The Road Less Travelled

I went to a place today that was very angry. Deep down, it was sad and hurting, but all it could express, was anger.

I do a lot of play with words when I write on this blog. And therefore a dictionary and a thesaurus are always around to help me find the accurate word. A few asked me after my return — how was it?

I do not have a word or words for that, even a phrase, a sentence, a paragraph or pages, will never be able to explain — how I felt.

I can tell you, however, there were many people, it was crowded.

26/11 Peace March 03/12

I can tell you people were distributing free water bottles. I can tell you the police supported and were grateful to every man, woman and child who was there, in body or spirit. I saw tremendous respect in the eyes of the people as they looked at the uniformed personnel at the Taj. I can tell you that there were shivers of goose pimples for a few seconds every few minutes in that forty-five-minute walk that usually takes five minutes. I can tell you, I loudly and proudly sang the National Anthem, more times than I have sung it in the last ten years. I can tell you, there was sloganeering, candles on the streets and at the Gateway.

Candle in the Wind

I can tell you all that I saw, that I did.

I cannot, but, tell you, how I felt.

Yet, a few new meanings were discovered that I hadn’t uncovered after having mined all dictionaries and thesauri.

Solidarity, for example. And fervour. Unity.

Identity.

That last word has been an important word for me. All these days it meant my photo on some paper with my name, endorsed by a government official. It seems that one way to find your identity is to loose yourself in a crowd that is two hundred thousand strong. It emerges within you and engulfs you.

Many asked what will change? Some asked if this is all that we can do?

I don’t know.

What I know, however, is that for anything to start (and survive the test of time) there has to be a meeting of minds. A sense of purpose and a sense of ownership and knowledge of how you fit in.

Well, it just started; all, very well.

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13 thoughts on “The Road Less Travelled

  1. I am glad you could be there in person.

    Sitting half way around the world and in spite of the paparazzi-like filter of AajTak/Samay/HT/NDTV between me and you all, I was there…

    With anger still simmering in me, not just because of the terrorists who did this, but rather the politicians in India who obviously think they are a breed apart from the common man, I was there…

    Knowing fully well that as an individual, I lost the right to make a civic difference when I gave up my Indian citizenship, I wonder why I still feel the pain so much – and therefore, I was there…

    For the faujis who lost their lives in this and other on-going proxy conflicts that India is part of, I was there…

    To see my city burn, the Taj Hotel up in flames, my old watering hole (Leopold) beat up, the hotel where so many of our friends and family partied in (Oberoi) blown up, the train station that many of us went daily like a zombie (VT) rattled with bullets – all moved me to tears. So for all of these landmarks and memories, I was there…

    Channeling of minds and ideas is what starts a movement. Not a revolution, although that’s not a bad idea either. You talked about identity – yes it has stirred something up, but it needs to translate to something tangible. And it has to sustain. The movement will not see results initially, but persistence will get us there.

    I hate to run parallels in this scenario – Lord knows the TV channels have done a swell job of comparing the Mumbai attacks to 9/11 – but when talking about this movement for change, one cannot ignore the effect that organizations like MoveOn.org have had here in the US. They were not always right, but they kept at it. It was important to make a change. It was important to get away from the norm. It is was imperative to stop the madness. On Nov 4th, we did. It took a long time. But persistence got us there.

    I see “Jaago Re!” going in the right path – the parallel I was drawing. Channel this strength, this energy, this identity in voting for the right person and please for heavens sake, stop asking the current politicians to resign. They are going to replaced by a new crop of morons – and this time without elections.

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  2. it’s the flame that has been lit. and it’s a sacred fire that we must keep burning. both ritualistically (because rituals have stickiness — to use a term from Turning Point) and actually (because, finally that’s what will bring on the change).

    i wish i had dropped everything i was doing and be there. but more importantly i hope i’ll keep the fire burning within and without.

    -asuph

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  3. You have captured the moment so well. Yes, I agree. Meeting of the minds is critical-did not the young brain washed minds agree to tear everyone’s life apart. We must agree to stand against such works in unision and bring about a sea of change. I believe we have the ability to bring about change in the best and most effective manner. This, is just the beginning.
    And yes, it feels good to be back:)

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  4. It’s sad that a lot of innocent lives were lost in the attack but I hope this will be the beginning of a more unified people in that city, in India. I wish for better changes from hereon.

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  5. @Mogs:
    Welcome to Gaizabonts! Good to have you here (finally?) Thank you for the comment!

    @Asuph:
    Within, more important!

    @Gauri:
    Thank you! 🙂

    @DR:
    You have always been here, haven’t you? Even when you haven’t been here? 🙂

    @Sowmya:
    Thank you! It seems to me it will be a slow change, but a change it will be.

    @Abaniko:
    It is indeed. Yet, I am always surprised by so many sane voices around and it does make me feel better and ++ 🙂

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  6. I share the same sentiments …I experienced ENERGY whuch got me speachless yet left a strong impression on my heart.

    I love ur perspective and absolutely agree on finding ones identity by loosing ones self ( in the crowd). I have been experiencing thje same in diffrent ways last 2 years and it has been an interesting journey !

    Cheers !
    Payal

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