It’s just another morning in Kolkata.Kolkata-My city.The place where I was born and brought up.The city where I have memories of all the important moments of my life.But this morning the city seems different and distant.Today all the sights and sounds of the city that I am so familiar with and have been for a long time-everything seems detached from me and my life.
It’s 8 am in the morning-I am sitting with all the newspapers circling out possible job opportunities.I have been doing this for over 3 months.Searching for newspapers-applying for job interviews and being rejected at the interview.It’s almost become a routine by now.My poor grades at school and college keep haunting me.I was never a very bright student.And I wasn’t much of a hard-worker either.So my grades came as a surprise to no one.But today the job openings were the last thing on my mind.I was still reeling from the events of yesterday.
It’s 10 am and I am getting ready to go out for today’s job interview.My mother looks at me proudly as I dress.It’s funny how she never lets me feel like a loser.She always treats me as if I am the most important person in the world.She always complements me when I dress up even though being of medium height,dark complexion and being overweight I really am not a head-turner.But that’s the best thing about my mother-She never loses her temper with me.She never makes me feel bad about myself.People say she spoils me-But she doesn’t care.I look at her face and feel pangs of guilt for abusing her leniency and love.I wonder if she knew about the events of yesterday how she would feel.
It’s 2 pm-and I sit down on a rickety bench in a rice hotel for my afternoon lunch.It’s surprising-no matter where you go in Kolkata you find these hotels where they provide a lunch in less than twenty rupees.A variety of people come here-From construction workers to taxi drivers to unemployed broke young people like me to nearby office staff.Everyday I observe these people while enjoying my lunch-I listen to them chat and express their opinions on almost all topics under the sun.Most are coming here for years and know each other really well.Listening to them livens up the dullest of my days.But not today-today there’s a huge weight on my mind-that nothing can lighten.
It’s 5 pm-I am sitting in a bus and returning home.My workday is like everyone else.The only difference is they go to work everyday and I go to apply for work everyday.It was this time yesterday that it happened.I was returning home like usual.The bus was over crowded and people were in a foul mood as usual.Little did we know of the tragedy waiting around the corner.The bus was near Maidan when it happened.The bus in front was going really slow-as is the nature of all near-empty buses in Kolkata.Just as our bus was overtaking this bus-A man came out of nowhere in front of the bus.I can still see it as if it was happening just now.The sickening smash,the blood splattered on the windscreen,the tumultuous shouts.A man who left his home and family in the morning perfectly healthy-won’t be returning to them anymore.How quickly it happened-a life built bit by bit for years-destroyed in a second.A family reduced from normal to grieving in a second.And these sights,visions and thoughts have been haunting me since yesterday.There are so many people who do wrong to the world-who hurt people,take lives and commit all kinds of wrong-doing.And yet God chose this man-someone who was there only because he had to go to work for his family.
It’s 9 pm and I am roaming aimlessly in Gariahat.I didn’t feel like returning home so early and listening to Dad’s criticism of my life and pointing out my mistakes.I needed to be alone.And now it’s late.I see all around people readying to call it a night.I see people wrapping up for the day.Tomorrow will be another day to start afresh.But for tonight the war has ended temporarily and the soldiers are tired.Tonight in this rainbow city of my mine-people are just picking up the remains of the day.