Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bent Not Broken

I had plans for a very different post following my movement to Delhi but I have been forced to do this one thanks to a bunch of misguided people who think that by killing and maiming innocents God’s will is being done.

Back in Kolkata, every time such serial blasts happened , I used to watch in horror at the TV screens for a while, rave and rant and pray for those injured and the families of those killed and then after a while move on. We were all a bit shamelessly complacent in Kolkata knowing that the location of our City made us immune from such attacks….and hell Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad or Bangalore did not have to live with Mamata-di! She struck enough terror in the hearts of all Kolkatans with her whims and fancies (Blocking some main roads in the city if she felt bored on any given day)

This evening, a phone-call as I was getting ready to do some Puja shopping for my family at the Karol Bagh market had me shaken. The caller asked if we were ok and told us about the serial blasts that had just taken place. The Husband put on the TV and I saw to my horror that “They” had struck at places so familiar to me including outside the building where The Husband’s office is. The horror and terror felt chillingly real and so very close. My family, my friends could have been out there. Tears stung my eyes…in anger and in frustration….and the networks were jammed. I did something that I don’t normally do. I logged on to the net using my office connection just to let people know that we were fine and to get in touch.
Gradually, we were able to get through to family, friends and colleagues and reassure ourselves and reassure others too but I kept staring at the TV screen and the images of the dead and injured weren’t those of strangers hundreds kilometers away but of people with whom I might have rubbed shoulders with in the past one month. The unconscious lady in the yellow salwar being lifted off the roads might have sat next to me in the metro; the mangled rickshaw at Karol Bagh might belong to the friendly guy on cycled us home from the metro station after telling the other rickshaws ‘ apna regular paassinger hain” or that exploded auto might have belonged to the autowallah with whom I had taken a bet that one can reach CP from NFC in less than 30 minutes and bullied him to take me there …..this attack was that close.

I also saw the strength of this city in the people who rushed out of their homes and shops to help the people injured even before the administration moved in.

The routine questions are being asked in the media and we are getting the same answers but what about the hundreds of families out there who have paid the price for just being Indians? Isn’t it strange that after 911, the U.S has never faced another terror attack even once but we Indians have lost so many valuable lives to these mindless attacks.

A friend of mine who lives and works in Djakarta told me today in response to my fears and tears, we live under the threat of a coup, earthquakes, tsunamis and terrorist attacks but that does not mean that we stop living !

I sat at home this evening but tomorrow I am definitely going out to complete my shopping not out of selfishness but in defiance and I know that like me thousands of other Delhi-ites are going to be doing the same. Most of them stayed indoors today not out of fear but as one colleague told me because they did not want to add to the chaos outside. We here in Delhi have been bent for a little while but we have not broken.


dipali said...

It is the only way to live- to not succumb. I was hoping to see you in Kolkata. When did you move to Delhi?

teahouse said...

Wow, what stress it must be for you.

I remember the days after 9/11 it was a bit eerie here in New York how we all just went about our lives. But it really is true - it's the best way to not let the terorists control your life.