Millennium Post

Babies, pirates and a superstar

Signs Of The Times

Some dark realities emerged this entire week. In fact, my stomach churned as reports were splashed that a mother had to sell her baby for rupees sixty-two! Yes, a baby made of flesh and bones and blood was sold off! And at a throwaway price! No, you can’t even buy a kilo of mutton for this amount and here you have a human being getting sold off for 62 rupees, in our country which we claim is nearly developed! In fact, this news report relays the poverty levels, the sheer misery that affects human beings. And though I’m no soothsayer, things will worsen. There are strong indications of a worsening scenario on every possible front.

I don’t know this particular baby’s plight for few in the media believe in follow-ups, but there has not been 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 be an ill-fated move, but there has to be a way out. Quite obviously we are not equipped with the zest and zeal prevalent in Norway where foster parents can be so very easily lined up, but there has to be some way to help. And it can only happen 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 the way, but if this trend picks up it could help save hundreds of children from death and sheer disaster. These these kids look vulnerable as they roam in lanes and the bylanes, not sure of their next meal or of even the next turn of events.

In fact, this brings me to write of the vulnerability generally that affects all of us living in this subcontinent, as American might seems to be spreading. Before one could recover from the pictures of an American soldier singing rather too loudly 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 incident has hit and 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 closer home. Their tactics and shooting sprees makes 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 are now focusing on bringing about divisions in the Middle East. That one hollow theory they are hanging on to, for far too long, is this: they are 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 surely certain: all these nabbings and killing and hounding exercises have turned many of these American troopers into full fledged terrorists-that is, those who terrorise hapless civilians and kill human beings.

Superstar Rajesh Khanna passes away

I had interviewed Rajesh Khanna just once and that was many years ago. To put it in the filmi andaz-bees saal pehle. Yes, over twenty years ago. 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 waiting, looking all spruced up. Though I must add he 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 words or saying the correct words, with formality. His mannerisms and attitude was enough to suggest that he was a gentleman, with a khandaani background to him.

And though he didn’t really relay any of those painful phases of his personal life, there was a loneliness lurking in his eyes and also coming through those well-guarded sentences. Yes, he seemed a lonely, emotionally hurt man. Traces, or 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 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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