Come to visit my country, Sir. I will take you to many interesting places. I will show you the Taj, I will show you the Konark, I will show you all of Incredible India. There is one thing that you must not miss at any cost.
It is something called the resilient spirit of us Indians. A live demonstration would have been better, but in absence of that, I will take you to an open butcher shop in the middle of a busy market.
Come, Sir, come and take your pick. Yes, this brown-yellow one will be just great. Or do you want the sturdy black one trying to escape? First, you see how the butcher catches hold of your choice. See the commotion, how all are trying to run. Some are even shouting, and some others are squirting shit out of panic. And now you see how, within a few moments, the butcher skillfully hacks your prey into a bagful of meat. It is a delicate magic. The head gets detached first. The separated head tries to call out and gasps for air and water. The rest of the body, see how it twitches, convulses and shakes its legs. Do you see an exotic dance form emerge out of it?
Had fun? Now see the best part. See what the other animals are doing. See what a sagacious calm has taken over the place. They are out of their nightmare and would never again have to sleep. So it seems. See how peacefully some are sipping water from that broken plastic cap. See how some are pecking crumbs from the floor.
These animals are fine specimens of the true resilient Indian spirit. Like these animals, we can easily separate ourselves from pain, especially the pain of others. When you ignore pain, there cannot be pain, is it not so, Sir?
Do not get us wrong, Sir. We are very sensitive people. Whenever I bring my daughter to the market, I drape her eyes with my hands, so she doesn’t get to see these butchering. Her school also has similar care for her upbringing.
Yes, she is studying in a good school. They do a lot of activities in their school. My daughter reads out portions of news to the class during assembly. The other day, she was reading the story of a bomb blast in Delhi. “There was a bomb blast in a court in Delhi.” That much was fine. But the silly girl went on to say, “11 people got killed and hundreds were injured.” She had to be stopped at that. And her teacher rightly did just that.
Imagine, Sir, this is a school, a place for studies. Not a place to discuss grisly murders, defaced corpses and torn apart hands of babies. Tomorrow, are you going to read out the story of a rape?
She was going against the Indian philosophy of stoicism. How could she say “people got killed”? Was it YOU who got killed? If not, then shut up. Just say there was a bomb blast, and end it there with an air that it was like one of the crackers that go off when politicians win elections. Use the word “blast” lightly, almost like when we say “at the party we were having a blast.” Do you want to derail the school assembly into a state of nausea?
Come to see our philosophical superiority, Sir. How we have extended Rene Descartes — I think, therefore I exist.
This further establishes that I have not been killed as yet. So let us defer the thought of death till such time and let life roll on. Let us be sorry, however, let us observe silence strictly one minute for those who have died, let us blog violent abuses against the administration for all the plight imposed upon us. And let us wait for that messiah who will come and beat the shit out of these perpetrators.
Till such time, our respite is in our art of thinking. Every mishap is far, far away, like some turbulence in Libya. Or even if it is near, it is as unavoidable as the death of our neighbour’s great grandmother.
Coming back to the butcher shop, Sir. I really love those animals. One day I saw a great crowd in front of one of these shops. The butchers were running around to catch a rooster which had escaped. The fugitive perched itself atop an iron cage and stuck itself to such a corner that the butchers were finding it very difficult to recapture it. The less fortunate inmates of it were jostling inside the cage. All the people were laughing with the attempts of the butcher to retrieve it back.
My heart was filled with pride. You see, Sir, I truly believe that the rooster is our representative. We, like the bird, somehow manage to dodge all butchers and continue to stay alive. It is not that nobody dies, the point is that WE don’t. And even if others die, we continue with our indomitable spirit.
I really felt like shouting and cheering for the rooster. But just before that, it was caught by an ugly lungi-clad fellow and stowed back into the cage.
I felt very sorry Sir. I remembered a childhood folk tale about rooster. The rooster originally had a beautiful plumage which was stolen by the peacock. It occasionally remembers its lost glory and crows loudly in anguish of its loss.
I truly believe that instead of the peacock, the rooster should have been our national bird.
Anyway, do come to our country, Sir. It is not as horrible as it seems from the news. Believe my words, Sir. See I am alive, otherwise, how am I writing this.