Friday, April 01, 2011


His life revolved around his family but when their lives were strewn in to pieces, he was away on business in a foreign country. He lived an ordinary life finding meaning, purpose and beauty in the people, family amidst whom he lived, celebrated life. He had a loving wife who took care of him and his parents and their three little children. The twin boys and a girl. He derived his identity from being a father, a son and a husband.  His daughter who had just completed 5 years was the princess of the family. Everyone adored her. Only a week ago they had admitted her to a nearby pre-school. They had got her a small bicycle. She enjoyed sitting on it while they pushed the bicycle around.The extended family lived together, for each other in his parents ancient two-storied house in the old part of the town. He had gone on a three day business trip when the disaster hit his town. He was supposed to return to his family the very next day after the tragedy. He saw everything on television with complete disbelief, a dead heart and dry eyes. The catastrophe had wiped out the entire town said the news channels. And he watched and read them with urgency searching for some news that disproved the general belief.
He could not rush back home immediately. In the mean time he filled his head with the images of his family. What he saw on his return to his town was worse than what he had seen on the Television or read in the newspapers. It looked as if the game played by man and nature had gone awry. Enraged by the unfair and underhanded ways of man, nature, the dejected player had destroyed the playthings with one stroke. A town humbled by nature. He had no hopes of finding his family. He had lost his mobile. Not even a photo was with him. He didn’t know how long the images of his family would remain with him. He trembled at the thought of those images dearer to him than his own life slowly slipping from him. He felt guilty. He felt as if he betrayed those already dead by beginning to doubt his ability, capacity to hold on to them for the rest of his life. But he also despaired and shivered when he thought of ‘rest of his life’. He had survived the catastrophe by not being present at the time. But how is he going to survive the aftermath of the disaster which held nothing for him. In his heartbroken state he didn’t realise that he was more scared than he was distressed. He walked about without grieving for the loss. He had not cried. He was still in a state of shock and felt numbed by the sight of debris, wreckage which were once homes, shops, schools. Somehow he reached the part where his house was supposed to be hoping and praying for a miracle. He sighed when the last hope was finally lost. But he lingered there, aimlessly moving. When he stumbled on the broken remains of some cycle, the image of his bright girl laughing and enjoying her ride came back and hit him like a high wave. And he fell on his knees and wept in agony for having survived.    

P.S. : The image of man finding the broken cycle and breaking down is from Michael Jackson's Earthsong or Cranberries Ode to My Family or Zombie, I am not sure. But its there in one of those songs.

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