piece of advice .. She said that I should drink more water 🙂 🙂 🙂 and they all said to me “please come and visit us again. Be in touch.”
If these aren’t real humans walking through planet earth, then surely I am not qualified to say that I am one.