I lost my eyes a few years ago.
Not unexpectedly, the South Delhi aunties pitied me for my ‘abnormality’
And my relatives purged bitter, acidic advice.
“It’s God’s wish. He’s shielded her from the world”
“Achha hai ki voh isse duniya se bacha rahe hain.”
I stay as bewildered today as I was then.
For even without my eyes, I believe, I see more than them.
And I know more than them.
I still remember seeing the Indian flag;
Saffron for courage and sacrifice,
White for peace and purity,
Green for life and faith,
And Blue for Dharma and duty.
But do people still see three distinct colours in the flag today?
Or has it been stained the way a few saffron strands stain a pot of milk?
The flag in my memory and the flag of my dreams stands tall and proud.
It celebrates the equal proportions of all colours: Green, Saffron, and White.
I remember being able to freely walk outside
with streets being like a blank canvas to be impressioned by my footprints.
I remember the jovial faces of my female companions
Who celebrated their independence from their caged past.
Though I can’t see them anymore, I can hear them.
I can hear the terror in the voices when they speak about their ‘independence’.
I can hear the journalists incessantly questioning India’s superficial upholding of respect.
The India in my memory and the India of my dreams stand tall and proud,
But bends its knee and lowers its eyes in the name of honour and civility.
Lastly, I remember sitting in a classroom with people whom I thought to be friends.
I remember looking at faces and associating them with ‘Angads’ and ‘Seemas’,
Not Sikhs and Hindus, nor Rich and Poor.
I remember reading the verse in our assembly prayer book,
Which said that, “We’re all born by His grace and will all die at His mercy”
And that ‘Everyone was born with the right to be free’.
I cannot see now,
But the India in my memory and the India of my dreams is held strongly together
by fiercely interlocked fingers of all who reside in it.