Tuesday, January 30, 2007

It happens only in India

Today I got a call from home saying my uncle was hospitalized with a heart attack. He was in the ICU for some days and now out of danger. But the reason for this blog is not that. He got the pain on last Thursday (25th Jan) and it was a bandh day in my native. This is essentially a shutdown of all shops and traffic and is fashionably called 'hartal'. The reasons for this can vary from local incidents like a conflict between some students and bus conductor to international affairs like, say, execution of Saddam Hussein. It doesn’t matter that Saddam Hussein was executed in a country far far away and perhaps a vast majority of the local population couldn't care less, but we had to have something like this. But I guess it is in such emergencies that people really think about the real consequences. In his case even though the taxi stand was very near, no one was willing to come!! Luckily my cousin’s friend took the risk and volunteered to take him to the hospital. I'm just wondering what would have been the case if he was denied the treatment on time.

A similar incident happened to me last week in Bangalore. A rally against execution of Saddam Hussein turned violent and I was asked to go home early on Friday. What was the need for such a protest (other than the selfish motives of some politicians), that too after 1 month of his execution!!! On Sunday there was another rally and this turned to a communal riot. For my bad luck I had a lunch party to attend and really had a tough time to get back home. It was a hold-on-to-your-dear-life kinda driving- through the blocked roads, broken glasses, burning vehicles, bunch of goons -which barely managed to get us home. That day I got screaming from many of my friends for venturing out of the house on such a rally day.

But even on a so called normal day, I'm scared to go out alone after 9 PM. Every day I'm hearing many stories, most of them true ones, of horror and desolation - ranging from the murder of elderly couple, the brutal Noida killings, the techie strangled for the sake of money, to the never ending tales of corruption. As soon as one thinks it can’t get any worse, there’s another one and the newspapers and media is celebrating all these…

I do agree that are so many good things happening and one needs to look at that. But there are many bad things happening too and how are we going to fix that? Why should I think twice before walking the streets alone in a country which proclaims that I am as free as a bird? Why is it that I don’t feel I am in control over my own life? Why is it that every time I step out of the house, I find myself saying a silent prayer for a safe return? Because, for the many things that happen in India, there is no rationality, there is no logic, there is no real reason...Everyone just gets along with their life, as if they are everyday occurrences, which they probably are!!!

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