It was yet another cold winter's evening in London, the sky was overcast with clouds, the scent of foredooming rain could be picked out of the breeze, amongst the hundred other aromas London is well known to possess. But a particular aroma that one rarely comes across was soon to fill the air in front of the India House, that of burning candle wax.
I was walking to Southbank from the top of Aldwych, taking pictures for my portfolio and going to meet some friends at a Christmas market. I noticed a few police officers standing near India House, and considering what had happened just a few days ago this didn’t surprise me. But that there was a very small crowd of twenty people in the square of India house, in a circle, sporting white armbands did. On approaching the group I eaves dropped that they were holding some sort of manifestation, and asked a young man by the name of Oaisim what was going on. A spontaneously organised candle light vigil for the dead of the massacre in Mumbai was being organised, by friends, relatives and concerned Indian citizens.
I left these volunteers and driven individuals to their organising, since I had a rendezvous on the other side of the Thames. Upon my return the whole square was packed with people, holding candle in their hands, the wax dripping on their bare skin, cupping the flame of almost 200 dead from the chilly wind that threatened to blow it out. Most of the faces in this crowd were blank, a few hid their tears well, as if they were still under shock from what happened. Although the mood was not sober, it was more one of impatience, this was not a public mourning; it was a vigil and a call to arms from within the Indian community in London.
The many speakers that came forth presented their thoughts, raised several points and expressed their sorrow and disgust for what happened in the best ways they could. Speaking words of passion and lost love, and not of hate or restlessness, some struggled to raise their voices so that the whole congregation could hear, but all passed on their thoughts through action. Through being together, on a cold winters Sunday, as the foreshadowed rain started to drizzle down, none moved.
There were a couple of press photographers and a reporter present, marauding the crowd with their camera clicks and high intensity flashes. They were there to bear witness for the rest of the city, absent and unknowing of this occurrence, much like I would have been if I had not stumbled upon this scene and enquired about what was happening. I personally took some snap shots, available for all to see on my profile, for the benefit of recording this event and tracing its story. These members of the press were asked to join in on holding hands together in silence, but because of professionalism they had to refuse. I seemed to have been the only one, with camera in hand, to have held a candle, said a prayer under the rain, and held hands with fellow brothers from another nation under the gaze of the bronze bust of Jawaharlal Nehru, towering over the square. I simply felt the need to be part of this, and not just to be a spectator, as I signed the guestbook that was being passed around, Nicola Lazzari, Citizen of the world. It is with this in mind that I wrote this article, and added the pictures to facebook, hope it gave you a glance into something that happened, but you probably never would have known.
My greatest condolences go to those who have lost loved ones in these attacks, and as always I shout out to the world; LOVE LIFE AND PEACE.
- All thoughts and pictures: © Nicola Lazzari, alias Speaking Aperture