Friday, November 20, 2009

Trying to get back into the usual home-work-home.
So many images. So many that won’t go away.

Two days in town- early morning rush, braving the traffic.
Waiting in the Chambers at the Taj. Searching for any remnant of what happened here a year ago.The room where scared guests were shepherded and safe for a while. Until the over enthu media gave away the hideaway. Then they were hunted down.
No- no bullet marks, everything perfect, papered over.
I look at the curtains and the terrace outside. The guests must have braided curtains like these to escape. I look at the signages on the loos and think about those butchered inside and those that got away. Fluke, luck.
We move to a smaller room for the presentation. The sepia photos of the erstwhile rulers- the Prince of this and the King of that- are still on the wall. The table is different. That was a HUGE table, a square one. Looked for logical reasons why they must have changed it.
That day ends in a whirlwind of meetings and endless traffic, red taillights stretch up the over bridge and beyond, the cables on the sealink like silver spun against the deep.

Tuesday was all day at the Taj, a day of meetings in a room overlooking the Gateway, counting the glittering yatch at anchor, watching the reflection of the pillars of the Gateway shimmer on the glass of the botanical sketch in the room. One is supposed to be working, but one can’t stop thinking—did the people here get away? The vibes are terrible, but of course the view is beautiful, it always was, that stone sentinel and the sea beyond.

More was to follow. A condolence visit for a youth cut down in his prime,despite the best treatment money can buy. The only son of seriously rich parents, leaves a daughter not yet five.

And the close of evening at the Turf Club, the glittering skyline past the dark of the concourse, shivering, watching and clapping as the best of India shining are feted, even as the other India looks on from the stands– helpers, assistants, the dish-washer boys. Someone there turns a radio on high volume, and I wonder how long.

And on Thursday at a literary meet I hear Darryl d’Monte speak, a man so fearless no newspaper owner could bear him, a man so brave he’s stood by the truth regardless of which camp- builders, organized millworkers or ganglords- it would have upset. Amazing.


Karishma said...

Brilliant.You have a way with words like no one I know..

Anonymous said...

A room for meetings and presentations where people were shot and died: The prospect is the same as it always was, beauty unmoved.

I envy everyone who has found his (version of) the truth, a longing for un-ambiguousness - I admire the ability to make a decision and to stand with it and at the same time I wonder what is left out.

Good to read you again.

AmitL said...

Hi, Austy!Will read this post at leisure tomorrow!Can't do justice by just a cursory glance,can I?:)

shooting star said...

you have such a beautful way for expresssing your thoughts!!

PQ said...

I have always felt that Destiny is mean to some people...and I wonder why.

austere said...

karishma- and you have a way with generous comments. :)

mago- good to be read by you again. The contrasts in my day made me hurry to a quiet place.

amit- waiting for you to comment.:) good to see you here.

star- ty, and thanks for your generosity.

pq- don't know. fluke. luck. chance.

quin browne said...

i remember that day last year... my biggest fear being you or the parent would be harmed... my joy in finding you were well almost shamed me when i thought of those who had not survived the day.

i'd rather the shame than the great pain i'd have known otherwise.

AmitL said...

Whew-I read the post,finally..and,it did bring back memories of that sordid day a year ago...watching in horror as it was aired live.

austere said...

quin- till the next round of terror attacks? Luck, fluke- you should hear the stories. Chance is all.

amit- yep.