This is probably in bad taste. But with all that is happening around us, this word keeps coming back to me. I grew up in a non ritualistic Brahmin family, in a middle class household to two working parents in Santoshpur, South Kolkata, India. I have always been queer. Only recently have I learnt of that word. People are dying. All around me. I see it in posts, I hear it in stories. No one close has died so far. But it’s getting closer and I feel it’s only a matter of time. IMHO the government is letting this happen. Sure, there are now efforts to pool oxygen from wherever they can, but that has only begun after thousands have died, after there is international pressure, after the economy was at risk of total collapse. Like, if they don’t do this now, they won’t have a country to govern, or anyone to govern with. Even then, their politics is in full swing. On 2nd May, we had our election tally. Trinamool Congress won. This is what the Wire had to say about it, and this is what Republic had to say about it. In 2019, during the General Election, I was in Tripura for a month. BJP had won. I saw burnt shops in rural marketplaces. Apparently, that’s very common. Life went on like usual. While that is absurd in it’s own way, it sheds some light on the rural politics that goes on in Bengal, and I’m sure a lot of other states of this vast, diversified country. My cousin grew up in Raiganj, a town in North Bengal. He knows a few gangsters, calls them dada. Shootouts between gangs and rival political parties are common. It never spills over to the community. I still have family there, alive and well. To stir up communal narratives from a post poll violence, which regularly erupts, no matter which party has won — in the middle of the country going through such an inhumane crisis, is, in my opinion, the lowest a ‘democratic’ government can fall. If they continue to run this country, I’m afraid of a catastrophic future— people dying on the city streets — catastrophic. This happened only 70 years ago. In a generational lifetime. From policy failure in a turbulent global atmosphere. Just last year, Amphan devastated coasts of Bengal, leaving salt water on farmlands, driving thousands of people homeless. Kolkata did not have electricity for a week, three, in some areas. India ranks 7th on the Global Climate Index. I don’t see the governing bodies being too concerned about this. Apparently they have other more pressing issues on their plates. On the face of such odds, what gives me hope is our people. Who are fighting tooth and nail to save as many lives as they can. I say they, because I am frozen. Overwhelmed. Protecting only myself and those who are close to me. My cousin keeps saying “jodi thake nosibe, apni apni ashibe” (what is supposed to happen, will happen). For now, faith is the tether to any semblance of sanity. I tried reaching out to a therapist today. Her father is admitted in the hospital. I cannot even imagine what she must be going through. Who therapises the therapist? The country speaks of paying tribute to frontline workers. This is their tribute. A trial is due. This shall not go unnoticed. This must not be forgotten.


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