Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mumbai..

I am depressed...have been for the past week or so...I have practically no direct ties to Mumbai...haven't lived in the city, haven't worked there either...just a couple of cursory, touristy visits in the past three decades...but the recent terror attacks in the 'city of dreams', as many choose to call it,have affected me in a way I have never been affected before...

Had never imagined starting off my blog on such a depressing note...have been having these endless discussions with D this past week about what could have, what should have, what must be done...all of course, from the comforts of our living room, thousands of miles away from Mumbai... having been fortunate enough not to be tangibly affected by the attacks,at least for now...

Perhaps penning my thoughts would just help me make sense of it all...make me feel less helpless or at least less guilty about feeling so helpless...I really don't know...

I have been haunted by the images of Major Unnikrishnan's mother reaching out to touch her young son's face for one last time...the Jewish toddler, Moshe, howling for his mom while folks around him prepared for his parents' funeral...the 11 year old kid lying on the hospital bed, sensing the void in his small world, even without being explicitly told that his parents had fallen prey to the terrorists' bullets...images that provide just a glimpse of the devastation and havoc wreaked by the attackers who held the city of Mumbai to hostage for 60 long hours...

Coming from Assam, it's not that I have not been exposed to the kind of devastation that terrorism causes...a close friend of mine lost her father to the bullets of Bodo extremists at the tender age of 9...terrorism had struck close to home and to my heart several times earlier...but on the 26th of November, while news was trickling in about the Mumbai attacks and as I made frantic phone calls to family and friends to make sure everyone was okay, it was with an extra bit of trepidation in my heart...10 near simultaneous attacks across one of the most populous cities in India ...all in places and at times where potentially any family member/friend could have been...

Depressed I am because of the lack of a political system that should have stood united in the face of this terror...

Depressed I am because of politicians willing to dole out crores of rupees as compensation to the families of the victims of terror when that same money could have been used to safeguard their lives ...

Depressed I am to read that lives of our bravehearts could have been saved if not for some corrupt officials deciding to reap monetary benefits by buying and selling faulty bulletproof jackets...

Depressed I am as I realize that our hospitality and humaneness as Indians, as demonstrated by the deeds of the staff of the attacked hotels and the likes of Sandra Samuels,has had to go through such a grim test...

Depressed I am because of the existence of political powers who refuse to respect and let the families of our martyrs grieve in peace...

Depressed I am at the thought that the events of the three days succeeding 26th November,2008 would soon be forgotten as a nightmare with nothing being done to prevent repeat attacks of an equivalent or larger scale...

Depressed I am because having chosen a career that's so distant from public service, a decade back, I feel guilty translating my grief into anger and helpless in trying to convert this latent anger against the system into positive activism...

Depressed I am because from thousands of miles away from India, all that I can do is attend candle light vigils and memorials to honor the victims of terror...

The September 11, 2001 attacks in NY were just as devastating and so have been all the attacks in Assam and other parts of India and the world before and after... but for some reason seven years back , I seemed to be a lot more hopeful and optimistic that the system would get sorted out...that things would take a turn for the better...then, in my early twenties,fresh out of college, single, just starting off my career, I felt I had the potential to take on and change the world...

Today, seven years later,happily married, established as a professional , I am scared and less optimistic...perhaps with stability in life, wisdom and age (of course :-)) dawns the realization of life's limitations...D and I have been talking about having kids in a few years from now...but I am scared....I am scared of bringing in a life I cannot protect from all these unknown elements,that seem to be spreading terror and growing stronger at it by the day.... scared of not being able to guarantee the pristine,calm and carefree childhood that every child deserves...

6 comments:

promiti said...

I loved reading what you've written...Put up more posts!

SGN said...

Well written, but I am a bit more optimistic. I still think we can make a difference no matter how small it may be. After all Rome was not built in a day.

Priyanka Rajkhowa said...

Proma : Thanks for checking in....will try to be a bit more regular with posts.

SGN: Yeah, I agree that all of us can make a difference...but I guess my pessimism stems from our inability to do anything hands on, sitting here in the US...having said that, I particularly like the point you make in your post about how corporate India has been essentially built and nurtured by the Indian middleclass...and the government has assisted the growth by not being overly intertfering.....sincerely hope a similar citizens' movement gains momentum to prevent and handle situations like the Mumbai attacks....that point alone gives me a reason to be optimistic...

Priyanka said...

Hey PR, when r you posting next?

Priyanka Rajkhowa said...

Hey Priyanka,

Just wrote up anotherpost yaar
:-))

Globe Treader™ - © Kiran Ghag said...

even after years, nothing has changed much :)

http://blog.kiranghag.com/2008/11/this-is-just-begining-of-end.html