from ANABRANCHED in Delhi:
I think that yesterday evening was difficult for our hunger strikers. Everyone got pretty quiet as the day progressed. Their eyes had a uniformly glassy look, no matter how brave their words were. Thankfully there was entertainment to take their minds off their bellies. Several students gave a poetry reading, followed by two films. Both were Charlie Chaplin – The Circus and The Great Dictator – with Hindi subtitles. Although Chaplin did not fail at getting laughs, people watched from their bedding and dozed off during or soon afterwards.
This morning I think people felt better – their systems should be clearing of some toxins by now – but they are becoming visibly weak. Our good doctor arrived as usual, and although everyone was declared fit, weight loss was proceeding apace – between 1 and 3 kilos each! News that we might soon be getting a meeting with the Prime Minister returned a bit of cheer to the day.
I first checked in with Sebastian this morning. We have some difficulty communicating because his English is minimal and my French is nonexistent. He makes up for it with physical comedy and when I asked how he felt he collapsed in mock exhaustion – “I’m faible” – weak. But, he said “what is three days compared to twenty-one years? It is easy to see what is most important here.”
Sanjay: “I feel a laziness, and to tell you the truth, I’m a bit bored. I’m hungry too, but not for food, for the demands. I just hope that everyone who can is coming forward in support. We need it. With it I’m sure we can win.”
Rachna was juggling phone calls, same as usual, and she told me with a big smile “I’m feeling much better than yesterday.”
Champa told me she feels fine, better today. “What more can I say?” she asked. “Now we just need action.”
Josh was meditating on Jantar Mantar. “I feel physically fine” he said, “but when I look around the street here it makes me disheartened that people need to come this far to get heard. It makes me wonder: what, in my life, do I care enough about to go on indefinite hunger strike for? The thing is, there are a minority of people in this world truly struggling for justice. We all have to make sure we are out there supporting them.”
Satish was seen sleeping by the water cooler, and Shazaade was napping somewhere else. Sathyu just smiled when asked how he was, and then went back to the phone. He seemed energetic though – in-between calls he trundled Shaheed’s son back and forth on his back, to the boy’s great delight.
Also two young students are joining the strike today, though I haven’t yet had a chance to check in with them. More tomorrow – keep the love and the rage flowing!