Monday, October 1, 2007


Yesterday I was taking a bath when A rapped on the bathroom door.

I was sure she had come to tell me about some Client calling incessantly on my phone, or some Sunday morning debt collector. "Haahn?" I chirped, trying my best to sound enthusiastic.

"Ruma, Alyosha was stabbed last night, near College. He died."

I guess one's first reaction is the one thats the most skewed. My only explanation to the fact that I had no reaction at all. Not even a bewilderment.

Pieces of the story started filtering in, along with reactions. What the exact facts are, I don't know, and perhaps are not so important. In case you think it is, a ToI report is here. A young boy, full of life, and arguably one of the most intelligent amongst his peers, is now dead.

And I knew him. I knew him as a junior, as my roommate's boyfriend, as someone I admired, for his intelligence and athleticism and charm. I admit that a year after graduation, its not like we were even in touch. But when it comes to death, the effect it has on us doesn't necessarily depend on all this.

I feel outraged, more than anything else. That people I grew up with (for God knows that Law School was my 'growing up' at its most important) could be subject to such violence and pain. We've been in bad situations, even life threatening, maybe. Accidents, natural calamities, terrorist attacks maybe. But I thought, assumed rather, that such targetted violence was far away from the people I knew, the people I studied with, people I was related to. (I would like to say people I work with, but my bosses have police bodyguards, so I guess the possibility is not THAT remote).

But now its happened. And what's more, it happened very close to a place where I lived for 5 years. My Bangalore city, my Nagarbhavi, the BU Campus, is now violated. In a way I feel attacked. And insecure. This was a random, unnecessary and unprovoked murder. It could happen to anyone.

I don't think I'll ever write enough about the horrific images of a loved one being subject to such violence in front of one's very eyes. Or the helplessness his friends might have felt while trying to save his life, and, if this is true, the chaos and frustration which would have erupted when they were refused admission in a hospital. I shudder when I think of what they must have gone through, what his parents must have gone through, his friends, who are only now finding out about the incident.

Death is the only certainty, and I admit, it scares me. I have no qualms in admitting that I am shit scared of dying. Many people I know have died, but we've all been able to put it behind us in some way or the other - cancer (it runs in their family/he should have seen the early signs/science has really progressed now,even that stage is curable), heart attacks (she needed to control her weight/he drank too much), suicide (I am so much more in control of my life man, I would never do that).

But Murder? That too in such a random fashion? It makes you feel so vulnerable, and drives in the fact that anything can happen, any time, any where. You think the Bangalore University on a dark night is too random? Think of the times when you have been alone - walking home from a late night movie, alone in the ladies compartment after a long day at work, the times when you wanted a late night coffee at the 24hrs cafe... suddenly, our own mortality and vulnerability shines through, and leaves us more helpless than before.

I am not even going to attempt to figure out the mind of a murderer. As for the victim, what is he but another statistic? An utter waste of a life, extinguished for no reason. And in cases of random attacks, (sorry, but I'm a lawyer here) getting justice becomes that much more difficult. Having a motive makes it so much easier to prove a chain of circumstances. Which is why, I hope, some alumni in Bangalore can 'watch' the matter - at the stage of recording statements of witnesses, to represent the victim's family, or even the University, at the stage of Trial - this is a Police Case, conducted by a Public Prosecutor, and if you know anything about the system, or have at least read my earlier blog entry, we all know how exactly the system can and will be manipulated.

Whatever can, or will happen, with regard to this case, no one can really tell. But what I do know is, that this will continue to affect me for the longest time. I realize that this is a very selfish take on the whole matter, but then, I guess we all put our personal spin on everything. I'll keep my rational selfless approach for any solicited advise I have to give, thank you very much.


rhead said...
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Ruma Fernandez said...

@ Rhea:
I know, its absolutely awful. I guess he left an impact on everyone who met him, however small the duration of the interaction might have been. I'd like to say something philosophical and chirpy and 'silver lining' here, but I can't. *Hug* for you, though.

rhead said...
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