Today, riots erupted all over the country because something really awful happened in some country which most Indians, including this reporter, cannot even place on the map.
The details of the horrible events are very sketchy as of now, and more details are expected soon. No one really knows what actually happened, but everyone feels so strongly about it that they felt like burning or breaking something which does not belong to them.
Meanwhile, protestors all over the country have been destroying public property since the break of dawn. Till about mid-afternoon, 300 train compartments, 500 buses and a 1000 cars had been turned into scrap metal.
We asked a protestor in Delhi who was setting fire to a spanking new Volvo bus, the reason of his protest. He told us that he was dismayed by the lack of public transport.
Other protestors had their own reasons. A man was spotted breaking the windows of a luxury superstore. When we asked him why he was doing that, he said that his wife has been pestering him to get a new sofa for their living room and due to the recession he cannot afford any, this was the best way to get a new one. He then also stole our cameraman's equipment to help his son with his photography course.
A frequent protestor stopped us and gave the following statement, "I'm one of those people who will protest anything. Whether something even happened or not. Hell, we'll protest about stuff that takes place on television. The point is that we like to compensate for our lack of sexual expression by breaking stuff. It's just how we roll. When everyone is guilty, no one really gets caught". If we hadn't recorded and published his statement, he threatened to "protest" outside our publication's office along with his merry band of protestors.
When asked to take stock of the situation, a newly appointed cabinet minister, who declined to be named, asked us to have some patience. "It's just a small protest involving thousands of people. They'll burn a few things down, destroy taxpayer property even though most of these protestors haven't ever paid any tax, hit people who had nothing to with the events that unfolded in some other country, and eventually will head home when they are tired. There's nothing much we can do". He abruptly ended the interview when the reporter bent down to tie his shoe.
However, former home minister and future Provogue brand ambassador, Shivraj Patil, was visibly shaken and very upset. "This is a terrible tragedy and the government will investigate the matter and punish the perpetrators", he said, more of a reflex action than a meaningful statement. His tense mood could be gauged by the fact that he had changed his clothes more than five times since he first heard of the riots. He solemnly added that "This time, the pee on my clothes did not belong to my grandson".
The news channels were abuzz with activity since the morning. India TV showed images of the violence along with performances by stand-up comedians and predicted that this is the beginning of the end of the world, TimesNow somehow connected the event to Pakistan and blamed Arunadhiti Roy for being a frequent cause of such riots, everyone at NDTV was so outraged that all they showed were commercial breaks and the various anchors at CNN-IBN were so damn loud that one could hear them even after muting the volume.
State-run television, Doordarshan, was showing an old documentary about Mahatma Gandhi, which highlighted how his methods of non-violent protests were adopted by successful movements all over the world.