Sunday, November 27, 2011
26/11- HISTORY?... NO- NOT YET...
Three years. I think we must stop counting the years. Counting the years is one way of making things ‘history’. An event of the past, something that we have done away with. This, however, is not a thing of the past. It is very much alive. The day may come and go. And one fine day- it may cease to exist. News channels would get tired of reporting about it. There would be no news about the day. It would just be another day of the week. A good day or a bad day. Then finally, it would become history. Washed away with time. Human emotions diluted to words in history books. Like Jalianwalah Bagh or hanging of 172 Indians post the Chauri Chaura incident, which was not even reported.
One fine day, the clock might tick and we would not even realize which day was making it tick. Many years later, may be one day- two old people would sit on the porch and talk about the old times. And even then- this would be an incident that happened. A tiny drop in their ocean of a life. Or may be in future- a child may ask. “Who was Grandpa, Granny? How did he die”? And the Granny may reply- “He was a good man. He was not meant to be dead. But fate had other plans. And one day he was dead”. As simple as that. Why should we corrupt a child’s mind? Let’s blame it on fate. Let’s make things easier for the child. She is the future. Let’s weave a bed of roses for her.
But the bed of roses is not what is life. The reality should never be allowed to be washed away. Three years back, the quiet room echoed with the loud ring tone I had set for myself. It was from home. My mother starting listing off her usual list of do’s and don’ts. The list now included- don’t go to hotels. For a person like me, living away from parents, this sounded strange. She burst out crying all of a sudden. “Gopu no more... Gopu no more...”. I don’t even remember how the news entered into my mind. How was that possible? A terrorist attack killing a member of my family was just absurd! Calls kept coming throughout that evening. Mama’s last words, I was told, were the names of his children. This is not a history or incident that needs to be recorded and reported and be done with. A man’s last words. Last sound of a voice that would soon be muted for ever...
I sometimes think the terrorists understand ‘human life’ better than Government. They know that the damage to life would earn them ‘fear’. People are not numbers on Government’s records. Government would do well to realize that.
I have not come out of this realization that it forces me to rethink and re-realize it over and over again. No matter what the magnitude is, the intensity of the news that flashes on the TV screen can only be felt when the numbers of the casualties on screen cease to remain numbers for you. And no matter whoever you are, whatever you do- for a moment, for a day, forever, you shall feel it happen once again deep down. What is that, that is to be done? Least that can be done- is to keep the lives lost, alive. For the ones who have lost loved ones, they lose them every single day of their lives. This can never be understood by anyone else.
Memories are the most powerful records in the world. It doesn’t just contain numbers. It contains life. Memories must be kept alive. They would guide us. They are the cause for the future. And for this future, let’s leave behind memories, and not history...
Older Articles on this: "Home" Calling... , A Reason, to Cry..., 26/11- The Numbers
Remembering.... P.K. Gopalakrishnan (Maternal uncle)