Monday, October 15, 2007

Barbarian at the Gate

April 2007, pre-shitstorm.

By not charging forth and physically assaulting the eye from any arbitrary vantage point in the capital, India Gate successfully hides how huge it is. When I do come to it, I am disturbed by the lack of sentiment it churns up. The reaction to a Forty-two meter stone brute built in 1921 in memory of Indians who died, alone, cold, sick and hungry in lands that were not their own, fighting for people who’s causes they didn’t truly understand or believe in, should have been more visceral, more overcoming. But it wasn’t.

Now more than ever, and hopefully in just me and no one else, the Gate’s edge, like everything else’s, could no longer rasp or make me bleed. It was now just the immobile stone embodiment of every rude physical retort India wanted so badly to give, but didn’t, when some heckler cried soft-state. Even schoolboys on Republic Day aren’t made to debate that anymore.

Unlike the Gateway of India in Bombay – a warm gray monument of welcome, India Gate on Rajpath seems to have been built to be kept closed. A sort of firm, snarling ‘Fuck Off’ to all those who didn’t want to come inside and play nice. It was stripped of that role somewhere along the road, and is today, just a carnival attraction in the giant circus the Dream has become for all those willing to buy tickets, see and not believe.

As I stood its imposing yet whimpering shadow, and tried find something to feel, my luck served up a far better show than I thought likely. Three boys, hormone-galvanized foot soldiers at the vanguard of the neo-Hun invasion, use the All India War Memorial for the only purpose it seems fit to serve in the now and here: for self-actualization through defilement. They first make a mockery of the rhinoceros in the insignia of an Assamese Regt on the Do Not Enter placard, coming to the conclusion that perhaps the fattest of their threesome would be allowed to. Then they proceed to repeatedly touch pillars that weren’t to be touched and step over (and almost immediately back over) chains that aren’t to be stepped over. Low waist denim clad soul-faggots, engaged in hermaphrodite daredevil games – nausea at its most complete. A curt Fuck Off sends them on their way, but the loneliness in this bitterness they leave behind is eerie.

A chemical nature litmus test of the decoct of 60 years worth of vomit from our most wasted, bilious core. That is the Gate today.

Here alone.
But to not decay is now to achieve.

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