Friday, November 20, 2009

Chalta hain....

I know I am late for this... but somehow watching the HBO documentary last night stirred up a whole series of emotions all over for me.
I still remember that call!!! I was sitting in my office meeting in my power suit meaning business! I get a call at a very odd hour from back home, its my brother. I do pick it up in the midst of the meeting, considering the oddity of the hour! He asks- Have you seen TV, I was like come on, I am in a meeting. He briefs me: "A bunch of gunmen have entered Taj and are spraying bullets everywhere. All of us are fine, but our city is at war". I hung up. Shocked, taken aback and dumbfounded. My team asks if everything is fine. I said no. I excused myself, gathered myself together and went back to my meeting- business as usual. The remaining 45 minutes, were really long. I feared the worst. The meeting ended. I was glued on my black berry from then until I reached my desk. And then the reality hit.
I remember it was a long weekend here in US. And yes, long it was. We cancelled all our plans. Our wedding anniversary falls in the long weekend. We just couldn't make ourselves gather up to celebrate when our city burned! We were glued to the TV sets, ensuring to call everyone we knew back home and make sure they were safe.
Yes, it was very scary to be far away, but for once I was guilty of feeling better away than there!
Fast forward to now. It’s almost been a year. The documentary on HBO did a very good job of portraying the facts of the evening as they happened. It was true, it was disgusting and it was chilling!
For the hour the documentary ran, SD and I were glued to our couch and were flabbergasted. At the masterminds of the insane people who for some reason had the calmest voices during the attacks and were happily cheering while they killed, they murdered, they burnt and they spread the violence around. The calmest, shrilling voices i have heard! I was dumbfounded at the lack of leadership and the cowardice of our brave but unprepared Mumbai Police. I could see the confusion in people who were meant to protect the city. I couldn't get over the fact, the senior most people were shot within two hours of the attack and for the remainder 58 hours, no one stepped up, no one took charge of the situation! Not until the commando's got there!
I know hindsight vision is 20/20. And when we look at news after the fact, we can work out various strategies that might have helped! If not avoid it, then cope with it as it happens. We needed to take control, take charge and do the righteous things for the ten terrorist who got my country and the entire world at a standstill.
I know it’s easier said than done. I am far away from my country and I have no right at pointing fingers and calling names! I get that.
But someone explain this- 10 gunmen came undetected, they walked in the Mumbai alleys like they owned the place. They entered the most prestigious locations, heritage buildings and sprayed fire and were unhurt until the 54th hour of their "mission". All this while, hundreds of policemen scoured the streets in confusion, senior people in the command post who would get more information from media than their people on the ground. They could listen to the calls of the terrorists and still not take a pre-emptive strike.!.
The "chalta hai" attitude of us Indians, is now a double edged sword. We can adjust and mingle in any circumstances. We will "adjust" Things will keep happening, and we will keep getting hurt, and we will get up and look back and say "Jo hua so hua" (What's been done is done....). "Let’s move on!"
And the funny thing is we will take pride in coming back to normalcy in 24 hours! I don't get it.


Suba said...

Couldn't agree more. It was a terrible Thanksgiving weekend, glued to CNN.
I still remember how when I was 12, 13, 15 years old - people who had moved from North India would tell me, "We like living in Bombay. No terrorism. It's a good life".
And now? It's sad that after one year, the police has really done nothing.

Your Angel said...

I couldn't finish the special. I couldn't watch the TV on 9/11, either, after I first saw the video of the second plane crash into the building.

I like Bombay, too. Can't wait to go back! Mai Marathi hoon!

Tiny Dancer said...

All I remember from those unfateful days is how we all sat huddled together at home, frightened out of our wits for the first time ever... There was so much paranoia. We didn't eat, none of us slept a wink and we cried and prayed for Mumbai and its Mumbaikars...
I kept checking on the security downstairs as all sorts of rumors spread through the city. That incident has left deep running scars for everyone.
Thereafter, we heard stories of people we knew, friends at Taj, colleagues from work who were stuck in those circumstances and it just felt like we were right there facing the trauma with everyone else...

GNSD said...

Suba: Over years.. no places just seems safe anymore. The terrorist have succedeed in that.. Scaring the common man.

Eugene: Main Marathi hoon.. hehe.. i like that! Bombay has definitely changed but for the better and the spirit lives on.

Tine: I know sweety.. iknow...It was bitter sweet that night.. one to know your friends and family are fine. and two to know the scars are deeper than the physical ones..