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Editorial || Tragedy and Turnover

My city has suffered this spring.

Terabytes of sympathy has poured in from all quarters, gigabytes more spent in dissecting the course of events. Tagging and retagging ‘exclusive’ videos that lose their sheen with each view, some bullying those that chose to virtually mark Kolkatans ‘safe’ despite the overwhelming sense of palpable tragedy and insecurity.

There are those braves of heart who choose their defining moments with grace. Those are the volunteers, the ones to queue up and donate blood, the ones who desire to get to the bottom of the incident – not to indict the perpetrators but to rescue those trapped under the rubble of the fallen flyover. When Icarus loses his wings, they catch fire to burn down Pompeii like nature’s conspiracy.

And yet an act of God it was not. Or so I hear. It is all hearsay at this point. The exact number of dead, the ‘official figure’ clouded by the informal guesses – three last digits of the lottery perhaps; a dice that was rolled by Lady Fortune herself.

And yet an act of Fate it was not. Or so I hear.

I hear and I forget, tuning with the frequency of oblivion that is the radio of the modern world. I change channels like a playboy changes lovers, as frequently as a baby needs a change of clothing. It is the superpower to forget that enables us to get busy with the upcoming electoral process even as we blame the same faces for every evil under the hot sun, even those that occur in the cool shadow of a flyover.

What remains, not in newsprints or homepages but in memory, are the communications that fail to lapse. The tragedy takes a backseat to the poem it inspires in the sensitive psyche of an English major student I am fortunate enough to ‘teach’. The tragedy must remain in the background to tell the tale of the miraculous survival of that fellow who got magically wedged in the comfortable gap between a rock and a hard place. The tragedy must be transcended by the sheer turnover of those who lined up to give their blood, saving souls they might never meet, unknowingly committing acts of God for reasons aplenty.

Let us not get delusional as Vitalstatistix. The sky is not falling, simply because God is not up there.

Then who drops a flyover? []

Published: CultureCult Magazine, Issue Four: Spring 2016