Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What's past is prologue

For the third time in the five years that I've been studying to be a doctor, this city gets bombed by terrorists. This time I feel better equipped to deal with the casualties but as luck wud have it, a relatively lighter posting had me heading home in the middle of terrible traffic the same time as news of the blasts started to filter thru.

I was on a completely different route, of course, but one cudnt help but get infected by the panic in the air on the roads today.

After making several futile attempts to call mum and dad on their cellphones on jammed networks, my driver suggested we switch on the radio where helpful RJs told us about the location of the blasts, the condition of traffic on the roads, what routes to avoid, and where brand new checknakas had sprouted up.

So a usually forty-minute long ride morphed into a two hour-long odyssey punctuated by frequent text messages asking me if I was home and safe, all the while I was frantically trying to call mum and dad.

With the radio our only source of reliable information we had it switched on the whole time and as reassuring messages from family and friends started pouring in, so did news about patients pouring into our hospital, when this unexpected song started playing on the radio.



And for a few minutes I was dumbfounded. The ridiculous optimism of the song sounded hopelessly and naively out-of-place in these dangerously cynical times.

But in those minutes, I realized that this song was from another time and place. That it was recorded in a city which had never been laid siege to, in a country that had not gone to war against its neighbour numerous times, by idealistic people who had believed that the battle for freedom had really been won. Once and for all. And that the beautiful, peaceful utopia they'd dreamed up wud come to exist in the future, that their children wud inherit this vision of a perfect world.

And then the song ended, the next song played, and it was "Bombay Meri Jaan" and what cud I do, but wistfully change the channel? It was the only way to stop the past from seeming like some sort of paradise, to stop feeling that now, whenever the world changes, it is always only for the worse.

12 comments:

Sakshi said...

Oh I wish, paradise was not lost!

Susan Deborah said...

Quite sad, what has happened to Bombay. I just couldn't believe that it was happening again. Karishma, I loved this spontaneous and candid post (all your posts are) but this one, I don't know. I think like this about all your posts.

Joy always,
Susan

Magus said...

Take care.. and thanks for uploading this song. Quite a refreshing treat!

PS_ the world has witnessed two world wars. It was never a paradise after all.

Riddhi G.D said...

So, so sad. Very disappointing, this. Unbelievable that bomb blasts become so recurrent. I'm glad you + fam. friends are safe though

Tangled up in blue... said...

Sakshi, I wish the idea of paradise wasn't lost to us, atleast.

Susan, thank you for your words, as always. They fortify me whenever I read them. :)

Magus, exactly. It wasn't, but there was a vision of the future as one. It's just depressing that this is how it's all turned out.

Riddhi, you know, I heard from my batchmates about the way they brought patients in, loaded in taxis and trucks. Becoz our civic authority doesn't have ambulances at the ready. And it was other people that brought them in, not paramedics or doctors. I think there's this eerie sense of order that Mumbai keeps now. Everyone knows what to do in the event of a bomb blast. People protect each other becoz they know they're not getting any help from their government. The sense of calm is restored rather easily. But what a terrible price to pay for learning to not lose our minds in the face of disasters.

Riddhi G.D said...

It really is. People should not have to go through this to become tougher. It's pretty lame- by now at least the govt. should be prepared for these kinda attacks, seeing as they're not so random and far in between anymore. At least the people aren't waiting for help anymore; that's Something.
You know the First thought that rushed through my head when I read about this was Thank GOD I don't have family/friends in Bombay! Terribly selfish, I know. It must be terrifying for you guys man, and I get why SO many people are pissed off right now with the lack of action or improvement.

soin said...

it just seems that way no? its information, which comes in volumes and with speed, that had killed that utopism in us. people from the past had lesser stuff to worry about and more time to dream and maybe think.free

ramya sriram said...

:/

Tangled up in blue... said...

Riddhi, I think the only time the truly resilient people of Bombay act out with such anger is when they really begin to feel that their city is becoming unlivable. And that's a sad thing to say about one of the great cities of the world.

soin, you're probably right. Ignorance was bliss, I guess.

Ramya, I know. I get. :(

Srishti said...

You tell it so well! Its devastating what happened, and your narration is so makes me feel as if I'm in the taxi with you.

Wish you all the luck :)

mgeek said...

Imagine by John Lennon...

Tangled up in blue... said...

Srishti, thank you. I missed you here! :)

mgeek, exactly! Imagine! It must have been in the air back then, that never-say-die idealism.