Thursday, December 20, 2007

... what a confession does mean?

'My friend says that everything ends with a confession
and I said that for me everything started with a confession...
What do you think?',
I asked her before a night's sleep.

'For me confession means a beginning
as well as an end', she was quite usual in answering.

I know that she lives in a point
Where the beginning and the end converge,
But I failed to notice that I was also in that point
When she finally left my sphere...

Friday, December 14, 2007

... a match stick and few papers

I have kept all my dreams
Written on those numerous pages
That were of our being together

You have but lit a single match stick
That is of our parting for ever

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

... silence again

We are being in a situation
Which resembles the last minute of a symphony...

Let's don't share anymore words
To preserve the beauty of this moment...

Sunday, December 9, 2007

... a declaration

A declaration from the part of tree
Addressed to the free bird
(Not until further notice as this declaration is
universal and subject to no further changes)

'After enjoying your freedom and flying to the whole extent,
if at all you decide to sit and rest on a branch,
do please let me know.

Doesn't matter even if it is after 50 years or after two births
as because I have just decided to keep my branches
Unoccupied till then'

Hope that makes sense...

There is another sunrise...

... the A's

'I want to possess you',
might be a misinterpretation.

'I am possessed by you',
must be the fact.

Any solution is temporarily undesirable...

This beautiful chaos may not happen once again...

Isn't it so?

... two Q's

There are now two basic questions
Which rule my days and nights

'Why I could not convince you so as to get into your thoughts?'

and Two
'Why I could not convince myself so as to get you out of my thoughts?'

I think the questions are logical as well as illogical enough
To have few more sleepless nights and brainstorming days.

Aren't they?

... dream dictator

"I think that I am the one
who does now dictate your dreams",
She was making her statement.

"Not exactly. But it's true that
I once had you in my dreams",
I too was ready for a dialogue.

"What happened then?",
She became curious.

"The dream grew bigger that
I lost my sense to distinguish it
from the reality",
My wings started showing up.

"You are going mad", she said.

"That makes sense", I smiled.

"What?", she looked deeply.

"That you made your comment in present continuous tense...",
I could restore her smile...

... obedience is better than freedom

"You have no other way except obeying me
as I am the supreme power",
Thus she began my day.

"I have my own inability in believing
the supremacy of someone",
That showed me as static.

"You can't say that",
She ruled me out with her dynamism.

'Whether you believe or not,
the supreme is ever existing',
Cried my spiritual base.

"That's true. If obediences is more creative than freedom,
Why don't I obey?",
I asked myself and then the same to her.

She then had that mysterious smile...

... a part of the whole

"We really had a meaningful dialogue last evening",
I told her this morning.

"Who?", asked she.

"You and me", I replied.

"But fool I wasn't there with you then",
She reminded.

"Look, I have become a part of myself",
I then turned to be illogical.

"So...", she paused for a moment.

"So as you",
I made that moment an eternal one...

Saturday, December 8, 2007

... _____ vs ______

Neither the day nor the night remembers you,
But the evening...

My friend says that
I am extremely mad as
Sunsets always remind me the one
who loves the sunrise...

Friday, December 7, 2007

... bearable paradox

Every passing day
Leaves a feeling that
I have no unspoken words for you and
You have many of the same for me.

None of these evenings
Seem to be realised of the paradoxical truth
That you speak much and
I speak less...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

...sleeping beauty

That day she asked me,
"Do you know the story of the sleeping beauty?".
I said, "No but you can tell me the story now".
She but smiled and went away.

In that evening the story
Unfolded its magical wings and
Started flying across my night sky,
Without letting me to sleep...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007 you are you

Whenever the day seems to be mechanical,
a simple thought of you brings back the life into it.
As when our mother puts a little bit of salt,
the dish gets the perfect taste...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Madurai - Some thoughts on Urban Homelessness

The well-being of all its citizens, especially those who are most vulnerable is, to a great extent, dependent on the state policies and the mechanisms to implement the same. There are even greater spaces to be filled up by the state, where the society and neighbourhood communities fail to be humane. Even if the general societal feeling happens to be more accommodative, there is still a strategic lack to prove that as a means for the well-being of the excluded groups, such as homeless.

The present study has tried to trace out the role played by the state in affecting the lives of Madurai’s homeless in both positive and negative ways. There are indeed a few important initiatives to be elaborated here. The study has also tried to take stock of few more initiatives other than Governmental. These non-governmental initiatives are temporary solutions in nature and here we feel the importance of the state to play its insignificant role in a polished manner.

