No more oceans or rivers, which can help
only so much. Forget the cliffs with the
views or the tops of mountains and ‘off
like a bird.’ They can mean just something when
we need everything, distracting with their
beauty when we need hard ugliness to
bloom, the lily dated, inefficient.
People found time and mental courage to yell slogans through wafer-thin masks, take a dip in the holy Ganges because this festival comes only once in twelve years- never mind that the river was there for centuries- and is still flowing without realizing that it is part of a festival that peaks once in twelve years- and what is a twelve-year cycle in the life of a river that flows through three countries and melds into an ocean. Of course, what is a country for a river? Just another pebble to flow over.
While people were converging at election rallies and river banks, I was rubbing my hands and pretending it was a waiting game. And then, suddenly, we were having the worst humanitarian crisis since the Bengal Famine of 1943. Which was the worst humanitarian crisis in the subcontinent since the Great Bengal Famine of 1770. To call a famine great is, I suppose just a way to distinguish between two famines in the same location. While a famine is not an epidemic, it can lead to one or be the cause of one. And like an epidemic, it is also often, man-made, the result of unimaginative governing actions and a general lack of direction and compassion. Sounds a lot like the situation that we are in right now.