I wake up in the morning to find a troubled sms from Arjun, “Something terrible happened. Newspaper front page.”
Fearing another massacre in the name of region or religion where me, my friends and my family always miraculously survive, I check the newspaper. “Assam boat Mishap” it said, “over 200 dead” and I quite surprisingly heaved a sigh of relief. I spent another twenty minutes evaluating my cruelty and insensitivity. How could I sigh? How dare I sigh? ONLY 200? ONLY A BOAT MISHAP? Nothing less than a group of militants or a death toll of 500 will do to invoke a great deal of sadness. It’s a lot like Kill Bill you see. You scream and claw your skin terrified at the sight of the first gruesome murder. By the end of it, blood is only red, only some kind of a liquid that stops churning your stomach. Gore is only a term. It’s all a psychological mumbo jumbo. You master the craft of avoiding sympathizing and feeling or getting horrified. Growing up with Khasi-Bengali communal wars, which alarmed my parents so much, that they dislocated me from my roots much to my dismay, by moving to a place full of hostile Bengalis because “it is safer to be with one’s own kind” and in that process, erasing all possibilities of a mixed community around me (I don’t blame them), I have learnt to grow up an immunity to face mass death. Because in Shillong, you could be jogging in the morning when you bump into a body. A dead body hanging from the street lamp. Beheaded. Or a massively mutilated dead body right outside your door. And as if mutilation wasn’t enough, the murderers will have shaved the poor fellow’s eye brows as well for special effects. And you think ohh, another dead body? If it is not death that you read about first thing in the morning, it is a celebrity’s redundant love life. It’s a bargain for life. I have learnt to not let it affect my emotions. More dead people. Ohh. More prisoners, ohh. They filled up the cemeteries and jails. Is that so? Only one person dead? Not enough I must say!
Arjun texts me back, “No Adidas. Some management issue.”
[FOR YOUR SAKE I HOPE THAT YOU BEG TO DIFFER]