Thursday, December 30, 2004

A morbid number

Bombay has an air of normalcy about it. The papers have articles describing what would happen if a Tsunami struck the city, how many people would die. It's all about numbers in the aftermath of any disaster. As the figure rises, higher and higher and higher, I begin to look at it purely as a number. And the higher it goes, the more its value. Then I have to pull myself back and go, "Waitasec, we're talking people here." Then the focus shifts to how the earthquake changed the map of the earth, how it forced the earth to lag for a fraction of a second, how far its effect was felt (Two died in South Africa).

Through it all, I wonder what I can do. I can go there. I want to go to Chennai. But what will I do there? I just booked a ticket for tomorrow evening and will be back on Tuesday morning. Will three days be enough? Where will I, wait, that's silly....there are too many people who don't know where they'll be staying. So it's okay, I guess.

They need many hands, I tell myself. The more, the better. There will be no epidemic. We get people back to some semblance of normality soon. I tell myself, but cannot believe it. Why? Is it because of the scale of the damage done? Do my own words ring hollow because I want to see the destruction myself? Is it an extension of the numbers that fascinate me? Or is it something I want to for others, do for myself? Finding myself through others?

I'm going anyway. I'll leave the thinking for later.

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