Sometimes you have no choice

Trouble has always found me
and, if i were to be honest,
i gave up trying to escape it
a long, long time ago.
.
All i do now is wait,
Living so that when the moment comes,
my destiny will find me on my feet,
instead of on my knees.

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Nagarbhavi Chronicles: A Requiem

In September 2007, a student of NLS, Bangalore, was stabbed as he intervened when some drunken men were harassing a fellow student (a girl). In the wake of that incident, an entire student community was left shocked, and disoriented. Especially when media reports began to come in, speculating as to motives behind his senseless murder; trying desperately to pretend that it wasn’t what it was: An act of brutality, committed in the moment, fueled by nothing but the conviction that the legal system would fail.

Because our legal system fails.

Bangalore has since seen five winters pass since that night, and as we enter the sixth one, there is nothing to do but grieve at the state of affairs. However, where does one begin?

The local scenario is beyond messed up. For some reason, there’s this insanely high level of hostility towards students of the Law School in and around Nagarbhavi. From hateful comments lifted of off different news websites, it appears that the following things are irksome about these students: “lavish lifestyles”, “no ethics’, “bold and courageous attitudes”.

It’s one thing to hate, fellow humans, no matter how petty or great the reasons may be, but it’s another thing entirely to take it as far as rape and murder. That just isn’t right. And, surely, you can see that.

Can’t you?

Moving on to the State of Bangalore. Nearly a decade has passed since the curfew of 11 pm was put into place. The main reason cited at the time was an uncontrollable, and growing, “crime problem”. Okay. So, because the police could not cope with the seriousness of the situation, citizens were asked to return to their homes by 11 pm, and they would take care of the rest.

But instead of strengthening forces, and solving the existing problems so that this whole city can go back to normal, the State is comfortable with the early holidays; the police using it as an excuse to relax.

And, we continue living in fear.

Why are we under curfew when we’re not at war? How can the people living in this State allow such a limitation to be placed on their lives?

Because, otherwise you could die.

And this is nothing but Terrorism. Don’t you see? Is it not obvious?

Now, they tell an entire institution to go back into their hostels, and lock themselves in after 7 pm if they want to “stay safe”.

That’s what was told to us 5 years ago, except then you said 11 pm.

And, they’ll do it. But, not because it’s right.

Because it’s not right.

It’s wrong, but they’ll still do it.

You know why? Because you killed their older brother and you raped their younger sister.

.

And, then, they say, those kids, they have no ethics.

But, “those kids” have not killed anybody.

They’re not hurting anybody.

It’s not right to give up your rights simply so that you can be guaranteed the right to life. The right to life is unconditional, is  it not? But, you, you force us all to give up that right under the fear of death, and worse. And, that’s just wrong.

Is it not wrong?

And then you look at the larger picture, and watch this Country going to hell. Who is anybody supposed to appeal to? Look At Haryana, and worse, the Capital itself, Delhi. What hope is there for anybody in this Country to live any sort of normal life? And, then they wonder why the smartest of the lot leave.

We will all leave.

But, what breaks my heart is that this was Bangalore. Safe, nice, cool Bangalore. A place that I can no longer associate with anything but bitterness and anger, and that bothers me so much because I used to love this city.

You haven’t done right by us.

Any of you.

But, it doesn’t matter because you’ll murder us if we don’t listen.

All of you put together, and then the JoI (The Joke of India) can come and dance at the funeral of the liberty that you are so eagerly trying to destroy.

What did we do to you?

What did we do to anybody?

What we are, we choose to be

For all your talk of freedom and rage,
My pet, you are, but, a bird in a cage
Flap your silver wings as hard as you like;
This cold golden ceiling is your only sky.

Oh, your disposition may be smart & sunny
And your voice, lovely, sweeter than honey
But you will never see the dawn of day;
for your golden palace faces the other way

And sometimes, you cry, lament and complain
But, princess, you do always sing again
And that is why, I know, you shan’t leave this cage
Despite all your talk of freedom, and rage

The emperor makes traps in his tower of ice
Alas, no one ever taught him how to play nice.
You wait in your prison spun with your sins & snares,
and worry about drowning in forgotten cares
When it matters little, princess, can’t you see?
Your World is on fire, and it’s not just a dream.

But if it’s all the same to you, it’s all the same to me.

Nothing is Real

 

Into the cold moonlight, a child climbed out of the darkness. Her hair caught wildly in the wind, even as she hesitated where she stood. She could still hear the howling of the wolves, but they did not sound as close as they had earlier, and she allowed herself a moment to breathe.

“Take this and leave, nina. Hurry!”

Leave, she thought scornfully, hurrying towards the shadows the looming gray buildings provided. Where for? And she cursed at herself for the sadness preparing to overwhelm her. What for? They weren’t even real. They didn’t even exist.

Head bowed low, she broke into a run, going faster and faster and faster, until everything around her was just a blur of darkness and light, and then until everything seemed to merge together in a block of gray, and then until she saw spots that grew larger and larger, but through it all she could see his face, laughing at her, mocking her.

Who are you?” She cried into the silence of the hostile night, eyes closed for a moment in confusion when a sudden drop in the landscape threw her off balance, and the girl tumbled down a slope, her world suddenly in as much chaos as the insides of her mind, and she laughed, even as she rolled all the way to the bottom, where she lay for a while before curling up into herself in order to wait.

What was the worst the night could do?

What was the worst anybody could do?

The moon disappeared behind an ominous cloud, and the betrayal was complete.

Sometimes, one has no choice but to welcome the darkness. Or, at the very least, accept it.