of bleakness

The bathroom smelled of clean fresh bubblegum.
I smiled, that was odd. But it was a weak smile, even fainter in my mind than on my face.

I think it’s the bleakness that’s refusing to leaving me. It was the bleakness that first assailed me when “26/11” began ; the one thing I have felt all through.

It is the bleakness of vengeance. Retribution has no home, no loyalty, rarely mortality. It goes on endlessly, finding new minds to sway, new people to harbour it. It goes on, self sustained, perpetuating itself with violence and madness. Where can it end? I can’t see that horizon. I can’t imagine a world where people don’t demand blood, where one death does not lead to the desire for another ten. I see the wheel spinning tirelessly, and it feels hopeless.

It is the bleakness of futility. When I saw young men, very young men, coldly & passionately killing random people, hopelessness took root. They might have been brainwashed, but how much can that term explain away? They might have suffered the horrors of violence when they were younger, but how deeply they believe the same violence will give them peace. They might believe they are part of a cause, something much bigger than their lives, but they cannot know what end that cause is heading toward. For, what cause can flourish on cruelty and violence.

It is the bleakness of opportunism. The time is ripe for people everywhere to make their voices heard. The hawkish voices are the loudest. The warmongering ones are the most dramatic. The sane are called weak, the fanatical hailed as patriotic. Different sides of the same story somehow have no common ground, the proponents single minded in their agendas. There is only good or bad, godly or ungodly, patriots or traitors, black or white. Maybe there is nothing new in this, it was to be expected, this is how they are and always have been. But if that is supposed to mollify me, it doesn’t. It scares me.

It is the bleakness of no end in sight. I try to take a slightly broader perspective of things, a so-called world view, however meagrely informed. It offers no solace. Around the world, twisted interpretations of religion and ideology are driving men to bloodshed. There is nothing in sight that leads me to believe that path will be abandoned. Death will merely bring martyrs and perverse inspiration.

It is the bleakness of naiveté- one’s belief that the basic goodness of humanity will eventually and always come through, and be strong and true and beautiful. In these times, it seems foolish, simplistic, naïve. But I can’t not cling on to it. Even though everything around me says that the way ahead is not simply through emotion and goodness and beauty, but rationale and strategy and policy, I must cling on to it.

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