Memories of 26/11 by Jayesh-G

Due to all the emotional issues and challenges we have been facing lately, here in the Rajkumari home, Jayesh-G was kind enough to agree to write a blog for me with his remembrances, thoughts and feelings for 26/11.

Thank you Jayesh-G, for sharing piece of your life during that time with the rest of us.

I was in my Second Year M. B. B. S.
Besides the Attacks, 26/11 had another importance for us.
We had our University Exams (my subject that day was Forensic Medicine, Toxicology and Medical Jurisprudence) on November 27 and our Exam Centre was the Government Dental College, just opposite to the C. S. T. Railway Station.

So bang opposite that, I used to arrive early for my exams and sit in the A/C Waiting Room of the Outstation Ticket Reservation building  to study ‘quietly’ – quietly meaning away from questions like, “Kitna hua?”  “Meri Waat lagi hai!” (“How much could you study?” and “I am screwed, man!”).

On the night of 26/11, I was studying desperately, when Aai called me and showed me what was happening….

Needless to say, I was shocked……I was glued to the Television and forgot about my studies.  My friends and I were calling each other and after satisfying over selves that it was NOT a rumor, someone called the Examination Department of the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, Nashik who then postponed the exam.

On the day of the postponed exam, (Dec. 3) I sat as usual at my ‘quiet’ place, studying, thinking mainly of the exam. The area was busy with people hurrying to buy tickets and trying to come inside/get out of the Station.  I do remember seeing two black bags in the courtyard of the building and a few cautious commuters directing the attention of the Railway Police.

When my exam was over, I saw that the whole area had been cordoned off, with sniffer dogs in place and I felt sick to my stomach when I heard that the bag contained about 10 kg. of RDX.  10 kg. of RDX waiting to explode 20 feet away from my buttocks and by some God’s Grace, had not, because of some glitch….

I then wrote this:-
I had sent this to the College Magazine:-

I do not easily write anything.
Indeed, it happens many times, that I have THE URGE, and I have to
take a pen and paper and write as it comes in my head.
On the days of November 27, 28 and 29, I had stepped out in the
evenings (the exams being conveniently postponed and I,
unsurprisingly, reluctant to pursue my studies) and I saw the
indifferent people around me….
…. the panwallahs, the pan-eating, pichkari spitting,
rickshaw-wallahs, the taxi-wallahs, the people in the street, those
with the nonchalant, carefree expressions on their faces.
This poem is dedicated to them as well as those camera-eager,
tamasha-enjoying, bystanders in front of the Taj, giving an
unnecessary headache to the police and security personnel there.
And those brave souls, with the Fire of Revolution in their
hearts, who stood with burning candles at the Gateway, proclaiming the
Sign of Change, but were seen in even greater solidarity and passion
in the Holiday Resorts of Alibaug and Ratnagiri on Election Day.
However, I am aware that not all Mumbaikars are that way, but
as these are, I name this poem:-

‘THE SPIRIT OF MUMBAI
– BY A MUMBAIKAR’

Blank and Black, they stare at me,
While I search for an emotion that I can, but see.

In my eyes, my black eyes, staring,
At themselves, desperately asking.

The Looking-Glass, Impartial, Uncaring,
Showing what it always has, Unerring.

Smoke rose, Fires burnt Anew,
Extinguish them, but They were Again Ready for You.

An Explosion, and Stone and Wood Crumbled,
Just a Loud Noise, and the Untouchables, finally humbled.

The Survivors scream with Joy, a New Life,
Having Passed the Test of Luck, Ordeals and Strife.

The Injured, The Maimed, left Gasping,
Their Eyes, Accusing, Asking, Screaming.

Yet I see Them, I Know They Felt, They Still Feel,
Joy, Pain, Anger, an Emotion to Deal.

The Dead, The Failures, Those with the Blank Eyes,
The Bodies Unclaimed, Rotting, Uncaring of The Lives.

