Signs Of The Times

By Humra Quraishi

Signs Of The Times

Some dark realities emerging this entire week …in fact, my stomach churned and the uterus revolted , as news reports splashed that a mother had to sell her baby for rupees sixty – two! Yes, a baby made of flesh and bones and blood had to be sold off ! And at a throw away price ! No, you can`t even buy a kilo of mutton for this amount and here you have a human form getting sold off for 62 rupees , in our developed country ! In fact, this one news report has relayed the poverty levels , the sheer misery hitting the human beings. And though I`m no soothsayer but things will worsen as there come in strong indications of a worsening scenario on every possible front .

Don`t know this particular baby`s plight for few believe in follow -ups , but not a murmur from the women and men manning some of the top slots . I know retrieving the baby from the buyer`s clutches and then dumping her in any of the State run orphanages could pave way for another of those ill fated turns, but there has to be a way out .Quite obviously we are not equipped with that zest and zeal prevalent in Norway where foster parents can be so very easily lined up , but there has to be a way out . And it can only come about if well -to -do families or individuals or couples start adopting hapless kids…raising them as their very own . Of course, legalities and the procedural complexities involved could initially come in way , but if this trend picks up it could help save hundreds of children from death and sheer disasters … vulnerable these kids look, as they go roaming along the lanes and by lanes , not sure of the next meal or of even the next turn of events .

In fact, this brings me to write of the vulnerability spreading out , staring hard at all of us living in this subcontinent , as American might seems spreading out . Before one could recover from those pictures of an American soldier singing rather too aloud whilst pumping bullets into an Afghan farmer in an obscure village of Afghanistan , there is this latest on the Americans` killing spree – the US Navy firing at our unarmed fishermen on the high seas , off the Dubai coast . Leaving one dead and four others injured .

This yesterday`s incident has hit. At long last we seem to have got the required jolt . In fact, those stupidly hollow arguments of some of our so called `experts` in favour of American drone attacks on the hapless Afghans could get diluted after the American moves get moving closer home .Their tactics and shooting sprees making them no less than modern day pirates of the high seas . Or if you keep the drone attacks in the forefront then they could be termed as modern day destroyers . How easily they destroyed the very fabric of Iraq , Afghanistan and now focusing on bringing about divisions in the Middle East . That one hollow theory they have hang on to , for far too long , is this : they nabbing terrorists . Don`t know whether they have managed to capture those real or make believe terrorists on their long list, but one thing is sure certain : all these nabbing and killing and hounding exercises have turned many of these American troopers into full fledged terrorists – that is , those who terrorize hapless civilians and kill human beings .


I`d simply loved those shots of Akhilesh Yadav going cycling …he`d looked no less than a romantic film hero of the 1950s , going about the vast stretches in that carefree cum earnest way . But even before the movie could take off , there seems an intermission coming ,with a hazy end to all those promises .

Maybe the news reports could be exaggerated but there seems no lessening of the mess in the state of Uttar Pradesh . Just as the car mania , of Akhilesh Yadav gifting big bodied cars to his political men could subside, there came those horror stories from the hospital interiors and now firing sessions , killing human forms .

Two options for Akhilesh – he should enroll his gun trotters in the American Navy or simply embed them into those American brigades that specialize in drone attacks. Oh , yes, Americans would know how to use them before dumping them off into any of those cells with tags and labels well embedded .But if Akhilesh does not trust the Americans as much as he does the Europeans ( especially after his latest last fortnight`s get- away to Europe ) he should equip these gun trotting men with those bicycles used during the election campaign and with that send them cycling towards a nowhere of sorts .

And though there are those hyped discussions in the so called fashionable circuit of New Delhi , on Uttar Pradesh`s khap panchayats` proclamations , barring women from doing a this and that , but there are counter arguments also doing the rounds : with lawlessness and sheer anarchy spreading out not just in Uttar Pradesh but also in big bodied cities and State capitals of this country , there has come about a helplessness of sorts , pushing and pulling one towards those medieval modes and practices . Self imposed regulations and don`ts are coming up , where you ,as a woman, has to decide what`s `safe dressing` and what`s not .

In fact, the bottom line is this : you cannot talk of your modernity through your clothes or make- up or under – garments but via your thoughts and the very mind set.


I had interviewed Rajesh Khanna just once and that was many years back .To put it in the filmi andaz – bees saal pehle .

Yes , over twenty years back.. In fact, I forget the exact year but it was around the time he had drifted towards politics and was fighting elections . If I`m not mistaken he was the Congress candidate from New Delhi .

I had arrived at the appointed time at the place of his stay here in New Delhi .He was there waiting , looking all spruced up .Though I must add he`d looked better on screen than off screen .There wasn`t a trace of make- up and his complexion stood out against his over dyed hair …He spoke well .Perfect English but rather cautious with words , as though using just about the right or say correct words along a formality ridden strain. His mannerisms and attitude was enough to suggest that he was a gentleman ,with a khandaani background to him . Suave and sophisticated he was .

And though he didn`t really relay any of those painful phases of his personal life but there was loneliness lurking in his eyes and also coming through those well guarded sentences .Yes, he seemed a lonely, emotionally hurt man. Traces or say dents that a broken marriage invariably leaves on the sensitive amongst us.

And now why all these media headlines that finally his once -upon -a – time wife Dimple had got back on the scene, to look after an ailing Rajesh Khanna ? Did Dimple get back there after last year`s reports that one of his women friends had suddenly got close to him and had been visiting him regularly .

And ah , yes , there is that huge property too – Rajesh Khanna`s bungalow on Mumbai`s prime location – Carter Road.


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