I refuse to lose my religion!
What about the rest of us? Meaning the living; those of us who have to make a living, those who have to get to work despite knowing that there is a fair chance we might get shot at for not showing enough solidarity. How do you express solidarity through violence for a system that is about peace in times of chaos, anyway?
I was supposed to be angry today. I was, still am. I am fuming, in fact, because I work for a newspaper and part of my job is to be at work come hell or high water.
I managed to do that and nearly got lynched in the process. I was a block away from my office when a group of kids surrounded my car with sticks. Our car was stopped and just as they were aiming for the windshield I stepped out and asked them what exactly they thought they were doing.
They stopped immediately and slowly backed away. I have two theories here of what stopped them – the sheer surprise of a woman stepping out amid them screaming or a collective moment of self-reflection of how attacking their fellow countrymen and women, risking lives, even their own, was making any sense. I am pretty sure it was the former and not the latter.
I wish it was the latter even though the former would have made me feel a little heroic. Had it been a little bit of the latter, we wouldn’t be where we are today.
I walked in fuming and a colleague of mine, who also had to snake his way through lynch mobs to get to work, told me how he stopped to ask a policeman in his super secure mobile what the safest route to take was; he was told to go home and sleep.
Words of wisdom, surely.
As I started writing this through a red haze of fury, my editor walked in and I go off on a rant on how unfair a day like this is. My editor is one of those people who manages to counter the chaos of a newsroom and daily rants with an otherworldly calm. He silently took out a 500 rupee-note and asked me to read what one of the inscriptions on the note said,
‘Husool-e-rizk-Halal Ibadat hai’ (Striving for an honest livelihood is a form of worship).
The day progressed with the usual newsroom mania that ensues on a day like this. Eventually the race to get pages done overwhelmed everything else.
The anger didn’t subside though. It was channelled however to a different direction. I know now that I am doing the right thing – I refuse to give in to dishonesty, I refuse to suffer fools and stay at home and, most importantly, I refuse to lose my religion.
Read more about Amna here.
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