That had Used Them, Enjoyed Them, Felt Pain Through Them,
Rot in all Equality, Their Future, from Now on, The Same.

The Photos of Those, who in Service, have Died,
The Media screaming A Word, Before their Name – ‘SHAHEED.’

Yet, HE Screams, “I WANT TO LIVE!” – after being caught,,
But so did They, Right, or….        am I Not?

He demands tandoori, perfumes and gets a free trial,
“He is a juvenile!” screams his lawyer.

Yet my Own Black Eyes, Stare, Just Stare,
And I Search, I Search, yet I find Nothing, Anywhere.

I Grin, I Laugh, I Know Not Why,
What I do Know, is that, I am going to, with a Sigh, Lie.

“Oh! I am so Angry, so Hurt, I Cry,”
“I Grieve for Them, I Salute Those that had to Die.”

Aha! tomorrow, I Know WHAT I am going to do!
This I will Hear, The Same I will Repeat to You.

Return I will, to my Job, my Studies,
Watch the Television, Next Week, go to the Movies.

Yet there Will ALWAYS be The Question, Unanswered,
Even as had, at That Time When, in my Eyes, I had Searched, Stared.

“If had it been me, to Lose a Son, A Limb, or to Innocents Kill,”
“Would I have been Lucky, to have At Last, SOMETHING, to FEEL?”

 

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President Obama and Brownie the dog’s lesson in Politics and Apathy.

Recently, Jayash-G had asked me to write a piece on my thoughts of President Obama’s visit to India.  I suspect it was JG’s contribution to getting me out of my depressed funk and it would have worked except that my mind is a terrible place to visit and when I do it often leads to mayhem.

You see, I had already thought quite a lot about President Obama’s visit to India.  I had read some of the earlier news articles about the visit.  I had listened to a part of his impassioned speech.

But a part of me had really stopped listening some time ago….far previous to his visit.  Mainly because sometimes you just have to shut down from things you cannot change in order to ‘reboot’ and ‘re-prioritize’ to the things that you can.

It’s not that I no longer believe in President Obama’s ability to make change or his own sincerity to do so.  No, I had started to lose faith in any Government’s ability to listen wisely and do the right thing….or at least some semblance of it.

Also, I got disgusted when I read a piece about how homeless people in Delhi were once again moved out of ‘sight and mind’ during the President’s visit similar to during the Commonwealth Games.

Actually, I’m just sick of politics and political agenda’s in general.

Why you ask?  Or perhaps you don’t ask why in total but rather why in general.  I think each of us has become apathetic to the world around us in some fashion.

I came to this conclusion after an epiphany I had last Thursday.  Brownie the dog taught it to me.  Do you remember Mr. 10th Floor? Two months after I wrote this, we learned that Mr. 10th Floor was not only a nasty and habitual drunk but he also the proud papa/owner of a 115 pound Rottweiler.  Thankfully, the dog is perfectly trained and sweet-natured in temper and Mr. 10th Floor is a dotting ‘Papa’ who calls his dog his ‘baby’.  Unfortunately, the Rotty is close to his ‘Papa’ and reacts off Mr. 10th Floor’s tantrums.  Normally, Brownie and Goldie don’t really care or pay any attention to Mr. 10th Floor and his Rotty.  But on Thursday things changed.

Goldie and Brownies remaining pups are about 7-8 weeks old now and beginning to explore.  People play with them or interact with them and the Momma’s don’t really care too much unless a puppy yells in pain and the person is new.  Then the Momma’s growl for you to leave and people do.  Only one kid got bit in the seat of his pants by Goldie and it was a villager kid who wasn’t supposed to be on property and was throwing rocks at the puppies.  I didn’t blame Goldie and only wished I could have been down there to help her out (the kid was fine, Goldie only got a bit of his pants and she didn’t even run very fast after him…it was more a scare tactic on her part).

