My memories about us are like shadows- dark.
I, the privileged one,
With food to last two square meals in my stomach,
Do not understand how,
You can die of poverty.
Go find yourself some work.
Stop being the scum that is upto no good,
Always tapping at out car windows,
Asking for alms.
Toil and labour,
For the sky is the limit I heard.
Fall into the clutches of vicious moneylenders.
We’ll find you by the pavement,
Drunk in a stupor.
For the world is your oyster.
I refuse to believe you can die of poverty,
Or starve of opportunities.
I refuse to see beyond the promised land.
Hold my hand and watch this nation change.
I hold the soul of a man in my bare hands,
Cold and evanescent.
the eleventh of september.
Tell me the pictures on your mantlepieces,
still remind you of your life before it,
and that the air,
lingers around with a sense of loss.
Tell them you took those bloody bodies right across to your heart where they cannot find them,
tell them that the ones who said
I’ll be back soon tonight
you still wait for them in the dreariness of this night.
And numbers made it to the news the next day.
and the ghosts, shall forever haunt everyone else.
the26th of November,
when we watched,
in the comforts of our homes,
what an fanatic idea had done to us.
And one walked between the little spaces left between fallen bodies,
and one walked with candles in his hands,
and one walks to a stone engraved,
and lays flowers that were still fresh,
and spread their fragrance,
over the 13th of November.
all the days of the calender,
when someone feeds on the fear in the other’s eyes,
it is an act of terror.
that this war,
of us against them,
of hope against despair,
as music spreads and envelops you over,
it will spread like a forest on fire,
and we must then,
not to the flames surrender,
but rise from beneath the ashes like a phoenix.
And that is why this time,
let us not make it just a gesture,
the thirteenth of November.
I heard footsteps in my room.
Someone stood for a moment right beside the bed. That person hurriedly moved towards the bathroom to ensure there was no one hiding and shouted something in a language I had no knowledge of.
He ran outside, and they ambushed someone in the very next room.
I felt suffocated as the smell of gunpowder reached me.
Outside, sirens blared on patrol cars.
The assailants must’ve spent about five minutes in the other room.
There were two of them, talking to one another.
And then, there was silence after the last footsteps down the corridor had died down. I slid the door of my closet.
Even with all the commotion around, the cacophony dropped dead as I tried hard to strain my senses as to find out if they had really left.
Cautiously, I stepped outside and stood for a second. On tip toes, I moved towards the door.
I stood holding it, moving just my head to peek outside. To my right, I saw the couple lying in a pool of blood, still holding hands. I headed left, and reached the room of the next door. I could take deep breaths now. But for reasons beyond my comprehension, I still was breathing scantily between the gulps of air I took in to hold. I was no longer in the closet. I will never know why I did that.
Another explosion. It rocked the hotel as if there was an earthquake. I clung to the wall. My legs felt funny. They were failing to hold me up.
I heard voices, coming from the end of the corridor where the terrorists had moved to. And footsteps. This really, was the end of my life. I gathered all my strength and focused it all on my feet.
But they gave in. I fell headfirst on the creaky wooden floor, but not before catching a glimpse of armoured officers rushing towards me.
I was standing at one of the windows, watching the parade that day from the third floor.
Suddenly, amidst the noise, three explosions down the length of the road had me falling down on my knees and covering my ears. I looked up and saw people running, flesh strewn about the road and the some of the exhibitions had caught fire. There was just too much to grasp. I was in a panic, sitting there, staring immobilised.
And it was then that I saw,
A pick up van arrive and its tyres screeched as it pulled to a hault. At least ten men came scrambling out of it.
These men wore masks. They opened fire at those who were fleeing and the second a siren was discernible, they separated in groups of three and entered three buildings.
And I saw them entering the hotel I was in.
I just couldnt move. I could hear gunshots downstairs.
I rose and looked at the open door. My thoughts went to my husband who had gone down to bring breakfast.
I saw a couple run past my room and I ran straight to join them.
But I stopped midway when I heard the woman scream. And then, multiple shots.
Was I going to die?
I heard commotion in the hallway.
Mechanically, I sprung into the closet space and slid its door close.
And I held my breath.
I switched off my phone lest it started ringing.
I no longer remember, how long I was in there.
I think I spent my entire life hiding out in that closet.
Almost as if all that had transpired in my life before that was lost in a haze. There was no beginning and I saw no end to that endless wait.
I was like a bullet mid air.
Please go ahead an ban Shahrukh Khan, self proclaimed moralists.
He spoke up and is that what actors aren’t supposed to do? Oh wait, they’re just meant to mind their own business. No one’s bothering them. Why should they be getting vocal?
Oh yeah. You forget, in your misplaced enthusiasm that these are people and they can be sensible and compassionate, unlike some.
And what are they given back?
This is such a shame. Tell me, that I, by taking this action of saying something you do not like, am a traitor. That I do not love my country and I should go back to Pakistan.
But you’d rather tell me that since I am a Hindu, I have been brainwashed by secularists to air such a view. Kudos to you for having such double standards.
The list of the people you banned keeps getting longer. I think India might be racing to the top in the ease of doing business, but look at what’s at stake here. Ever heard of that story?
One day they’ll come for you, and no one will save you because you didnt bother when they took away the rest.
Why should a government, which must have a lot to do, I guess, take a stance on what kind of meat the nation was eating?
I am very sure if some of us had religious sentiments attached to chicken, we’d be banning that too.
The mob is a headless chicken anyways.
What really got me worried is the silence that prevails on part of those who are expected to speak up after any such incident takes place. Someone has got to take a stand. Why are these bigots still making outrageous statements and nobody bothers to put a check on them? Will that be stifling their freedom of expression? So be it, for the sake of national solidarity and the rosy picture our leaders are painting of this nation, in front of other nations.
Intolerance, transcends boundaries. Every country has its own share of idiots who binge on the publicity such foot in mouth comments bring to them but I can safely say, these past months, we have hardly had a debate on any matter of national importance. We are all stuck in this vortex of comment wars.
The repurcussions, are never instant. If such people like Baba Ramdev, Yogi Adityanath and Sadhvi Prachi are allowed to stay put and ignored, thereby encouraging their idiocy, we are in for some Hard Times.
Here on my plate,
Remain crumbs of my faith.
And I wear it like a second skin sometimes.
And when I open my mouth,
All I ever say,
Is a reinstatement of my fickle faith.
Tell me not,
Who to worship,
And when not to speak my mind.
Tell me not,
To be blind,
To your intolerance that kills my belief when you stifle a voice.
When on this dreary road I tread on alone,
My belief is my choice.
And suddenly this place,
That I used to call home,
Lets me know today there is a price,
To what I say.
I wear my faith,
Not on my forehead or on my wrist,
Around my neck it doesn’t decay.
I wear it up my sleeve,
This little lie of morality,
That paints your faces red and your swords rise to defend it,
It numbs my reason,
Yet never moves,