This piece was written by Mohan Rajan in response to a query from his friend in Purdue, U.S. on his safety after the bombs that ripped Mumbai on Tuesday 7/11 2006.
Your concern makes my eyes moist as I sit on the computer myself this morning at 5am IST, the early riser that I am. It's a concern that has traversed many miles and from so many diverse cultures. We accept it with love and with all humility.
I've just taken my Spitz for a walk. The Gateway of India bay was quiet but there were some of the usual walkers despite the gory night before.
Today the TV announcer smiles and justifies it by saying a smile, after the concatenation of events, may look out of place, but that he is doing so because of the spirit of the city.
I am fortunate to live next to the office, so physically there was no effect. But my 10 colleagues who all use the local train system, which ferries the population of Australia daily to and fro to the linear city of Bombay were definitely put to horrible strain.
Having learnt from previous episodes, we asked all to stay put in the office. The good news is that all are safe. Some were intrepid (and foolish) to use the still partly functional train system and reach suburbia. Others wise enough to stay with colleagues/friends in safety zones. Others wiser to stay in the humble office itself. But, and Praise the Lord, all are safe.
"No milk today, my love has gone away, the bottle stands forlorn, a symbol of the dawn..." was the refrain of the Beetles. Bombayites are more fortunate. Today, early morning, the administration has delivered the milk to our doorsteps. My Spitz is licking herself clean having licked her bowl clean of her share of the milk. As we sip our coffee, the papers (all 30 of them) are trickling in the many deliveries. 30? Yes 30, please don't forget we are a PR agency!
The city has bounced back. Despite the blood and gore. Despite the statistical tom foolery of the politicians. Despite the missing and the dead.
People are going to work this morning. To show the dastardly terrorists they are not cowed down. The administration and police are doing a better job this time than they did on similar tragedies. Maybe it's just growing expertise with the passage of time or cumulative experience gleaned over tragedies. The politicians are there sooner, maybe because of more helicopters or faster King Lear jets. OR MAYBE BECAUSE OF THE FEAR OF LOSING THEIR JOBS!!!
My perspective? Here it is from a 52 year old, cynic, secular, Indian, Hindu, pacifist, never mind the contradictions. Bernard Nossiter was right to call India a soft state. Pakistan's Musharraf criticised last night's mayhem on Bombay, yet harbours terrorists on his soil enjoyingthe protective mantle of Bush and Blair.
A strong message needs to be sent out to terrorists. They need to be humbled. Hit them where it hurts the most: The Lashkar e Toiba terrorist network, flush them out, even if it means a quick military operation on Pak soil.
However unpalatable it may be to the educated elite, the fact remains that of all the followers of all religions today, the followers of Islam spew the most vitriol against civilization. Anybody missing this point is just being diplomatic or unable to see things in perspective. So followers of Islam need to do some serious self introspection for change. As they say Islam is the best of all religions with the worst of all followers.
People are lovely. The people of Bombay who were cleaning up the mess and blood and bones last night, giving more hands and muscle and much needed blood to the creaking administration and injured. People like Brian and Matt, who from many miles and cultures away, are enquiring about our well being. People, who despite the sleight of hands of their Houdini politicians, are living and practicing examples of their religious and cultural teachers ... Christ, Ram, and Allah.
We wonder how the police intelligence could not anticipate the acts when the terrorists have in broad daylight managed to plant 8 bombs in 8 different train compartments. Have they squandered the taxpayer's monies instead of equipping trains with CCTV networks. On Sunday just 3 days before this blast, the Shiv Sena, so called protectors of Hindutva, who fight Valentine's Day celebrations saying they are negative Western influences on Hindu society, held the whole city and state to ransom, burnt public transport buses and pelted stones at people, forced shops to down shutters. They showed all this political muscle just because the statue of the deceased wife of their rabble rousing leader was desecrated. One wonders where they are today when the real desecration and abuse of their city and its human wealth has occured?
Politics is the last refuge of the scoundrel.
It's a bright sunny day bang in the middle of the Bombay monsoon, I'm off to work with a black emotional band of protest. Like the Japs, we will work harder today to show more productivity and earn more goodwill, to logistically upset the terrorist's calculations and applecart and place a surfeit of goods on the shopfloor so that the terrorist wont be able to handle the surplus!