Nov 28, 2008

On the city being one, and then not.

I don't know whether I should feel happy that everyone I know is safe, or sad that so many I don't know are no more. I feel guilty even feeling relieved at the safety of those I know. And I feel I know all those I don't too.

This one event has made the minds and hearts of all the citizens one. Everyone feels, everyone cries, everyone wants to reach out and wipe out the past, turn back time. As horrendous as this massacre is, it has definitely brought the fast scattering city together. Its one city, one issue. And we have all realised how much this city beats in our pulses. How much it lives in us as much as we live in it. And we feel one with the person on the street walking next to us, or walking in the other part of town.

There are no divides. No townies and suburbanites. No rich and poor. No North Indians or Marathas. Everyone is a Bombayite. (I still feel for this term rather than Mumbaikar, so I will continue using it). And everyone feels the pain.

And I could see it in office today, when people felt helpless. They were watching, commenting and then feeling bad about just watching and commenting. They wanted to do something. There were a few of us who wanted to donate blood and I called up the Bombay Hospital to register myself. But there were enough donors they said and just took my number before thanking me. Even though I was disappointed at not being able to help, there was a part of me that felt good, because enough donors meant the city was out there for each other indiscriminately.

And no, I am not giving some crappy schmeil about the 'spirit' of the city. Bullshit that is! I am one of those who believe it isnt spirit, its just helplessness that made the city go on. This is different. And i hope this time the city doesnt show its 'spirit' and comes up in arms against the forces that be. If not for themselves, out of respect for those that died saving the city from further mess.

Amidst all this 'city being one' talk, there is one aspect though that is the thorn. Obviously - politicians. I have a few questions to throw, openly to whoever wishes to answer:

- How is it that with so many hostages and so many victims, the politicians managed to literally saunter out if the Taj, unhurt, unharmed?

- Why did they not take any action whatsoever even at the slightest information of a possible attack or the boat leaving from Karachi?

- How did this happen exactly during the Sadhvi Pragnya episode and the people involved with the same were the ones to be killed first?

- Why is it that inspite of all this trauma, all the politicians can think is how to garner more votebanks, and when to arrive where, where to give condolences and how much compensation to give?

- Why are they behaving like this is an award function where they have to make their presence felt, wave to the public, walk on the red carpet (here, of blood), smile and get airtime and be surrounded by senior officials that could be of help to the city rather than protecting their pointless lives?

- The blame game is escalated to another height and instead of joining forces and saving the city and country as one, as Indians, why are they bent on destroying it further?

I may not have answers to these. Maybe some of these may not have any answers at all. But they are questions rising in the minds of many. They are the questions the masses need answers for. They are the questions that will turn the masses into the active forces, into soldiers, into revolutionaries someday.

Someday then earth will be destroyed entirely to begin the life cycle again.
Maybe.

Nov 27, 2008

The city that was... The remains that are

those streets that we haunted,
where we felt one even with strangers,
those streets have turned strange today,
raped by inhumanity, now haunted by fears.

I remember walking along Metro, or walking among the shaded trees from VT to College (St.Xavier's College), or just walking through GT hospital as a shortcut to Crawford, sitting at Leo's and having some good time, or walking along the shore opposite the Oberoi or the Taj...

all these places were within me... within us. they were a part of the Bombay that beats in the heart of every Bombayite.

But now, like a bubbly girl deflowered by a gang of villains, the city has suddenly turned quiet, lifeless. Its turned into a lifeless form, that continues to move, but not live. It lives in constant fear. In constant memory of what it has gone through. The scars will go, but this damage will stay in the history books.

Most of all this damage will remain forever for the families of the hundreds of victims, of the many martyrs who died defending the city and preventing it from much worse. The short-term memory of the masses will soon forget them, but their families will never be able to recover.

As my heart grows heavy and tears almost well up when I think of the state of the city that I loved; as I can't find words to describe my feelings about the massacre and the victims; as I salute the martyrs and wonder ceaseless about their mourning families and their unfathomable bravery; as I feel one with the whole city and feel its pain in me - I still feel helpless and handicapped. I wish I could do something for this city that resides in me.

Nov 25, 2008

"Look she is studying"

I was travelling by the train the other day, back from work. There sat a kid beside me, who kept staring at me with his little curious eyes. And try as I may, his curious eyes made me curious, wanting to look at what he was looking or wondering about.

As i sat reading my novel, he came closer and tried to comprehend what I was doing. And then his mother said -
'Bagh, abhyaas karte'. (Look, she is studying)

And that sentence somehow struck me. Instantly.

How we drill things into children's minds at such a young age. Reading simply means 'abhyaas' (study). No wonder not many kids grow up to love reading. After all, most kids hated studying. Making them synonymous, they lose out on precious learning.

And how we condition the young ones to live restricted. We show them our view of life. We push them in the direction of life that we have gone and feel is the best and safest.

Where is the spirit to explore? Where is life that is unpredictable, undefined? Why do we try to put life in this one box, and restrict it to that box we know. We are afraid to step out.

I just wonder. It may not look like a big difference, but it would surely make a big difference if the mother told he kid -
Look she is reading a story.