The discussions with the officials of the Madurai Corporation, revealed a fact that the homeless people are nowhere in their past or present agenda. Especially, the town planning division of the Corporation has just invisiblised the whole lot of homeless population in its developmental projects and they completely feel that homeless people are not at all their consideration. Citing all their financial hurdles, the Corporation officials believe that the responsibility to rehabilitate the city’s homeless people lies upon the State government and their regime is limited to the provision of needed basic services to the ‘legitimate’ citizens of the city, i.e., who live in houses. It is that financial resources have not been decentralised to local bodies in the state on par with the decentralisation of responsibilities. The Corporation wants to play a safer game without leaping into the deeps of unknown risks, and caters to those who have power, and are least bothered about the coreless, mostly who do not even vote. On the other hand the state government has strategically pulled out its hand in the name of decentralising the responsibility. As the homeless have been thrust into no-man’s land, their well being has gradually become no-one’s responsibility.

Police, being the prime force of the state government, has an important role to play in allowing as well as not allowing the homeless population to live on the streets/pavements. Anyhow the police force of the city was more patient towards the homeless crowd and was not torturing them to leave their residing places or not even taking any measures to rehabilitate them. As the Justices F.M. Ibrahim Kalifulla and K. Veeraraghavan of Madurai Bench of Chennai High Court have mentioned in their recent court order to rehabilitate the Madurai homeless beggars, the Head of Police Administration in Madurai city itself was not aware of the functioning of the Special care homes and the Government care camps in the State. Even the persons who were arrested (which happened very rarely) for alleged begging, were detained under public nuisance case and not under the Tamilnadu Prevention of Begging Act, 1945. It is again important to note here that majority of the homeless populace of the city is being dependent on securing alms for their livelihood and the above said act of 1945 marks begging as a punishable offence. Still, the police force was not ready to effectively implement the prevention act only because of the rehabilitation elements contained in it following the initial detentions. The most disadvantageous part of the act is that it starts with the proposition that begging is a punishable offence and thus allows the use of brute force in detaining them in the initial stage before rehabilitating them. But that is the only way any state would know to shift its unmanageable sect of people into the manageable sphere.

Towards the end of 2006, a lawyer, who said to be affected by the homeless beggars of the city, filed a writ petition in the Madurai Bench of Chennai High Court requesting to direct the state or its police force to strictly implement the above said beggary prevention act. The court, on March 26 of 2007 issued an order favouring the writ petition and even awarded him with a cash reward of Rs.10,000. The order forces the police to detain the homeless beggars of the city and then to rehabilitate them in Special care home and work house which is situated only in one place for the entire state. The court has ruled out the inconveniences that the Police may need to face due to this single rehabilitation home for the entire state. This has led the police force to detain many of the homeless people of the city, including much of the respondents of the present study and consequently sent many of them to the rehabilitation home, which is situated in Melpakkam near Chennai. But this so called rehabilitation measure has made many of the homeless people to leave for nearby towns and another significant portion of the homeless people has temporarily escaped to their villages and again came back to their streets after all these rehabilitation drama is over.

The Government with its conservative mechanism many a times resort to the same kind of invisiblisation and custodialisation in order to deal with the unmanageable sect of its population. But, what is needed is to provide the rehabilitation measures a humane face and lifting up the responsibility of rehabilitating them from the police department so as to include the same in the agenda of social justice or other similar department.

There is also a general but illusory idea that the free food provision in temples at the lunch time serves the homeless people to a great extent. It is said to be illusory as the discussions with few temple authorities of Madurai Mennakshi Temple revealed that the preference in free food provision is given to the devotees of the temple who come from different parts of the country. They rarely consider the homeless people who resides adjacent to the temple premises and at few times they are served with the left over food items. The scheme of free provision of lunch in temples was introduced mostly as a means to attract more votes from the upper caste Hindu community and not very much to serve the poor people.

But, there are few non governmental agencies that are committed to provide free food to the homeless population of the City. Some of them are very much focused as they do not serve any able bodied homeless person with free food. They want to serve only the old aged, disabled and mentally disturbed homeless populace in Madurai. There are anyhow other voluntary efforts for providing free food to the homeless without such discriminations. What is lacking with these organisations is a long term vision for rehabilitating the homeless people and most of them feel that it is Government’s duty to find a way out. Those who do not believe in state existence too have narrowed vision of rehabilitation homes which again needs a lot of external funding to be poured in.

The root cause of Madurai’s homelessness is very much in the failures of families and native societies in having a humane face towards these vulnerable people. Thus, even if the Government wants to rehabilitate them, the efforts should be taken with a humane touch and not by using brute force.

