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The India on the other side of my balcony just got smaller

Updated: Apr 1, 2020

In August 2014 I wrote about the India across my balcony. Today I came to know it just got smaller. The house across the street is still there but a voice in there is no more.

If it were age that snuffed out a life I would be philosophical. If it were a natural calamity I would console myself. But I don’t know what to think or how to react because a young life got snuffed out because of human error.

Some of you may have read the news report in yesterday’s papers. A young girl was trampled to death by an elephant in Rajaji National Park. Her family and she flouted every single guideline on safety. They were in the middle of a forest, alone, after dark, and they shouldn’t have been there. The girl lived in the house across my balcony. I watched grow over the last 5 years. She is gone at the tender age of 14.

We can talk about life, we can debate about right and wrong. But the one thing we can’t do is ignore the fact that a young girl (not very much older than my own daughter) lost her life.

I go back to what I have been constantly saying; as a nation we are complacent about laws. We view warnings and safety recommendations with contempt. We want to take the path of least resistance even if we end up dead! Traffic lights are jumped and safety measures bypassed. I honestly don’t know what it would take for us to collectively get out of this slumber we have put ourselves in. When I see people jumping lights or whizzing past in a dangerous manner, I am tempted to chase them down and ask them where the fire is. What is so important that there is scant regard for life and limb not just your own but of your fellow human being?

Sometimes I feel I sound like an old man nagging away at a non-issue. And then sometimes I am confronted with the death of a young life. I know the death could have been avoided; the parents had no business being in the National Park. I want to go across the road to the house and I want to shake down the father. And then I wonder if the punishment he is currently going through behoves his crime.

I wish I could have told you Moumita that I watched you grow from a young girl to a young lady. I wish I could tell you that from across the balcony I saw a different world; a world you helped create with your smile. I wish I could tell you I am devastated that you left this world so early.

I wish I could tell you I am teary eyed.

I wish…

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