those 2 minutes
|In my earlier life, I never realized “Silence” or “Moun” had such a great power. Rather this very thought took me back in time….|
I remember like every ignorant child I would blatantly express my hatred for “Gandhiji”. Blurting those clichés…usne toh Bharat ko barbaad kar diya and all that. But once I realized that being “Gandhi” was no ordinary achievement I have had very high regards for him both as a human being and also as a spiritual guru. Having a dialogue on him is a different issue altogether but this particular essay is all about a sudden surge of thoughts and emotions I went through during those “2 minutes” of silence observed after a week of 7/11. I am amazed by the way this norm of using dates in this particular way has become an order of the day. Possibly it all started with 9/11, then 7/7, 7/26, and 7/11. Obviously all these dates connote disasters, possibly the greatest of all times. I still remember the evening of 9/11. Having just got up after a peaceful siesta, I never knew next couple of hours would shake me up forever. And somehow such disasters have never seemed to cease after 9/11.
President Kalam was at Mahim,a railway station which could easily qualify as the epicenter of 7/11 for a silent prayer meeting. Reports of the vicinity and station premises being cleaned and decorated were coming in from the morning but they scarcely caught my eye. How ironical is it all…? President gets a red carpet treatment for remembering those who have met their fate, in the background garlands of fresh roses dangle and it actually seems like he was there for his wedding reception…? Anyways, I had just returned from my office when this news caught my attention. At exactly 1820 hrs the sirens announced the beginning of those 2 minutes. Anger, guilt, helplessness, a feeling of revenge and such other emotions took over my brain which had almost become numb because of this sudden surge of all kinds of energies. The hatred had somehow made me clench my fists tightly and my brow to take a weird shape. That’s when my mother realized something was wrong and only after she slowly moved her hand on my head, I could come out of that state of mind. But while going through all this, I was still watching the television and could easily make out that “silence” can be such a unifying force. The cowards who did all this should have watched this telecast. Later in the evening I saw a group of young and old people singing some songs which most probably could have been about how we will face these conditions on the lines of “Hum honge kaamyaab ek din….” may be.
There have been times and still I believe that Mumbai is not a city that is actually alive anymore, but today’s experience has changed my perception to a certain extent. My views about Mumbai are again a different topic which I will keep on expressing time and again. But here I feel that whatever I saw today and whatever “Gandhiji” had always tried to teach have got some connection though indirectly. Let’s take it in a very ordinary sense….the silence of 2 minutes was a form of non-violence and in fact all of us, each one of us who observed the silence were together, unified and all of us prayed for nothing of this sort to happen again. The energy that I could sense in this silence was certainly more powerful than the impact the blasts have made. But what happens next?
Somewhere down the line, all Gandhian thoughts lead to changing the self. Once we start changing ourselves for the betterment of other, one fine day the entire world would be peaceful again. But I doubt that in present context and present conditions; though his teachings were very humane and apt, will hardly change this world. And time and again India has been losing precious grounds because of this very policy of tolerance and restraint. I know that these set of thoughts won’t change anything, but still I am yearning for days when innocent lives are not lost. Why don’t the terrorists realize that there are certain emotions, concerns and responsibilities to those who are killed because of their dastardly acts? Again there will be public dharnas, debates and sloganbaaji and all that about how we should tackle all these issues and after couple of days all such concerns will be conveniently forgotten.