January 09, 2005


The bai walked in today with a warning: “Don’t eat fish!”
“What??” I asked.
“That storm that came some days ago? Did you notice that so many men died, but no fish died? The fish are eating the dead men! If you eat the fish, then you are also eating the dead men! Don’t eat fish!” she explained.

While sweeping the floor, she stopped midway. “In my village, a girl has come from the storm area. Poor thing has only one tattered dress and is not even married. All the villagers are giving her something or the other. She says she came from the storm area.”

I opened my mouth to give her a million reasons why the fish in the Arabian Sea could hardly have fed on people who died hundreds of kilometres away, and a woman from Chennai would not travel to a village on the outskirts of Pune to seek help from those who need it almost as badly. Somehow, I did not see the point in getting into a debate.

Am curious to know where my countrymen and women are getting tsunami-related information. Are there myths being written in villages while you and I catch up with the latest on-site pictures online? But then, aren’t there myths being written through those latest pictures, which turn out to be fake the next day?

I opened the newspaper to see the two little girls selling lemonade to raise money for tsunami victims. An aww-inspiring gesture that sums up another set of common-man’s reaction to the tragedy. The common man who sees the real picture through the fractured prism of the Occident. And jumps in to rescue the world in its own way. And another myth is born.

(I know. This post does not make sense to me either.)

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