It is strange, how sometimes our memory of a public tragedy is sustained by a totally unconnected personal experience. So it has been for me with Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination by a suicide bomber 20 years ago.
At the time I lived in Washington DC, and shared an apartment with a Taiwanese friend in the suave Foggy Bottom neighbourhood. Every morning at 7, I would sit at the breakfast table and watch people stream into the city to work in stiff grey and black suits, striding briskly, decisively, towards their destination. Each strider maintained an impervious bubble of personal space, taking care never to collide bubbles or intrude into another. And in-between the bubbles was the city’s uninhabited space: organised, methodical, clinically sterile….
Early morning on 21 May in 1991, my roommate, came rushing to my bed, newspaper in hand. “Look, an African woman has killed your prime minister!” Still disoriented, I scanned the front page trying to avoid the gory photo there. “He was not our current PM and she is not African…” Read the whole article here in The Times of India