I went to Shivaji Park after a long time. The bamboos are in place to make the Pujo Pandal. The Bengal Club is undergoing major repair work. Ma Kaali was taking her siesta amidst all the construction. I love the smell of cement and water. I can be in the space of construction. Simply love the knocking by the workers on the walls, the breaking, the repairing, the new coat of cement and the fresh coat of paint. In Paint, I like the smell of 'Chuna' which is lime. Earlier most shops and houses put 'Chuna' with a dash of 'neel' to give the walls a white sparkly feel. Neel is a blue powder which we used to keep our white clothes, really white. Every year, some more of the Shivaji Park green is taken away. A new room has come up behind the Police Chowky. The Ganesh Mandir has done another round of massive encroachment and tiled the park further six feet. This is to give more space to the flower hawkers. The Balasaheb memorial has this flame burning for no rhyme or reason. What a waste of the resources. They have trimmed the trees a little more. All plants are at ground level height. Some ugly white cameras have been installed for security purpose and some notice boards too. The watchman at the Ganpati Mandir has stopped asking me about my swimming. We both go to the same pool. He goes in the morning and I used to go in the peak afternoons as that is the ladies time at the pool. I have been bunking my swim for a long long time.

So much of my life goes in bunking. I thought bunking was only up till college lectures. Then I wanted to bunk work. Could not do much of that as there was too much fear. But managed a few parlour appointments or a quick lunch with a friend or a Monday visit to Babulnath with a free ride, during work hours. My name came in the black list in college for bunking. The rule was that as a hostelite if you missed three lectures, your name could go to the Principal. And you had no reason to bunk as college and hostel were in the same building. I don't know how but the college authorities managed to grant us our privacy. No 'Day Schis' as day scholars were known as by us, were allowed to enter the hostel. There was no security guard or a gate to stop anyone from entering or leaving. Yet people just followed the rules. Students did not get lost or go astray in the hostel premises. Freedom is the biggest responsibility.

If we manage to teach this to our children, our future generations will be set. Our country will not have to worry if we just get that Freedom is our responsibility. Can we be responsible in a relationship? Is marriage no freedom and only responsibility to some? Working in a cool set up at office gives you the freedom to smoke? Or is smoking the freedom, the youth is looking at? Women smoking is equality of sexes? Which parent wants his daughter to be a smoker or his son to be an alcoholic? Is bunking all about going out to drink, smoke grass or sleep with someone?  Do you want to do all this and put it in the 'experience kitty'? Is this one's idea of having a street smart generation? What is it that you suffered so much that you want to spoil your kids silly? I know parents believing in leaving kids with house help and leaving them back when they go on vacations, to make the child independent or bold? What is this boldness for? Growing up with only maids and servants as your value system and parents thinking they are giving freedom to their children? We think freedom is all about bad mouthing the present? Talking ill about your Nation is freedom? Only our Country in the entire world gives us the freedom to go on this mass criticising spree. This will not help our young generations. In our urge to criticise and be armchair change makers, we are raising a generation of cynical children with no pride in their Nation. Parents and adults, we have a big responsibility. In our effort to sound liberal and broad minded, we are giving birth to feminists who believe in  not getting along with men or using men. And same way the Male chauvinism is born where men treat women as some objects. Children are learning fake outrage. The Media is using every aspect of your life and telling you how bad you are as people, culture, Nation, society and more. Is this Freedom? Is this the new cool or grunge? There is nothing objective about media's outrage. Each thing said has a political agenda of defaming the Nation and its people. So much crime being shown visually. All the good that happens in relegated to the tenth page of the newspaper or a fifteen second insert on your news channel. Are we all bunking our responsibility of seeing the truth, speaking the truth and being free?


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