Yesterday’s news of the terror attacks brought back painful memories. Images flashed by – policemen behind stacks of sandbags, with drawn rifles, fingers on the triggers; opposite my home in Mumbai to nab the terrorists hiding/escaping from Lokhandwala Complex in Andheri. My turning back on my way to work to instruct my old mother and the maid to watch the kids, to not to go to the windows when they hear gun shots - to avoid a stray bullet. Not to let my toddler play downstairs, near the gate of the building for the same reason. To stay put at home. I’d have liked to chuck my work and stay home with them but I chose to leave.
I remember thinking that God alone knows how long this sensational situation may last and I had a job to do and I decided to go.
In Mumbai, life is like that, no one stops. People go about their routine, almost stepping over dead bodies if that is what it takes to get to work. Often I have come across – especially in literary world – this being referred to as heartless.
I do not agree.
To give in to terrorism is letting them win. That is the aim of terrorism. To paralyze the normal life. To hold us back from the very act of living. To stop a city from functioning.
So what do you do? You carry on. You - by doing this - do not let them win.
But for a few days one will carry the sadness in one’ heart at all the needless destruction – of person, property and trust. Images of bleeding innocent people, children, and women will haunt us all for a while, making ask silently. “Why, God, why? Why does it have to be like this? When are we going to realize that taking away anything from anyone in such violent manner does more damage to us than to the other? That violence and anger never resolve anything?”
There is no answer and so with time the memory fades and life goes on.
On a final note I wish someone puts a stop to the insane, repetitious news casting on Indian television. In a span of three minutes you get to hear some cub reporter in a near-hysterical high pitch scream out a description of what is being flashed sixteen times a minute simultaneously on the other half of the screen. Some banal question and answers to and fro with someone near the scene and those over and over again flashes of gory images. I mean hello? Must news on television be so cheap and idiotic? Isn’t there a better, saner more sophisticated way of bringing the news to the viewers?
Well, as I pray for those hit yesterday, I also pray for the people who do this - so misguided, so convinced that they are doing the right thing.
God help us all!