Deccan Herald. Sunday, December 14, 2008.
The heavens reached out to us the other night. Jupiter and Venus shone bright-eyed side by side and the moon, in resplendent splendour, smiled joyously upon us. While a dear friend (among a host of others, I now gather) was fortunate to witness this celestial merriment, I, courtesy cloudy intent, had to make do with a journalist’s report in the next day’s newspaper. The picture alongside, of the unmistakable smiley against the dark sky, was breathtaking.
Galactic businesses aside, we have always believed heavenly bodies to be personal scribes of our individual destinies on Earth. So whose destiny were the heavens condoning on the night of the second of December?
And what need could be so great as to bring about a planetary repositioning that manifested a message such that all the addressee had to do was look up and receive? And if this hallowed recipient is techno-savvy, then this message would have been interpreted without any error, whatever the perspective.
But all perspectives that day were directed at a single event. And all personal destinies were infringed upon and trespassed by each other, in varying magnitude. Those grieving a personal loss, stepped back to take note of a larger and even more unfathomable massacre. Those mourning their daily nitty-gritty, took a moment to consider their purpose. Few are yet to understand why.
Sacrifices were made, some taken. Honours were bestowed, some slighted. Homages were paid, some disregarded. Sympathies were extended, some mocked. Dignities were upheld, some scorned. There was reaction - and the ripples roll on fast and feverish, to circles further and further from the core.
Discussion gains credence, now that this heavenly phenomenon can be contemplated as a collective conscience.
The bloody Wednesday of 26/11, just six days prior to this cosmic conjunction, saw horrific death – death of peace, death of trust, death of faith, death of a sense of security, death of tinted perceptions. A lot more than lives were lost that day.
A lot was born too.
Hurt has raised its embittered voice and question has lifted its weighty head. Eyes cry tears of reckoning and minds have come together on common ground. Dividing lines show diminishing proportions as balcony curtains tear themselves loose. Masks are off, excuses stand for nothing. Gloves are off and tones are terse.
But why have we taken so long? For decades, we have endured horrors perpetrated by meddlers inside and sustained insufferable insurgencies from outside. As people of our country, why did we let this happen? We are a nation, a powerful one. We are an ideology that gives us countenance. We are a spirit that has withstood time and risen out of it. We are a force that has overpowered incarceration and shaped progress. We are a people of infinite potential and yet we succumb to mean and momentary whims.
Cloistered in the arrogance of our own intellect, we have allowed ourselves to become prisoners of our times, yet again. Diving into the shallow waters of our own egotism, we have drowned under the deluge of insensitive leaders, empowered by us. Ramming into walls of our own making, we have lost sight of what lays ahead, what can be. Gluttonous in our strife for acquisition, we are now starved of basic sense and pragmatism.
But the hunger pangs are now screaming for justice. A new wave of awareness craves action. An awakening borne out of sound knowledge and informed stance, seeks a change with tangible parameters. Solutions are being debated and daring alternatives suggested.
Unorganised initiatives like peace marches and light parades aim to motivate sensibilities. They attempt to stimulate positive polity and effect proactive participation in its governance. The people of this country seem to have shaken free of their complacent slumber and are taking charge of their collective responsibility to the state. And to themselves.
This is a test of democracy. And India stands challenged. The heavens did smile on us the other night. Are we finally in orbit?