Monday, September 15, 2008

9/13 – Memoirs of the Day After

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9/13 Delhi - The Ground Zero

Making sense in the aftermath.

[Text by Priya Sen; picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

India Gate, September 13th, 6.20 or so in the evening. I had decided to walk from Triveni Kala Academy towards Khan Market.

India Gate was as India Gate is on a weekend evening. Walking through it made me think of other times I had been there, a few specific memories and a general sense of being in Delhi - of familiarity and ease from having been here for as long as I have.

It took 15 minutes to cross over to Shah Jahan Road.

Later I heard there were a couple of bombs that were defused, one at Regal Cinema and one at India Gate. I realized how many stories there are now. Of yesterday. Of where we were when the blasts took place. Of places we know so well. Of our lives up until the moment life changed for so many people in our city. Of the things that make our days what they are and will continue to.

Everyone will have a story because everyone needs to claim something from moments like these.

Today, Delhi feels quiet . My sister called me this morning. She was in tears. She couldn't sleep because of all this and was feeling restless because lakhs of people are going to be out on the streets for Ganapati visarjan in Bombay. For her it's about Bombay as well, the place where she has her life.

When public places become vulnerable, it means having to make decisions about things one doesn't necessarily think about. It's about everything outside of us that is essential to how we construct our lives. It's about everyday decisions, small things, immediate concerns. For a few days we will be excruciatingly aware of how we move around the city. There will be remorse, anxiety, anger and conversations. We will share a common grief, in degrees, and it will bring us together more intensely. We will blame and speculate. And then we will, thankfully, move on.

Right now though, I would rather not. I just want to be with what this city means to me. Aside from its symbols, its creation of itself, its skewed power dynamics and unbearable inequalities.

I'm glad I was in Delhi when this happened and not anywhere else.

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