"Life is like a rainbow. You need both sun and
rain to make its colours appear."
A 29-year-old social media personality and instagram star from Saudi Arabia has perhaps captured life in the above quotation as best as humanly possible in words. The day Eid-ul-Adha is celebrated every year, usually the day begins with the local mosque announcing the mass prayer time. This is for the first time an announcement was made from the mosque when the day was yet to break. But alas it was not the announcement of the prayer time but to share with the local community at Mohammadpur of the sad news of the demise of a woman. The mourning news was announced a couple of times following the announcement of the prayer time.
Perhaps even a rainbow cannot make all the colours of life appear. "Life is in color', as Samuel Fuller observes, 'but black and white is more realistic." Do black and white define life and death, then? When life comes to an end, there is the great unknown, darkness all around. Can this be the colour of death? Or, else why should people mourn the death of a near and dear one! In his Japan-jatri (traveller of Japan), Rabindranath also states that the eternity is either black or blue. As far as human eyesight can reach, it looks white or clear; then begins the eternal darkness or the unknown where space and time culminates into the unresolved mystery. Wonderful as it is, life ceases to be even a speck in the void.
Look at the members of the family who lost a woman who was a long companion of a man and mother to her young ones on the day they were supposed to celebrate Eid. Religious interpretation for death on such a day may be elevating enough but those who have lost their dearest 'mom', this is small consolation. It is futile to hide the tears that well up on their own. They are unlikely to get beyond the parameter of life with simple joy, affection, love and a bond that give meaning to human existence.
Indeed, the pandemic has brought people face to face not only with the more realistic colours of life ---black and white, but perhaps with a completely different one called grey. True, black may not be a welcome colour but it at least gives depth to all colours. But what is the role of grey? First of all it is confusing and secondly it is forbidding in a primordial sense. Green does enliven the beholders and in Nature where green is absent it is most likely grey, dull, disheartening and degenerative.
Time is so treacherous now that a rainbow looks like a distant dream. The untrustworthiness is growing contagious with the pandemic either showing no sign of relenting or even staging a comeback where from it apparently made its near departure. People do not have many festivals to celebrate but when those few celebrations are so marred by a virus notwithstanding the development of several vaccines, the frustration and helplessness of communities in the affected areas and countries beggar description. Some desperate and ignorant souls behave irrationally as if they could not care less but they also know in the heart of their hearts anything can happen any moment.
For the marginalised people in society, the threat, however big it may be, or no threat is immaterial. They have to ignore it for the very fact of survival instinct. The option is between starving to death and looking for the lifeline by way of some meagre income. They opt for the latter. Have you noticed some children, a few women from slums scrambling for meat the rich distribute among them? Look at a few of them in their rounds at midnight. How pathetic! Then a rickshaw-puller slowly pedals his three-wheeler towards his hut at 1:30 am when the road is desolate. His compulsion proves far greater than his celebration. At this hour no one remains outdoors unless a person is fortunate enough to spend time partying or greatly unfortunate to have a medical or exceptional emergency.
Life may be like a rainbow for some but the problem with others less privileged and fortunate is that the brighter colours never brighten their lives. They have to be content either with the black and white or, in extreme cases, with the dreadful grey.