What have we given?
What have we wrought upon ourselves?
With the thousands of people, I wonder too about what sort of minds would do this to cities, to other people who are all grappling with life just the same as them.
What have they done to my Bangalore?
And now that they have, how do we make sense of our lives?
How do we ever feel safe again?
I love this city. It is in my blood. I spend two days out of it and I am hankering for the smell, sounds, and the arguments in Kannada that you can only have with the auto drivers here.
And now, everything feels violated. Somehow raped.
One simply doesn’t bomb Bangalore. It’s just not done. It’s such a happy, thriving, grumbling city groaning under the weight of its traffic, just minding its own business and software and shopping and coffee joints and pubs. Why would anyone want to harm it?
But they did. And it’s done. It was.
Even writing this feels somehow fake, shallow. You cannot really understand such subversion, or deal with such terror. Hearing about blasts even in places you are familiar with, doesn’t really curdle your blood. It doesn’t really feel real. I am still looking forward to farewell parties and worrying about my income tax returns form and time management on Monday when I have so many errands to run along with a regular day at work.
But at my back, I always hear…
… how a friend sounded reporting about the blast at Madiwala on the news; how worried I was about my driver who stays around there; my friends, my family who work further up the lane.
And feel that somehow it’s just not right. There must be something I can do. But what? And I turned to history when wars were simple and you had two visible sides.
You fought with swords or sabers, you dug trenches, you shot people, you fought upfront for whatever side you had to be on.
But how does one fight with insidious terrorists?
And I wondered what Eliot would have written were he still alive? And then, I realised, he already had. I turned to The Four Quartets and understood that we can’t really make sense of life, of deeds our own and those of others, and of the time we are in.
Krishna’s, that great god but the better strategist, and Eliot’s words did echo in my mind.
We just keep on, we do what we have to do, and hope to have humility. I’d amend that to – be decent while about it. A megalomaniac like me finds humility a tad bitter to swallow.
And while we live… (Oh God, this is just so beautiful, that wonderful man who knew so much…)
And while we live…
Words move, music moves
Only in time; but that which is only living
Can only die. Words, after speech, reach
Into the silence. Only by the form, the pattern,
Can words or music reach
The stillness, as a Chinese jar still
Moves perpetually in its stillness.
Not the stillness of the violin, while the note lasts,
Not that only, but the co-existence,
Or say that the end precedes the beginning,
And the end and the beginning were always there
Before the beginning and after the end.
And all is always now.
Not fare well,
But fare forward, voyagers.
All shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well.
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Not fare well,
But fare forward, voyagers.
And by giving, by being compassionate, by controlling all that is vile and evil in our natures, we might perhaps in our own lifetime find the peace that transcends all understanding.
Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.
Shantih. Shantih. Shantih.
I’m not sure if such philosophy is an answer, but it helped me. And I hope that if you read till here and didn’t get turned off by some of the sanctimony and the being-responsible-for-your-own-actions part, it calmed you too.
I’m now feeling less guilty about being happy that I have good food and better friends waiting for me tomorrow; and that I’ll still dread this Monday and look forward to the Friday; and worry incessantly about my family and friends in Infy and the rest of Bangalore and pray that they get to live and experience all that all of us are still to.
The worry in someway, proves that it’s not as shallow or fake as I thought it was, and that the truth, however unreal it might feel, is still true – they violated my city, and I am afraid for my people.
But the city and I will go on, because that’s how you spit on faces you can’t see and who mean you harm.
Faces that are invisible but mainly pathetic, of people who haven’t been able to control their evil and vileness; or be compassionate to others; or give of themselves – no, not even to what they claim to believe in – and so they have no peace – no, not even a hope of peace.