The auto rickshaw moved like a small bug through the traffic. Hanging onto the side of the contraption, I attempted to read my letters. Suddenly the vehicle stopped, sending me and my letters flying.
"What happened?"I asked as I retrieved the scattered papers.
The driver frowned as he surveyed the rowdy crowd. His Hindi flowed as he questioned those who stood nearby. My limited Hindi kept me in further suspense.
"What is it?"
"Oh, you will have to walk now."
"No road, you have to go now."
"What is going on?"
"Please Miss, please get down."
No explanation was given. I was told to get out of the auto rickshaw nearby the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. The crowd seemed angry, but then many crowds I walked through in India seemed angry. All I wanted to do was get to the other side of the gathering and find another auto rickshaw to take me home. Letters firmly in hand, I made my way through a sea of people. Some were crying, others were yelling, and others were arguing but I couldn't understand why. After what seemed like an eternity I made it to the other side and got into a new auto rickshaw.
"Do you know what is happening?"
The driver almost crashed into the sign post. He turned his head and stared at me as though I was from Mars.
"You do not know?"
"If I knew, would I ask?"
"Indira Gandhi was shot by her body guards today."
"WHAT? No, this must be a mistake!! Is she dead?"
"They say she isn't."
It wasn't until later that evening they finally announced she was dead. Her body held 31 bullets. Each bullet coming from guns her bodyguards held. The ones who were supposed to protect her turned against her like they were actors in a Greek tragedy or Roman drama. Someone forgot to tell them this was real life and the consequences of their actions would be far reaching.
October 31, 1984 the day Indira Gandhi was assassinated.