Of Cabbages and Kings

January 22, 2007

Sticks and Stones

Filed under: Across the Universe, Personal — Chinmayi @ 4:10 pm

People are rioting in Bangalore. Burning autorickshaws and buses. Stoning shops. Ransacking houses. Angry people breaking stuff and rushing around acting fierce.

The police walked in swinging lathis at people. A policeman got stabbed so they opened fire and killed a child. It’s pretty awful, all of it.

I’m fortunate enough to be so insulated that for me, the riots are just unusually empty streets, shuttered shops, phone calls to check that everyone’s all right, and video clips of burning vehicles that keep flashing on television. A colleague drove through shattered glass, destroyed shops and flaming cars. Homes down the  street from my friend’s house were robbed and stoned. And I shudder to imagine how terrifying it must be for people without strong gates to hide behind and without vehicles to bear them away from the violence.

The  odd thing is that after a night of destruction, all was normal in the morning. We were all at work, as always, as was everybody else in Bangalore. At dusk, the rioters reasserted themselves and everyone had to rush home, abandoning jazz quartets and movies, to observe the curfew – pay homage to the violence.

I find the rioting a little hard to believe. Bangalore was such a peaceful city. It seems still such a tolerant, happy, relaxed place. Where’s all this coming from?

(The rioting’s some Hindu versus Muslim quarrel, though it’s unclear why exactly they’re quarreling)

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