Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Indonesian Experience

The travel bug has bitten me. First Stop: Palau Bintan and Batam, Indonesia. I realize that I haven't written a travelogue ever, so wondering what to write here. The space belongs to me, so I shall rant on.

As I write, It has been just over 24 hours since I returned to Singapore. The experience has been unique, enriching and memorable. I will just leave you with 4 photos, my pick from the trip which I feel would sum up my experience.

I took this one in Palau Bintan at the resort we stayed at. The photo reminds me of everything Indonesian, the beautiful tiny islands which make up the country, amazing weather, the hardworking and honest people, the constant struggle between tradition and modernity, the want to leave behind the past and move into the future. A nation stranded on the shore, weighed down by its history, buckling under the pressure of its own expectations. Watching from the sidelines as the world rushes past them, waiting for things to happen, waiting for change, living in hope and dying in despair. A dot in the sky, a speck in the ocean.A boat that's forever docked, waiting for the oceans to calm down, held by flimsy support, tattered by the forces of nature. A future always under construction, a dream that never really took off, the design that never left the drawing board.

An average Indonesian, travels by ferry daily, and is more worried about a million other things we can ever think of. Except what is on his shirt. I don't know if I should laugh or cry, or whether its ironical or sarcastic, maybe just my lens is a bit too coloured. It reads

"When Absolutely, Positively has to be destroyed overnight, US MARINES"

He is probably to oblivious to what the shirt says. Probably he needs a lesson in History. To tell him what the world has done to Indonesia. Or worse what Indonesia could not learn. The oppressed became the oppressor. They collaborated. What they did to East Timor or the 100,000 people who died will not be forgotten. The scars run deep. Time heals everything, but memories don't fade away easily.Can Indonesia ever forgive the Japanese or the world? Can East Timor ever forgive Indonesia? Will we ever learn from our follies and learn to forgive and forget? We all need to.

Photo Courtesy : Rowena Sace

A little girl at the Tangung Uban terminal. Cute that she is, she wanted to take photos with us and we happily obliged. After the photos, when we were about to leave, she asked us for money. I wondered, that here she is, trying to make a living, when she could have been enjoying her childhood. I didn't feel cheated or annoyed or angry, just felt sad. That's the future of Indonesia working when she should be not. Circumstances force us to make choices which are often wrong, and only correct in the best interest of the times. But time is fickle and shows its back as it walks away. It is just a silent collaborator, watching as we go about our business, smirking at our choices, giggling at our indecisiveness. So what, as humans should we do, to deal with circumstances and choices we make and the ones we should have made. A lifetime goes away in regrets not the things we did, but things we did not do, the risks we did not take. But for her, what choices does she really have?

Photo Courtesy : Rowena Sace

At a restaurant in Bintan. This trio of teenagers just burst onto the scene and started to sing and dance. Though I couldn't understand a word, I loved it. The moment they finished, we applauded and one could see them beaming with pride. It wasn't money that they played for. They just played for the pure joy of music. It was the appreciation and recognition they were looking for. Much like their motherland. Trying to stand apart from the crowd, trying not to drown in the shouting and noise, trying to tell the world that they need to be taken seriously. A race which needs to be heard. It gives me immense hope that the world can be a better place, when people try to be happy despite their circumstances.

Indonesia to me, inspite of its circumstances, is an Enigmatic Contradiction.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Six Random Things

I have been tagged by my fellow MICAn, fellow Chennuy, fellow Accenture-ian, fellow PaGaL, fellow short-film-about-future-of-humanity maker Deepak Gopalakrishnan to write six random things about myself on my blog. Apparently this is some long-running game, which just goes to prove that there are enough number of jobless people to keep blogdom going! Representing a section of this disadvantaged population, I shall do the same.

Anyway, here are the rules:

1. I shall write 6 random things, and 'tag' six people to continue this
2. They shall proceed to write six random things, and 'tag' six random people
3. They shall intimate me when done

Six Random Things about me

1. The latest food obsession is Honey dipped dates.

2. As a kid, I always wondered why doesn't the water from the oceans fall down into space, if the earth is round. (I still wonder, you expect me to believe all that Gravity mumbo jumbo!)

3. I don't like putting a bedsheet on my bed.

4. I secretly pray that god punishes people who say that reading is a hobby for them and all they have read is "Sidney Sheldon"

5. I absolutely love washing clothes if there is a washing machine around. I actually get a kick out of it.

6. Sushmita Sen is the sexiest, smartest , sanest ..... Indian woman ever

And the axe falls on

Dream Catcher

P.S: This is my shortest post ever !