Ramen was surprised to see all the media hullabaloo. He asked his roommate the reasons for all the chaos on the road.
“Peace run,” replied Saranga, Ramen’s roommate
“Peace run? Now, what is that?”
“Well…it…is…peace run dude!”
“Okay, I understand. But why? Why is this peace run for?”
“Oh! Don’t you know about the gruesome killing by the terrorists two years back, where hundreds of people died in the worst terrorist attack that the state has ever faced? This run is a remembrance for those departed souls. It is a humble way to pay tributes to those souls resting in peace in their heavenly abode.”
“Oh! I see…”
“And you know what, the winner would be handsomely rewarded with some cash.”
“This is fun. Wish I too could have joined…! Only if I didn’t have this night shift yesterday. Hey did you not notice the hoardings and the advertisements about the run today? The advertisements had been out since a long time.”
“Well, I did see those. I took it is some another media fuss, but never expected such a chaos on the streets today.”
“Well, you sound little sarcastic!”
“Do I? Well I am sorry if I did. I have immense respect for those departed souls and their families who are suffering due to the inhuman acts of some senseless terrorists. But such an idea of peace run doesn’t attract me. No it doesn’t.”
“Why? This day, two years ago a great mayhem almost paralysed the state and we have shown great character to stand on our feet again and start moving.”
“Is it so?”
“You are again sarcastic?”
“Well, tell me do you know about the sleepy village of Nalbari district, where a dozen peace-loving villagers were gunned down by some unidentified gunmen on the festive night of uruka? The villagers don’t celebrate uruka or burn mejis even today. The memoirs of that horrifying night still haunt their sleep.”
“So how do you relate this peace run and that particular incident?”
“You used the term worst terrorist attack, why? Is it just because the blasts were in this city and media covered it extensively? Can peace ever prevail in the lives of those alive and are a victims of the attacks? Can the horrors, faced by those who are still alive, be fully removed from their lives?”
“Well…may be not!”
“Tell me, what was media doing the remaining 364 days?”
“Oh come on man, media is simply a channel of expression. They cannot possibly organise rallies and run on every single day. We do not celebrate our birthdays every day, or do we? Similarly we simply do not remember our dead ones every day, but remember them only on the prescribed day of their death.”
“Hmmm! But, we do remember our closed ones who are dead 24*7, it is just that we organise their shradh on a particular day in a year. My father is dead and solace of any amount can’t lessen my grief. It is good that media has taken a step to voice strongly against terrorism. If they create awareness exemplifying one incident, then the other similar incidents should also be given due importance. The victims of other incidents should also be remembered. And they should not term one incident as worst hit and simply ignore the others. Is it so that the serial blasts of the city have a high MNC value than the incident that occurred in the remote Nalbari village? Why should we scratch a healing wound to make it bleed again?”
“Chill dude. Cool down. You are getting sentimental.”
“Yes I am. So do you want to say that the ones running this peace run have no sentiments?”
“No, I didn’t say that.”
“Today is indeed a sad day. On this day, two years ago we lost many lives. If the day is grief stricken then how can be the morning be good? How can we wish someone with a good morning wish? How can we smile? How can the entertainment zones like the movie theatres, shopping malls remain open? Why are the runners smiling and enjoying the run and simply making it look like a fun run?”
“You are wrong dude. Is it wrong to smile when you are sad? Cool down Ramen.”
“Will the money generated from this run be distributed to the victims’ families? The winner who will be cash rewarded, will he even think for once for the victims? Is it not so that someone’s death has brought good fortune to some other?”
“Ramen…cool brother. Forget it brother. It is a sad day today and we should mourn it. We shouldn’t criticize a noble gesture. At least the media has taken a step of their own to pay homage. They have a vision, taken an initiative.”
“Saranga can you tell me one thing. How many media personnel have lost their family members in orchestrated terrorist attacks? Do they truly understand the pain of the ones who have actually lost someone from the family?”
“Err…I…don’t have an answer to it. May be some has lost, some has not. Well, you are speaking in such a way as if you have lost someone and you understand the pain?”
(There was pause of some seconds. Ramen looked up to the sky and with a self-content smile, he stared at Sarnga.
“Saranga…on the fateful uruka night, my father and sister were gunned down mercilessly. Two years ago, in this very city, my mother, brother and his three-month pregnant wife, were turned to ashes. The blast at the busy market square here took them away, far away from me.”
Saranga stood still. Tears rolled down through his cheek. Ramen’s smiling wet eyes were narrating more of his untold catastrophe.
The silence was finally broken by random scream from the racing crowd.
“Pran, come here man. Look at her! Awh man! She is so very hot! What curves and body contours. This race is fun man, real man. At least, I got to see some real hot bombshells. No regrets of losing the prize money. Wish, could have enjoyed her for a night!”
Ramen stared into Saranga’s eyes, which were finding a cover to hide behind!
(The story is based on true facts about the October 30, 2008, serial blasts and the killing of innocent villagers of Kekerikuchi village in Nalbari district, on the 13th of January, 1998)