>Posting from Lucknow on Judgement Day

>The roads have worn a forlorn look all of today. For a city trying desperately to maintain a semblance of normalcy, trying to go about every day of the last week as if this was not the lull before the storm, trying to tell itself it will not going to react to whatever the court says on the Ayodhya dispute, it was a telltale sign of the fear it was trying in vain to hide. Today, it spilled over on to the streets – shutters were brought down on shops early in the afternoon, schools were closed peremptorily and offices shut. People huddled around their TV sets, found refuge in their homes. Life came to a standstill. All this while someone send an SMS joke about half an hour before the court was supposed to deliver its judgment – “The judgement is out,” it said, and on rolling down the cursor, “They’re going to build a pub there.”

Over the last few days, we’d all been preparing for the worst, hoping for the best. But on the eve of the judgement day, the excitement in the air was palpable. The discussions, arguments, speculation about what could and will be, about what should and won’t, which had filled up working days and after hours all of last fortnight were drawing to a close. The anticipation was hanging heavy in the air, weighing us down.

I couldn’t sleep last night. And I didn’t know why. I woke up unusually early, like one is wont to on a day when an important event of one’s life is going to take place, with something in my heart I could not put my finger to. I thought I was falling ill, but I wasn’t. I was just sick of the build up to the day. Ironically, I did not think this was an important day in my life, per se. But it was. It was an important day in the collective lives of so many of us, who would have been dragged into this with our opinions but sans our will, had things gone differently.

But the judgement and its aftermath – it’s been like an anti-climax. Yes, we’re all glad, heaving-in-relief glad, that it’s all over and we can go with our lives now. But there are no longer sides to take, guesses to hazard, peace messages to send. And while the intelligentsia can now sit and shred apart the judgement into tiny little technicalities, there’s no heat left in the discussion, no unseen dangers to fear, no shadows to imagine where they didn’t exist. It’s back to being normal, for now.

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