I wrote my last Independence Day post from a hotel room in Singapore. And it was essentially a Requiem for my beloved country, adapted from Gurudev Tagore’s famous prayer.
From a distance, any sentient Indian would have known that something was deeply troubling the soul of India in August 2019 – a sense of foreboding and impending doom… and a great churning was in the offing. And that did come to pass. The CAA, NRC and NPR may have been the trigger, but the protests across the country and across all sections of society spoke of a much, much deeper malaise – of lost opportunities and the inevitability of failure. Of an uncertain future and an unchangeable past. Of love and hate and cuts and slashes in the social fabric. Of bleeding wounds and breaking hearts…
And then this happened… An exodus of biblical proportions as the migrant labourers, left stranded by the CORONA Lockdown, began their long journey home.
The Indian middle classes were shocked to the core. The seamless services that we city dwellers were so used to had vanished. The urban informal economy was stripped naked to reveal the odious exploitation of man by man. The poor, so long invisibilized,were made visible. And we were left shaking our heads and looking for reasons of where we went wrong.
It was then that I recalled something I had written in these pages in November 2014:
And here were my meanderings made flesh in this most brutal fashion. No writer with even an iota of sensitivity wishes to be vindicated in such a distressing way. Nor do I.
That was why I could not bring myself to put pen to tablet for such a long time.
But as these brave forgotten armies trudge back to the same satanic mills and construction sites, surely we too can find the courage to spread the word and record our fads and foibles for perpetuity.