The burn was real. The hurt was not just to the apparel. The spark from the cracker went straight to the chest, bruised the skin and left a mark – more of frustration. Returning home in an autorickshaw, Deep had this experience when a few were celebrating a wedding with unlawful crackers bursting on the crowded street.
Seething with rage, uncertain on whom to vent out, seeking a retaliation under some vague sense of rightness, he ordered the rickshaw-driver to backtrack so he could confront the offenders. The smell of burning skin, the damaged shirt, he showed and received an involuntary apology from the busy one. ”Sorry, Uncle” and all went on with their cracker bursting.
The busy city’s indifferent people, witnessing such scenes on a daily basis, permitted the luxury of this apology and then pushed him, with blaring horns, to move on.
Unlike the many, who pursued a Gandhi, a King, a Mandela, a Bolivar, the innumerable Malala’s, Deep remained disturbed but not for long as he had no deep scars of undeserved slights, ridicule or any strong big-impact agendas. He was an ordinary human, reacting naturally.”
By the time he reached his destination, his physical well-being, along with his usual good humour prevailed. His mood swing was enhanced by the “Big Bang Theory” episode, where Sheldon reluctantly tenders apology to his technical girlfriend, Amy, with all kind of verbal evasions.
Then, there was this other Deep, stung by the slight of the indifferent “Sorry”. With the right communal views and with an ever-ready bullying-hungry support, he returned to the wedding with a band of retaliators – justice-seeking, muscle-flexing goons and burnt the groom’s sherwani creating a similar hole but with deliberate pain. The small unintentional spark created a storm of disruptions-breaking the ceremony; arson followed and the few eager opportunists began looting.
Apologies were rendered, reparations extracted and trade-offs done; all sorts of intervention and future strategies outlined; the smell of burning skin continued.
And Deep wept.
Every day, till he lived, he stopped by the graveyard, praying to the gods of anger, not to tender their blessings on the poor humans.