The best country does not exist

With it’s citizens bullying those who doubt a country’s worth, I am affirmative that it’s no good of a choice to call it pro-liberty. Men and women who fail at contributing to the country even just by wearing a mask, often choose to support the fact that our soldiers might be fighting on our borders – risking their lives to save ours. These people who can’t even take wearing masks seriously, never really know the pain when they talk about any sacrifice this country came by to this date. It’s only their fondness in the idea of patriotism that makes them call someone anti-national but not their patriotism.

Voicing your opinion on a grave matter most probably requires a sense of time before becoming sound.

If at all this is the best country in the world, I don’t see the need to label it as one. Trust me, when someone does that, it usually means they are on the way to the label’s destination but never really conclusive about their claims. It only scares me to see the men of this country falling prey to the lies which actually sound very fantastic to even me. And, only men are falling prey to our leaders’ lies as I see women having very little to no voice mattering to the narrative. We are however getting there. But, the fight continues knowing nothing about what is it that we are fighting.

We are the best country in the world if it doesn’t matter to be one. I’d love to see every nation stop calling themselves one because the ones saying so are usually scared for their lives that they might be lying. Either that, or they are hiding the fact that they’ve failed already. If at all it matters to be a part of a good country, to be a good human – tell me there’s a different universe.

That being said, it’s better to have failure in our country being voiced than building an image like it’s a Photoshop battle on Reddit. Tell me if you win and correct me if you lose.

This article marks my 100th day continuously posting on WordPress. Thank you for reading my articles and motivating to keep me going. I feel like I’ve done something I only dreamt of. What I see for the future of this blog is for it to remain the same – I’ll try to write every day here about anything I find randomly taking up space in me. I hope you continue to be a part of this as well and we’ll reach the moon one day.

धन्यवाद | Thank you | Asante | Gracias | Благодаря ти | Dank u

Here are a few numbers (images below) for this year so far. It has been the best time I’ve ever spent on WordPress. On the Internet arguably. Maybe I can never stop blogging now. My activity started to be visibly high for the first time on this blog during April’s Daily Prompts challenge put up by editors at WordPress. It remains a solid background to keep me writing and posting my work.

Top countries with people viewing this blog
Thirty three thousand and six hundred words excluding this post

It gives me joy to see what I never would’ve realised without giving some kind of performance.

My first year
This year

These numbers mean nothing compared to the friendships I’ve made here. Made changes I never expected for the blog. Most importantly, kept creating when most of our world is busy complaining. And, there’s no harm in that either. I take pride in being self-obsessed about this one fact. Keep reading, keep looking 😀

P.S. I made a video edit recently using copyright-free content from Pexels. Have a look!

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When my grandparents were travelling for the first time to Australia, we went to send them off at Mumbai. It’s the nearest airport to our city which had flights to Melbourne during then. Bengaluru was an option too but maybe the elders decided Mumbai for a reason inclined to this being a first-time experience for most of us. I’m not sure.

We stayed at a relative’s house in Chembur, and they are a generation older than my grandma. Agnihotri, the family’s last name, I profoundly heard turning into just ‘agni’ on the friendly notes this man encountered. He seemed to me as a person full of action and maybe calling him fire was justified to every generous greeting.

It is in Chembur that I first came across a Reader’s Digest magazine.

Given our host’s age, it was particularly surprising for this enthusiasm to be shared within the couple. I figured this kind of action to be common in Mumbai. Ajji’s sandwich is still the best home-made dish I’ve ever had on a bus back to Hubballi. Proves to me about not seeing anyone perform so vigorously even to this date and all of it seemingly turns out to be effortless.

Agni, as they call him, was a part of The Taj Mahal Palace. To be more specific, he made important decisions at Taj as I’m told about my distant family’s history. I also observed this to be true during when his ex-colleague greeted him that afternoon. It’s been also told to me about how he worked at a role more important in the Reserve Bank of India.

