Tuesday, September 14, 2010
For a few amenities more...
Generally speaking, two months is a long-enough period to get over things but, somehow, the tragedy of the untimely death of this 14-year-old boy still remains fresh in my mind and keeps visiting my thoughts. I guess it's not really very easy to forget and move on when the tragedy happens to be a heart-wrenching one and the victim happens to be an innocent young kid. Apparently, the snake that bit the boy is an extremely poisonous small green reptile that hides in the trees, jumps on to its unsuspecting, hapless victim(s), bites, and disappears as suddenly as it appears.
This incident keeps rewinding in my mind's eye as I brave the jungle-like path en route to my tuition everyday. And each time I pass by those huge terrifying wild trees on my way back when it is much darker and much more scarier, I keep wondering if I'll be the next innocent victim of a vengeful venomous snake. I know my fear almost sounds like an Urban Legend sequel. But life in this part of the country is not really that easy. Nor is it an eternal source of enjoyment sans worries, tragedies, tensions as is often portrayed. Neither is my home always going to be a risk-free retreat or a safe haven for my urban friends.
Not very long ago, there was this gas leakage near my daughter's school. And no, this was not because of negligence but because of poverty. No job = more poverty. Somebody tried stealing the brass knobs of gas cylinders (filled with chlorine) from a factory. If this is not tragic, what else can be? Those involved in the theft not only risked their life but also the lives of people in the vicinity - for a few rupees more.
And a few days prior to this incident, while commuting to Berhampur every night for over a week to stay with niece who delivered at Christian Hospital, I was shocked beyond words when I witnessed the pathetic living conditions of people in this part of the world (read absence of toilets) where women are forced to answer nature calls late at night under the dark canopy of the star-lit sky, and quickly hide their face(s) as the headlights of that one-odd vehicle passing by focuses on them for a brief moment.
Why the hell are we witnessing such shameful conditions even after 60 years post-Independence? Are we independent, really? And why are these villagers not standing up in arms against their apathetic condition? And how are these women tolerating this torture every night of their lives? If people themselves are not interested in working towards their betterment, who'll come to their aid? What freedom, life, and dignity are we talking about?
It was not so much of a culture shock... it was more of disgust towards the apathy of the government and its failure in every aspect of governance that frequently troubles my soul. I'm also now reminded of a rainy evening and my frustration, almost a year ago, when I got drenched completely as the bus I was travelling in started leaking.
All these incidents might still be bearable. What is unbearable is the death of a young boy, primarily due to lack of proper medical care in the village(s) in and around Berhampur. I don't think there's any justification to that tragic death, and the apathy of the officials and the pitiable living conditions around here make the crime that much more unpardonable!!!