On 26th November at 10 pm, my son had casually switched on the television. Suddenly all hell broke loose as news of some firings were reported. Soon more came pouring in. Like most other people thoughts of gang wars at Leopold Café (with Shantaram being a recent read) crossed my mind. But things seemed to get much worse. V.T. Cama Hospital. The Taj. The Oberoi. Riveted, we sat glued to the television.
As the painful drama unfolded over the next three days, I sat, ate and had countless cups of coffee in front of the TV screen (and I don’t watch television otherwise!) I even slept with the TV on in the vain hope that my keeping it on would result in this whole nightmare ending quickly.
The agony I suffered, like most Mumbaikars, cannot be described in words. It was a simultaneous assault on our city, our people, our guests and most of all, on our national pride. It stirred nationalistic feelings in us that were probably last experienced by our parents or grandparents before 1947. Suddenly a violent streak emerged in the best of us. Even I was now ready for war.
In those few days of terror, my blog dried up. Went kaput. Bust! A writer’s blog had become a writer’s block!
I just could not bring myself to write. Everything seemed so trivial in the face of such immense tragedy. Over the next few days heart-rending stories of loss and survival were told and retold. Some people we knew. Some we knew about. Some were people who knew people we knew. In any case we were connected and the collective sorrow became ours alone.
Can anything be greater, more important than the senseless loss of human life? Can anything be worth writing about than what was already being written by the hand of Fate? Can anything be worth reading than what was so tragically occurring in and around us?
I couldn’t find anything. I was silent.
But the silence has not been well tolerated.
It was heartening to know that people had been reading my blog.
So having been spurred on with some friendly ‘nudges’ (and a knuckle rap, thanks NF!) I decided to explain my absence as a ‘hiatus’.
I even checked out the word on, guess what, Facebook. And helpful friends returned with helpful definitions. A break. A pause they said. I agreed with the meaning but was wondering if it was appropriate in these circumstances.
Till I looked it up in Wikipedia. The first obvious definition was
: A period of time where one is on a break
But as I read on it gave me the exact meaning of the word:
a period in which one is injured or hurt.Kind of sums it up, doesn’t it? Do I need to say more?
Except that I am back.