The last few days I have been walking around with a sinking realization in my heart. Every time I am brave enough to pay attention to it, my heart sinks a further few inches. It’s an odd realization that should be more prevalent in my life than it actually is and it’s this – I live inside a big bubble. It’s a protective, colourful bubble that allows me to stay immersed in a fake sense of immortality. I created this bubble myself, to avoid the inconvenient truths about my transient existence in a transient world. Inside my bubble I live as though I have time and good fortune in abundance. I believe I will live long enough to enjoy my Christmas holiday, grow my two-member family and move back to Dhaka ‘someday’. Predicting future prospects inside my bubble is too damn easy because I am very much whole and alive.
But in reality my bubble is as brittle as the mortality it’s hiding. My bubble can be pricked by anything and anyone, at any given minute. Although it exists inside a safer, saner country, my bubble basks under the same sun and under the same skies where a 13 year old was eking out a life as a fruit vendor. Even that wasn’t sordid enough for the world so he had to be leered and tortured to death.
On the Monday following Rajon’s murder, I worked like a horse. Usually I am sluggish and procrastinate after the weekend but that particular Monday I worked feverishly. As though I wanted to prove something to myself. I couldn’t move past the harsh fact that 13 year olds lived life as fruit vendors in my third world country while I felt hard done by because of my 9-5 life in a first world one. They say truth bites, but this particular one stung. I was embarrassed by how easily I took my life for granted. I worked furiously to avoid this embarrassment and to act grateful and deserving of what I had.
By Tuesday the feverishness wore off and I struggled to not move on. I went home torn between my mortal fears and immortal thoughts. My bubble had never felt more vulnerable, my insensitivities so exposed.
Did Rajon have a bubble too? Or was he too poor to create one for himself? Maybe he did not even need one. When you wake up obsessing over getting food on the family table, you take it one day at a time. Maybe that way you end up living more in the moment than those of us dreaming up holidays from office cubicles ever do. Maybe you live a truer life as a ‘dinmojur’.
True or fake, mortal or immortal, what do our lives amount to, really? Why do we strive so hard for inconvenient notions such as respect, stability and dignity? Because it won’t matter in the end, will it? It’s sad but I am fairly certain if something brutal happens on my commute today, it will not really mean much to the world and its people. I’ll probably be tagged on a few Facebook statuses which those not on my list will come and stalk. In reality my social presence is more mortal than I am and will most definitely outlive me. But not for long. A few days later I will be buried under immortal human thoughts along with my mortal human body.
I do realize it can’t be any other way. We can’t just sit and mourn on other’s tragedies, their rapes, their deaths and their wars when we got our own realities to live. Life goes on and fortunately for most of us, rapes, deaths and wars are quite book-ish notions. Yet with all our lives moving on in a tell-all display on various social platforms, it’s hard to ignore the selfish pace at which we leave things, lives, behind. Our sense of apathy is stronger and meaner than it has ever been and we cannot seem to be able to log out of it. Our desensitisation is morbid. And I am ashamed.
I suppose we’ll just keep carrying on and forgetting like this. Until the day when our own bubble breaks. I guess we can count ourselves lucky if we manage to pick up a posthumous hashtag in it’s wake.