Saturday, November 05, 2005

Swingin' retrospection - 1

The lunch break was on, and as usual we were sitting outside the classroom and jabbering over lunch. Suddenly out of the blue, there was this sound of an earth-shattering cracker. It was March, and Diwali was over a long time ago. We dismissed it as some rich guy (South Bombay oozes them) celebrating in inimitable style, and went about our usual basketball game post-lunch.

Lunch over, we returned for our usual Friday afternoon English class with Ms. Shukla. As always, we were restless (or should I say over-exuberant), especially with the weekend coming up. For all our boisterousness, Ms. Shukla ended up making the entire class kneel and put our hands up in the air - a painful business.

And then the earth shook, the windows shattered, we hit the floor and took 'shelter' under our desks. We were dazed for a few minutes....Ms. Shukla was in tears, pandemonium prevailed! Uncle Louie dismissed it as a gas cylinder burst nearby, but the entire city was on edge - you could feel it cut as we walked back home.

I think of three of Ac's colleagues who were at the Bank of Oman at 2pm that Friday afternoon, off and on. S-Uncle was a very close friend of Ac's - full of fun, always cracking jokes. He was the first Uncle I 'made friends with' during the initial days in Prabhadevi/Ocean Gold. I think of the other folks who perished at Dalal Street, Worli, Sea Rock, Plaza.....

Some day (in my lifetime) I hope I see justice.....

PS: I finally managed to get my hands on Suketu Mehta's Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found the other day, and have been in the process of slowly biting off chunks and chewing on them. It got me thinking of days gone by in Bombay, and inspired this post. All in all, it's one amazing book. I can actually hear Bal Thackeray talk through the words in the lines from Suketu Mehta's interview with him - speaks volumes about the author (and the subject too!).

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