It was 2019 and technology had allowed me to be in Shanghai airport while adjusting the mood lighting for my apartment in New York.
And there stood a guy at the end of conveyer belt manually dragging each piece of baggage from a truck onto the belt, one at a time for over 300 passengers.
Even though Kolkata happened to be the capital of the eastern corridor of India, the airport technology wing was running a few years late.
Jet-lagged angry passengers grew visibly upset at the long wait. Before I could reach the belt, a brawl had broken out between the conveyer belt boy & a passenger.
A Mr. Sharma (passenger) was furious at Ali (Conveyer belt boy) for touching his holy suitcase. He claimed that his suitcase had sacred Hindu stuff (maybe, like a cow?) which now had lost all its God-value because our Ali boy being Muslim had plastered his Muslim hands all over it.
My flight was suppose to take me to India, I think it might have accidentally transported me back to the 1800s.
2019 was a very hard year for Indians.
Modi had just gotten re-elected and the political climate had taken a turn for the worst, forcing Indians to pick sides. Most national media outlets in India had turned into a propaganda machine.
The Modi Government set fire to the communal peace, India enjoyed since 1947. The road to my ancestral home was filled with burnt cars, torn slogan placards and signs of violence everywhere.
It wasn’t just that. You could smell the fear in the air.
Oh Modi-ji! You have colossally fucked it up this time.
The truth was, the most powerful man in the country was making my closest friends feel unsafe in their own homes.
But, how did this man get so powerful?
2014, set forth as a year of change! India was facing a shit luck with leaders for the past decade or so. The sound of failed promises of ministers were still lingering in our ears. News channels overwhelmed us with sensational corruption scandals at prime time while stories of rapes and shooting filled the front pages in the mornings.