Sunday, November 30, 2008

A step at a time

There was a memorial service and a candlelight vigil in our society for all those victims and those brave men - army, NSG, hotel staff, policemen who lost their lives in the recent ... what do I call them - events? massacre? madness? attacks? Attacks.

My society has about 250 flats and consequently a lot of people and its a society very active (and at times, hyper active) in celebrating every festival, general get - togethers, parties and stuff, so I do see people gather and chit chat, celebrate etc. However, I have never seen so many of the residents joining in, I saw faces I had never seen in the past 5 years, people poured out to light a candle and mourn the people they knew and didn't. Old ladies, fathers getting their children to light a candle, the youngsters who usually think it uncool to mingle with anyone above the age of 19. It touched me deeply that pain can get people together even more than joy.


Since I have been jobless for some months I have taken to going down in the evening and after meeting a large number of people have made a few good friends. (For those of you who don't know me too well, I didn't get fired, I'm on a break).When I am down I usually notice stuff, it was part of my job description once and I have always been good at it. SO I am aware of the patterns of games the kids downstairs play and was surprised to see them doing something different in the evening today - the three young girls - 5-7 years old, had their bellies to the floor and were crawling on their elbows. I looked at one of my friends with a surprised look and she said,"They are playing commando". I didn't know whether to smile or well up about that.
Yesterday a friend sent me this text message - 'Am I the only one who is bursting into tears every now and then?My anguish and outrage is overwhelming me'. The message came at a time when I was wondering the same and grappling with some questions that won't leave me. Am I the only one this affected? Why am I this affected? This surely isn't the only time this city has seen devastation.

All of you out there, believe me, we are all together in this unhappiness. Lets please not let go of it so easily, if we forget, who will remember?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

How do we go on?

I talked of many emotions yesterday and I am left with only two now. Grief and Rage. Grief and Rage. How could this happen to us? How DID this happen to us? There are horrifying stories of people being killed at point blank range, there are images of a young boy cremating his father and a father cremating his son, a mother talking to his brave son who lies in a coffin covered with the Tiranga, there is a sea of grieving, shocked family members. So many lives, SO MANY OF THEM. Left midway, truncated. Lives, families, children, friends, plans all left midway with a violent end. How WILL they ever recover from it? These guys they come barging into our lives and take over, just like that? Who are they? And what made them into these animals? What did these people who are lying dead ever do to them? Did god not give these boys the mental facilities which help you distinguish right from wrong? Did he not give them humanity? Such hate? What do their aakas hope to achieve from this, how will our despair help them?

The brave forces have completed the operations, after three very long days and even longer nights. They have killed some of the terrorists, they have also rescued so many of the precious lives. Still how can we say that we have conquered them?! We have been brought to our knees , they succeeded in doing what they started out to - done the damage to our lives, our city, our people and our spirit. If we cannot accept that, there is no way we could ever get up. The operations might be over but this is far from over. I have no clue where to go from here. How can I just go back to living my life like I did, as if nothing happened? And if I don't am I not letting them win? I don't know where to look for these answers, I don't even know if the answers exist.

Friday, November 28, 2008

My City Bleeds

Grief. Anger. Helplessness. Rage. Tears. Goosebumps. Numbness. I finally find the strength to think and write about it. Its been hours and hours of this and Bombay is still burning, no one knows when will there be an end to this nightmare. We have been glued to the TV switching from one news channel to another for about 40 hours now, not able to sleep, eat or tear our ears and eyes away. The images of people with haunted eyes, blood soaked streets; the images of places we love, places we go to - burning, flicker behind my eyes even as I try to nap. And I worry, worry, worry.

As the terrified yet relieved faces of those rescued are shown on TV every once in a while, I tremble in relief for them and in grief for the numerous who did not, would not make it. What the survivors have gone through and what they have seen is going to haunt them for their lives. Neither are we. The images of The Taj building going up in flames, the sounds of blasts and gunfire, the reports of bodies strewn about in the two hotels, the martyred soldiers are not something we are likely to forget in our lifetimes. So we do what we can, sitting in our living rooms, watching our city being defiled, we pray for those who were, still are caught up in this and for those who have walked in willingly to bring out the ones they consider their duty. We pray for those who have lost friends, family members to this wanton hate. I have no idea what consolation to give them.

Our policemen, armymen, the NSG, the naval commandos, the hotel staff, the Airforce troopers they all fill our screens and hearts, they give us hope in this hopeless hour. The brave of our country doing their jobs as if its not their lives too that are stake. I swing between despair at what has happened and a fierce pride in our people.

On 26th November night, as we hear the news after a cousin called to check on us, I hear the words 'The Taj' and then ... The Oberoi. S and I strain to get every bit of information, I feel guilty and selfish looking especially for every bit of news on The Oberoi, praying especially hard for it. And for the first time I understand what the families of our defence forces must go through. My close close friend's dad, a friend who is my person, her dad takes care of the security details at the Oberoi, determined to leave only when every last one who needs help has been helped, I feel the fear and pride of it all for the past many hours. In the initial 8-10 hours as there's no contact with him after he rushed to resume his duties, we, her friends, hold our own vigil and pray our separate prayers. I feel helpless and I feel ashamed of my emotional state as she and her mom put up a brave front for friends, even as the news of firing, blasts and fires at the Oberoi fill the news reports. And I feel something which no word in my vocabulary describes, as she tells me that she could never ask him to come back home to his own safety while people are still stranded, its not something he would ever do. My girl, I can only give my prayers , my heart tells me that such goodness and such spirit can come to no harm. Yet I don't know how to explain our cops dying in the line of duty, it does not seem like a world where you ccannot rust your heart or goodness or spirit but I cannot think of ANYTHING else which might be keeping us afloat.

I don't know about the spirit of the people etc., it all sounds like cliches and bytes that the news channels have been beaming for these eternal hours; I only know that if there are people who have the heart to open fire on people going about their business; there are also people who have the heart to walk in and stay till the so very bitter end to fight them and make sure that the damage they can do to us is minimum.


Update: Her dad is ok and here's her story.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I don't know what to do. I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO!

Its gonna be ok. Its gonna be ok. Its gonna be ok.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Morning After

I just love the morning after. I mean, after the night I finish a book. It feels like waking up to a new world, each time.It feels like whatever world I was living in has come to an end, reached its culmination and when I wake up I have the chance to choose an entirely new one for myself. Padding to the stack of new, unread books ; picking them up, reading the back covers, inside panels; rolling them around my head; thinking about what had made me buy the book, deciding what it is that I feel like diving into and finally settling down to it. Its a completely amazing feeling. A feeling that no candy shop, dessert shop even shoe shop examples can describe. The joys that we live for :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Happy B'day to me!! :)