Monday, January 14, 2008

Reality Bites

To me Incessant Musings is a fun blog. I like to write on the lighter side of life... Many times I have visited other bloggers who have written on some serious issues. As I read their post, I want to write a post on it.. and I have often left a comment saying that I will make a post on it.. But as I sit to write, I think of yet another funny tale and write that instead.
However today I am going to write about something that has truly touched me.
A few weeks back I was surfing around on blogger when I came across a blog called Baghdad Burning. I added it to my blog links and forgot all about it.This morning I read some posts on that blog... and have been able to think of nothing else since!
I have always been one to take life for granted. My biggest worry being how to cook today's food without burning it. I am a citizen of one country, but live in another... The doors to both countries are open to me and I come and go as I wish. I roam around inside each country as I wish. I take my freedom for granted.
(Pict Courtesy: carefulthought@wordpress)
The post I read is by a girl from Iraq who has taken refuge in Syria. She is fortunate enough to have a roof over her head, but the trials of getting a 2 month extension to stay just 2 more months in Syria is mind blogging. The refugees in Syria are at the mercy of Syrian Government, they are not truly welcome there.. and yet they cant return to their country of birth. Most have left behind their life's savings and the land they know and love to struggle for even survival in a strange land!!
I am going to stop here and let you think about how privileged we all are!! If you want to read more find the link to the blog in my side panel.
************************************************************
On this note, I would like to also share my tryst with terrorism!!
I come from a lovely town in South India called Coimbatore. To many Indians this name might be familiar, I am about to tell you why!
It was a warm and sunny Saturday - Feb 14th 1998. I had made up my mind to watch a movie... but the VCR wouldn't work. So I decided to go get it fixed. My dad's assistant agreed to go with me to the VCR repair place. I had to go pick him up from my Dad's office though. So I started VCR in one hand and the Kinetic (Two Wheeler) keys in the other... As I was to step down from the porch I stopped still. I would have stepped on a small snake (A Speckled Cobra I think) if I had not looked.. I yelled for my mom and the two of us stood there and prayed till the snake left our home...
Not being very superstitious, I alerted some workers nearby of the sighting and went on to take my bike out and off to the VCR repair place. I went to Gandhipuram (a busy area in CBE) and dropped off the VCR. I then went on to my Uncle's office in Ramnagar (A tam bram locality) to pick up something from him... When I was there, he got a phone call and told me "Leave immediately.. and go straight home. There is some trouble in RS Puram". Coimbatore had a history of Hindu-Muslim feuds... so we knew the drill.
I started the ride back home.. with my Dad's assistant sitting behind me.. As I said Ramnagar is a Brahmin locality.. a Prime Hindu locality.. so the roads started closing down on us.. Except for one opening in and out of the area, all roads were literally closed down! We had to find that opening through the maze of roads and make our way out... As I rode home I saw smoke emanating from the side of the Railway Station - Central Coimbatore, while RS Puram where the alleged riots took place was behind us to the North.. Watching all this in bewilderement I headed home.
I dropped off the Assistant and went on to where I lived. At the corner of the road was a bike repair store we frequented. The Kinetic was my mom's bike and the break was acting up. So I stopped to have the guy fix it.. A group of guys came in an Auto screaming "Yen Ratham ellam kodhikudhu... Naan yen kannala parthen... ellam sinna pinnam aa pochu".. (My blood is boiling, I saw with my own eyes .. everything is in shambles). The guy in the auto was the one who took my sister to school everyday.. he said to me "Papa yen inga nikarenga, veetuku ponga.. velila varadhenga" ..(Little girl, why are you standing here? Go home and dont come out!)
The whole of next week we stayed at home, all schools and colleges were closed. We heard and saw the reports on Television. Our City was burning. The BJP leader LK Advani was supposed to make a speech on Feb 14th in RS Puram.. Alleged terrorists set off bombs in RS Puram, in the Railway Station, Town Hall (Downtown Coimbatore) , the Govt Hospital, the local bus stand and many such populous locations. In retaliation the Hindu's set ablaze many muslim stores in the city... Miscreants broke and looted all stores - Hindu and Muslim.. (pict courtesy - www.sabrang.com)
A week later we ventured out to go to college. .we were routinely subject to checks .. our bags and lunch boxes and bikes were all checked everytime we travelled past bus stands/ stations and other populated areas. Everywhere we looked there was devastation.. and at that time I felt helpless and ashamed.. Ashamed that I belonged to a world where 2 religions can't live in Harmony!!! Where people aren't looked at as human beings, but are given an identity based on Race, Color, Religion, Caste... Why do we look at differences and not similarities in each other?

12 comments:

Rambler said...

Preethi, The shame continues..., two religions fighting it out in Gujrat, two states fighting it out in Karnataka, terrorists fighting out in kashmir, extremists in Assam, LTTE in tamil nadu... really when will we "Educate" ourself, move a notch up from being just literate.

Thinking aloud said...

i take my freedom forgranted!!! that was so very true...that's what i tell myself everyday...when i read stories of abuse, hate, intolerance, i sometimes find ithard to believe that they are all happening everywhere...

that's when i fervently wish that we leave a world worth living in....for our kids and theirs...

Preethi said...

Rambler - Very well put.. the shame does go on.. not just in India all over the world!!
TA - You are right.. if its already like this, what in fact will we leave behind for our children?

rayshma said...

wanted to say what rambler already has... i wonder how ppl can justify using such means for political advantage... makes me wonder if it's d same world we live in... them and me. yeah, i also take my freedom, my world for granted... ur post really made me think, preethi...

DotMom said...

what a story! We all do take certain rights for granted..freedom, food, roof over your head, health..until something collapses and changes your perspective!

Preethi said...

Rayshma - we need to think.. we really do.. and that blog Baghdad burning has done it for me.. Glad I have done it for you!!
Dotmom - Yes we do dont we... and when we do that it is all the more difficult when the world collapses on us.. I can't even begin to imagine how survival would be!!

Aryan said...

There is good and evil..in this world. But now evil is having a upper hand..
Yes you are right about that fact that we should not take freedom or anything for granted...
Aryan's mom

paisley said...

this was a very startling post... i want to go now and read the other blog you suggested... thank you for this insight....

Vishnupriya Janardhanan said...

About time isn't it, for people to start thinking like humans and show some respect for man kind!

Preethi said...

Hey i remember this too. It was such a shock for me. All these things always happen elsewhere right? Hitting Tamil Nadu was really a shock. My mom's hometown is Coimbatore. I have really fond memories of that place. Just thinking about that gives me shivers.
And ur blog on the girl though, It resonates with my feelings. How we take all these things for granted living oblivious to sufferings happening elsewhere...

Preethi said...

Btw , like this font. Makes reading easier :)

Preethi said...

Aryan's mom - You are partially right.. what I am trying to say is that in our day to day life we hardly spare a thought to this!! While in reality it is having a major effect on our life.. or will soon!!
Paisley - You are welcome...
Vishnu - If you and I don't no one will... and being informed is the first step don't you think?
Preethi - Hey another common thing? Wow!! :) CBE like I say is where my heart is.. I havent lived there in many years though.. but love to visit.. whats more DH who has no ties with CBE except me, loves CBE too!!
As for the font.. I like it too.. its Times Roman