It's been five long years, since I last blogged. Those who've been following me since Shewolf and Trashtalks days (a total of two? three?), thank you, you're truly the best. If you're a new reader - hello, hello. Welcome to my humble new website. I designed it myself painstakingly over months, and months. Kidding, it only took me two days. Doesn't it look good though? Show me some love for I'm a sucker for constant validation.
I promise to bring you up to speed with big events like moving to Singapore, getting hitched, getting a cat, getting a spot admission in the creative writing Masters programme (in Singapore), soon enough. But right now, I'm going to tell you something that happened just yesterday and had me quivering like a homeless man on a menancingly cold night.
It all started with me non-chalantly browsing through social media feed during the limbo period between getting up and getting out of the bed (don't tell me, you aren't guilty of doing this). As I kept scolling for more celebrity gossip and cat videos, I stumbled upon this news. It immediately made my eyes go wide.
Now, you might be going okay, yeah, so? at this point and it's totally reasonable because you don't know the context yet. But still, think about it dear reader, it's not like one casually encounters words like 'Bomb' and 'WW II' in the news, unless one goes looking for it or/and happens to be Hitler's grandchild with a solid case of PTSD.
Anyway, so there I was, reading the news article manically, over and over again until the letters started to dance in front of my eyes and and I became motionless because A. the place where the unexploded 5kg bomb was excavated happened to be less than 2 kilometres from my place and less than 1km away from my workplace B. I had just found out that it was going to be detonated in less than 2 hours. C. Should I repeat the word unexploded?
Still overwhelmed by the news, I told the cabbie who was driving me to work to avoid Kim Seng road and Jiak Kim road, because it was going to be cordoned off for the bomb disposal procedure to take place safely. This is how the conversation went.
Me: "You know why we are taking the detour right"?
Cab guy: "because the map says lah?"
Me: "no, because it's in the news, didn't you read it? "
Cab guy: "I don't follow the news ah"
Me: "but how can you miss this. They found a live bomb near Kim Seng road, during construction".
Cab guy: ......
Me: "It's from world war II time...a big one", with adequate emphasis on the words world and war.
Cab guy: "That's why I don't read the news"
Cab guy: "yeah lah, look at you so stressed. News is so depressing these days no..only put fear fear..anyway most of it fake only".
Me(completely owned by an unassuming stranger at this point): that's true.
Naturally, I found it hard to focus on anything else during the day. Thankfully, all my projects were running smoothly which means I had plenty of time to follow the updates on the bomb-disposal mission on Singapore Police Force's Facebook page. For the rest of world, wondering if this is some of an insider joke, it isn't. It exists and is actually pretty helpful. This is what it said:
Residents have been safely evacuated from the 600 units neardby. We urge the people of Singapore of to stay calm and cooperate with the authorities for a safe disposal of the bomb. Those in the viscinity of the excavation site, please leave your doors and glasses open as loud tremors are expected during the procedure.
Those who know me closely wouldn't find what I did next even a tad bit shocking. I read up articles on previously found bombs in different parts of the world. Followed by a a quick Google search on how safe is it to destroy an unexploded bomb. Followed by a search on accidents caused by buried unexploded bombs. Followed by looking up the nearest hospital in River Valley.
Unexploded ordnance (UXO, sometimes abbreviated as UO), unexploded bombs (UXBs), or explosive remnants of war (ERW) are explosive weapons (bombs, shells, grenades, land mines, naval mines, cluster munition, etc.) that did not explode when they were employed and still pose a risk of detonation, sometimes many decades after they were used or discarded
Apparently, the unearthing of World War II era bombs is a common occurrence in over 78 countries including Germany, Britain, Japan and Laos, killing about 15-20,000 people each year. (So much for fake news, take that cabbie!).
I ingested what I had read with an impending sense of doom. Given, the proximity of my workplace to the construction site, it occured to me that if this god damn bomb-disposal mission goes southward, I could be critically hurt. Dammit, I could be dead in a few minutes. Suddenly, I had these black and white visuals of men, women and children scurrying off like rats, seeking shelter under debris as the airplane above bombs their homes. I saw myself in them. Alone, terribly alone. Dressed in a 19th century peasant frock (clearly, I've watched way more war documentaries than what's considered normal).
In my visions, I started to walk backwards in slo-motion while saying goodbyes to Ma and Bum, and the measly number of people who actually cared about me, purposelessly avoiding Mowgli, my cat who I can't bear to see, at this point.
I thought to myself, how long will my boss mourn for me. A day? A week, tops? Until the Lancome client parts ways with her or till she finds a baller female copywriter?
I heard Edith Piaf's Je ne regrette rien (I have no regrets) as I levitated into the sky, in slo-mo, obviously...
A loud, crashing sound stirred me out of my tragic reverie.
I heard bosslady screaming "It's the bomb guyssss".
I'm happy and shocked at the same time. Happy to find out that I wasn't the only loony worrying myself to death about this seemingly normal operation in a country that takes pride in following the tightest of safety protocols. Heck, they declare a national emergency when the daily PSI readings touch 100-supposedly unhealthy for Singaporeans but just another day in the life of a Delhiite.
Shocked because, we just heard a loud crashing, should we make way to the bomb shelter, a mandatory construction in every new Singaporean building? Is it time to bid farewell to my rather short but fruitful existence on the planet?
Unlike my colleague, a Singaporean who in his words was "thrilled" that something eventful was finally happening in his sanitized, bland country, I had been nothing but a bag of rotten nerves up until I checked the SPF Facebook page(for the 5th time in the same hour) and came across this update.
Apologies for the minor noise disturbance. The bomb disposal mission was a success and while the forces are still checking the nearby buildings for structural damages, we advice people of Singapore to approach the area with caution.
I sighed with relief. I couldn't help but think of T.S Elliot's famous words (with a little twist).
So this this is how the world is saved, not with a whimper but with a bang.