Today is the 1st of December. Ideally this post should have been written earlier. A lot has already been written, said and promised. I am not going to write anything different.
On 26th November, I was at a relatives house for the mehendi ceremony. While someone applied heena on my hands, a phone-call ruined the festive atmosphere. A relative said that there might have been firing at CST. Then someone said there was a blast at Colaba. Mum ran frantically outside to call my dad. His office is just fifteen minutes away from Colaba. Plus he did not have the car that day which meant that he would take the train.
When I was told this I shrugged it off. These might be just rumours. Blasts happen all the time plus dad was in Navi Mumbai and the office was shut. People had already panicked. This was around 10 pm. Then we heards of blasts in Parle. Hence the TV was switched. Channel after channel spoke about the hostage situation. The Anti terrorist squad had been summoned.
Ok they seemed to say that they would have the situation under control soon. I was ok as dad was safe and none of my friends were in Colaba.
We were not allowed to leave the place and hence we stayed the night. But the morning 6:30 am news horrified me. The death toll was already rising. The ATS chief had been killed. There was firing near Metro. Firing at Cafe Leopolds. Hostage situation grim at the Taj and The Trident. Then came the news of the hostages at Nariman house. The young Rabbi and his wife killed. It took the police, the NSG, the marcos and all other security personels three days to flush out the terrorists. The actual body count is still not out. Hundreds of questions are raised which I fear may not not answered as usual.
Mumbai has witnessed numerous blasts, riots and bandhs over the years. After each of these incidents everyone talks about the Mumbaikar's spirit. Mumbai is unbreakable and all that jazz. I am a Mumbaikar. I travel by the local, take a bus whenever I can and have practically lived my college life at Colaba. Leos is the one place that everyone parties at or has been there sometime or the other. We all aspire that yes someday we would have lunch/ dinner at Taj. This was one place that was untouched. Yes, we have seen blasts at the Gateway in 2005 but then we overcame it.
But I am tired and sometimes feel Mumbai will crumble. Seriously, what is this spirit that everyone talks about? Yes, there was a spirit once which was strong, very strong. But it has been battered and let down so many times that it is almost fading. In a place like Mumbai, do we really have another choice? There were blasts in the train and buses. Even taxis are not safe. What do we do? Stop traveling entirely?
I have lovely memories of Leopolds and I am sure many of us do. I was at Leos only last monday. I had an amazing pasta lunch there. Now people we shot at randomly for no reason. Causeway was never shut, always a flurry of activity and lots of people there. The petrol-pump that was blown up was the place where my dad would always park the car when we went to kailash Parbat at Causeway. Hemant Karkare, Vijay Salaskar and Ashok Kamte were shot outside Metro Cinema. I have practically lived there for weeks together at a friend's place next door. It is never going to be the same again.
Now that it is all over the government wants to give compensation. Politicians are resigning. We have made a fool of ourselves in front of the world. We have no answers to how and why we could let this happen. And Mumbai is regarded as one of the safest cities in the world. Yahan Pe Sab Chalta Hai!
Yes that is why Shivraj Patil, R.R Patil, Vilasrao Deshmukh and Raj Thackeray get away with everything. Only the common man suffers. The middle class quietly plays the increasing tax and goes on with life. The poor is promised this and that but in vain. We have a PM who is older than god knows what! Then there is the BJP Prime Ministerial-candidate who wanted to fly down here. What for? If they cant grieve sitting in their homes at least be swift with decision making. They have jingles to go with their speeches. We want peace but let out soldiers die because they dont have proper arms and facilities.
We blame the system but is there any system at all? Are we still going to wait for aother attack as this? Farouk Shaikh clearly stated that we should start preparing for the next attack as we are soon going to forget and move on. The media is another let down. I cannot imagine a senior journalist like Barkha Dutt behaving the way she did. Ok you did manage to give us blow by blow account of what was happening but your cameras also gave away the positions of our soldiers. She kept saying there were secret entrances through which the hostages were being rescued. Was this necessary? Then harassing the already traumatised survivors. Pathetic. To top it all, she asked Shobha De what De felt about Advani and PM taking a common flight? What the F@#$ for? Seriously they were not needed. It only gets dumber. But our government will now award another Padmashree.
I think I have gone numb. But I dont want to die and who knows I could be next in some other attack or blast. The terrorists whoever they are dont belong anaywhere. The statement given out by one them is equally questionable. If they were fighting for the rights of the Muslims then how copme they managed to kill so many Muslims? They want an explanation of all the atrocities done to their community in India but they did not ask anyone which religion they belonged to before they shot at them. They are lunatics.
I knew some people who died and it is weird.
I think we should all stop paying any kind of tax and never vote again. Plus all these politicians should not be given any more securities. If they die, at least we can call them matrys then!