Monday, December 27, 2004
CHRONICLE OF A DEATH UNFORETOLD
Reached today. Or was it yesterday.
Writing from Madras and ruminating on the story that would have been had we managers obeyed our first instincts to goof off on Sunday at the Beach Resort on the East Coast Road with families before getting down to business on Monday. Have since heard that the venue has been swept clean—a vanishing trick and only our collective memories can testify its previous existence. Needless to say, the meeting has been called off with ponderous sighs of relief. Another trenchant aide-de-memoir of mortality, reflections on lives led, the Will of God and other weighty matters.
The flight was delayed by over four hours. Arrived at well past two in the morn.
The spectre of the tragedy hung heavy over the returning public. Did I detect a shade more gravity, a tad less joie de vivre ? Perhaps even a cold shudder of gratitude at having lived at all. I wonder….
Travelled with an orthopaedic surgeon from Kalpakkam, who had reportedly lost his all. Have never been a provider of solace and succour , even at my best—have always tended to be voluble and garrulous, which can trigger off all kinds of evanescing emotions. Had the will and wisdom to keep nodding and make what I hoped were sympathetic noises. He told me that some 50 worshippers in his neighbourhood church who had assembled for mass had been lifted off and drowned in a single wave. As he lamented ,I listened….
Should surely spoil what has been a passably decent year for most ( bar Bush getting reelected , two disastrous Governments—India has survived both so far ,and certain other calamitous aberrations ).
The town is rife with rumour that that the Grand Old Man of Tamil Polity is no more, those familiar predict arson, looting, and pandemonium.
The ever-reliable JS for the end-
Aankhon mei jal raha haye kyon, bujhta nahin dhuaan
Uthta to ha ghata saa , barastaa nahin dhuaan
Chulhe nahin jalaye ki basti hi jal gayee...
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