19 October, 2020

Life Is Cheap

Kargil and the cyclone stand out in recent memory. We celebrated one, dared the other. A few profited from both.

Life Is Cheap

Apathetic, morbid question; asked every morning, every day. So who died today? Was it a little child, life twisted out by a machine no one knew how to stop? An old couple, battered senseless for a few pieces of gold? Perhaps a young woman, victim to the carnal desires of a self-centred male? Or a traumatised widow on a funeral pyre; a battle-dressed warrior stepping into a bullet’s path; an unprepared farmer blown away by a roaring gale?

Two carnages stand out in our recent memory, but seen through different visions. The first was the Kargil ‘war’, thousands thrown into a series of bleak, numbing skirmishes, hundreds returning to their homes in anonymous bodybags. The second was the Orissa ‘supercyclone’, lakhs tossed about by tremendous energies, thousands perishing in unknown wind and water. By all ethical standards, the first was truly demonic, unleashed by human beings, bereft of sense, violent, a means without end. The second was part of the divine, bred by nature, cyclical force expending itself, an end returning to stillness. But we celebrated one, and dared...



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