Kanaka Ghosalkar

Abstract Tragedy Inspirational


Kanaka Ghosalkar

Abstract Tragedy Inspirational

Kites Don't Fly ... ctd (Part 2)

Kites Don't Fly ... ctd (Part 2)

8 mins

Sudha was a column journalist working for the Daily Herald. She, Avantika, and Seema had lost their respective husbands in the Bhopal Gas tragedy. At the time when the incident unfolded, it was only Sudha who was a working woman. Avantika and Seema were housewives. 


“Yeah... It was such a difficult day for all of us. But I’m so proud of how far we’ve come. I really am.”, Avantika exclaimed. 

“True yaar Avantika. But the culprits of the leak because of whom about 300,000 people were exposed to MIC gas were not convicted until 2012. Isn’t that shameful? The legal system is so twisted. It’s rightly said, justice delayed is justice denied.”, Seema replied to Avantika and yet again she snapped back to Sudha’s article. 


[The Dead Don’t Die.

By – Sudha Sharma ctd...

The other day, I happened to watch a movie named ‘Dead Man Walking.’ If you do see it ever, you’ll be really conflicted about the character of the ‘nun’, sister Helen, who is the protagonist. In the entire movie, she is siding with a convicted rapist and murderer who she thinks is deserving of forgiveness because she believes that everyone deserves to be forgiven.


Through the entire movie, there are bouts of conflict between her character and the parents of the children who have been killed and they are truly compelling in every single way. The way she responds to all of them felt strikingly acceptable to me. There is so much genuine conviction in whatever it is that she feels and believes! In a way, I felt I can never be that person but what she is trying to do is really beyond humanity... in a good way.]


“Oh dear... wait... 3 lakhs? What 3 lakhs? It’s 5 lakhs for your information. And, do you know that the estimated death tolls deferred from the real figures? Although the immediate death toll was 2,259, the MP government had paid compensation to the family members of 3,787 people that were killed and also to 5,74,366 injured victims. This is what happened around 1985-86. That’s what I know...” Sudha replied to Seema in a tone of disgust which broke her link to the article for a moment, but she carried on anyway.


[The Dead Don’t Die.

By – Sudha Sharma ctd...


Towards the end of the movie, the convict who has never agreed to be the culprit in the crimes and who is constantly making false appeals for his own survival, eventually agrees to what part he played in the crimes. Just before he dies, he prays for the families of the children that he has whimsically and cruelly destroyed and hopes that may his death bring some peace to them. After his confession, he is content that the nun is the one who truly considers him to be pious, despite everything that has traversed through in his life, and loves him as someone belonging to the divine source.


I am not sure if I am capable of that kind of forgiveness. But the nun prays for his death to be peaceful when he is being executed in front of the parents of the children. She says, “You will die with dignity.” That shook me to the core. I mean all his life this man has been so numb to the very concept of self-realization that for him to experience that; just before he dies, could possibly be a big thing. I don’t know. As the character of the nun says he will rest in peace...maybe...

Compassion is a difficult thing. It cannot be forced. And so cannot be forgiveness. It takes time. But what is important is to put in the effort I feel. At the end, in the movie, when the family of the convict is at his funeral, the nun is present too. And, my take-home from the movie was the last scene when one of the parents of the murdered children also turns up at the funeral. He is the same person who has previously accused the nun of being on the wrong side. But in the end, he confesses that even the convict being sentenced to death was not enough to bring him peace. And that’s when the nun tells him that he needs to find out a way out of the hatred...That is probably the only way out.


Before the closing credits, the two are shown praying together, yet on their own. So, that’s the message, isn’t it? Even in being together, we are alone and we all need to find our own way. But if we are sincere in our being alone then we are still together! We are together for a common cause so to say...]


Just then Avantika’s response caught Seema’s attention. “Ya Seema. Sudha is right. Recently my office happened to receive a confidential affidavit to be delivered to the mantralaya. It was later made public. Recent... as in... it must be somewhere is 2006, to be honest. So..., according to that document, the leak caused 5,58,125 injuries, 3,900 severe and permanently disabling injuries, and 38,478 temporary disabling injuries. There were also estimates that 8,000 people had died within two weeks of 2/3rd December 1984 and more 8000 have died since from gas-related diseases.” Avantika said.

