Death makes us helpless. No matter how many times we experience it, it never gets easy. Much like the heartbreaks we experience. Over the last three weeks, I have heard of and lost several people in my life. Mostly unexpected, and that left me feeling helpless. I am a fixer; at least I would like to think of myself as one. So when these things happen, I immediately start thinking of what I can do to help the situation. Unfortunately in such events, there is very little one can do. Empathy and kind words are all that we have to offer.
I was never good at math. I don’t get math. It leaves me befuddled. And for as long as I can remember, I have tried to avoid it. Middle school math was a nightmare, and when that traumatic time began in my life a gentleman called “Master jee” appeared. Like all real life hero’s he had no cape, or mask nor did he have any special powers. What he did have, was the ability to make his students believe that anything is possible. In school, if you aren’t the sharpest crayon teachers don’t take too kindly to you. But, for my tutor, Master jee, it didn’t matter that I got eight points out of a total of thirty on a test. All he cared about was abhyas, which in Hindi means practice. I fondly remember my last class with him, it was right before my last math test in tenth grade. He rode his bicycle to my house early morning that day and stayed till I left to go take my test. That was Master jee. It makes me sad that I won’t get to see him ever again. He was one of those people you never imagine your life without, yet it happened. Late April this year, Master jee passed away. I felt helpless.
I was just recovering from this news when I found out a girl whom I went to high school with was in a car crash. All our collective worlds came crashing down that Saturday morning. Sonika was no more. My mind drifted to 2003, that’s when I got to know her personally. I became a prefect and was allotted the notorious class 9C. To be honest, it was one of my most fun experiences while in high school. I mean which thirteen year old isn’t naughty? She was naughty, vivacious, witty and above all a wonderful human being. Losing Sonika left me feeling helpless.
Then in quick succession, I lost a distant uncle and grandmother. I didn’t know what to do for it to hurt a little less. How does one give strength to an aunt who suddenly lost her husband, without any closure? How does one tell their cousin who’s in a different country that they just lost their grandparent? It never gets easy, no matter how many times we go through it.
The last couple of weeks have been tumultuous. These deaths have left me feeling numb and helpless. Helpless ‘cause I couldn’t do anything. I keep telling myself, maybe it was their time, and they had to go. But, Lt. Ummer Fayaz’s family could have been spared of this pain. He didn’t deserve to die in the hands of coward terrorists. The level of complacency is appalling. When the new popular government came into power, we thought he was the leader India needed to get rid of these non-state actors in the valley. How wrong were we. If anything, there seems to be an increase in the number of army personnel deaths in the last two years. There’s a popular saying in American politics, that essentially says, that you might have set ideologies and lofty liberal ideas before taking the oath of office, but once in it, Presidents often find them shifting towards political realism. That is exactly what has happened with our Prime Minister. He might want to carpet bomb, but, can’t. Because, we’re a liberal state, with the values of democracy that we must uphold. Plus, there’s always the fear of being hauled up by the ICJ. Therefore, we hide behind the politics of policy and condemn the killing of a solider, who did not deserve to be killed mercilessly. The nation watched helplessly from the comfort of their couch in an air-conditioned living room, while nodding their head in condemnation. We’ve become complacent in our helplessness and that worries me.