When the cruel rush of the unanticipated floods come one’s way- and there’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, it is always the same story, with everyone. Nobody faces a different predicament, except of course - some die and others are given a choice to live. Fate chooses, perhaps?
When crisis hits home – food becomes a guarded treasure of sorts, and every morsel becomes a curse, it is the stomach that burns, the head turns, the arms feel numb and the heart beats louder and louder. Children die and hunger snatches away any chances of survival. Tears don’t need a reason to fall. It is the only deed that remains doable. To a child too, the leftovers of a can is a blessing. The trash from the bins, of course have a variety of cuisines to offer…
When the earth shakes, the ground breaks, unknown to a mother is a child’s dying cries being eaten up in rubble, dust and dirt, somewhere. Pain is spontaneous. Across the wires and barriers of language and culture, death rules. There is no explanation, there is no reason. There is no logic to elucidate. Colours of the skin are not despotic enough to usurp the heart’s weaknesses. Misconstrued, misjudged, mistaken – an entire life seems to be.
When suddenly one morning, a market is emptied of all that was there the night before. The bangles lie scattered, broken. The shopkeepers’ wares are but unknown bits and pieces, devoid of form or shape. And blood lie all around, reminding every time that there will be some voices that’ll never be heard anymore. Wish, the colour of the gore could be differentiated. But alas!
When on a Wednesday evening, an entire city is in the throes of ruthless militants who spread unprecedented terror and gruesome death in every nook and corner of it, we do say that there could be nothing more inhuman. We all say that. Don’t we?
When from a burning building just been ripped apart by a plane, a person wants to jump, because he ‘thinks’ that that is the only he will be saved, we suddenly know that nothing is for granted. Not even the life we call our own. We own nothing. Nothing is invincible.
When the cupped hands hold the face, caressing a spontaneous tear, it lacks hatred. Why?
When a stranger helps you escape the death from the hands of terrorists, it forgets religion. Why?
You are black, you are white, you are brown – but what is the colour of your blood? Is it not the same? What is the colour of the tears you shed? What is the colour of the sadness you feel when you lose your mother, your father, your child or even a friend, or any other? When you feel lost, hurt, abandoned, angry, rebellious, hatred?
Do you not feel the fear when the floods suddenly and ruthlessly scream at you, and you try to run, thinking that your legs will take you far and in time, so that you’ll live to see another day?
Why do you not feel differently?
When on a city street, a child lies abandoned, without food, without water, why do you pick up that child in your arms? Why do you not rather find out whether she is a Hindu, a Muslim, a Christian or she belongs to any other religion, of your choice?
Yes, life is full of colours – but isn’t that the colour of humanity?
In every city, every town, every country, these are the faces. The good, the bad, the ugly…there are many adjectives that can describe these faces. It is habitual, consistent, normal, for all of us. But these are faces, no different from us. These are our reflections. Nothing strange to us. This is ‘us’.
Yes, tragedy has no name. It has no caste, it has no class, it has no religion.
It is not always about names. It is more often than not, about those whose names are lost in the shrouds of anonymity.
So, who are you?