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the song of sparrows

Most Sundays allow me the liberty to stay late in bed. Most Sundays I wake up to the screechy voice of the maid, dishing out gossip to an impassive audience. My sis and I fondly refer to her as ‘the sparrow’. My maid is a smart woman and like everybody, she has a story.

Leave her drunken waste of a husband and come to the city, she did. She lives with her folks now and provides for her 12-year-old daughter, besides dealing with stigma that is ruthlessly attached to her. Does backbreaking work so she can give her child a decent education. Very admirable stuff.

She could have been a woman of supreme substance if she had stuck it completely in society’s face though. But the sparrow chooses to practice her own discrimination. In hushed tones, she calls my neighbours an inferior lot since “they belong to a lower caste”. Much of the respect hitherto garnered comes crashing down.

This caste-crossing-into-class war makes a convoluted and, for me, a disturbingly remarkable picture. As is ritual, my stream of grimy consciousness flows and I try to derive sense from it.

Perhaps for those that suffer at the hands of disdainful people, the simplest way to get back is to join in disdaining another. Like when we play down our problems by pointing out that people in Africa are in more troubled waters. Or like the brown man calling the black man dark. Caste won’t buy anyone a nice house in a good neighbourhood. And even when you work your way into that neighbourhood, class won’t fully defeat the communal judgment one is destined to face.

We all find a comfortable brand of bias to live under. The sparrow will chirp. And maybe it’s justified because an owl probably hooted at her.

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9 responses

  1. kk

    nicely put forth zo.. u hav a knack of projecting touchy and sensitive topics with a sense of satire and a dash of humor.. good goin!

    September 20, 2009 at 6:03 am

  2. the twittering of the sparrow 😉
    each sparrow has a story of its own.

    September 20, 2009 at 1:08 pm

  3. one chota question, any specific significance of the picture of the two policemen holding their INSAS rifle as a part of the theme for your blog.

    September 20, 2009 at 1:10 pm

  4. ridhima

    the last line is beautiful! well done 😀 keep it up!

    September 24, 2009 at 4:49 pm

  5. fullyfurnished

    @kk- thank you wise one.
    @nishal- no specific significance. its a pic i clicked. and it seems to say just enough of something i want it to.
    @dimmy- thank you oh rider of ze death machine

    September 27, 2009 at 7:50 pm

  6. nishal

    “and it seems to say just enough of something i want it to”

    wud look forward to knw what, if you dont mind sharing.

    September 30, 2009 at 10:25 am

  7. sudheer mahabal

    Jinji – you have a way with words!!! Thats all I can say. Good going…. Keep it up. The best thing about your writing is the absolute honesty. Comprehensive honesty…. Honesy of thought, of phrases, of words, of everything. Keep the good things going. Honestly – THIS IS RARE to be seen!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 13, 2009 at 2:07 pm

  8. fullyfurnished

    hey, i’m not sure just what it says but one of the soldiers was ready and standing tall while the other was looking down and wiping his brow of sweat. it seemed intensely human in the middle of all the grimness.
    but i won’t pretend that i can read much into it or that it is a work of art.
    cheers!

    October 13, 2009 at 3:42 pm

  9. fullyfurnished

    thanks a lot sudheer uncle! for reading and taking the time to leave a comment. this really means a lot and pushes me to work harder 🙂
    cheers!
    jinji

    October 13, 2009 at 4:14 pm

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