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April 30, 2008 / lazybug

With a Sigh…

I was browsing through Haruki Murakami’s Underground, a book based on the Tokyo Subway Gas Attack of 1995. In the preface he mentions the reason he decided to write the book. Apparently he read a letter that was published in one of the American journals. The letter was from the wife of one of the victims. Murakami uses plain English and puts his views forward beautifully:

A subway commuter, he had been unfortunate enough to be on his way to work in one of the carriages in which sarin gas was released. He passed out and was taken to hospital. But even after several days’ recuperation, the after-effects lingered on, and he couldn’t get himself back into the working routine. At first, he was tolerated, but as time went on his boss and colleagues began to make snide remarks. Unable to bear the icy atmosphere longer, feeling almost forced out, he resigned.

The letter shocked me. Here were people who still carried serious psychological scars. I felt sorry, truly sorry, although I knew that for the couple involved my sympathy was irrelevant. And yet, what else could I do?

Like most people, I’m sure, I simply turned the page with a sigh. [My emphasis]

Shocked as I was after reading this, I realised that we go through something similar almost on a daily basis. When we read /watch news about people getting killed in bomb blasts, women getting raped, lower caste people being killed for violating the ‘rules’ of the caste system, what do we do? We just flip and page…or change the channel. With a sigh, of course.



Leave a Comment
  1. Ottayan / May 1 2008 12:40 am

    You are right. I noticed an advert in the CNN/IBN where they show an obviously well-off girl fainting on the road. Everyone rushes to help her.

    The ad contrasts this with a poor unkempt man fainting- the passersby sidestep him.

    A rather telling commentary on human nature.

  2. Liju Philip / May 1 2008 4:04 am

    that’s how life is isnt it. millions die of hunger/diseases in africa. who cares? the usa is too busy with iraq’s oil.

    so many indians die of hunger everyday more than 60 yrs independence later and what do i do? throw away excess food almost twice a week. this year millions of people would die of hunger because the world food program is running short of just $500 million (its peanuts if all the countries pool some money). Except the US who has chipped in with around 50 or 100 million (am not sure of the exact figure), the rest are not bothered.

    we have got immune to the problems around us. we are so oppressed in our own lives that we try to take out our frustrations on others who are themselves oppressed instead of sympathising with them or doing something constructive for them.

  3. Sachin / May 2 2008 6:27 am

    i guess we flip the page, because deep inside we know that it is beyond our circle of influnce……..we cant do anything …………at max we show some sympathy and move on …………..

  4. prityjaiswal / May 3 2008 8:08 pm

    the loss is huge for the victim, might be irreplacable too. Thank god we still have a sigh or two left to shed over. Life is moving fast buddy and yet we stop for a sigh. Something human is still left inside us or who cares for a sigh too.

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