After having been in front of the television for the past 9 hours, how does a pseudo-journalist pen his anguish. As people debate if this will be the beginning of a new dawn of terror or a mere nightmare of India’s vulnerability, i thought i put this down in the perspective of all i have been in touch with in the past 18 hours.
It had begun as a harmless comment from a near and dear one who had casually mentioned by post-dinner stroll to be a walk to remember. It was on the road, that I first heard of the South Mumbai catastrophe, on phone. None, lest me, had thought it would be gruesome. 8 hours later my only release of emotion has been through constant flickering of my status messages.
A pseudo-journalist and a social spectator cannot resort to shooting random pics on the road or spreading rumors. He has to write of what he gathers from his surroundings provide him to.
I finally came up with a description of the level of the dreadful situation like every TV news anchor managed to.
"From astonishment to a disgruntlement with how hebetudinous we have become."
This post is an outburst, not entirely in my own words, but of others who provided inputs in life or in spirit. It is about respecting democracy, mocking it and giving voice to it!
Heard from a fruit-seller on my way back home when I informed him of the tragedy which had struck
“Abhi toh hum road par hain, pata nahin koi blast wast huaa hai. Jab ghar jaaenge toh pata chalega”
A friend’s gtalk status message on hearing about the blast which accidently never took place in Vile Parle
“I heard the blast!”
A cousin in a faraway land
“ Aajkal waqt bewaqt Diwali ka accha fashion chala hua hai.. “
A concerned Indian
“Do you know how big this It is, he then uses my phone to call up his Foreign friends who frequent similar places to find out if they are alright”
A more concerned Indian
“jaise Macchar immune ho jaata hai na spray se, vaise immune ho gaya hun”
A concerned mother
“Zara kuch din yeh bolna ki Sab thik hai band karo. Don’t leave home”
An award winning blogger’s twitter feed
“Just narrowly survived the Mumbai terror Strike”
A friend’s ex-flame on the hostage situation
“Hmm hostage to hain! Ab sab hostage ho gaye hain apne ghar ke andar! Koi party nahin kar sakta”
“India has been wracked by deadly bomb attacks in recent years, which police blame on Muslim militants intent on destabilizing this largely Hindu country. Since October 2005, nearly 700 people have died in the bombings. And since May a militant group calling itself the Indian Mujahideen had taken credit for a string of blasts that have killed more than 130.”
“Opened in 1903, the Taj Mahal Hotel overlooks the Arabian Sea. The hotel has 565 rooms and is home to some of the city's most exclusive, expensive restaurants as well as the popular Insomnia nightclub. ”
Ill-Humor on a die-hard Mumbaikar’s face book status message when he wrote that he is waiting for the dawn
“”Dawn is a Pakistani newspaper :-) ”
My Status message when it all begun
“This ain’t Islamabad! Back off!”
J N Tata on being chucked out of the Watson Hotel 105 years earlier
He constructed The Taj Mahal Hotel. Notice the absence of The Gateway of India.
How the Taj Group puts the importance of the hotel on its website
“Billed by the Times, London as the finest hotel in the East, the Taj’s first hotel, the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Mumbai was perhaps the only place in the world where a British Viceroy could rub shoulders with an Indian Maharajah, where the Congress could debate with right wing leaders, and where sailors on shore leave could flirt with the Pompadour Follies. Built at the cost of a quarter of a million pounds, the hotel introduced a series of firsts that set new benchmarks in Indian hospitality. Over the years, the Taj brought into Bombay, “Professors of Dance’ Mademoiselle Singy to raise temperatures and a few eyebrows with the Tango, the first air-conditioned ballroom to cool things down, the first cold storage, the first licensed bar, and more. ”
Heard on NDTV India
“Kis tarah se maut ka nanga naach dekh raha hai aaj Mumbai sheher”
Heard on NDTV India a few months back
“Kis tarah se maut ka nanga naach dekh raha hai aaj Ahmedabad ”
My Gtalk status message in between
“Hogi Shanti Chaaron or, Hogi Shanti Chaaron or, Hogi Shanti Chaaron or ek din…..”
