It broke my heart to see old haunts destroyed and tainted with the violent acts of war. It hurts so badly when I see the exact places I spent my innocent childhood and misguided youth... rent asunder like this.
This time, the violence fill me with emotions that are different from anything I have felt before. As much as I want to be all rational and grown up about it, I am filled with a rage and a desire for base animalistic revenge. But against whom? Who do we condemn and fight with as we demand our basic rights as citizens of a peaceful world? Should I fight the enemies, within or without or just my own complacency or the complacency of those who allow such things to happen? Whose fault is it? Is it even rational to place blame on any one doorstep? Will I be fighting a tangible enemy or will I just be shadow boxing with ideological abberations?
In a few hours, I am going to be at Thanksgiving dinner with all my inlaws. Today, I am supposed to be thankful for everything and pay tribute to all the opportunities and people in my life. The irony of it!
Can I really be sincere about it today, when I am filled with emotions of rage and sadness? Can I sit there, make small talk with family and friends and drink a toast to peace and happiness without the bitter bile of anguish tainting everything? Am I even supposed to?
Today I am going to have to reassure my American sister in law and teenage nieces that it is still okay to come to India with me next August.. that it will be peaceful and that India is really not always in the throes of violence. They loved thier previous trips to India and are always asking when they can come next. Will they still feel this way today? How much do I have to explain away?
I hope atleast this time, Mumbai will not go into "Business as usual" mode in a effort to show resilience. We have shown resilience so many times, I wonder if it is actually insensitivity now. Mumbai needs to make a HUGE STINK about it and continue to hammer the message home over and over in national and international arenas, until it gets the kind of noteriety and attention that a Madrid, or London or New York got. I realise that the vast numbers of poor people who depend on daily wages have to go on everyday despite the trouble. For them resilience is nessecary. However, I sincerely hope that big business and politicians show the will to highlight this despicable act for what it is. Mumbaikars need to show the world how badly terrorism hurts them for something to be done through political means.
Wake up Vilasrao and show the canny leadership we should expect of CM's of a premier state like Maharashtra. Go on, show the political will to help the city and free it from the clutches of ideological and physical violence. Can you? Or is a more OPENLY communal minded Raj Thackeray, the better alternative so that Mumbaikars can sleep with some reassurance that they will be not be murdered in thier sleep by terrorism.
Today, instead of only speaking of how thankful I am for my good fortunes as I eat a meal with my family, I will pay tribute to all Mumbaikars whose faith, will and lives have been destroyed by acts of willful and malicious violence.
In Falguni and Shane Peacock
7 hours ago