Saturday, April 17, 2010

People Falling Down Like Logs of Wood

It happened yesterday. I am in a train, going back home after a days work. The train is crowded as usual, and hot. Unusually hot. A commotion. A man faints and falls. Those around him support him and get him down.

"Take him to a nearby hospital."

"Make sure you alert his relatives."

"Give him a drink of water."

"Make space for him."

The train starts, the journey continues, the commuters (all men) look engrossed in their own worlds, analyzing, deconstructing, deciding, relaxing.

I am deep into V.S.Naipaul's "Guerillas" about a coup attempt in a small island in the Caribbean. His style is laid back, full of little, little epiphany-ic observations, about a world gone wrong, of catastrophic things happening, break-up of tenuous social systems and understandings, etc. His language is subtle, the humor understated.

The heat is unbearable and the proximity of so many sweating bodies makes it worse. Global warming is sending alarming signals – and still those steadfast non-believers tend to be skeptical. A man standing beside me blanks out, falls into my lap. He is around thirty-five, fit and fine from his body structure, has a head full of hair (I notice these things as the thatch above me is thinning), an epitome of the middle level executive.

Panic. Panic all around. Same words repeated.

"Give water." "Make space." "Do you wish to go to a doctor?" "Make him sit near the window."

I get up and make him sit. A kindly neighbor gets up and makes me sit down. I say, "thanks."

"He is okay, nothing to worry," a friend of his says. Indeed a friend.

"He has been working late hours, 2 p.m., for the past few days. He is stressed. Account closing, you see."

Two people fainted and fell like logs. Like logs of wood. The earth is getting warmer, we still fail to understand the full impact.

1 comment:

ms said...

"oh stop the world and let me off!
i am tired of going round and round..."
i am told parts of india touch 44 degrees before 2pm. we have to change a lot of things just because we did not change ONE thing: deforestation. imagine the price our poor future generations have to pay for our selfishness and ignorance.