Let Us Not Be Indifferent

Life asked Death, “Why do people love me, but hate you?” Death responded, “Because you are a beautiful lie, and I am a painful truth.” Whether we are living a beautiful lie or a beautiful truth, whether we hate death or accept it, no one expects death to be as unexpected as it would be during a celebration of life itself. No one would want death to come embrace us on someone else’s terms, neither ours nor Death’s. And it pains me a lot to see anyone put a price on life and take it away from others who deserved it, just because that person decided that they didn’t deserve to live.

“The greatness of humanity is not in being human, but being humane,” Mahatma Gandhi had said. It didn’t involve any distinction between people based on any aspect. Yet, it’s that most essential of qualities, compassion, that seems to be lacking in us these days. Rather than being humane, celebrating life, living and let others live, we create norms to decide the deserving, and celebrate the death of those who aren’t. It is with pride that responsibility is taken for some deaths, as if that is an accolade that is worthy of something better in the next life. It has become so common to see and hear news of death that the heart has lost the ability to sympathize with the loss that’s seen. The voice that once said, “Oh dear, he died on the spot” with much sadness and wondering about how the near and dear of that person would be feeling, now says, “Dead on the spot” without as much as a thought.

Writing this may or may not make a difference. It will not stop the innocent from being killed without a second thought, not really. I know that. But the sadness is something I cannot be indifferent to. It may be a news topic that will soon be a part of some archives, forgotten by most except for those whose lives were actually affected by that. I remember 2008 and Mumbai vividly. I remember trying to contact my friends there, to make sure all were okay, I remember the heart beating anxiously. The distance wasn’t there in the heart. Only the people were.

More recently it has been Paris, Nice, Brussels, Baghdad… no, I have no one in those places that I know, but to wake up to the news of life being taken from the people over there was not, is not, and should never feel nice. As a friend once said to me, “The day we feel indifferent to the ugliness around us, that’s the day humanity would have lost the ability to be humane.” I wish now, as I wished then, that that day never come upon us. Life isn’t valued based on borders and names. If you feel that it is, imagine if you did know someone over there. Would you still feel that life doesn’t matter?

I pray for those souls to find peace and for their loved ones as well. And a prayer for humanity to not remain indifferent.

In Memoriam

different voices, different faces,
different times, different places,
yet the fate stayed the same,
unexpected and unwanted,
this bloodshed that was flaunted,
as if it was just some game.

alike were the tears, the fears,
the anxiety for those so dear,
going farther than the eye sees,
silence is all that remains,
with memories that shall pain,
and an old prayer for peace.

Sharing this with Day 6 of The 4th Festival of Words at Write Tribe, Day 1 of #HalfMarathon at #BlogChatter, The Poetry Pantry at Poets United, Open Link at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads and with Prompt Nights.

(© Vinay Leo R. @ I Rhyme Without Reason, 15th July 2016)


Poetry & writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.

54 thoughts on “Let Us Not Be Indifferent”

  1. Death is never nice, an ugly truth, inevitable. But it is greatly disheartening when innocent lives are taken with no reason. Hoping one day that humanity rises above this meaningless bloodshed. Touching poem Leo. My prayers are with them too.
    (Dashy recently posted… The Pantaloon – 6 of #Seven Ages)My Profile

  2. Beautiful words….I only wish this beauty was not marred by the pain it speaks of…..I could not think of anything else when I read about the tragedy at Nice last night. It pains even though I have no known person living there, just like you. Why can’t people feel the same way for those unrelated to them? Why this brutality? Humanity weeps today again.
    (Sunaina Bhatia recently posted… The Pain of Sweet Memories……)My Profile

    • I wish the same, Sunaina Bhatia. It’d be nice. I hadn’t known it last night, and I woke up reading the news shared by some friends on their social networking feed. 🙁 In the end, I suppose, one really doesn’t feel for the victim unless they are known, they just remain a name in the news. The brutality of the manner of death goes unnoticed, and in a way, indifferent. Humanity does indeed weep.
      (Vinay Leo R. recently posted… At Home with Books)My Profile

  3. I agree with you, Vinay. Life must never be taken for granted. Never must we show an indifference towards a life with which we share no bonds of love.
    I so hope we, the people of this planet, bring back the lost emotion – compassion – and shower it on every soul we come across.
    My prayers with those, who lost their lives and loves in these senseless killings. I still can’t fathom why they were carried out, in the first place. What will they ever achieve out of it all?
    Wonder when it will end!

    • I hope that that hope of yours becomes true, for I hope the same as well. It is vital at this moment in time, and for the future.

