Knock..knock, knock…is the persistent drumming on my door early Sunday morning. Annoyed to be dragged from my morning cup of tea, I storm to my door and peek through the peep hole, intent on sounding off the intruder who has come unannounced. The sight is distorted. What I see is unexpected. It is not a neighbour asking for sugar. It is a familiar face…but, why am I alarmed? I’ve had a hard week already. It is a moment when the merry chirping of birds outside my kitchen window, drop dead silent, suddenly. Instinct firing a decision to make: Fight or Flight.
I’m the fight person, so I open the door . She enters, a familiar greeting of mutual respect, sits down, I go back to my tea. We wait, in silence. There are no words needed for kindred spirits. Her fingers twitch as she reaches for the tea. I help. My visitor finally looks me straight in the eye. “Why have you been silent?’ She asks me. `I have been listening to your anguish, and seeing the distorted threads of your dreams. You, who see so clearly, why are you silent? Comforting yourself with monotony, and writing empty pages. Why are you silent, child?” In reflex, I almost turn to snap. But my tongue is alien in my mouth. The warm tea doing nothing to beat life into it.
She torments, “Your anger, your rage, it never fails to make me smile, because you don’t give up. I had to come personally to see you. Yes, on your Sunday, to make you understand that it has to come to pass. For man’s greed and his abandonment of his spiritual greatness will exert the toll from the innocent. On the soil you love so much. I cannot promise you that your Goa is safe, not any more. It has come to pass. And, it is not your fault. This helplessness you feel. I have come to tell you that the brave will have to stand up, stand guard, for it is who you are, because you see clearly.” I’ve seen ghosts before. This was a message for us.
NOT ANOTHER SUNDAY SERMON
Much has changed of my beloved Goa. And in retaliation, so have I. Like a child fighting with her mother, the very evils we wrote of, lashed about, spoken freely in foresight have stolen the sleep from our eyes now. We have laid little children and our parents into their early graves because of rising crime and bad health. We have abused our young women into frightening adulthood, because the systems that be don’t protect the innocent. We have turned our streets into killer neighbourhoods, because rug up roads and RTO sign off our souls with bribed licenses. We have dug up our forests into death traps, taking over wildlife spaces to accommodate more construction. Corruption like sores waiting to break open and swallow us alive. The people we loved and respected, morphed into an existence of selfishness, greed. Friendships and loyalty measured by how many parties you attend, and who you suck up to. Celebrating mediocrity of thought, art and life as a norm. Jostling for print foot space to be noticed in newspapers, insecure about who gets the best seat at the front row, who drives the best wheels in town, and how much he/she paid for it. Which technology you flash to work, your children to school. Yes, I have been silent. Watching, fretting, waiting…let them all go to hell.
ACTIVISM OF THE SPIRIT LEADS THE REVOLUTION
But Goa and her aware citizens, those I meet, will YOU, the young of Goa, be the voice to give her anguish the justice she asks for? To put your foot down and say, `We’ve had enough?’ I vote therefore I matter?’
We raise the future of our country in our homes. As parents, we seek everyday to see a reflection of who we are in their spirit. To know if we raised them right, preparing for the conflict driven adulthood that awaits them. Have we done enough? Do we need to do more? Similarly, have we done justice to our parent, Goa? Or, are we ready to confine her into an old aged home? She, who nurtured us, fed us milk and honey everyday, sheltered us from the evils of overt materialism with a deep rooted bonding of family, heritage, respect, culture, values. Truth has revealed that Goa is over-run by a bunch of sociopaths masquerading as Goa’s leaders, determining the future of this State and her people without taking the people into acquiescence. Yes, we have been silent!! Too long, too comfortable, too bloody quiet. So, while we happily sell our `Goan-Portuguese’ homes and land to the cash-fat `bhailo’ feeling secure counting notes in the bank, and gazing at our fancy cars parked outside streets – because the corrupt builder converted your parking to shops – we have forgotten to teach ourselves what truly matters in life. Self Respect. Which, when fully developed, converts into the fundamental of knowing Yes from No, Right from Wrong. Why did we lose our self respect? Did we get too greedy? What then is the Goan fight?
ALL CHANGE BEGINS WITH SELF
So, I ask you, the robust young and the thinking men and women of our State. What is our role to bring back the honour and jaded glory of Goa? Will you really make the difference by being, consistently, persistently, the watch dogs of your community. Will you prove your will for transparency at the electoral poll, to elect the leaders you deserve? Will the educated – not only in letter, but of spirit – rise to claim a past that belonged to their forefathers, for a present that needs our immediate focus, and the future where caste and class will obliterate into able, holistic leadership.
The Chief Minister of Goa recently lamented a lack of leaders, and the failure of the system to inculcate the values of good leadership. Has he been a good example of that leadership he laments as a failure? It is never easy being a parent. Those who honour the weight of responsibility that comes with parenthood, know that. With our polluted rivers, adulterated food, over burdened garbage, crime against citizens, corruption of private and public life, failure of accountability to government actions, what is the fate of leadership?
It is this stirring that Goa (and India) sees now. That is bringing people in protest to the streets, with a clarity of purpose. Have you not heard us? So, we now louder. Because it has come to pass.
She sat silently as words flowed out of my fingers. `It will come to pass,’ her eyes comforted me. The future is moulded by the decisions of Now, and who we want to be. That is the destiny of Goa. The brave will guard the dark, for in them rests the Light of purpose and our hope. For, when the teacher is ready, the students will follow. Let’s reclaim our Goa at the ballot box.
This article was published in the Times of India and Herald: