Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Waiting on the world to Change

"The busy have no time for tears." - Lord Byron

Or for anything else, really. Yesterday, as the rest of my generation set out from their homes with the renewed belief that their actions cud change the world, I set out at 6 AM to spend the next sixteen hours working in the ICU. Every second minute, I received messages from friends telling me to take a day off from work to head to Azad Maidan to stand up for real democracy and in protest against corruption, and there were more messages saying the objective was to get arrested, to go to jail, in Anna Hazare's Jail Bharo Andolan.

I realised the girl I used to be four years ago wud have believed it was my duty as a citizen waiting on change to do exactly what those messages exhorted me to do. To stand shoulder to shoulder with my friends, and chant slogans with them. To believe that I was doing everything an ordinary person possibly cud, by way of peaceful protest, to walk along a path set out for us by the greatest Indian who ever lived.

But this time around, I had work that needed doing that seemed wrong to abandon, even if anyone was naive enough to believe the future of the country depended on it.

How does one order one's priorities, a disappointed friend's sms asked. He rather dramatically asked me if temporarily relieving the suffering of ten people ranked higher than catalysing societal change for a billion.

I said yes, for a doctor it does, and that it was all deja vu for me. I had done this thing before, going to Azad Maidan, climbing into a police van, being detained in a warehouse for four hours. All for an issue I had rather strongly believed in - back when the protests were organised by students against the Supreme Court ruling for 27% reservation in all educational institutions over and above the existing reservations. I protested, felt good about myself, believed I was doing the right thing, doing what Gandhi wud do. Four years later, nothing's changed on that front.

This time it's a different kind of fight staged by the same kind of people. A rather curious mix of young people who're optimistic about the future and older people who've managed to shake off their apathy atleast for the time being. I hope for their sake and mine, the outcome this time around is a favourable one. Simply because this time there is more at stake.

I hope that something truly good comes out of this struggle in the end. And that when it does, I am not as busy as I was yesterday, so I can celebrate with the friends I had to say no to. And go out dancing with them after ages. Because, like a wise man said, 'a revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having.'


T. said...

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose, ma cherie.

Tangled up in blue... said...

Do you really believe that yourself, mon cheri? Or are you just trying to make me feel better?

Antara said...

Change shall come, only when we all agree on what change we need.

mgeek said...

Sometimes shortterm adaptations and evolutions are counterproductive to a big and lifechanging revolution. Unless people realise that there's no other option but to stand up and fight, they'll look for an easier detour. We need a Cortez to burn our ships...

S. Susan Deborah said...

It's rather sad, Karishma. I have been through this several thousand times and still I wonder what is the duty of a citizen in all this?

Even the Hazare campaign is not what we see is what we get. I don't know whether to act or to be passive. I'm as helpless. Change will come, I hope and trust but that alone is not enough.

Joy always,

Kshipra said...

We haven't yet pulled out all our guns yet, a doctor's job is a bloody important one....and I'm sure even those who are acting passive shall come forward with all their vigour for life, when time beckons, each household will be out there.....change will come, they won't be able to stop it.

Ramya Sriram said...

You owed it to those ten people, and to yourself.

JD said...

Apathy comes out of a lot of things. You shouldn't beat yourself up for it too much :)