“Hmm...we haven’t spoken about this issue very often right. It’s been more than three decades now. Life just got busy in its own way. It took a new turn altogether. Seema replied quickly and refocussed her attention on the article. 


[The Dead Don’t Die.

By – Sudha Sharma ctd...


Today, in a way I think I can sort of understand why my neighbor was praying for those who had wronged her. She wanted them to heal. Because in some way even her healing was dependent on them... I remember she had said something about life after death and that she also had come to believe in the concept of the soul. That it's only our body that succumbs but our souls remain intact. And that if we do not clear the grudges and the sadness that we hold within, they would be carried forward in the next reincarnation. 

At the time I had found the whole conversation and all her pleas as a struggling attempt to find peace. Somehow, even today, I am not sure if she died in peace. And, I find this very disturbing. In an ignorantly anxious way maybe, I also used to find it weak... Our existence or well-being, being dependent on someone’s healing. I mean what if that person never heals. It’s a life lost...A livelihood ruined...A dream shattered. Isn’t it? But I am not sure if I feel the same way now...]


Avantika and Sudha got busy discussing all the transitions their respective lives had been through in the years that had passed.

Avantika had two children from her husband, both of whom were married and well settled. She had lived up to her promise of being a good wife and then had considered marriage at the age of 65. Now, she and her husband who she had met in the same post office when she had just lost her husband lived happily with their son Ty. Ty was her husband’s third child from his first wife whom he had divorced. His two elder daughters were with his wife and would visit them sometimes.

Sudha on the other hand had never considered marrying again. She was more than happy raising her only son. Journalism kept her very busy and besides, she loved her husband too much to be able to ever get past his memories. Seema had no children from her husband. Her marriage was actually an imposition on her by her parents. Although she had compromised her way into being with her husband, it was not what she had hoped for in her life.


“Actually, when I had studied and understood the trajectory of the events that unfolded with the legalities for the gas leak with the Union Carbide company, I was utterly disappointed”, Sudha said.

“Same here. I wish things had ended differently” Seema said agreeably. 

“You know what, I stopped thinking about it long back. What use it is of to us now? It’s only going to cause us more pain right. Speaking of which I can feel some discomfort in my chest right now. It’s true your body responds to the hurt no matter how much you try to bury it. I am just glad we didn’t succumb to the tragedy, that’s all. That. I feel would have been really devastating. I am really happy we were there for each other. In thick and thin!”, Avantika replied to Sudha and Seema.


Seema then realized that she had reached the end of Sudha’s article and that made her hungrier to finish reading it.


[The Dead Don’t Die.

By – Sudha Sharma ctd...


I ended up with more questions than answers after watching the movie to be very honest. But I really respected the standpoint of the nun because it tended towards healing. Whatever was lost was lost as it is. Whatever was left, needed to be brought back to life and she was trying to work for it. I managed to bring myself to accept that, although, I could not understand it completely. I think maybe my neighbor was also trying to do the same thing...

Somehow this movie and my memories of this neighbour opened me up to the cruel dynamics of life and how it turns out at times. After having thought about all of this, I was neither sad nor happy. I was still. Like I have never been before. 

In that moment I had no hope or grudge or anger or sadness. 

It was the melancholic acceptance of life that lasted but only for a brief moment of time.

A brief moment of time... 

And then I realized, “The Dead Don’t Die. What dies is a bit of life with them. Someone else’s life.”]

"Hey Avi, ... I think I need to hang up now and work on my monologue. I'll call you back this weekend, Chalo bye!", Seema said to the two of them and scrapped the paper in her hand into the dustbin. 

She had found a new monologue.

And, she started reciting ...

[“The Dead Don’t Die”

By: Sudha Sharma.


 Many a time it so happens when my laptop battery dies, I instantaneously plug it into the power source, but I forget to click the switch. 

 Life is also like that maybe...




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