Thursday late afternoon I heard Brownie barking so I looked out my bedroom window.  Down below was Mr. 10th Floor with his Rotty.  He was obviously drunk with the way he was slurring while yelling and stumbling around.  The Rotty was jumping at the end of his leash.  Brownie was 30 feet away near the gate close to the lease office.  Mr. 10th Floor was attempting to pull a metal pole out of the ground in the grassy area near the motorcycle parking.  I watched, enthralled.  What was he doing?  And why?  Brownie was standing but nowhere near him nor was she growling.  His dog was going nuts but for no particular reason.  What had happened?  Once he realized he couldn’t pull that out, he shuffled his way over to the other side of our ‘road’ and started picking up huge rocks and screaming that no one was going to bark at him.  And then I understood what he was doing.  Brownie had barked at him most likely because he was so drunk he allowed his dog to get to close to her and she couldn’t move as she was protecting the area that her puppies lived in (and he has the WHOLE rest of the complex to walk in and never walked there till those puppies were born so it’s not like she was disturbing his routine).  He had full plans on hitting Brownie with a rock the size of her head, knowing that she wouldn’t go too far from where her babies were!!!

So I yelled down from my window “Don’t throw that rock at her, it will only make things worse!!”

I’m sure you can imagine the response I got.  Go fuck yourself you foreigner bitch who are you what right do you have I won’t get bit by this devil I am going to have her put down and you along with her blah blah blah blah.

Yes, these were all things I got from him.

And then he threw the rock.

So I told him “Come one dude, she was protecting her babies and you threw a rock at her?  What if someone threw a rock at your Rotty for protecting you?  He loves you as much as she loves them.” (And I said it sincerely, nicely even).

To which he replied “Fuck you you bitch don’t you threaten my dog he’s my baby and that dog isn’t a dog it’s a devil and my dog is better and deserves everything and I will do what I want.”

So I said “Ok, do it again and I’m calling the cops on you for animal cruelty and abuse AND if I catch you walking your dog without a leash or walking him while your drunk I’m reporting you for threatening the safety of others and a violation of dog ownership rules.”

I got rewarded with a bunch more “Gofuckyerself” and “I’lldowhatIwant” as he walked away.

Now, granted not many of us have seen hide nor hair of him lately which is par for the course with this asshole, but it gave me an epiphany.

When I was saying those things….I didn’t really believe them.  I didn’t have any heart behind what I was saying.  I didn’t believe it with the truth and honesty and feeling of doing what is right like I normally would have had.

Why?

Because I didn’t trust the police to do a damn thing.  When it comes to trusting the authorities to have control, to follow the rules and to enforce them here in Pune….I have become apathetic.

Mr. 10th Floor is apathetic to ANYTHING that is not in his best interest.  Or that of his Rotty.

What is your apathy?  What is your eclipse of the heart?

Perhaps yours is refusing to give to charities because you’ve seen so much scandal you no longer believe it benefits anyone but the people running it.  Perhaps you don’t vote for much the same reason.

Perhaps hers is because she’s seen one too many people with little to no regard for the trash they throw into their streets, rivers and country.

Perhaps his is due to injustice he see’s every day at work with nepotism and favoritism the order of the day rather than hard work and moral character.

Who knows what yours is, but I guarantee you have it.  You have something that you just no longer truly look at.  It’s your blind spot.  Your eclipse of the heart.  Have you ever heard that song by Bonnie Tyler? I highly recommend it.  I listened to it in the angst of my youth and it fit so well with having an unrequited crush on some schoolyard idiot.  Now it fits so well with how I sometimes feel towards the rest of the world.

In America, the biggest political problem we have is that there are quite a lot of idiots who believe whatever some person with a lot of money and a charismatic mouth who intersperses words about God along with their political agenda speeches says.  Too many people have political agendas.  Too many people believe in the “Almighty Dollar”.  Too many people are in love with Capitalism.  Heck….too many people are in love with themselves.  And for far too long, too many people lived off the backs of other people and loved it.  And now they are the ones sweating and bleeding and they are crying and pointing fingers at everyone but themselves.

