He is the "manoos", he is the busy "mumbaikar"… he is the youth….he is the aged…he is the oppressed… he is the angered… and today he is just an Indian!!
Thus, with threat of 4 kgs of RDX seized at CST (which later turned out to be true), with the threat of some terrorists still moving about scot free in the neighborhood, with the threat of a political unrest…he comes out from the safe recluse of his daily routine and starts walking through the hustle and bustle of the CST station and Hutatma Chowk, crossing the Flora Fountain, to reach one destination… The Gateway of India!
He must have received a sms or a mail which asked him to be present at the Gateway of India for a cause that affected him…his family…his co-passengers….people he had known.. people he had not known… but today he was there to prove his existence amidst the ocean of humanity by the sea, for his country.
"His Country", a sentiment long publicized to earn money for film-makers, used to gather votes by political parties, a sentiment he felt has been drubbed within the pages of the History Book.
He took to the streets out of compulsion, on the 26th of July, the 11th of July…he was compelled to stay back home on the 27th of July… but today he had had enough.
Suddenly I notice, that this "he" was in fact "everybody"….I did not have a choice but, be a part of this "everybody"…. Well then… be a part of this "everybody", reach the "Gateway of India" and do what?
Hurl slogans to demand resignation of politicians? Demand to curb all facilities for politicians at the cost of public money?
Scream slogans of death for a neighboring nation? Try to establish that we are living in horrific conditions where we do not have a way out? Demand better training and equipment to fight terror for our police?A group of people even went to the extent of demanding the "return of bargirls"….who, they proclaimed, could protect the city better than the politicians we had elected.
The agenda was however, one that of paying homage to the deceased in the blast & shootout and condemn terrorism.Whereas, Slogans that raged on like a storm were blowing fire… the fire of frustration that this city and this country had endured for years… All of them spoke of hatred…they were all protesting against the system that has cut them into many pieces.
As on observer and a participant one opines that there were more to this gathering than just giving way to frustration.
Maybe we did not realize, but probably it was the first instance after the Indo-Pak war that, a non-political mass of people had gathered out of their own will, essentially non-violent, fuming and fretting with anger, chanting "Bharat mata ki jai" and "Vande Matram" making the opportunists tremble with the echoes.
Maybe after a long time the common man had decided to take the onus on himself to fight injustice, not waiting for somebody else to do it for him.
Maybe after a long time, the old and aged would not dare question the patriotic sentiment of youth in this nation, who had worked hard to convey messages of protest against NOT BEING INDEPENDENT in their own country in this gathering.
Maybe after a long time somebody was asked to tear his clothes and make a TIRANGA out of it, when in his spree of enthusiasm he almost tore a flag when he tried to get one for himself from a lady distributing the same at the venue.
Maybe after a long time, the mob did not want to stand in front of the media cameras installed wherever possible, such that their folks back home get to catch a glimpse of them at the venue….
Today everybody wanted to move ahead… they knew that they were not here to have a nice little picnic going.
Maybe after a long time such a huge mob had conducted themselves so well in a gathering where the situation could have gone out hand at any moment. Maybe after a long time, people wanted concrete results arising out of this statement of protest!
They did not want to forget this bruise in a short while………. As the night progressed, the crowd thinned… the wind started blowing stronger by the Arabian Sea….A small tree at the Gateway seemed unruffled with the wind…….
Where a hundreds of candles burnt around the bark of the tree… a small bouquet of roses was kept with a message…."Dear Patriots… We the people of INDIA salute you"A little kid was seen bending down on the sand, beside the tree, trying to light yet another candle there… His father was helping him out against the strong wind that had started blowing. My appeal to all my fellow countrymen…. This time…..let us keep the candles burning!!