Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Curfew

I had been missing in action over the past one week because of ridiculous circumstances that led to our entire city – and some towns on the outskirts - being sentenced to house arrest. Some people say that ‘curfew’ is a more appropriate term in this context, but I don’t really care; it doesn’t matter what you call it, the effect being more or less the same. I am one of those humble souls unfortunate enough to live and, during the past week, to have been brutally detained in a house that has not yet been equipped with a connection to the Internet. That was the reason for my mysterious absence.

Am I writing this monograph because I haven’t written much else in the past several days, and because I feel that blasted need to exercise my bombastic vocabulary? Perhaps, but not really! I am writing this to beat the monotony caused by these wretched circumstances. I am also writing this as an explanation to the online community who might have missed me, or my psychobabble, for quite some time now.

Brief Highlights

Friday, September 29: Preparations for a long weekend. Spirits high.

Saturday, September 30: Long weekend begins. I dedicate this day to HBO.

Sunday, October 01: Long weekend continues. I dedicate this day to Cartoon Network.

Monday, October 02: Long weekend continues. Today marks the last day of the Dashera festivities for Hindus. Today also marks the birth date of the half-naked, bald-headed Indian sex symbol tactfully called the father of the nation. Seriously, the less I speak about that guy, the better. By the way, I dedicate this day partly to HBO and partly to Cartoon Network. Unbelievable? Whatever!

Tuesday, October 03: Long weekend over. Back to work, unaware of what is coming up!

Wednesday, October 04: All I know is that some group had planned to hold some sort of a demonstration march called Kannada Chaluvali on this date. I sincerely do not know what that means. For some reason, buses are called off on this pretext, and I could not get to office. HBO presented some nice movies today.
Evening Newsflash: Reports a hit-and run incident involving a truck and a pedestrian woman. A striking aspect of the case was that the truck was being used to transport cows; cows are one of the major causes for religious disharmony among our people. The truck was reportedly chased by the more conscientious among those who witnessed the incident, until its nervous driver lost control and crashed into yet another vehicle at some distance. Some Hindu group appeals that the next day be observed as a bandh (for those who don’t know, a bandh is a kind of protest that people are expected to observe by not bothering to get out of their houses for the said period).
My Personal Doubts: What was the real issue - was it hit-and-run, or was it that the truck was transporting cows? What problem will a bandh solve in this case? Exactly what is this group trying to prove, and to whom? What should I watch tomorrow – HBO, Cartoon Network, or both?

Thursday, October 05: Bandh in progress. No public transportation; no office; no nothing. I dedicate this day partly to HBO and partly to Cartoon Network. Why does my brain feel like a cabbage? Perhaps because that long weekend has turned out longer than expected; because I haven’t been able to attended to serious official work since Friday, and because I shall not be able to attend office tomorrow as well (tomorrow is my sister’s engagement).
Rumour During The Day: There have been some unpleasant confrontations in the city, the nature of which promise instant communal clashes between two groups of humans. Who has forgotten the communal riots of 1998? Hope they do something to contain the situation in good time.
Side Effect: My sister’s engagement is postponed. All invitees are informed. The wedding has been scheduled for December 11. I am not sure if there will be an engagement; I think they will directly get married on the scheduled date.

Friday, October 06: Yesterday’s rumour is certified. News reports several clashes and a related murder in the city during the bandh. Situation seems very delicate. The bandh continues. No public transportation; no office; no nothing. The cabbage is growing. HBO suddenly looks quite unoriginal. Cartoon Network seems like a punishment.
Evening Newsflash: Communal violence was observed at certain parts in our city as well as at some other vulnerable locations in the district. The police had been given a free hand to control the same, but they could not do a perfect job because they fell short of human resources. Curfew is imposed in the district for three days.

Saturday, October 07: Another weekend already! Curfew is in progress. Really, what difference does it make? For the past week, every day has been a Sunday, except that we have been under house arrest. Curfew only gives it a more formal structure and a pretty name. I am making conscious efforts not to forget the date by looking at the calendar once in a few hours. I hate HBO! I hate Cartoon Network! Star World has a couple of great comedy shows, but nothing else of much significance. Discovery Channel gets boring after a few hours. I badly miss work; I badly miss my friends; I badly miss my blogmates. The cabbage has grown quite heavy.

Sunday, October 08: They relaxed the curfew for a period of two hours from 9 am to 11 am. Stepping out on the streets was a great relief, even for two hours. People should have utilized this welcome break to replenish their household supplies. But then, not much of anything was available, and the market forces quickly doubled the rates of a few essentials. After the two hours, the city was a morgue again. The streets had become the shared property of the local police, the CRPF, and the RAF. Anyone else found on the streets (except the press of course) would be brutally assaulted by one or more of the three forces. The press captured a few such instances for our perusal. I don’t know what channels and programmes I watched on TV today. I know I watched something, though.
Evening Newsflash: Curfew extended to tomorrow evening!
Personal Reaction: Blasted @#!$@^#&!!

Monday, October 09: They relaxed the curfew for a period of four hours from 9 am to 1 pm. At last, independence! Fresh air! Sniffffff!!! Today people did utilize this break to replenish some of their household supplies. I suddenly realized today that it was still raining in our city. It is odd that it should rain in October, but what the heck! Sniffffffff!!! I had a wonderful haircut and a nice shave. After the four hours, the city was a morgue again. The streets had become the shared property of the local police, the CRPF, and the RAF...
Evening Newsflash: Curfew relaxed for 12 hours from 7 am to 7 pm tomorrow! Buses may still not ply, but hope to get to office on private vehicles.

Tuesday, October 10: My colleague just called. We planned to leave for office on his two-wheeler, while two more colleagues would be joining us on another bike. If I post this today, it would mean we reached office.


PS: Soon, I might compose another part of this article, which might possibly talk about my personal opinions and views on communal and religious unrests.


Keshi said...

WB Pradeep!

lots of news and lots of happenings during the long weekend. Anyways Im glad u had a break and that ur safe.


mona said...

hey pradeep,
im thinking how the situation worsen within the fractions of seconds..
i had never seen curfews in realities and really scared of it..
you take care of urself..

Ashley said...

Good grief. I didn't realize these things still happened in your part of India.

Hang in there!

Miladysa said...

Sounds terrible!

tulipspeaks said...

About the riot.. i know in detail nah? :p

Happy Deepavali in advance.



Queen Bee said...

Ha ha ha, Pradeep, so sorry about the cartoon network and HBO... but sure wish I am in your shoes for one or two days... Ha ha... Phew for you! :)

PRADEEP K. said...

Dear Keshi,
Thanx! Huggsssss!

Dear Mona,
Welcome to the Chasm. :)

Wish you never have to go through those kinds of situations in your life. Nothing good ever comes of them.

Thanx a lot, and you take care too. You are always welcome here.


Dear Ashley,
As long as fundamentalism is alive, and as long as politicians are kicking, there is no escape from such things. Wonder if we will ever be a truly secular nation.

Dear Milady,
It was indeed terrible, although it was nothing new to our country.

Dear Amu,
Thanx, darling. :)
Hugzzzz right back.

And hey, great work on the Nutritoday site! Marvellous! Keep it up.

Dear Queen Bee,
Be careful of what you wish for. By the way, I certainly wouldn't mind if you took up my place and put me on a lovely tropical island with enough resources for the rest of my life.