26/11. We were livid, we were furious. Absolute indignation. Candle light vigils. Signature campaigns. “How can they have come from the seas and burnt our Taj Mahal Hotel, the pride of Mumbai? What were our security forces doing? Do you know my poor aunt hid under her hotel bed all night? How dare a handful of Lashkar terrorists hold our entire city to ransom…our Leopold Cafe shot at, CST attacked, Cama Hospital and Chowpatty Beach are all under fire - how can we have let this happen? We need to do something about this. The time has come. India must wake up. We must write to the Home Minister, the Chief Minster, the Prime Minister, I know someone who knows Soniaji...this is a serious matter.”
We gnashed, we snarled, we growled, we spit fire, we spit brimstone. We sprayed our verbal bullets like Kasab had shot his real ones – all aimed at Pakistan, aimed at Parliament, aimed at politicians, aimed everywhere, with no specific plan. We signed petitions, waxed pedantic, spewed proverbs, quoted prophets, climbed on pedestals, hit at imaginary punching bags...real anger followed by theoretical action. And then, amnesia.
26/11 remained a scar with no solution. The Taj was rebuilt, we cleansed our conscience and Mr Kasab settled into a kebab meal in jail.Then came the Amboli Murders. Two young men died defending women. Again, we were livid, we were furious, pissed off that ‘have-nots’ so brazenly attacked the ‘haves’ in broad daylight. We were horrified at the injustice of this incident. Horrified at the violence. Horrified at the inability of onlookers to help. Horrified at the inefficiency of the police. Horrified at the intertia of the judicial system. Enough is enough, we said. Something has to be done. Are we going to allow hooligans to leer at women? Are we going to let their defender’s deaths go in vain? We must band together. The time has come.
We raved, we ranted. And then we regained our composure and forgot. While the Keenans still wait. And then the Delhi bus gang rape. Our collective cup of angst and anger has run over. I have never seen us so collectively mortified. So nationally outraged.
The fiery, the fence-sitters, the philistines, the philosophers, the feminists, the Facebookers as one are up in arms. Everyone has a view about the accused- castrate them, chemically or manually, hang them, turn them loose and hand them over to us, lynch them publicly like in Saudia Arabia.
Poems, proverbs, posts, petitions, pedestals, pledges, pontifications, protests. Paulo Coelho quotes Let’s vent, let’s be more vigilant, let’s be vigilante. Helpless rage. While the authorities wait for the furore to fade.
For the implosions to lose their sizzle. Here’s what I’m thinking - when will we, the benign, turn truly belligerent. What is our limit? Or will our anger, as always, subside?
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahuldacunha62 @gmail.com
The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.