(In light of the fact that people with Right Wing sensibility are sharing my work, I want to make it known that I am against the Saffron/BJP or Jihadist or Republican Weltanschauung )
I had eaten a few times in your little shop, while waiting for a friend. It smelt, like all “chai dukans”, of sickly grease and day-old “ras”. Bits from customers’ tables littered the floor and any health inspector would say it was a breeding ground for vermin. Like all “chai dukans” it was at its best in the morning, especially winters. Everything fresh, relatively cleaner and the morning cold matched the warmth of the tea. It was a feeling one looked forward to and I am sure the “kids” at Sankardev would say the same. I wonder what will happen to it now that you are no longer around.
I will not apologize for my community because these people do not represent my community. My community, as it is today, does not represent “my” community.
A community that is blind to the pain of others, that keeps its ears sealed and mouths shut, and worse, brains blunt.
A community of “Christians” that worship at the temple of Corporate Excess.
A community without a spirit or past, a community of Sunday suits and alcoholic deaths.
A community of equals, except when a woman speaks up and then she must “shutthefuckup”.
A community that does business with Fascists over the coal-mines and cement plants of Jaintia Hills.
A community where class and caste does not exist, except if you’re poor or if you suddenly take off the shades.
My community is not this mess. It is not what Khasis or Dkhars say it is in interviews, articles, blogs, books, poems. It is a community open to change and dynamic but self steering, solid in traditions but not immutable.
Bah Das, whose samosas filled stomachs, and whose very existence provoked thought. On communalism, poverty, multi-culturalism, immigration- you know, the current stuff. In your own way, you brought richness – infusing “foreign” thoughts and words into our own – as it’s always been. What will happen now that you are no longer around?