As older people we can only recollect from our Brahmachari days when, as aliens in our own country, we conversed and read in a foreign language without being alienated … strangely! In the context of the images of recent terror, Eliot’s “Game of Chess” comes to mind where bottles of perfumes (read flames from grenades)
That freshened from the window, these ascended
In fattening the prolonged candle-flames,
Flung their smoke into the laquearia,
Stirring the pattern on the coffered ceiling.
Huge sea-wood fed with copper
Burned green and orange, framed by the coloured stone,
In which sad light a carved dolphin swam.
Above the antique mantel was displayed
As though a window gave upon the sylvan scene
I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, Blessed be His Name, is One, and that there is no unity in any manner like His, and that He alone is our God, who was, and is, and will be.
How does this terror attack affect the ordinary people who have been burnt? We have our maa-kalis and the tandav of Shiva; as a result we live comfortably with the notion of the union of creation and destruction. We have been a bio-degradable country that has perhaps (it is impossible to be categorical) been based on a fearless faith in the infiniteness of our lives and a respect for all form of animal and plant lives --- even if it may be based on our (the people of the subcontinent) ingrained, native, religion-independent belief in retributions through reincarnation.
I could stop here. I have gone way beyond the 5 minute forty second attention span that one may expect at best. I refuse to believe this should be so or even be encouraged, not only because I am not an advertiser, but because I think people who terrorize are those who benefit from such short attention spans.
The unforgivable image of sloppy short-cuts (a modern Indian idiom) is the crash-landing of our flag on the moon. We should have treated our flag more gently. The next time we will announce our conquest of foreign-controlled territory by landing our national flag on it using fire-power of Bofors gun! Why couldn’t Kalam restrain himself from imposing his rank on (terrorizing) ISRO? More importantly, why did ISRO allow Kalaam to try to steal their thunder.
Our non-military security systems do not fare any better. There is now a talk from security managers of top private companies that they should be allowed to have all the paraphernalia (AK47, grenades, satellite communication, the works) of government security systems. Is there any guarantee that these companies, which failed to see the stock-exchange collapse their financial securities, would do any better than the goondas they would hire. They do so in any case for their physical security and in eliminating competitors?
Why was our television coverage so shallow? The television images survived on irresponsible gossip. There was a cacophonous screech for attention that focused solely on the misfortunes of the rich and the famous. There was no original in-house of the attacks. Except for the bravery of its nervous inexperienced young reporters, it did little to remove doubts about the facetiousness of the lifestyles of the main TV players jockeying solely for TRP ratings.
"What shall we ever do?"
The hot water at ten.
And if it rains, a closed car at four.
And we shall play a game of chess,
Pressing lidless eyes and waiting for a knock upon the door.
There is comfort still as long as we remain what we are, or could have been, for centuries. As Tennyson’s Ulysses said
Tho much is taken, much abides; and tho
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
In the meanwhile, if you must play games and pass time, figure out the paths and number of terrorists involved on that night from the details given (from a news paper) given at the top of this blog (hint: use Google Earth).