Think about it. The mob!
If one is willing, it is not tough to empathise with this stark reality of our times. A reality so real that it has made us numb! A reality that seems to have eclipsed our basic ability to reason and think!
Think that you are driving leisurely along a rather lonely stretch of road. It is that part of the day when the sun has officially descended, announcing the end of the day, but the red, yellow and orange streaks in the deep blue sky are refusing to fade away.
All alone, you are enjoying an old country classic being aired on your local radio station. The front passenger’s seat is occupied by a two feet tall stuffed doll that your daughter had been wanting for long. That bright smile on your face is a smile of anticipation as you wonder who will get the first kiss – you or the doll. You are hoping that it is you. But you also fear that the doll may win.
All of a sudden a young boy rushes across the road, chasing a football. He is almost the same age as your daughter. You immediately realise that avoiding a hit is almost impossible. All you can do is minimising the impact. You apply the brakes with all your might, literally standing on the brake pedal. The car screeches to a halt. Thankfully you are a careful slow driver. Yet, by the time the car stops, the boy gets hit and falls on the road.
You rush out of the car to attend the boy. The child has sustained mild injuries. The boy is in a state of shock. A menacing crowd has started to gather around – literally emerging from nowhere! There is a sense of panic in the air. Within minutes the mother of the boy comes rushing in. She starts wailing as she hugs her child tight. The shocked look on the boy’s face is fast getting replaced with a smirk of surprise.
By this time you have also regained your calm. Seeing the mother cry, you suggest taking the boy to the hospital for first aid and ensuring that there are no internal injuries. All of a sudden the crowd shifts its focus on you, hurling a volley of verbal abuses. You peep into some of those angry eyes and realise that some of them are aware that it was not your fault. But that does not seem to matter anymore as the intensity of abuse is on the rise. As the decibel goes up, abuses are getting more pointed and nasty. The question ‘whose fault was it?’ seems to be fast losing its relevance. Why, you do not know!
The tone and tenor of the accusations is changing at a rapid pace, now almost sounding like a war cry. The volley of abuses have transformed into a full blown verbal assault. Suddenly a young man walks towards you, menacingly. Much before you could react, a tight slap lands on your face. This triggers a barrage of blows and kicks. You are trying to shield your face. You are extremely scared. Your fear multiplies manifold when you suddenly realise that you are being ‘lynched’ by a mob. It is not a very hard thing to visualise because you have seen similar incidents many a times on the television and mobile phone screens. You have seen how helpless victims plead for mercy before an unrelenting crowd that has turned deaf. Probably the crowd too has witnessed those visuals as they are playing their part well. You are shit scared about your life now!
In spite of knowing very well that a crowd cannot think or act logically, your hands fold, begging for mercy. You are no longer scared of the blows landing on your face. You know that a face scare is much better than being lynched to death. You are no longer questioning their anger. You are willing to take all the blame and compensate for it in whichever way the mob wants. But the mob is unwilling to listen. Their shrill war cries are so overwhelming that even the mother of the injured boy has stopped crying. She now looks shocked and scared, having almost forgotten about the injuries of her child. The injured child is also gazing at the crowd, in fear and despair. But occasionally he also glances towards the other side of the road, where his football is waiting to be picked up.
Someone pushes you from behind and you fall flat on the road. You have never felt this helpless and weak in your entire life. Not even then when you lost your mother as a teenager. Not even then when you were about to lose your child to a deadly pneumonia attack. Your senses are failing you. The impacts of the blows and kicks have stopped giving you pain. At this point of time the only thing you want is to go back in time, or escape to a future where you are still alive, no matter in what shape. You do not want to argue. You do not want to blame. In fact you are willing to shoulder every damn burden of blame. You are willing to own every bloody accident that took place on this godforsaken road. You are willing to torch you own car. You are willing to slap or stab yourself to be with the crowd. You are willing to punish yourself for your very being. Your transformation into a minority is now almost complete as you try to stand up with folded hands, begging for mercy!
No matter what is the colour of your undergarments, as of now you are at the receiving end. At this moment of time you could a Hindu or a Muslim or a Christian or a Sikh or a Dalit or an Adivasi or a gay or a lesbian or a transgender… wait! But does than matter anymore? Isn’t the only thing that is real is that you are a victim trapped in a hate zone. At this moment of time, you are a minority, overpowered by a majority. You are in no state to comprehend the social structures and thought processes that empower these mobs. You are unable to figure out your own relationship with such mobs. You are unable to fathom your contribution to such hate, no matter how small that contribution is! But a fleeting thought does pass you mind – that our act of omissions are as dangerous as the acts of commission. That the time to look sideways had perhaps long gone by!
An agonizing kick lands between your legs. Your brain stops processing your thoughts. You mind has gone numb. You are no longer you, but a prey of the crowd blinded by hate! You are merely a target! As a victim of this cultivated lawlessness, you mind gathers enough courage to wonder if the time is ripe to utter – Hey Ram!