I hope I can call you “God” and none of my brothers or sisters would get hurt by this name of yours. Thanks to the British, who brought this beautiful language to India. I am even more grateful to the parliament of 1965, which declared English as another official language in the country. Because of them, I don’t have to address you as “Allah,” which might offend my Hindu brothers or “Ram,” which might bother my Muslim brothers. Shakespeare had said, “what’s there in the name?” Well, if he had been alive today, he would have understood that there is everything in the name! Am I not right?
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I am a Journalist but I won’t reveal my name
You know, I wake up every day, sip my morning coffee, pick up the newspaper and as I read it, I bet it becomes difficult for me to get a single sip from the cup move smoothly through my throat.
I face it every day. Sometimes, I avoid reading the paper so that I don’t have to deal with this feeling anymore. Sometimes, I binge watch the series “Friends” to ignore the world. But, as you know, I am a journalist, and I can’t escape from the news.
I also have this problem of “overthinking” about everything I read or hear. My day starts with the thought of bloodshed and it kind of ends with the dreams of it. It has now become a routine, and as they say, one has to make a deal with routine anyways, so have I.
“I am afraid,” My mother said
I live away from home like many of my age. Yesterday, I got a call from my mother, saying, “I am afraid.” I asked her with a shaking voice, “Why?” You know when I get anxious or afraid of anything, I call my mother and let her know about my fears. But this was the first time, I was on the receiving end and hearing exactly the same words with the same trembling voice from my mother.
Here, we were! I guess this is what we call, “growing up.” I somehow gathered courage and calmed her over the phone and tried to know what had gone wrong. “They shot a man in front of my eyes,” my mother said. I swear to you, I have never in my life felt so terrified and helpless living away from my mother. All I wanted to do was to go and give her a tight hug and ask her if she was alright. After a minute of silent crying to myself, all I said, “Muma, calm down. It is the reality of the world.” I felt like I was her mother for a moment-hiding my tears and calming her down.
They could have shot my mother!
They could have shot my mother! The man they shot must have been someone’s father, someone’s husband, someone’s son or someone’s brother. And there are many who die in this big chaos we call our “country.” But, all I was thinking about at that moment was “they could have shot my mother.” My mother had told me that they were chanting a form of your name, that I won’t specify. Because I know Shakespeare was wrong. I am afraid. There is everything in the name.
Is the time of Partition back?
I am a 24-year-old, who was born and brought up to believe that you are listening. My parents taught me that no religion is greater than humanity. Dear God, is this humanity? With a heavy heart, I write to you to share my fears. I don’t expect anything from you as you haven’t made this country what it is right now.
We made it. The other day, I was reading Urvashi Butalia’s “The other side of silence.” With the reading of each word, I was thinking to myself, “I am so lucky to not be born at the time of partition.” Well, am I really lucky? Is the situation any different? I don’t know. I can’t say but to pass each moment of my life with the fear of staying away from my family, my friends, my home is none the less different.
Many of my friends are going through the same. I just wish, we understand someday that we all are not born as “Khan” or “Sharma.” And, the friend of yours was right. There is nothing in the name as we are humans first!
A heartbroken soul
(I still won’t tell my name!)