My office pantry: me sitting with a cup of bad coffee, pretending to read the Bombay Times and struggling not to hear this Hindu-para-military-kinda guy who looked deceptively harmless.
First he laughs out loud reading the paper. Of course that is usual. We all find something to laugh about in the paper, every single day. While some others sitting give him a strange look, he continues guffawing, and then turns to the table next to him and starts ranting.
“Have you noticed how the media is only talking about Hindu terrorists? How they silenced Asaram bapu and now are going after this..this sadhvi?” Where are the Muslim terrorists? Don’t they see that Hindu terrorists are only born because of them, those Muslims? These guys will slowly kill all Hindus and make them disappear from this Hindu country and call it secular?”
At this point, I look up and gave him an irritated look. This was an office space and he had no business bringing in religion or politics into the office. I had half a dozen venomous responses ready to spew at him but when I looked at him, I realized all he wanted was a reaction. The two men at his table were wondering where was all this wrath coming from. So I went back to reading my paper.
He took off again, generally repeating the same shit. “Muslims bad, hindus good and disappearing. Wrongly being called terrorists. Where is Zaheera now? Why did they put her accused in jail? (I have no clue what he was reading and whether there is now a connection is Zaheera of Godhra infamy and this whole Malegaon mess) And his punch line: “Lagta hai kuch karna pagega in Muslims ka..” and he stalked out.
The two guys he was supposedly ranting to picked up the paper and tried to figure out what set him off and I was taking deep breaths to just calm down — calm down from the impulse wanting to open the pantry windows and push this guy straight out.
Who are these people? Such venom for a faith? What has being Muslim (or being Hindu) got to do with blowing up innocent people?