A perfect example is the GOP.

Now, I will take a moment to say that I am a Democrat so anything that I say against the GOP is going to be purely my opinion and we all know what those are worth.

Right now, the GOP is having a HEY DAY running amuck and blaming all America’s troubles on President Obama.  They have completely forgotten that the bailout agreements were signed sealed and a deal before the President even took office….he just completed what had to be followed through on.  They have forgotten that we had created our own Terrorist when Bush Sr., Reagan and Bush Jr. were in Office.  See Iran Contra Affair. See October Surprise. See Bush’s link to the Bin Ladens.

But the GOP has forgotten all that and are busy little spiders weaving a web that the American people either get caught in or blinded by walking into.  And the world buys it and laps it up like ice cream on a hot and sunny day.

And we help perpetuate the divide of the parties.  When rich people or big business starts to suffer they run crying to the GOP.  And when poor people or small businesses start to suffer they run to the Democratic Party.

Now here’s where it gets fun….when the rich people or businesses have it all and are flying high or swimming in deep black, then they go with the Democratic Party to keep the wolves at bay.  And when the small businesses and the poorer people are getting everything they want, they decide they want more, more, more for me, me, me and they go running to the GOP to help them get rich quicker.

And both political parties allow it in order to maintain some level of power and not lose it for long stretches of time to the other party.

And neither remembers what they did wrong when they were in power….they only finger point to what is currently wrong and how good we all had it when THEY were in ‘office’.

It’s like the law of physics and averages just does not apply when it comes to politics.

Allow me to explain.  There are three families who share a lawn mower to cut grass with.  I have it last and before I can pass it to you, winter hits.  No rush you say, so I hold on to it in my garage.  Then summer comes around again but you are away from home during that time, so again I use the mower to cut my grass and I pass it to our neighbors to cut their grass.  But we don’t cut YOUR grass for you because it’s not OUR job and you should have made arrangements for someone to care for your property while you were gone.  And so you return to a home with grass and weeds three feet high while our lawns are manicured and beautiful.  You come over to get the lawnmower and I give it back to you with no gas in it, dull blades and a smoky motor because I didn’t service the lawn mower and neither did the neighbors….we needed it and didn’t have the time to get it serviced.  So you take it in for service and it will take two months.  In the meantime, all our lawns are growing and getting ugly and we start complaining to you about the time it’s taking to fix that mower.  We start saying how it was fine when WE had it, and YOU must have broken it and now we are suffering because of it.

THIS is how I view the GOP and the Democrats.  Each whining that the other is at fault for the mistakes made while they were in charge and forgetting that a snow ball gets bigger as it rolls down hill.

And not enough people in America are familiar with their own political history or agenda in order to make an informed and educated decision.  They just say they like the way he/she looks/acts/talks/walks and then they vote for him or her.

But what does all of this have to do with my thoughts on President Obama’s visit?  Everything.

Do I think his visit did any good?  Yes, absolutely.  But the problem isn’t whether it did good, it’s whether or not it did a LASTING good.

The GOP is making it so that almost everything that President Obama touches is seen as anathema and therefore should be repealed, returned or refused.  This is sad when you consider all the good he has done.  All the things that he has accomplished.  All the paths that he has set us on that may be rocky and less traveled by but end at a better destination.

So what do I think of Obama’s visit to India?  I think he did a lot of good for both Countries by creating new job avenues and links for India and the US.  I think he ate a lot of great food.  I think Michelle had fun playing with the children.  I think they both enjoyed their dates visiting the beautiful monuments of India.  I think they will take stories of the beauties that they witnesses and experienced with them.

I can only hope that President Obama is not the eclipse of the heart, the apathy of the people who hear them afterwards.