Last week, when I was at work - I opened google to look for some competitive info on Apple and the first news link I saw was Mumbai attacked - 3 serial blasts... I dint even bother to open the link and read the story and immediately dialed home. Panic ensued as I saw Zaveri Bazar, Dadar west, Opera House -- places where a lot of my friends live, work or could be. I couldnt get through to anyone, and that moment everything dulled into motionless silence. My fingers were trembling as I dialed mom repeatedly, cursing the calling card lenghty procedures, and thinking of the worst case scenarios.. Even after I got through to mom, dad remained out of contact as he was travelling in from out of town that day and we spent 4 hours out of contact with him, many of which had me sitting at work, trembling at my blurry screen with my phone buzzing with friends in the US asking about my family. I felt numb.
I wrote to a friend of mine who lives in Mumbai if his family was ok -and was enraged to see his response -- " Yep, my friends and family are fine :)" SMILEY FACE. i wrote back a nasty one liner saying im glad, but Mumbai was bombed - thrice, there was nothing to smile about. I feel bad at having judged him, but I have no tolerance for people whose lives are focused only around their frinds and family.. life's much bigger than that. even when my dad came home after 26/11 safe and sound after such an experience, we did not celebrate, it was a small respite. We mourned for the people who left us, for the wounds of the attack and for the attack on our souls.
Whats different this time and what ALL the media is writing about is 'indifference' -- has mumbai's spirit has been misunderstood all along? I want to say no, but circumstances prove otherwise. When i spoke to my mom i was sobbing, far far away from home, helpless and frustrated and angry and sad for my city -- while my mom calmed me saying 'what are you doing crying? nothing can be done about this. we had 3 years of peace, now a days even thats a lot'. I was angry. I messaged a friend back home who was at a bar whol told me people continued to be at the bar even post this incident. All the newspaper articles, media interviews, seem like reruns - still fresh in my ears from 26/11. The angry cliches, the frustrated citizens, each network hoping and trying to depict a facet of the attacks which no other networks would. Each channel 'BREAKING NEWS' again and again.
And then i think of resilience. I dont have the patience, naivete, or will to listen to empty promises, finger pointing and more of the same ol same ol. I think of my city after the train blasts. after 26/11 blasts. after blasts in Pune, after blasts last week. seems routine now, more mundane. These blasts were apparently of 'medium' intensity since ONLY '22' people died.
Apparently the cost of a life goes up every few years - the government thinks a sizeable compensation is its only duty. Funny, how the safest man in Mumbai is probably one who was a part of kiling 250 of us - Kasab. each day he lives, its a mockery of our system. India needs to be more aggresive before people take us seriously. and that can happen only when it makes it clear to the rest of the world that it means business when it comes to its citizens. I dont feel like my government does - why would anyone else??