Posts Tagged ‘events’

.. the World Trade Centers were felled down, on 9/11?

I was at my Homeindia office, in Vasan Udyog Bhavan, in Lower Parel. Got a call from home, and I had to ask a couple of times disbelievingly, before realizing what was happening!


..Indira Gandhi was assassinated?

I was studying in the reading room, at VJTI. It was study leave days, before our semester exams. Someone came in and broke the news. And shocked as we were, me, and couple of my friends (Hareesh and Shabbar) rushed to my home (walking distance from VJTI) and watched the details, in shock.


..the news of my maternal grandmother’s passing away was given to me?

The first ‘death’ that I dealt with in life. I was playing cricket with friends in 5-gardens. The place is about 10 min walking distance to my home. Ansuya masi (neighbour plus almost family) walked all the way up, and into the garden. I was shocked to see her there on the ground. She broke the news as mildly as she could, to me. I was very young, in school. Had no idea how to react. The other friends did not know what news had been conveyed to me. I walked up to the stumps, removed the stumps, and started walking away. They were wondering what suddenly came about. And asked me. I don’t think I replied. Aunty perhaps, told them, and then they quietened down. Even they were young like me, and did not know how to react or show their support. I walked up home, and up the 3 storeys, to my flat. No one else was at home. I slept on the bed, thinking that I should cry. Tears did not come. I just lay there.


..the news of my paternal grandfather’s passing away was conveyed to me?

I was at a motel in Los Angeles. My brother, cousins and my parents had come to visit, in the summer after I had completed my MS. Due to the call that my grandpa was not well, my parents had rushed back to India. My brother and the other cousins (all more than 10 years younger to me) were all in the US still, but they were out somewhere, with my aunt and uncle, from the US. I was in the motel, alone. Waiting for them to come back. And the call came from my Dad, from India. I went to the reception (prior to phone in room days, and certainly prior to cell phone days) and spoke to him. Again, he tried to break the news as best as he could. But there was no easy way to say that he was no more. I asked some questions about what happened, how it happened, etc. I made proper conversation, and then put the phone down.

I was all alone there, near the phone. As soon as the phone was kept down though, the tears started flowing out of my eyes. I cried uncontrollably, and walked to my room (a small distance), crying profusely. In a few minutes, my friend and roommate from USC was anyway due to visit me, and he reached there. And found me in that state. And he gave me support. Asked me to cry away as much as I wanted to. Which I did. And then I calmed down.


I can’t remember exactly, where I was when my maternal grandfather passed away.

I can’t remember exactly, where I was and what was I doing, when I got the news of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination.

I can’t remember the time when the Babri Masjid was felled or when exactly I heard of the Indian Ocean Tsunami.

I do remember, a lot of what happened after that, for all of these incidents too, including what I was doing later on.

Like going and picking up my parents from the airport, as they returned from Mauritius, just a few days after Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination. Or the last rites of my maternal grandfather, etc.

I just do not remember the exact instance when I got the news.

I presume, for whatever reason, there are some incidents that leave impact. And get hard coded into our heads. Stay alive in memory, and are fresh, even many years later.

People in the US remember what they were doing when JFK died! That has been one of the most impactful incidents that Americans experienced during those years.

For Indians, it may have been Indira Gandhi.

Can you jog your memory and see if there are incidents of many years back, but you remember the exact detail? Especially incidents involving some shock or some personal tragedy or even something positive?

No, I am not talking of the Big Boss, or Big Brother, or Indian Idol, or Masterchef..

I am aware all of these have their humungous following, but most times, I am not a part of it.

But I am a film buff, if anything. And I like a lot of different genres of films. Including political drama, thrillers, adventure, etc.

So I would get my fill on these different kinds of films, by viewing interesting different films in the respective genres.

All the President’s Men for political drama.

Satya for a mafia thriller.

Poseidon Adventure for adventure.

And such.. scores of them, in fact.

And then suddenly, there were cameras everywhere in real life.

And there was connectivity.

And there was competition in news channels. And CNN and the Gulf War happened.

And things were never the same again.

We do not today, necessarily, need a fictional story narrated to us, in theatre, to give us the thrills.

We now have reality shows. Which we are so eager to lap up.

The live drama of terrorism and the forces battling it out, on 26/11.

The terrorist attacks, and the crumbling down in front of our eyes, of the iconic World Trade Center buildings on 9/11.

The audio tapes of RadiaGate, making us feel like a fly in the wall, in corporate political lobbying.

And the tsunami and earthquake in Japan, now.

Millions of us, all around the world, glueing on to our television sets, watching all this drama unfold in front of our eyes.

Much like a Slumdog Millionaire or a Titanic, which gets the world to go and watch. Except all these are not fiction. They are reality. And all these are live and evolving as we see. Where no director has already penned out the end of the story. The story is unfolding in front of our eyes, and nobody knows what the end will be. And there is no ‘match fixing’ either. It is indeed a suspense drama.

And while we see the action pieces, we also see the people. The scampering and escaping rescued folks from the Taj on 26/11.

Those that got saved at the World Trade Center, and the bodies of those who didn’t. And the mourners of the latter.

People caught in the tsunami in Japan, perhaps praying for their lives, desperately hanging on.

As if it was theatre, we the voyeurs of the world, keep watching, marveling, commenting, tweeting, updating Facebook. As we “enjoy” the screenplay. Sorry for the choice of the word – enjoy. But beyond a point, for all those who are at a distance from the happening, it is not much different from going into the theatre, and watching a film.

When that participant on Big Boss cries, we KNOW it is drama.

When the small child rescued in an earthquake has panic, fear and tears, do we see her different from the reality show on TV??

I don’t have answers. I am just posing questions. And sharing my views on the new realities of life..

What have you to say on this? Love to read other opinions..