Thrills of a road less travelled!

Tashi Wangdu, CEO of the Federation of Tibetan Cooperatives
 in India speaking to the  IBN Live about  the recent communal riots
By Tashi
Personally it all began with a dream; 
I was riding a rickshaw on a deserted road, out of nowhere a medium black bear appears and begins his chase. I broke off from the slumber with a jerk but relieved to know it was mere a dream.
That noon when a dear friend rang to inquire about possibility to postpone the anticipated trip to Bangalore, I was at Ruby junction to catch another auto, lost in chao. Then later out of nowhere the dream and inquiry strike a link and with a little inquiry piece by piece things fell in shape-Muslims killed in Myanmar; Community conflict in Assam, which goes back to 1980s; Stabbing of a Tibetan guy in Mysore; Misuse of pictures of Tibetan monks helping the earth-quake victims at Yushul (in Tibet); Conflict in Mumbai and untraced texts distributed around how Muslims in Bangalore, Chennai and Pune were planning a retaliation to Northeast people right after the Ramzan, which led Northeast people fleeing these cities in thousands.  The initial panic strike me,  googled representation of black bear. Damage! There began reaching out for everyone- Bangalore friends filled in about the panic, anxiety in the air, story of fleeing and texts of incidents; such's veracity is uncertain as the panic itself. A dear ones advised against the trip which may mean having to pass on the scholarship. Another friend argued  “an investment on a burga may be worth.”

The next day swift off by a lot of mental debates, discussions and trip at Maulik Bazaar for a burga, came away without one. I was pleasantly surprised to find a road named 'Mcleod'. Does that ring something in you? A lovely muslim lady's comforting smile alone took away half of my anxiety. The remaining of it was  dissolved during the trip-- witnessing Muslims engrossed in their own routines and calls of life as I am in mine. I guess sometimes all we need is a smile to bulldoze walls of divisions and restore our faith in each other as human being. Or may be it was the rain. All I remember is coming away from the area afloat; relishing the soft breeze on my face.

Call it mystery of thinking of creatures, we never settle on anything with an unshakable cent percent solid faith. Do we?  At least not me. Apparently I did not want to miss last opportunity(if it is) to savour the taste of Poochka  from my favourite 'Pani puri stall'. On the way to station, the dizzling drive  through Vidyasagar Setu was ecstatic. I carefully locked the beautiful and dewing view of the river noting that it could be my last. I too imagined, lived and relived the anticipation of  an incident. Even mentally prepared few lines to challenge such; at the same time doubting if such people will understand the logic of reason.

When we got off at Krishnarajapuram station, little apprehension that I had, found at loss. Everyone on the station muslims or not were with families waiting for a train to board or receive a dear one; least bothered if someone with a chinky face ( although a friend joked that I might be spared since my eyes are big for someone of our race) is present there among them or not. The United Theological College is untouched by such rumours like all other places I went. The stroll down at Bridgade road with two friends on Eid has been interesting in many sense. Our little nervousness, gigglings, and sheer presence were met by onlookers both with sugary curiosity and amazement. A muslim shopkeeper spoke back in Tibetan. We all broke into a

A  group of Tibetans at a mall were met by another curious group. The later asked the former 'Aren't you all not afraid?'  Should we be? I still do not know. But my trip at Bangalore at the peak of recent panic said: "No".

NOTE--Tashi lives and works in Kolkata. The essay is about her trip to Bangalore during the communal and ethnic rumor-mongering crisis in Bangalore and else in recent days.

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1 comment:

  1. I remember that Tashi Wangdu la, CEO reacted, confronted and communicated the situation very well through out. Excellent leadership ability!