June 6, 2021, Commentary from my familiar hole

June 6, 2021, Commentary from my familiar hole: Today, one day, was the beginning of the end. Victory was in sight – written in the blood of the fallen. The waves kept hitting relentlessly, they fell like flies, the bodies were strewn all around. An unseen enemy hidden behind a protective cover – kept up a relentless attack. There was no time to move the bodies. Trampled over, some left to dies. But they pressed on. Victory was in sight. Many perished today, one day. And perhaps 77 years later someone will write again of such days. And how the end came in sight, it took till the end of August, but the overlord prevailed and over thousands of deaths a peace returned. A normalcy returned. Colleges will start up; I saw the news today and someone said that schools in some parts of the World will open a little earlier than expected because we are winning. The dead that was left back on the beaches did not know we were winning. Those who perished gasping for breath did not know we are winning. And perhaps they do not care. But we the living must care. We who have so far escaped the strike of the enemy and have forged on because someone secured a bridge too far and many many amongst us have lived many days not knowing which was the longest day as the warriors donned their white plastic uniforms and stormed the IUCA akin to the band of brothers who went looking for Ryan soon after today, many days ago. Our minds love parallels, to create patterns out of the chaos. Use language as a tool to bring order to our experience – to give meaning to the meaningless. Find stories we can hang our hat on and narratives that hark back to other tales from the past. Thus, today, D-Day, perhaps we construct it as the beginning of the end. While the rains come intermittently, we wait for the end. It took nearly a year from D-Day to May 8, 1945, to reach V-E Day. Sometimes things take time. Things take blood. Things take plasma. As airlines clamor for opening the skies between distant lands, we wait for June 16 our local V-E day – when malls open at 30% capacity – too fast, too quick, too uncertain. If this day in 1944 tells us something, then it is that some things take time and things do not go back to normal. Soon after V-E Day my country threw off the yolks of colonial slavery which led to another new world, in which were two young people – my parents – who 13 years after D-Day had their personal moment of glory and they tied the knot. Thus, today I dwell in the comfort of the Shehnai of a Bengali wedding – I dare Bengalis reading this – if this does not bring a tinge of nostalgia and the taste of luchi (puffed fried bread) and begun bhaja (fried egg plant) with cholar daal (a special lentil). Eat your heart out. Today, I felt a knot in my throat writing this.


Amitava Das said…
"The dead that was left back on the beaches did not know we were winning. Those who perished gasping for breath did not know we are winning." - Quite profound. The reality may be we win to lose another day, or lose to win another day. We'll never quite know the long-term future for any single person, community, country, species, etc. Since you are using WW2 metaphors again, I can't help but wonder, is the best we can do what General Patton said? "No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making some other poor dumb bastard die for his country." Or can there be a better way?

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