December 11, 2008

As a Mumbai-kar

I have lived in Mumbai since I was six, so this means I have the roots and foundation inculcated by the city Bombay (when I was six) and now Mumbai. But what are these roots, what is it that a kid grown and living in this city has seen and feels today.
Being in Mumbai, I have seen and experienced a lot of things that could have potentially made the city instable but didn’t. I was in 10th class when the Bombay blasts happen, my board exams were going on, which then got postponed because of this terror. All students that year took the first crucial exams that will decide their future career option, in the backdrop of multiple blasts, riots, killings in the city. But life went on…stronger than ever.
Then there was multiple rain floods…the worst of it being the 26/7, where I spent the night in office, my mom spent the night walking home, many lost their lives, many homes drowned, many lost their cars, wealth…the damage is indefinable….but life went on…with the spirit of the city winning over any calamity. Then the multiple train blasts, where again, life kicked-off again the very next morning, to make a living. That was Mumbai, which was made of a soul, which knew to combat all hardships, be it political, infrastructure that sucks, terror attacks or natural calamity.
But then happened the recent Mumbai terror attacks that were beyond any spirit, which shook the very soul of every human in this city. This was the first incident that touched me in a way nothing ever did before this. It in fact took me 2 weeks to gather my lost thoughts, to get me writing on this. It’s not about the number of causalities in a single incident, that the city has seen before, it’s the fear that we lived for about 60 hours. It’s the announcement that no one is safe, not even the classes who wine and dine in places like ‘Taj’. I may sound discriminating but the hard truth is all the events prior to this essentially, mostly impacted the innocent masses and probably not the privileged ones like us. This is the first time that something impacted the riches of the city and making us realize how the previous events must have impacted the average, innocent people of the city. Yet the city progressed because it’s the average Mumbai-Kars need to keep going on, not for any spirit of the city, but more for survival.
Almost everyday we heard the painful stories of life and death, the number of stories kept diminishing by the day, but the pain and fear is taking its toll. There are some people who I personally know who lost their lives, leaving me believe in uncertainty of life. A innocent question by my friend’s five year old daughter, in a school gathering to mourn death of fathers of their 7 students: “Mama is it Christmas preparation”, left my friend speechless, that was one question she was and will never be prepared to answer.
There are some more who I know, who skipped death by couple minutes and even seconds, a friend who got saved by nature’s call, who went to the loo in Leopold cafĂ© while the firing destroyed the same very table, where he was enjoying his beer. This was nothing but sheer luck.
Then there are many more including me, who could have been where ‘the end’ was but weren’t there and are living today. Yes, living but with something dead within us, something that feels so uncomfortable, a thought that makes even our smile seem so gloomy, something within that feels so hollow. The candle light march looked as beautiful as a tragedy can get. The candle flames were the perfect union of grief and anger but the hope is that it will not end all here. We thank god today to have survived but the only meaningful way to thank god is to do something in our own way to stop this horror, to make a silent, little difference to the sufferers. We need to be the change, we want to see’.
Nothing on this subject can end without a tribute to the warriors who fought this reality show which we wish never happened. If this was the worst of human mind, then we also the best of human nature in form the commandos, army and the police who saved hundreds of life at the cost of their own. They are the ones who kept our faith in man kind going.

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