Archive | 4:46 pm

Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the Light

1 Dec

The nights since the horror was officially declared over have been spent convulsing into a pillow, after futilely seeking comfort in sleep. I know why I tweeted through a large number of those 60 hours. It began with attempting to keep friends abroad and those without access to news updated. But as the hours wore on and my fingers flew over the keyboard, furiously keeping pace with unfolding events, I realized it was my route to sanity. Sleep was unthinkable. I had to DO something to partially mitigate the loss of control and hopelessness I was experiencing. When the siege wound down, I determinedly went back to living out my routine, because I believed I was cocking a snook at the people who had brought my city to its knees.

But the feeling won’t die down. I’m struggling with the sadness and it’s coming out in strange ways. In withdrawal from a slightly bewildered Boy, who moved to Bombay only in his teens. In the need to connect to people who feel the same way. In a fresh batch of tears in the middle of a café. In wanting to talk about my precious city to everyone I think will listen. In staring achingly across at the Oberoi each morning, shrouded in dense smog. In hoping to share the experience with folks who really, truly understand by virtue of having had a similar childhood. People who were here long before there was this. And this is me, the usually inclusive girl who can find something to relate to in every person.

I’m helpless and angry, heartbroken and anguished, as furious monologues in my head yield nothing. I’m running around in circles trying to find ways to help, something concrete, something permanent, something all of us can sustain. And of all the things I yearn for, the one thing I want is for my city not to forget. I don’t want our ‘spirit’ to keep us going, I don’t want us to move on and move past, I don’t want the news reports to be palmed off to the raddiwala, the people who succumbed reduced to grainy images of old hat.

Mourn, Bombay, mourn. I WANT you to wail. Plaster your streets with the names of the murdered, paint the walls with the redness of graves, shriek your questions aloud at the ether, hang your noose on the silences in conversations. Forgetting will be our death trap, tolerance, the last nail. Yes, I know the world’s a zoo; be any other animal but not an ostrich, pound your pain into something tangible, keep it alive until you spark outrage.

Stop, I want to scream, at the city back to work on a Monday morning, the funeral isn’t over. Is this it, the beginning of forgetting, all the mindspace we can afford our present? Why are we such misers when it comes to grieving? Can we really not afford more regret? How does a nation so proud of its ancient history spawn a city that thrives on collective amnesia? Have we swapped our souls for bloated bellies, cramming moremoremore of Mayanagari’s delights?

Weep, Bombay, weep. Seethe, Bombay, seethe. Rage, howl, heal. Do anything, show anything, but not your tattered, intact spirit.

Do not go gentle into that good night. Linger, my sweet Bombay, in the twilight zone… just a little longer.