So, do I have a take on the Mumbai terror attacks?
I think I am not allowed to.
You know why? Because when my mother in law knocked at our door and said, there was an attack in Mumbai; my immediate reaction was, ‘Again?’ Yes, that was it.
And then I went and watched 5 minutes of television. The same shots of gunshots being heard, people running around, firing from the vehicle. Then I picked my cell phone, called and messaged those who I knew and who could have been around. Once I knew all was fine with them, I went back to the room, and closed the door behind me.
So, I think I don’t deserve to have a take on the matter. Some years ago, I guess I would give myself the right to speak about it. Because, I feel that if I had faced the same situation a few years ago, I would have been scared. Watched the encounter re-runs the whole night even. Even if it was the same shots over and over again. With ‘Breaking News’ covering half the screen. With the reporters quoting the same things over and over again, while giving extremely irrelevant opinions on what the police, and the intelligence, and firemen, should be doing. I would have watched, and been shocked and surprised, and hated the wrong doers with vengeance.
I do hate them even now, really. But more than for this particular act of terror, it’s for making me immune to terror, and violence, to news of innocent lives being taken. For making me accept things as they are, and going to the extent of just nodding and saying ‘So what’s new in this?’ I hate that I am not shocked enough. That though I feel sorry for thosewho have been hurt, I am unable to empathize. If there are tears, they are no longer tears of sorrow. They are more to do with anger. Anger at being so helpless. And at times, tears of relief. Relief that people I love and those who matter are safe. I know that is selfish, but that’s how I feel. And that’s what I hate those terrorists for; for making this feeling of relief for myself, my family and friends, stronger than the feeling of sympathy for the others at this moment.
And the fear. No place is safe anymore. The mother calls and asks us to cancel the weekend plans, what with all this going on, it is not safe. The Mother in law asks us not to visit crowded places anymore, malls, multiplexes, you never know what might happen. Extreme suspicion, if someone leaves his bag under the seat in the train, while he gets off to say good bye to his family. Twice in the last month, people at work were made to stay back within premises for 3 hours, till the police dogs were brought in and made to sniff that bag on the bike parked outside of office. It was an employee’s gym bag once, and clothes he had brought along for donation the other time. I hate them for the feeling of suspicion which has now become an inherent part of the mind.
But I still remain optimistic. No, I am not positive that things will change for the better, or all this will stop. I can only be hopeful for that. But I am optimistic in a very crude kind of way. That these people, who are responsible for the terror they caused, the sorrow they brought upon people who were minding their own lives, will suffer too. In a much more painful way. And no, it doesn’t bother me that they are sons, brothers, or anything else, or that there are people for whom they are everything. For me they are animals, in fact worse, because atleast animals kill when they are provoked, or hungry. The acts of this category of living creatures cannot be justified. And all I wish for is pain for them, even if it means hurting those who matter to them.
Good things happen to good people, that’s my most positive belief ever. And for once, I am just hoping that the vice versa stands true too.