      I too cannot fathom the need for such unneeded bloodshed, Shilpa Gupte. The only thing it seems to accomplish is the spreading of fear. 🙁
      (Vinay Leo R. recently posted… Obstinate Sheep)My Profile

    • I’ve not lived in Bombay, but I’ve friends and family there who mean a lot, so during those terrifying instances, my mind was almost always with their situation. Though I do not know anyone personally in Nice, their situation is but the same. And my heart goes out to them, in sadness and in prayers. Thank you, Kala Ravi.
      (Vinay Leo R. recently posted… Let Us Not Be Indifferent)My Profile

  4. Yes, sad that people have to die just like that. Because some fellow beings are deluded. And yes, we utter that old cry for peace. But I think it’s high time we took this violence, hatred by the scruff of the neck and whirled it away into oblivion. Great memoriam, Vinay. May those who departed find a peaceful place for their souls and may the injured heal soon. Not to forget the witnesses – may they overcome their shock and live to fight another day!
    (Sreedeep recently posted… Anand – a happy patient)My Profile

    • Yes, Sreedeep. High time we whirled it away into oblivion, but with violence increasing each day, from where do we start, and how do we go about it? Eye for an eye doesn’t seem logical, though it may be the only way to get through to the propagators of violence.

      I hope the departed, and the survivors both find peace. They deserve that. I pray for that.
      (Vinay Leo R. recently posted… What burns?)My Profile

  5. Such a beautiful tribute. It’s said that the boundaries which divide life and death are shadowy and vague. Who’s to say where one ends and the other begins. At length we can pray for peace and amity in the world to prevail…. always. Beautifully executed.

    Lots of love,
    (Sanaa Rizvi recently posted… Perhaps)My Profile

    • No one can really say where it ends and where the other begins, but one can hope that that decision isn’t given earlier than needed in a manner as it is being meted out, Sanaa. That prayer for peace is old, and repeated, sadly.
      (Vinay Leo R. recently posted… That’s Why I Write…)My Profile

  6. Such a dignified response to the sad events – which yes seem to repeat themselves.. with full force and painful truth
    (Jae Rose recently posted… Blue)My Profile

  7. What a stunningly beautiful post Leo. As the world is saddened by the recent worldwide events I can remember walking down the “Promenade des Anglais” in Nice and now think that any one of those people could have been me totally innocent dying without any reason but hate.
    (Old Egg recently posted… Holding hands)My Profile

    • I suppose a stunningly despicable event can bring about a stunningly beautiful post, Old Egg. I am glad that you felt it was, thank you. I’ve never been to the Promenade des Anglais, so I don’t know how beautiful it was, but having seen and read about the tragic events of the recent past, I can imagine that situation. It only brings silence, alas. And that haunts me.
      (Vinay Leo R. recently posted… Still Dancing)My Profile

  8. My heart echoes your thoughts. Death might be something that must unavoidable, but when the end is forced on so many by the terrible beliefs of a madman… well, the death becomes a waste, something not easy to reconcile.

    May all the differences faces, ideals, hearts… unite in mourning and remembrance. May the souls whose light was put out too quickly and unfairly find peace. ♥
    (Magaly Guerrero recently posted… Under My Thorns)My Profile

    • Very well put, Magaly. It is saddening to see that, I agree. Not easy to reconcile, either. I too hope all the different faces and hearts unite in remembrance of the souls who have passed, and in support of those who mourn those souls. Thank you.
      (Vinay Leo R. recently posted… Full Circle)My Profile

  9. What a powerful write this is, Leo. You are so right.. Different voices, different faces. Death interrupts life in so many parts of the world….so senselessly. The faces of evil appear in so many places. And, no, we can never become indifferent to humanity’s pain and must keep saying that old prayer for peace.

    • Death interrupts life in many parts of the world, yes, but I do wish it wasn’t so unnecessarily, Mary. It’s disheartening to see that one’s beliefs take priority over life. I hope that we never do become indifferent to humanity’s pain.
      (Vinay Leo R. recently posted… For Hope)My Profile

  10. I am glad you put into words what we have all been feeling these past weeks. I love what your friend said about indifference being the indication that humanity is no longer humane. So true. I hope we never reach that point. I especially love the closingof your poem with an old prayer for peace.
    (Sherry Marr recently posted… Buddha Land)My Profile

  11. For me somehow death always equals to numbness. Hearing about it just turns me cold inside, and unable to react. Today I feel Death has more importance than Life when it should actually be the other way round. In the race t be the best mourners we have forgotten to celebrate life.
    (Jaibala Rao recently posted… Aisha)My Profile

    • That prayer for peace is one that’s very old. It’s something we’ve held on to, as much as hope, Donna. I think that makes a difference. I hope that it comes to fruition. Glad you liked the poem.

  12. Yes. It really makes a difference when we aren’t indifferent to the suffering around us. That said, I hope that that cruelty stops, and people do not lose their life for no fault of their own. A beautiful post.

  13. Thank you for this beautiful post. I read it twice through, because my heart needed it – because of the hope I heard in it through tears. Praying for humanity to not remain indifferent, as you are. Thanks for sharing.

    • Yes. That hope is quite necessary, Stacie. Without it, the darkness would feel overwhelming. If we are indifferent towards it, then it’d be even more dire. Thank you for the appreciation.

  14. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, quotes and poem in the Imaginary Garden. The sincerity of your message made me tear up. I think we are all feeling brutalized the world over, these are very dark days for humanity.

    • Yeah. I know. That feeling is quite common these days, Kerry. And that’s sad to see. Dark days for humanity indeed. Glad to have shared it with the Imaginary Garden.

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