First of all, I hope you and all your loved ones are safe, wherever you are.
The words are threatening to choke me, and so I have to put them down here. However, the emotions are too many, too intense & too confused.
- Amitabh Bachchan
- Sonia Faleiro
- Parizaad Khan’s eye-witness account of being trapped in Taj Hotel for the night
- Salil Tripathi
- Udayan Tripathi (19-year-old student at Georgetown, and Salil’s son)
I feel angry, confused & lost. This is not the country I grew up in, the country I was brought up to love, the country I came running back to. This is not the country I want to bring up my kids in. A place where anyone can threaten your life & liberty with impunity, a place where the defenders have to battle politicians who will cast insinuations about their work & character, where I have live my life worried about every young man carrying a backpack, every lady bearing a bouquet. I feel impotent, useless, worthless. I feel for those who lost their loved ones, for the armed forces & police personnel who have been fighting this battle for 36 hours now, for the valiant officers who sacrificed their lives, and for those everyday heroes who took strangers in, gave rooms in hotels free of charge (Gordon House Hotel), fed people through gunfire (Taj Hotel). This gives me hope in humanity.
And so, in reply to Amit’s comment
Earlier today, I was working on a final polishing of my novel before it goes to press. Now I wonder what’s the point. The book will come out in April, and Bombay will be a different city then. This book was written in a Bombay before these attacks; it will come out in a Bombay after these attacks, and it somehow feels, as I sit here in the business center of a boutique hotel a stone’s throw away from mayhem, that it will be inadequate. It is a love story—and isn’t that perverse?
I would just say that right now Mumbai (& India) needs love stories as much as it needs journalistic reporting, live blogging & debates around security. I’m not just saying it as a biased friend of yours. I believe a city (like an individual) has many faces. Life isn’t black or white, it’s not even shades of gray; it is a rainbow of many colours, not all of which are pretty to behold. And so those who love a place/person need to emphasize, to publicize & to highlight different hues of its personality.
We will hopefully discuss this in more detail over emails/coffees; right now my heart, like yours, is filled with grief, sadness & anger. But I know that the human spirit has infinte capacity to move forward, to build anew, to recover, revive & resurrect itself. It is important for us to remember this day forever, to take lessons from it to build a better world where this day is never repeated. And we will.
I still need to believe.