Saturday, September 29, 2007

Another Statistic

For the last few days our newspapers have been full of a local murder. Rizwan-Ur-Rehman, a 29 year-old graphic designer, was found lying dead on the railway tracks near the Dum Dum airport. V and I first heard about it when we asked about the jam at Park Circus and were told a garbled tale about some mystery about some body in some nursing home in the area. The next day we read that this man (younger than V, by a year) had been murdered, possibly because of his marriage to the daughter of a local businessman. Rizwan lived in Park Circus, hence the agitation in the area.

Details keep coming up and the Kolkata Police are not coming out of the affair particularly well. In the maze of allegations it emerges that some officials decided to step into the matter, probably at the instigation of the businessman, who was against the marriage. They threatened him and told the girl to go back home.

What kind of a world do we live in? Although this is being intensely covered, this might have been yet another statistic to me, had it not been for hearing that this guy was probably a batchmate of V's in college. These two sat in the same classroom, roamed around the same campus, led somewhat parallel lives. He doesn't remember him, but another classmate of his (who happens to be a friend of mine from my JU days) says he recalls this guy. And ever since I heard that, it doesn't feel like another statistic. It reminded me of when Swagatam was killed.

These deaths are near home, in whatever manner they occur, even if they happen to people I cannot claim to really know. For the last two months it seems to me as though people are either falling very ill, or going through troubled times or dying. I lost my great-uncle and P lost one of hers as well as a cousin and R lost her father on Sunday. R is younger than me, and running around now making arrangements, closing accounts, handling paperwork.

When I was coming home from R's yesterday evening I was very close to tears, even though I've met her father only twice and briefly, even though I'm not particularly close to her either. Suddenly Rahul and V seem so precious, I keep worrying about them. I go to see whether Rahul is breathing as he sleeps. V has gone to help Uncle Tom out with some hardware problems and it's the middle of the night and I am trying not to imagine him in trouble somewhere unable to reach me. When the media finally contacted the businessman he told them that his daughter was "fine". Fine? That is a word I use when I'm a mess but don't want to think about it. How can you be fine when your husband has been murdered? When you and he have been hounded for so long, by your own father? How do you live with this sort of thing? We all think we've got in-law issues, but this?

There was a candlelight vigil planned at St. Xaviers (Rizwan's college) this evening and I was invited. In the old days, when my time was my own, I would have gone.

I spent some time on the phone with my mother this morning and I was telling her how everything seemed to be crowding in fast and furious, and she understood. Said that there are these phases when bad news seems to keep on coming. I know, and this is not the first one I'm going through. But it just leaves me a little jittery, a little fragile, somewhat nervous. It's stupid of me. I haven't really lost anybody very dear to me. But I keep wondering when I will.


dipali said...

Sue, please don't get onto that track- it is meaningless and can corrode your life. But yes, the knowledge of the uncertainty of life is useful if it really makes us live each moment in the best way we possibly can, and be as loving, kind and generous in our day-to-day interactions as we can.
Rizwan's death and the cause for it are so gruesome and horrible- why do these things have to happen?
Natural deaths are hard enough to bear- something so malafide is really terrible.

Sue said...

Dipali -- You're right, of course. I need to let this make me behave in a more postive rather than negative way. So much more work, though!


Mona said...

i know what you mean about bad news coming in all together. this past month has been filled with deaths and illness here. but also news of births and pregnancies.
life and death, hand in hand. always.