the long search

When you have nowhere to go, go back to yourself.

A 'Killing' Time

Sometimes, it is easy being in the seat of judgement. Easier when we have to do a post mortem. I am still wondering how would most of us (read media professionals) react after receiving the body of a dear one killed in a blood-chilling incident. A body bloated beyond recognition after being trapped inside the cabin of a motorboat lodged under water for more than four days. You are right, death always shook me up. But I am not sure if many of us have even visualised what would it feel like to be in the shoes of the kin of the Greyhound commandos.

I don't want to get into the philosophy part of it. Call me an escapist if you may but I am not going to buy that theory of ideologies either. Thirty-six security personnel went missing in Chitrakonda reservoir in Orissa's bordering district of Malkangiri on June 29, 2008 (Sunday) morning after their motor-launch was sunk by Left Wing Extremists. A day later, one jawan was found with his hands tied behind his back and shot from a close range. The rest - slowly but surely - are being retrieved from inside the vessel entangled in dead tree branches near the reservoir bed. Decomposed beyond recognition, their bodies had little to give away their identities. Sometimes, it is hard to believe that these were the men who hunted down the Naxals. The elite Greyhound force of Andhra Pradesh. And what gory end! They surely did not deserve this. The Red Radicals would not agree, of course. Then again, it is back to the theory of ideologies.

Still engaged in a debate of strategic blunders and tactical errors - that's a favourite pastime of the media - on part of the security personnel, I am currently battling a strange feeling. Would I prefer - if asked to - a death so ghastly and so nondescript? Given an option, would any of us swap positions with the Greyhound men? Or even the Naxals? I know what the answers would be - I am doing my job and doing it fine. They were doing theirs.

I am still wondering what would have crossed the minds of these securitymen when faced with imminet death. Does a high level of dedication and supreme motivation for what one believes in - his/her duty and mission in life - put out the fear of such an end? Or does it merely become a personal and lonely fight to remain alive? Is the dividing line very blurred? I have no answers yet.

Reminds me of a few words of Jimmy Santiago Baca:
No matter how serene things may be in my life, how well things are going, my body and soul are two cliff peaks from which a dream of who I can befalls, and I must learn to fly again each day, or die. Death draws respect and fear from the living. Death offers no false starts. It is not a referee with a pop-gun at the starting of a hundred yard dash. I do not live to retrieve or multiply what my father lost or gained. I continually find myself in the ruins of new beginnings, uncoiling the rope of my life to descend ever deeper into unknown abysses, tying my heart into a knot round a tree or boulder, to insure I have something that will hold me, that will not let me fall. My heart has many thorn-studded slits of flame springing from the red candle jars. My dreams flicker and twist on the altar of this earth, light wrestling with darkness, light radiating into darkness, to widen my day blue, and all that is wax melts in the flame - I can see treetops !

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If we admit that human life can be ruled by reason, then all possibility of life is destroyed