BENGALURU: As I reluctantly open my eyes in the mornings, I take an almost involuntary deep breath as my chest constricts and I struggle to gulp in a breath of fresh air. I suddenly realise I don’t have to struggle to breathe... the trees outside have converted the air that surround us into oxygen, and we are the privileged ones who get it free and unhindered. Many people in my beloved city and country are not as lucky as their lungs fill with the acrid smoke from burning pyres of their loved ones.
Most of us see, feel and experience this abject horror and genocide of our people, but still, some amongst us like to sprout ‘righteous’ nonsense sitting safely behind their computer screens. It is so much safer to see proof and still dismiss it as propaganda to defame our leaders, rather than come face to face with the undiluted horror and the bitter truth. I used to despair for these ‘despots’ but I don’t anymore as these nightmarish times have brought forth the best in people.
For all the ruthless and brainless ‘twitterati,’ God-men and uber-riche, who ask you to prove your credentials and whose solution to any problem is to fly away on their jet-planes, and ruthlessly manipulate the narrative, making everything into a conspiracy theory, masterfully influencing the gullible that ‘awl is well’... We say enough! But out there, are also a sea of people like us. who work, deliver on promises, make magic happen and who care. I doubt when a certain statesman said we needed to be ‘selfreliant,’ he never imagined the complete paradigm shift that would happen with the youngsters of this country. For one I think the ‘statesman’ liked the sound of the word, and it was an easy way of saying ‘we are busy doing other things (read preparing for ‘victories’) with the resources meant to be spent on you, and as usual you guys fend for yourselves’.
Young adults, your children and mine, their friends and their circle of influence have all been roped into a massive movement of taking charge and shamelessly leveraging contacts. They are giving information, verifying it, organising drives to ferry people to hospitals, arranging for food, medicines and even oxygen which is under the government preview. They are slowly but surely inspiring others, and forming a critical mass of humans helping humans, where ultimately they will become ‘self-sufficient’ or ‘atmanirbhar’.They are done with spewing anger at the failure of the state and its leaders and have concentrated their energies into mobilising into a movement so strong that all the ‘men in white’ better beat a hasty retreat with their despicable intentions.
They can try all they want to throw their ‘piss-parties’ with their motley crew of Harley driving Godmen, conning the gullible with their divisional rhetoric, but in the end ‘humanity’ shall win. No more will the true Indian be forced to prove their credentials to ‘righteous’ bullies and charlatans. Closer home, I try not to miss my children who I have not set eyes on or enveloped in arms for a long while. But every time I write or talk to them I hum those lines from the musical, Fiddler on the Roof, “Is this the little girl I carried, is this the little boy at play, I don’t remember growing older, when did they?” Just yesterday when I reiterated how much I miss them my son sent me a note, ‘We isolate now.
So when we gather again, no one is missing’ If we survive this, I hope, we shall remember, we didn’t fight for land, weapons, houses or jewellery. We didn’t fight for concert tickets, fancy destinations, religion or politics. We didn’t fight for difference of opinions, petty or major squabbles. When al l this is over remember, we fought for air! Sad! So very sad.