The Fire that Burns My City

In this personal essay, a resident of Delhi reflects on the privilege that allows some lives to go on unaffected, while some others, elsewhere in the same city, are in peril.

Here’s what happens when your country burns, but the flames don’t reach you—your life goes on. Here’s what happens when your city is scorched, but the blaze doesn’t singe you—it becomes possible for you to read about gutted schools with trapped students as you ride the metro to work; to retweet links to think pieces on communal hatred, while you reply to an irate work mail. It becomes possible for you to shrink with abject horror or burn with genuine shame and anger, and then scroll on, because what else is there to do?

My city has been burning for a while now, and I’ve learned something I didn’t know before, at least not in the way that I do now. I didn’t know that life could go on so easily in the face of what sometimes looks and feels like the end of the world. Or that if you lived far enough from the fire that ate at your city’s innards, you could avoid it almost entirely. I used to think that it would consume everyone, this rage. But I know now that if you want to, you can go on just as you always have; at least for a while, till the fire doesn’t get too close.

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Updated On : 9th Mar, 2020

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