Cut back to the winter of 1992-93...
It was a glorious winter.. i remember.. I was in fifth grade.. I had just started doing well in academics.. and had stood first in term ending exams... The winter of 92 was a time to celebrate... Time to enjoy.. And we had an extended vacation.. a pretty long one too..
I dunno why.. Id heard Dad discussing with mom about some babri masjid being demolished ...
Is it related to Babar dad?? I asked him.. yes.. he said.. and i know he must have felt happy at my innocence at that time.. and happy i was too.. I know Babar very well.. Ive topped in History too!!!!
I remember watching on the tv , thousands of people wearing saffron coloured clothes marching together.. They called themselves "kar sevaks".. they were hindus.. Oh even im a hindu.. But why are they demolishing a mosque?? Maybe its a dilapidated structure anyways.. thats why they are bringing them down so that they can rebuilt it... duh!! i Better watch a football game...
The next few days.. it was all over the newspapers.. mosque demolished.. riots have broken out in all parts of the country.. who cares?? I better go down and take the bat early, or i will get to bat last..
When the riots started in Mumbai.. oops.. Bombay.. My dad used to be at home..
I used to hear from him.. about how hindus were butchering the muslims and vice-versa.. This was all new to me.. at least after the Rajiv Gandhi assasination which occurred a couple of yrs back, just a few days before my birthday..
I was warned by mom not to venture out of the colony gate after 6... 6 pm was the time, when curfew used to begin in our area and the neighbouring squatters colony, which had a muslim population.. Id heard from the bigger guys that they had burned down a hindu a few days ago..
The colony gates used to shut and police vehicles used to patrol the entire area throughout the night..
Well anyways my life was within the protected premises of my society..
It was a fortress.. a fortress of ignorance that id built around myself..
I dont care a damn about Hindus or muslims!! I used to think.. as long as i get to enjoy my vacation-- correction--- an extended vacation, to the fullest!!
The entire day we used to play.. sometimes cricket, sometimes football.. or any other game we wud invent.. totally oblivious to the massacre that raged outside..
We were 10 year old ignorant innocent kids.. We were no Hindu.. or no Muslim..
Our only religion was our childhood.. which demanded us to be ignorant, and we were doing exactly the same thing..
My vacation lasted for about 2 months... 2003 began with the same incidences..
But this was something new.. I read in the newspaper about the entire chawls being burnt to ashes.. innocent kids like me, also shot.. burned and butchered.. i shuddered at the thought of me being in that situation.. come march and the new saga of terror in the face of serial bomb blasts had started.. I read about people's intestines being scattered at the place of the blasts..The bloodshed continued..
But for me, the trauma was momentary.. I used to immerse myself into my ignorance and moved on with life..
1993 was a long year for me..
It was a year when i saw AC Milan lose the european cup (the now champions league) to Olympique de Marseille..
It was a year when Alan Prost had piped Ayrton Senna for the F1 championship..
It was a year when Shawn Michaels had won the WWF world championship..
and it was a yr, when i stood first in the school for the first time..
In 1993, I was a 10 yr old.. Me, and the other 10 year olds of my class were raging their own battles.. A battles within themselves..
A 10 yr old had a lot many better things to do, than to care about the bloodshed..