And, it was this man who showed me Mumbai. He was there as if for the first time, with me watching the sea and it’s city dance on the notes of humans. Very gladly lucky that a person of such stature in life and gratitude was the one to introduce me to the city of dreams. Arguably to dreams themselves.

No one stops working here, but when we were at Taj – it was closed for renovation. Still, no one stopped working. I’ll talk about our visit to The Taj Mahal Palace in a different post. Why? Because the story is more personal to this country rather myself and it showed a literal black spot during those times on every Indian screen. Only the colour black faded to this rainbow of survival I can only talk and write about.

We saw every location which was attacked during those four days. Almost every location, because this act of terror is dramatically an event wider than one specific spot to be clearly affirmative about the panic one might have faced during then. And, these acts were definitely also wider than any sane man’s imagination I know of.

This trip was in January of 2009 and the 26/11 attacks were still visible when we saw the damage from Gateway of India. What I saw on TV, those clouds of black smoke, were now this shallow spot on the artful window panes. This place is not only dreamy in the sense of abstraction but also in the manner of reality. I remember telling stories and confirming what my friends saw on their TV, when I was back at my school.

Here’s a picture of me, a ten year old virgin, pretending to be a horse-rider on the streets of Colaba:

January, 2009

If you’re from Mumbai or been there at all, please trap me in it’s magic on my next visit. This request is to make sure that I continue dreaming about the city of dreams. Tell me the good and the bad like it’s any better. Thank you for reading.

At the end of this post, I realise there is literally a whole blog possible based on this single trip. Spared. I will be adding more about my adventures in Mumbai later. Until then, hope you get some time to dream!

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For the past three months, I have changed my addictions and it’s impossible for me to live without any kind of addiction. This calls for a kind of transformation which takes time, but more necessarily a mindful approach. I don’t smoke, drink (not that I was addicted before) and even eat my favourite vadapav anymore. All thanks to the tough times. However, I found myself addicted to a different set of activities. I cannot wait to lose my next chess match with Rajat, a close friend. And, also I cannot stop watching those boring chess matches on YouTube. Not to forget the best addictions of all, blogging every day is a part of my life I will always be proud about.

I streamed a few of my chess matches (LIVE) with Rajat. You can check the playlist here. Here’s the thing about chess, you cannot let it get into your head. It’s very easy for someone to feel bad after losing a match because of the dynamics that are involved in a chess match. But, this is a very influential cue to your next game. This has made me play chess like I’ve never played before and doesn’t necessarily mean I’m getting better. As much as I’d like to play this casually, it’s inevitable (as of now) for me to remain independent of the opening strategy to have a remarkable weight-age to the rest of my games. I hope for this to change because chess to me is fun.

“Chess, like love, like music, has the power to make men happy.”

– Siegbert Tarrasch

Do you play chess? If you don’t, do you know why? I recommend playing this game as it proved to give me the kind of work-but-fun pathway to everything else about the pandemic.

And, I’ll definitely eat thousands of vadapav when all of this is over. A quick (important) question, do you know when is that?


The old man’s potion

He walked his dog around the colony all day long. A silver jewelry covered the half of his face. And, his lips were barely visible from this beard burying them inside of what I saw as jewelry. No one asked why this stranger was here. He too never bothered anyone. A fairly strange experience with a stranger is to never bother. But, it was peculiar to watch someone walk like that every day. Be it any age. This man never stopped walking from Krishna’s house on the first cross to my house which is where the colony ends.

On days like Saturday he’d go past our abode to the supermarket that comes three Goan buildings after the colony.

The dog never barkingly scared any kid and that’s probably why it was named Snoopy. But then again, no one ever asked the man it’s name. No one ever cared to know what this man or the dog were all about. Maybe one day this man will give me the secret potion to save me from the questions this world asks me. Questions I never willingly want to answer.

Why do you want to know? What joy does it give you? Please bring me a Snoopy.