Sunday, December 10, 2006

Leveled By Death

I remembered lines from James Shirley's poem Death the Leveller while watching the HBO telefilm Tsunami - The Aftermath

THE glories of our blood and state
Are shadows, not substantial things;
There is no armour against Fate;
Death lays his icy hand on kings:
Sceptre and Crown
Must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crooked scythe and spade.

There is the lull before the storm, when rich tourists and the poor locals go about their life like it was going to be another ordinary day. Then the tsunami strikes its short, decisive yet fatal blow bringing people who until then had nothing in common together in loss and mourning. While tragedy of such scale can bring out the best and worst in people, the film focuses mainly on the positives.

A man desperately searching for his missing wife and daughter lends a hand to save a dying man , a journalist looks beyond a photo opportunity and takes a picture of an unidentified body before it is cremated are among the many moments where the human spirit is shown to be ennobled by tragedy rather than being dwarfed by it.

A dear friend who was traveling in Sri Lanka at the time, had managed to escape the tsunami by a mere twenty four hours and only by chance - death had not chosen him. This movie made me count my blessings once again that I did not loose a loved one that day like so many others had.

The tranquility of the sea before and after felt like a metaphor for life itself , every day begins with sunrise and ends at sunset - always predictable and same. Yet within those few hours events occur to alter the course of individual lives or the destiny of an entire nation.

Often the warnings of doomsday prophets are ridiculed just like the "Thai meteorologist, whose earlier report detailing the inevitability of a tsunami hitting the affected area was ignored." Sometimes, in allowing ourselves to be deceived by the apparent ordinariness of the day, we suffer extraordinarily.

1 comment:

cheti said...

HC .. can you make this a little more readable ????