These are new days. Of customary security checks, animated conversation and bristling anger at almost every thing / person in sight. The flavour of the season, that India has for breakfast, lunch and dinner goes by the name of ‘Politician’.
Unexposed to such groundswell animosity before, two kinds of responses from this clan, reach the eye. Complete silence ( I haven’t seen a Raj Thackeray sound byte). Or lunatic expressions. Like this. And this. And this. And this.
And the Naval Chief demurred about height.
And ah. The media. Much has been seen, said and written. Especially so about the brazenness of coverage and repeated visuals of blood and people dying replete with ‘ you saw it first in this channel’ sound bytes ! And i cringe.
Today there is a bloke who gets interviewed on TV. And he proclaims, ‘I want war with Pakistan’. The camera hovers around that large rimmed face. And continues to hover. And continues to hover. The gent continues his tirade. I have to take action and i switch channels.
Another channel shows how the Pakistani media is reporting all of this as a Zionist game plan. I am not sure of any other point in time where Pakistani newspapers like this one have been read with such fervour.
Yet another TV channel has four gents in four squares of the screen. ‘New Delhi ‘says one box. ‘Islamabad’. ‘Mumbai’. ‘London’. Say the other three. And three gentlemen who make noise with the same frequency for as long as you care to watch, adorn each of the boxes.
It is apparent that in sheer anger and disbelief, a whole lot got said. But, its time to take stock. Control speed. And chart course. Enough is Enough has been repeated enough number of times, that you really think its all enough !
Its time to build bridges. Its time to put sense into peoples heads. Its time to spread reason. Campaign for change in policy. Spread awareness. Keep the restive anger and disappointment alive through thought provoking programing and engaging discussion. And , of course, realise that the best TRPs are not a function of non stop, high octane chatter !
At a personal level, messages urging you to light candles, keep a vigil, donate blood, pay homage to Maharashtrians / Keralites et al suddenly appear in your inbox. Urging you to prove your patriotism by forwarding it to as many people as your contact book would allow. Others quietly replace Maa Da Laadla Bigad Gaya with Vande Mataram as ring tones.
And the astrologers at work too. ‘Ratan Tata’s fortunes would turn next year.’ ‘Mumbai is going through a bad patch because numerologically…’Bombay’ is better than ‘Mumbai.” They say. And we read.
Elsewhere, at every hotel and office complex every cars under carriage, boot and the bonnet get inspected. Today, as i drive into a hotel, the security guard asks me to open the bonnet. I obey !
But curiosity gets the better of me. And i step outside the car and walk up to the guard and ask him what he is looking for. He smiles at me. And says ‘any suspicious looking object’. ‘And you expect it to find under the hood, amidst all those wires, oil spills and engine heat ?’, i ask. He has already moved on to the next car.
I wonder how many bonnets he would open and close today. And think if he manages to attach weights to the bonnet, he would have biceps to match Arnold Schwarzenegger!
Just then, someone else thrusts a mirror under the car, with the ostensible reasoning of examining the under carriage. And so, i ask him what he is looking for. A strange shrug escapes his shoulder. I think so. But, he doesn’t answer. With a mechanical sweep that would put an assembly line assembler to shame, he moves on.
I get back into the car and drive on. These are strange times.
….When mirrors get under the car more frequently than i would get myself in front of one.
….When you look at give a college kid with a Versace T Shirt a second glance. A suspicious second glance.
….And of course, when i and many others take the effort to clean the insides of the boot and the bonnet too.
And every time i do so, i seem to be saying to myself with the emphatic emphasis of the average TV news anchor : Enough is Enough !
I would more than gladly comply with the law and security checks. I just have a problem with doing something for the sake of doing it. We need security cover. Real cover. Not the symbolic variety. We need real journalists. Not the mike thrusting symbolic types.
And oh yes. Amidst all the blogs, interviews and other stuff crying for action, its time to go beyond this symbolic, loud murmur, and get real.
Enough is enough. Of armchair activism and keyboard rattle. Of random TV interviews and jingoistic jumble. Of hate blogs and rumor tweets.
Some where between all of these, lurks reason, pragmatism and constructive action.
And of that, enough can never be enough.