The solutions lies also in financial decentralisation from state to the local Governments, which can again help the Corporation to have an independent plan for City development by accommodating the homeless people in its broader agenda. Secondly, preventing the police force from implementing the outdated ‘prevention of beggary act of 1945’ to detain the homeless beggars for the so called rehabilitation. There instead rehabilitative centres can be initiated in the city itself by having the involvement of the voluntary organisations. Government run night shelters will be another way to accommodate them as a measure to protect their otherwise unsafe nights. Provision of better alternatives for their livelihoods would still be challenge until there are safer measures for their initial rehabilitation.

People indeed take the hard decision of coming out of their homes at the peeks of their being not respected and also their reasons and reasoning for being homeless are to be respected. Still, efforts can be very well taken to restore themselves in their families or native societies if it can turn out to create a pleasant outlook. The implementation comfort of this strategy is yet to be discussed upon.

Chennai - Some thoughts on Urban Homelessness

Urbanisation in two ways has caused the homelessness in Chennai. One is the direct attraction in had in the initial period, which again has drawn thousands of rural mass into the city in search of new economic opportunities. Many of the rural areas around Chennai having experienced more dry years and failed agriculture in those days made these people to refuge into the growing industrialisation of the city. This has indeed provided them with numerous direct and indirect employment opportunities, which were then enough to secure their food and not a place to reside in. They have settled down their lives in the streets of the city and gradually adopted into homelessness.

Besides this direct attraction, it is believed that the infrastructural development of then growing urbanisation, such as, four lane roads, electric trains and recent fly-overs have caused more and more indirect evictions which left the native people to be homeless in their own places. It is important here to note that Chennai is a cluster of ‘once upon a time’ villages, which are merged into the development of a metropolitan city and lost their identities as individual villages. Places like Mayilapoor, Thiruvanmiyur and Thiruvallikkeni having very old temples are still evident for once existed villages. As no one notices a small cloud, which gets melted amidst the colourful evening sky, the history of urbanisation has no traces of these indirect evictions happened during the course. Apart form few old people none of the homeless either know that some of them are the natives of the same place and once had their houses there.

There are also few non governmental initiatives that have taken place for the well being of the homeless people and they are all proved to be inconsistent due to the non-availability of funds and change in staff structure, etc. But these efforts in a way have managed to evolve a kind of co-operative spirit among the homeless people by forming them into associations and self help groups. Many of the homeless women are now into the SHG route and have their own little savings. The associations among the homeless people have facilitated the emergence of the local leaders, who are now half trained to fight for the rights of their fellow homeless people. They are half-trained in the sense; they are suddenly left alone by the sudden withdrawals of the NGOs involved in training them.

Certain non governmental initiatives are now trying to adopt a right based approach by restricting themselves only to the provision of legal support. Here again these organizations are so irregular in performing their task and also not very much convincing of their principle, which has now made the homeless people not to depend very much upon the voluntary sector. But there are still few homeless people who work for these NGOs as community mobilisers and secure some minimum remuneration for their work. Though these initiatives are not being proved as fruitful to the whole homeless community, the general feel is that it is good as at least few among them are able to make some money out of it.

Still, the expectations upon the Government support is very much high and has been viewed as the long term solutions for their sufferings.

Rephrasing the forgotten history may not help the homeless people to improve their present situation, but it still helps us to realise the humane face that the urbanising phase should have. Any policy level decision to improve the urbanite character of the city should also consider the lives of the poor as well as dependent population living in. This ethical consideration is getting its importance in this juncture as the State Government is now decided to implement the Chennai metro rail project (as it is in Delhi) by pouring in some thousands of crores of rupees. Central Government and few foreign agencies have also agreed to support this new metro project in Chennai. Now the concern is that the project should not only leave any poor people homeless, but also should not disturb the lives of the people who are already homeless in the city. Such an indirect eviction is not a righteous history which can be repeated again.

... meow

Whenever you utter some meaningless syllables,
My imagination gets trapped in search of their meanings.

You always love to leave me in between a hell and a heaven,
As a cat on the wall...

Monday, December 3, 2007

certain probability...

Both of us happened to be in our own ways.

We never tried to realise whether
Both are same or at least parallel.

There was no pause as we wanted
To be in the move on our endless ways.

And there is only the probability of meeting again,
Which is certain at this moment…

'?' and '!' ...

Mine was the right question
And I am not sure whether
Yours was the right answer.

It was a sunset which brought my question in
And so there is a hope that
Another sunrise would cull out your answer again…

Saturday, December 1, 2007

... the 'key' word

When the day passes without a word of you,
My evening ceases without entering into the night.

By having been denied the entrance into the night,
I just start searching for that single world
As someone who lost his way in a desert...