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.

2 comments:

mumbai diva said...

I pray for her dad. I am fatigued now by the pain and the worry. I only hope it ends soon

The Nomad said...

Mumbai diva, thanks for your prayers.