Sunday, November 30, 2008

This is Mumbai

Let me start off in the bureaucratic way by saying I condemn these attacks on Mumbai. It’s really saddening to watch these horrible acts of terror. More than hundreds of people dead and we are yet not sure, if this is the end.
I remember watching TV, India had just wont the cricket match and was happy India are 5-0 up in the series. As I was preparing to hit the bed I was just channel surfing when suddenly saw a breaking news firing reported at café Leopold and CST, I thought it is another one of those incidents and as I watched and grasped the magnitude of these attacks seems to become clear that this was something grave and not something Mumbai would forget easily. In my memory I guess there were two incidents that have kind of made me sit and think of terror in India are Hijack of IC 814 and The Mumbai riots
I remember the first few flight trips after the hijack incident used to make me nervous. Where as I have very hazy recollection of the Mumbai riots. I remember we had nice 2 weeks of holiday from school, I really did not understand what riots are, for me it was just groups of people fighting. I remember our building members had stocked bricks and glass bottles on the terrace. People say these riots had changed Mumbai in such a way that its glory can never be restored again. I say heck with it. I have never seen a much more vibrant city than this in India. Even after the serial bombs rocked the local train at peak hours the very next day these same trains, the life line of Mumbai were up and running. Mumbai get marooned literally every year still people would venture out to their offices hoping against hope that the rains would stop and later end up cursing their luck.
For an outsider and also some Mumbaikars this might seem that Mumbai is too thick skinned and has no heart. They have an opinion that Mumbai has started taking all these atrocities bending down and is probably too weak to standup and retaliate. I want to ask them what can the “aam aadmi” do? Should he come out on road and hold a dharna outside the mantralaya? Am pretty much sure incase it would have been some of the other states in India there would have been a bandh called, some of the people would be out in the roads closing down shops shouting political slogan whereas most of them would have stayed back at home had a good lunch and enjoyed a good afternoon nap.
Mumbai is different! The stories of the fighting Mumbai spirit have already started appearing on the news. They say Mumbai never stops and I completely endorse this feeling. Even the next day when I was traveling to my office there was freaking traffic on the road! People say this is out of Compulsion of Commerce; I want to ask them what is wrong in it? There are thousands of people who are daily wage workers if they don’t go to work their children are going to sleep hungry for no fault of their parent. Mumbai is the financial hub of the country; it has a responsibility that it has to fulfill. If Mumbai stops its ripples would be felt across the nation.
Mumbai has a big heart; I clearly remember the stories of how unknown people gave shelter to each other when the city was marooned. There were people out in the roads serving tea and biscuits when the rail line was targeted. Even now when the NSG guards arrived at the locations they were greeted with thundering applause and cheers. Hence you can’t say Mumbai has no heart.
So what is next? I guess the bureaucrats have provide answers not because Mumbai is going to question them but it would be their moral responsibility to let people of Mumbai know why do they end up paying with their lives.

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