Monday, October 31, 2005

That thin line between life and death - hidden behind numbers!

I usually read every line there is in a news paper. But I deliberately avoid reading personal stories concerning the victims of mishaps. It makes me very uneasy. I stick to the number of victims. Since there was a front page photo on Indian Express, I happened to read the story of one sixteen year old Rahul who had just cremated his parents who died in the Delhi blasts. The whole tragedy looks completely different if I put myself in his situation. Sitting somewhere personally untouched by the tragedy, my response to the blasts were on the lines of how the culprits should be brought to book, how India's internal security should be strengthened etc. But all this will sound utterly meaningless to Rahul ofcourse. The only thing that might make sense (or make no sense) to him is "Why should this happen to me?". Imagine being the son of an upper middle class family, busy with school and sports and looking forward to a challenging future ahead and one fine day your parents who went for Deepavali shopping are brought home charred beyond recognition. It could easily have been me. God forbid. I'm not going to read the stories of other victims. I recall my blog just after the London Bombings. There I was blaming the British for their complicity in Iraq war and subletly suggesting, they deserved it! How many Rahuls were there in London that day? With 50,000 lives (oh my God, 50,000 people in flesh and blood) lost in the Kashmir Earthquake, we were haggling on whether our soldiers jumped over the LOC to give tools or not and how Indian helicopters should go flying without pilots. Where are we heading? There were more numbers last week. 26,000 Iraqis killed since the invasion according to US army (probably much more) and its own casualty touched 2000. 60 lifes lost due to rain in Tamil nadu. That was 1000 sometime back in Maharashtra. Not to forget the chest-thumbing-forwarded emails I received, on how Mumbaikars (having lost a 1000 lives to rain, blime! what?!) helped each other unlike the folks in New Orleans. Then there was yet another Train crash, this time in Andhra. We propably might have lost a country's worth of population on Train crashes I guess. And then I unnecesarily read the news item (in Telegraph, don't know how correct this story is) on how the villagers of Gollapalli had themselves breached a tank so that it doesn't flood their village. Little did they imagine having just let the waters to wash away a bridge (on the other side of the tank from the village), the train was supposed to cross a few hours later. The story also quoted some innocent (or illiterate) looking villagers. 150 lives. Now why did I read this story?

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