It was 12.30 in the noon on Wednesday. As I came out of a 2- hour meeting, my uncle from Kolkata called up. I came to know from him that there was a blast in Delhi. At the Delhi High Court to be precise. I made a few calls to my friends and relatives in the city and thanked God that once again me and my dear ones have been spared. The following 15-20 minutes we searched through the Net to get the details. We all felt sorry for the deceased. But that was all we felt. After that, I was back to work like so many others in this city.
May be terror attacks have become a part of our lives. Or may be in a population of over a billion people, a mere insignificant 11 lives do not count. So, we went out for a team lunch to celebrate our successful demo in the morning’s meeting and forgot about the whole thing.
Late in the afternoon as I was doing some mundane coding, a scene from a movie I had recently watched cropped up — The Final Destination –where a few guys cheat death and then are hounded by death itself as they succumb to the inevitable one by one. I suddenly had this strange feeling – may be we too are cheating death every moment. It just keeps following us everywhere.
I remember someone telling me once that it’s a miracle that a human being survives physiologically as there are so many things which could go wrong at any given point of time. So, theoretically, we are cheating death every moment. The people who were killed today were also cheating death until then. I heard about a guy who was rendered deaf for 10 minutes after the explosion. Five of his friends were killed, but he was lucky as he had stepped aside to attend a call from his father. I know of another unlucky fellow who was just saved from one of the blasts in the London tube serial blasts and called up home saying he was safe, only to die in another blast a few hours later.
As these thoughts pile up on me, I just realise how helpless we are in the hands of this menace of terrorism. How we go out in the morning as if we are going to a war. And how, like the physiological miracle, we are also a party to this security miracle that we return home safe every day.
A guy told me a few days back that insurance companies don’t pay if you die in a terror attack. The government pays about Rs 5 lakh to the immediate family of a deceased. And that’s the value of your life!
But chill guys. Why care? What’s the probability that you will be the next one? Probability theory says it’s the inverse of the total population of India. That is next to almost zero. For the time being, let those unfortunate ones be the chosen ones, and we can be among the fortunate billion people alive to see yet another day. We are saved, and hence let’s enjoy and celebrate. Let’s fix this silly bug in the code and feel good about ourselves!
Just as I was driving back home tonight, my tryst with Delhi’s Connaught Place blast two years back flashed through my mind. My wife had gone to CP for shopping, I was home. Suddenly, my sister from Kolkata called up, telling me there were a few blasts in CP. I dialed my wife immediately. To my utter horror, it was switched off. A chill went down my spine as I feared the worst. I went on calling again and again frantically. The fear of loosing her and the little one growing at that time inside her almost blanked me out. I could see death laughing at me at the end of a dark tunnel.
Then she called back. She was safe. Her mobile had run out of charge. But she had seen the flash news on TV and understood that I would be worried. She was calling from someone else’s mobile. I still remember how much I cried listening to her voice. It was not only my relief venting out but my utter sense of helplessness that I understood that day. We cheated death by a whisker but we were so close to be the chosen ones.
So let’s not be just mute spectators while hundreds around us die lying in a pool of blood. The worst thing about dying in such a way is not knowing the ‘why me’. Today it was an unknown face, what if tomorrow we wake up to find someone who we know and recognize? Will we be able to quietly suffer? Isn’t it time we made some noise? Time we sounded the gong, and told the Government that we refuse to die this way?
Feature photo by Prime Shooter