What the Taj and its food meant to Busybee(any Mumbaikar who hasn’t heard of him) in
“The Taj, and Rangoli is Taj, is one of the few five-star hotels which has a handful of Parsi dishes on its menu, probably because the owners are Parsis. Hence, I have had akuri for breakfast at Taj hotels ranging from the Lake Palace in Udaipur to the Taj Palace in Delhi. Though, I regret to add, that all the akuris I have consumed have been lumpy and onionous, the reason for this may be that the owners are Parsis, not the cooks. ”
What the situation meant to my dear bard when he joked about the footage of guards rushing in the lobby
“They ‘ll go in and eat a sushi at the Wasabi which they could not have afforded!”
A very pissed off friend fighting with another friend at 12 am who’s trivializing the issue
“How can this be a joke to you! This is serious! This is threatening”
The Same friend earlier
“You know the blast happened right behind the house where X lives”
The Same friend 4 hours after he had an argument about the seriousness of the episode
Hats off to him! Though he didn’t top my good journo charts,I am a big fan of him after his marathon commentary until he took a break at 5 (corrected by a friend, thankful to him, given the post was written in a state of shock and weary) in the morning.
“This is not an attack on foreign nationals, it is an attack on India and the free world.”
Hats off to them for the Rs. 5 lakh award and refusal to admit that this is an intelligence failure
NYT( Please do compare this with what WSJ had to say! Icant find the link this afternoon)
“Even by the standards of terrorism in India, which has suffered a rising number of terrorist attacks this year, the assaults were particularly brazen and dramatically different in their scale and execution.”
My Status Message
“Shall I at least set my lands in order?
London bridge is falling down falling down falling down
These fragments I have shored against my ruins
Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymo's mad againe.
Da. Dayadhvam. Damyata.
Shantih shantih shantih”
The Administration(No names)
“Our priority is to get them alive or kill them”
Later, another administrative head
“Our policeman have laid down their lives!”
My relative in a faraway land on discovering the magnanimity of the episode
“Oh the taj otel..Don’t worry...India always stands back..
wish it wud fite back..”
AND THIS AFTERNOON UPON MY RISING
AND THIS AFTERNOON UPON MY RISING
“We want all mujahedeen held in India released, and only after that we will release the people,”
What the PTI thinks about the house that built the symbol of Indian Pride
An aspiring journalist friend on SMS after i gave her enough calls to wake her up from her deep slumber without any success
"I'm sitting in front of TV since morning and have read the newspaper as well. last nite, i slept off, n im really sorry for wat i did....Hpe ur fine"
An experienced Home Minister on TV
"We are all very sorry about it!"
The de-nationalisation of the issue: A Status message from a faraway friend
bhaiyyon ko nikalne wali MNS ab inhe bhi toh nikaale...
The award winning blogger's respone to being safe
"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?"
Yogendra Yadav, a few months back on terrorism as an issue for the polls
"Terrorism resonates mostly with urban Indians", said Yogendra Yadav, a researcher with the Center for the Study of Developing Societies who studies voting patterns. His 2005 public opinion poll on sources of insecurity nationwide found that terrorism ranked far lower than common crimes and communal riots.
YP Rajesh, Express mumbai reporter on the martyred Hemant Karkare
"The previous evening, hours after our meeting, TV channels had ‘breaking news’ that he had received a fresh death threat from some unidentified caller, apparently in connection with the Malegaon probe. An Indian Express reporter SMSed him asking him if this was true or if he had anything to say. His reply: just a smiley."
A.K. Antony on The security of the country on November 24 at Kochi
Epilogue(or Prologue).. the way you see it
The attack is whatever you interpret it to be. It may be India’s 9/11 or another Firecracker show for those who are immune to blast coverage. I have been thinking on just one aspect. A structure whose symbolism cannot be matched by what the Indian Polity has ever inspired the country to , since independence, was nearly brought down. The Gateway, a relic of the bureaucratic Raj, failed to check the threat from the sea, from where the terrorists came.
I bemoan the loss, I have been awake for the past 9 hours and have sat in front of television to prove that I am a concerned passing-by Mumbaikar. I cry for the loss of human values, Taj is India’s Bamiyan. It is about tolerance of the opponent’s view yet declaration of my nation’s magnanimity. It was a case in hand for Mr. Ratan Tata when he fought the Oriental Express onslaught. It is a symbol of a nation’s aspiration. The attack was never on foreign residents, it was on the non-residents that we have lately become.
Finally as it all boils down to the invisible hand, even i would agreed most with the sentiment
A friend’s gtalk status message
May every noble soul find its resting peace!