the state of the nation today is such…. I was so looking forward to driving down to Jaipur, hang with friends, brothers, their families and parents after a long time…. a road trip hasn’t happened for a while now but guess it’ll be a while…
We started planning the trip and inevitably the question of the overnight stay that would be involved came up. We’ve stayed at this RTDC resort at Rishabhdev everytime we have driven down from Mumbai to Jaipur. It’s a quaint little place with caring staff and it’s conveniently bang on the highway.
So last night as we started talking about the drive down to Jaipur we came to the night halt at Rishabhdev.
And almost simultaneously both of us realized, that the times have changed. We cannot check into a 3star hotel on the highway without fear of radical miscreants barging in and slaughtering us or at the very least harassing us and disturbing our peace. Love Jihad is the name of this game. I am a Muslim, or at the very least have a name that associates me with that religion, she is a Bengali brahmin. We have a krishna temple in the house and I have my jaanamaz in a designated place. That I rarely pray and that she does her part of rituals also very unobtrusively is testament to the fact that we truly believe that religion is personal and nobody has any business to intrude, query or pass judgement on the what, how, where, when of anyone elses rituals.
We did not have to change religions as we married under the Special Marriage Act, the same law and in fact in the same court (as I am often times forced to explain to people) under which and where Shahrukh Khan also got married to Gauri Chibber…. of course we are not as glamorous but then they don’t have our brains so yeah we’re even…. Our daughters have been perforce given the Khan surname, I tried talking the babu at the birth certificate place, passport office and AADHAR center to leave their last name field empty but then that’s just not something they can possibly do now can they….. to get back at the system we have introduced the daughters to no religion at all…. none, nada, zilch, nothing…. God does not exist for them. The system lost.
Today a thing as simple as staying at a 3 star resort off the national highway is something which I need to process. I worry that what if somebody in the staff happens to be an informer? There is a huge pilgrimage center across the highway near this resort. What if some Karni-dharni sena has a gang of hatchet-men holed up there to catch and set right such Love-jehadis. Before either of us can as much as open our mouths to explain an axe would’ve split open my skull and a knife slit open my throat….. this is the India we are living in today an India where it is normal to be shit scared of having done the right thing only because the jaahil mob sees no distinction and has no time to listen to reason.
Day before yesterday I had an altercation with the tenant at our Ulwe flat. He insists on paying rent on the 15th of every month. I pointed out to him that we had discussed payment before 5th at most before 10th. He starts hyperventilating and shouting “mera mussallmaan ka zubaan hai main bola tha 15th to 15th hi thaa aapka rent mere liye paishaab ke maafik hai koi aur bola hota aisa to main uske ghar mein ghus ku usko maara hota thaa do jhaapad”….. I hung up after listening to his ranting, made a mistake on letting out that amazingly beautiful house to such a person. However from the looks of it this is going to be one of those hyper religious animals and the confrontation will have to be had at some point. I hope I can calm down enough to have this discussion in person, soon, as I do not want to encourage feelings of bhai chaara. I may be a muslim but dude I am no brother of yours. I do not want to be the brother of someone who brings up the “Mussalman ki zabaan” slogan for a triviality. This is the India where we live today, an India where everyone thinks it is ok to bring religion into every argument.
So the road trip is off for now, maybe next year when we can maybe budget for the overnight stay at a 5-7 star hotel in Udaipur, which hopefully would be safer than a government of Rajasthan resort. For now a flight or train it’ll have to be.
This is the same guy who feels more close to the cousin brother whom he has groomed and guided to become an officer in the Indian Navy rather then to his own younger brothers. Someone who tried pretty hard to try and become a soldier in the Indian Navy almost 20 years back and has lived his life so far with that one regret that if only my eyesight had been better… What have we done.