On most Saturdays I am happy to be home early. So last Saturday was no different. Considering that I wasn’t feeling too well in the evening, I took off of from work. Drove home quite happily only to be told that there is no electricity. But when the lights came on…my television told me that there have been serial blasts in the city. For the first time in my life, I felt guilty for having left office so early! I wanted to rush back, but there was no way I could have driven back to work (my leg was all cramped!) So I stayed on to watch the mayhem unfold on my television screen.
For the first time in my life, I connected with two films that I saw recently…Mumbai Meri Jaan and A Wednesday. I could connect with two protagonists in the two films – Madhavan and Naseer. Like Madhavan’s character, I felt vulnerable, very vulnerable. Having CP as an immediate neighbour, I often take off to grab a lunch or make a hasty trip to Oxford Bookstore to catch the latest book. M-block GK was my favourite haunt in college…the endless trips we made round and round on those corridors! To think that these two hubs have been ripped apart by bomb blasts, really shook me! I could have been there! I could have fallen prey…! In fact there could be a bomb anywhere I go? Sometime back, around the time the Bangalore, Ahmedabad blasts happened, The Times Group and Times Now was under threat. Apparently some terrorist outfit had blamed us for sensationalising terror attacks (btw…don’t they want just that??) Anyways, we have been told not to receive any guests, not even family members in office! All our guests are frisked and their baggage checked…an exercise which is highly ridiculous considering we share space with a popular theatre joint! If anyone truly wants to target us, they can do so quite easily…let me not give any ideas! Anyways the point behind all this is that I really felt vulnerable…but at the same time I was angry. Much like the unknown Indian…the aam aadmi…I was angry at my inability to fight terror! I felt incapacitated…helpless…and weak! Unable to retaliate, I felt the fear of losing life for the first time. It wasn’t the first time really. I have felt the same way each time there has been a terrorist attack in any part of the country.
My brother is quite untouched by this fear. When I told him that we aren’t going to watch Last Lear, he didn’t respond. But when I sat glued to my television watching the reportage, he was quite perturbed! Yesterday when I refused to let him go out of home, he pulled a long face and sulked the whole day. But today he managed to get away! Anyways, he is young…ruthless and doesn’t really care for such fears! He is truly liberated!
Am I a coward? Do I lack the courage to face death? Perhaps not…it’s just that I am scared of being a hapless victim of such dastardly act. If it were a natural death, I wouldn’t complain. But an accident at the hands of a reckless driver…or an innocent passerby at a bomb blast site…I am not prepared to be that!
There are many who share this fear. A few watchful days and then the fear washes away. And just when we tend to relax, there is another gruesome reminder. But life goes on…I am amazed at the people of our country who refuse to let go of their fighting spirit. I like to say that I am one of those people…strong and weak at the same time.
What about you?