And then, it’s too late

27 Nov

I recall that day 7 years ago when I first beheld the Taj Hotel. It was then the magnificent building I had ever seen. I stood there gaping, the grandeur of the architecture spreading throughout my senses and leaving an impact I could not have foreseen.
My cousin, who had taken us there for Tea, took us around to the back of the hotel, which was far superior in appearance to the front side. I wondered when the day would come that I would be able to live in this palace and be, even for a short while, a part of its history that must have been as grand as the building itself.
She told me how legend had it that the building was actually built with the wrong side facing the sea, and how the architect, on discovering it, leaped off the top floor in anguish. The story was so believable, yet a myth, but it added to the significance that that landmark held to me.

I revisited it 2 years ago, alone. This time, I had a camera in hand, and I couldn’t contain myself from clicking every fragment of it that I could. I didn’t step inside this time round, because I didn’t feel the need to. The exteriors were what captivated me, and I could have lost myself forever standing before that monument.

This morning, moments after I woke up, I saw the fire blazing out of the dome of the Taj. My heart sank that anyone could have the audacity to attack and damage an edifice so large and momentous, so reassuring.
To shatter the foundation of beauty, brilliance and prosperity.
As I read about the attacks, I realised that this someone had far more temerity than just that. Sheer horror had wiped across the city.
I’m beginning to realise that this is something that one can afford to become accustomed to. A way of life.

This is only a beginning. I’ve lost track of the number of attacks that have happened this year. I am physically secure in the remote town that I am to live in for the next one year, but everyone I love is back home in some city or other. Exposed. Vulnerable. In danger.
Once I’m back in Delhi next week, I will not be able to climb on to the Metro without wondering if I’ll be climbing off safely. Each time Mom steps out to shop, I won’t feel secure until she’s back home safely next to me. And dad too, till he reaches home at the end of the day.
Yes, it is fear that I will live in. But it is this fear that is becoming a norm. And it cannot be helped, it cannot be changed.
There is no point in asking each other to have faith. There is no point in telling each other to “stand united”. There is no one to turn to for protection, when the only threat that exists is from ourselves.

It’s not the government fault, it’s not a lapse in security. It is a lapse in society. Somewhere out there, there’s a person walking the streets, looking as much like me or any of you, but with hatred engraved in his mind. He does not speak it, he does not show it. He may not even know it till he strikes. One cannot say when, one cannot say why. Not even him. One cannot say from where his hatred stems. One cannot say how it multiplies into something beyond imaginable proportions that he finds it in him the audacity to open fire at someone he doesn’t know, has never seen, will never see again. To harm, to scar, to terrorise. Not one person, not one family but one city and one country.
It’s hard to tell him apart. He lives with us, breathing the air that we breathe. He is anti-social, yet he lives in the same society as us. Wandering, lurking, watching.

But I ask of him. What is it that went wrong? Was it your childhood? Your youth? Where was it lost?
Did something happen to take away from you all sense of humanity? Did you ever know love? Consideration? Tolerance?
I want to know. What is it that pushed you to do us harm? Did we deny you your rights? Did we decline to hear your voice? Did we do something wrong?

The thought of 20-year-olds brimming with so much violence and hatred is shattering. I thought that with the current generation, discords in society were dissolving. That intolerance was disappearing. That division on the basis of cast, culture, creed was becoming obsolete.
How very wrong.

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3 Responses to “And then, it’s too late”

  1. D November 28, 2008 at 11:16 am #

    It’s frightening that these terrorist who’ve held an entire nation at random are nothing but gun toting twenty-years old with cold hearts!

  2. Crazy Sam November 28, 2008 at 9:03 pm #

    I too am shocked to see that these terrorists are young men like us and I often wondered what kind of rigorous brainwashing do these men undergo to reach that state of mind where you practically don’t care about anything, destroy everything that was created with time and soul, shoot anyone in your sight, knowing your end will be coming really soon.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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