Friday, January 25, 2008

Am I proud of our democracy????

I’ve always been proud of my country. I get Goosebumps when I hear stories of our freedom fighters and I think this nation and its potential is just yet to be discovered. I had always believed that democracy is the best way to run a country. It’s just, fair and it works just fine…. It’s been like that for many years until .This particular day, a Sunday if I remember correctly, mom had to go to a meeting of all officers at work (she works in a bank). I accompanied her (just for the heck). It was around this time that an engineering student (Rajani) had suicided because she was denied loan by several banks and she couldn’t pay her fees to compete her education. My mom works for the bank which was one of the banks that denied her loan. The media was going all hyper about this incident and making a huge issue. The bank’s employees had decided to meet up to discuss a couple of issues and the Rajani issue was one of them because rioting mass had threatened to rampage the offices and had one day forced the bank to shut down the day’s operation. So this particular Sunday I found myself amidst mom’s colleagues listening to stuff -all greek and latin ( I still have no clue what all they discussed). A peaceful yet boring session progressed. I sat there not paying attention to a word that had been said playing with my mobile phone. Then all of a sudden, there is a shout from behind us “Inkulab Zindabad!!!” I remember turning around just in time to see a man wearing a white shirt and mundu shout out to the crowd, his face wicked and angry. He picked up a chair and threw it at us. I watched as in slow motion the chair flew at me and I ducked.. but not completely, the chair hit my hand and I felt myself panicking. I had only seen stuff like this on television and I never thought I would be facing that ever. In my fright, I ran to a corner and crouched under a table. I shared that safe spot with another bank manager who had also ran under there to escape the flying chairs. I couldn’t see my mom. I didn’t know what was happening outside. All I could hear were sounds that made me imagine the worst. I heard glasses breaking, people yelling and screaming. I could do only one thing. Try and get help. In my panic I didn’t think about calling the police. I couldn’t think about which number to call. I dialed my dad on my mobile. I didn’t have time or patience to explain what was going on and all I said was “DAD!!! CALL THE POLICE!!!!!” and he said I know, the police are already on the way… I suddenly wondered “what??? How does he know?? ”
What I didn’t know then was that the news was aired on India Vision… live… how did they know this was going on??…. the meeting was not even publicized. I got out from under the table to see where mom was. Relief… I was so relieved that I can’t express it. She was ok. Most people were. A few cuts from broken glasses, a few bruises coz of being hit by chairs.
What had happened was that the men from the bank had taken charge and pushed the rioters out of the room and locked themselves in. From no where, the media had arrived (suggesting that this whole thing was planned). The situation calmed down. The rioters were chased away and I got home in time to see the news.
So what just happened?? Some engineering student from kollam killed herself and me, another engineering student got a chair thrown at. When I narrated this even to my friends and it was the joke of the day but I didn’t find anything funny in it. I know its just my luck and GOD’s presence in my life that made sure that the whole thing didn’t get out of hand, that no one was hurt. Did the whole thing make any point? Did the girl live? No. She died. Her family lost a daughter and her classmates lost a friend. I bruised my right hand. People got a lot to read about. What good did all that do?
This made me doubt if people should be given the freedom of thought and action. If the citizens of this country began to take every provision made for them in the constitution to the extremes then we are in trouble. The rules are made and the freedom is given so that people use it in a just manner. May be we are not mature or considerate enough to find our boundaries and stay within it atleast for the sake of others.
So… do I think democracy is such a good idea… sure!! Just one glitch in my life is not going to disturb my strong routed feelings for this great nation and the way it is run. My hand healed. No damage done. Just the shock of the day and the thought that what might have happened stays in me but I believe that for a country this big and this populated, we have done a super smooth job at bringing this nation to the front.

(P.S: This incident is a small thing compared to the stuff that goes on all over the country. But my life has almost always been safe and this is the only event I can talk about. My heart goes out for all those who lost precious people and belongings throughout the country. May peace be with you….)

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