On the most auspicious day of the most promising and populous festival celebrated in Allahabad, what would you expect?
You would look for 100s of millions of people swarming around on the banks of Sangam, flicking water at unsuspecting passers-by whilst trying to purge their own selves, you would see lost kids crying and wobbling around among these throngs of zealots, hear an announcement every five seconds for someone to reclaim their grand-pa or mother. It would be breath-taking at night when all the lights are lit and reflected in the bobbing waves of the rivers, migratory birds skim the top surface in continuous patters(yes, at night) and loads and loads of unimaginable varieties of wastes and clothing. You would find that if you were looking for that only. But all that is contained to the Sangam, innit?
Then what goes on in the city, one wonders.
Here’s a clue: People die.
They did. Expecting to come and atone for their sins by suffering hypothermia and leave off with a fresh start, these people never got the chance to follow through on their last desire. Just goes on to show that karma ain’t no loose kindergarten teacher. You’re gonna pay for what you did in your blood, buddy, and if others lose theirs too, that’s on you as well, you poor shmuck.
So let me just clear one thing, even if it makes me out to be a heinous person. I don’t feel any sympathy for those dead- exact count is 36. It’s probably because I never read the whole news report myself but had someone else do it for me(gah! newspapers suck). And I never trust them either. Because like John Connolly says:
“The stories in books hate the stories contained in newspapers…Newspaper stories were as insubstantial as smoke, as long-lived as
mayflies. They did not take root but were instead like weeds that crawled along
the ground, stealing the sunlight from more deserving tales.”
And me being a connoisseur of stories and what-not, that’s pretty rational. But I digress. I think it would pull at the decaying heart-strings if I do see some survivors. Survivor’s guilt always does me in.
Imagine: A train station with a platform approximately 8 meters wide(I could always be wrong). The platform has the capacity to hold around a thousand people or so at a time. But here we have 1.5 lakh devotees crowding the junction, specifically Platform No. 3. Waiting for trains to arrive, of course. But they never do. And the poor, poor over-bridge strains to bear the weight of this pious mob. Then, a crack. Silencing everyone within a three mile radius(this is all my fabrication but it does read more interesting than those mundane, unfeeling newspapers, right?). It’s like someone shouting ‘Look, an untouchable’ in those temples of self-righteous villagers in the long-gone past. Everyone rushes here and there and where-ever not.
Lo, behold! We have a stampede on our hands.
Parents grab the kiddo’s hand, friends look their train-buddy, the old-aged seek out each other, but who is left to take along the loner? No one. They fall down, feet crush into them, little hands blind their eyes as kids crawl over the wretched fellow, they whimper, cry but who’s to hear them? Because lookie there- the railway police authorities and NCR officers are too wimp-assed to jump in and save the day. After all, they were the ones who were partly responsible fot this ‘incident’. Oh, surprised? Please don’t put all the blame on the suffering infrastructure. See, the police tried to use small force after the crack to clear out people. Flaky management. I tell you, you put people in an enclosed room and drop the bomb-word, they wouldn’t react so much. But if someone throws a rock, it all goes to shit-land. There always is a catalyst to life.
Fire needs oxygen. Rainbow requires moisture. Communication involves wires and transformers and ionosphere. Life won’t work without some on-looking bastard who lights the candle that burns down the warehouse.
Thinking of visiting here in another twelve years, or you’re happy with your river?