I was on the last pages of Katherine Boo's "Behind the beautiful forevers" when I put it down to listen to crowd cheering for Modi's speech at Madison Sqaure. On one side, the story of a Mumbai slum, where life is dying unnoticed and yet Katherine suggesting that "Hope is not a fiction", and on the other hand standing ovations and endless cheers to Modi's description of "India of dreams".
Both Katherine and Modi are eloquent in the description of hope that Indians should have despite our tragedies either in slums of Mumbai or on the streets of New York, but both of them leave me with a sense of incomprehension.
What I liked about Katherine that she had tended to what people in her books were thinking at a specific event, or during mundane tasks. Her accounts are like a witness, a true art of a journalist who wouldn't want alteration of the course because of her presence. But her accounts are also of truth and its impact. The way she writes, it feels like she is feeling the truth of every person in her book which goes beyond witnessing, with more insights than those people did. Somthing that they didn't comprehend for themselves but she did.
I left the work at NGO to join a for-profit organization, even though still in education and with people who want to solve the problem with the sustainable disposition. But I miss life of living with the street children and knowing their truths. I felt envy of Unnati, whom Katherine suggested helped her out in this book. I know what it is live with those people. Their lives seem backward from a distance. After all, we have knowledge of Little Italy and iPhone 6 which they might not understand. But they have something far more precious. Their lives have always seemed to me more real than mine. Something that Katherine comprehends while I even after reading her book don't.
Narendra Modi suggests that Mahatma Gandhi saw a very clear dream of India's independence, and for that he taught the idea of seva to every Indian. To be taking pride in cleaning of the road to teaching in a school and thus feeling the independence instead of becoming a martyr.
Once I had felt connected to all these thoughts and they were no brainer to me. But these days, I am disconnected. May be hope is turning out to be fiction despite being more equipped and affluent than the people in Katherine's book. May be it is a sense of failure. May be that happens when we choose an easy path.
A good life or a bad life, life is always is. Says Abdul in Katherine's book. Life of financial well-being, or of blind ambitions does take you away from feeling the truths. Every luxury feels futile and artificial. But if you run away from it, you find yourself helpless in solving such magnificent problems as the slums of Mumbai or the lives of those street children had presented in front of me. I am pretty sure Katherine would have found it hard to stop herself from solving the trivial problems that led to change of lives of these people. Witnessing is still easier than actually trying to solve these problems because the truth is the cycle never ends and one get trapped until you decide to run away. And running away is easiest of all, the path that I chose. And may be because Hope is a fiction for hopeless souls like mine.