Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Candle in the wind

The one word - Overwhelming. It sums up the gamut of feelings that I am filled with, after the candle march that I was a part of at Marine Drive, the stretch of sea-adjunct land that starts from the Oberoi hotel and marks the shoreline of south Mumbai. No amount of TV images, living room debates and discussions or even the morose emotions that brew in my heart past days, could compare to that one moment when we lit up candles right in front of the Oberoi Trident in the memory of all that Mumbai has lost in her mayhem.
The March commenced at 7pm dot. A proud moment for the citizens of Mumbai, who despite their wry sense of punctuality, gathered and initiated a moment, so defining, at the time when it was supposed to be initiated. Glum faces incandescent with candle lights, some carrying placards that voiced their opinions (including me). Energies, rebellious and revolutionary, colliding with each other, charging the atmosphere with a sense of extreme passion.
Candles endured the wrath of the Arabian wind, probably suggesting a reflection of the hearts that carried them. Even if one blew out, a neighboring candle would come to the rescue, probably suggesting the (much abused but yet affable) spirit of the city. The march went on.
Slogans eulogizing the heroes of the horror - the cops, the soldiers, the hotel staff, the hostages - resonating across the air. “Jain Hind” ...“Bharat Mata Ki Jai”... “Vande Mataram”... leading us to the doomed Trident. There were occasional anathemas launched against the politicians and the terrorists. All aglow with a thousand flickers of light. The light paving way for insurgency of citizens' might. A citizens' movement about to begin. You could feel it in the air.
It had stopped being about mundane issues anymore. Approaching the Trident with every step gave the emotions a whole new crescendo. The shattered glasses were visible now, one can only imagine the ugliness that unfolded inside. It stood there dilapidated, forsaken, abandoned but certainly not decimated. It looked aglow, somehow (or was it a reflection?)
And a sudden rush of feelings took over. Flashes from the images seen on TV overlapping this monument that stood in front of me in flesh. Flames emerging out of that window, a hostage waving out from that window, a commando examining that window. Like it was still happening now.
A strong unison of voices and I was brought back to the present. The national anthem had started. “Jana Gana Mana Adhinayak Jaya Hai.. Bharat Bhagya Vidhata....”
Everyone stood still. Not because they were required to, but because they wanted to. The candles held up high in the air now, faces wistful, wishful even. A distant gaze at a future devoid of terror. A thousand lit minds. Hopes, optimism, drive, execution. A new found ability to question, to confront, to revolt too. To change. A congregation of minds that wanted change, that wanted to be the change. A cohesive force between us. A revolution underway. A movement as begun.
India’s own renaissance.
Birth place - Mumbai , 30th Nov’ 2008

image courtesy - yahoo/Assoc. Press

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