Don’t flinch

Don’t flinch.
Stare at three year old Aylan.
Stare at him lying on a beach, his face half buried in the wet sand.
Stare at his bright clothes.
Stare at his tiny hands, his shoes.
Stare at his future that drowned with him.
Stare at the million ways he could have been saved.

Don’t look away.
Feel numb. Feel hollow. Feel anything.
But don’t look away.
Don’t close the window hastily because you can’t see such pictures.
Don’t look away because you won’t be able to sleep.
Don’t thank god that this wasn’t your child.

Imagine this was your child.
Imagine that was your country you were running away from.
Imagine you holding your family, praying for a better future.
Imagine you holding their dead bodies, staring at the ocean.
Imagine you wishing the earth to break in million tiny pieces.

Imagine you are the police officer who picked him up.
Imagine you looking at the boy when you turned him to pick him up.
Imagine the lightness of Aylan’s tiny body in your hands.
Imagine the heaviness of your heart.
Imagine you going to your home that night and stare at the mirror and wonder if God exists.

Don’t flinch.
Don’t flinch when you see a vulture waiting for an African boy to die.
Don’t flinch when you see a naked, terrified Vietnamese girl running on a street during a war.
Don’t flinch when you see the body of a dead, three year old on a beach.
This is our legacy. This is what we are leaving for our children.
These pictures.
The pictures that our children will judge us by.
If they live.

Hope.
Hope that our children grow up.
Hope that one day they will see these pictures.
Hope that that day, they will come home and look straight at us. Through us.
And flinch.
Hope, because that would mean the world will be a better place one day.
Hope, because that would mean our children won’t repeat our mistakes.

So, don’t flinch.
Stare at three year old Aylan.
Stare at him lying on a beach, his face half buried in the wet sand.

Terrorism, Mumbai and the Jealous Kid

mumbaiDuring the 1980s, when Punjab was in the claws of Terrorism, I was watching Doordarshan when something came up which I would never forget. I was a kid at that time but the visuals left a lasting impact. They were interviewing a Sikh boy(not more that 14-15 years of age) whose whole family was killed in their own house by the terrorists. The boy saved himself by hiding behind the sofa from where he saw terrorists raping his sister throughout the night and shooting her while leaving in the morning. 

I could never forget the face of that boy.

Mumbai terrorist attack which continued almost for 3 days, brought back all the bitter memories. I used to think that we are fortunate that we have not seen the atrocities of the partition, but I am not sure now. All of us have seen some incidences which we will never forget our entire lives. It was the way these attacks were carried out, the brutality of it all, that left me stunned. My paternal Uncle works in Oberoi and it was his lucky day. He had a morning shift next day and left in the evening before it all started. 

What surprised me was that when the terrorists entered the hotels, they asked for people having U.S and UK passports. They just made the reason of the attack so obvious. They are not asking for Kashmir anymore. I don’t think that is the motto anymore because they must have realized that they are not going to get it anyways. The reason has shifted. Its plain Jealousy.

Pakistan and India were born together. But 50 years down the line, India is seen as a potential superpower. There are reports that project India and China as the next emerging powers of the world. And where is our neighbouring country? Nowhere! Its just a terrorist state which breed Terrorism and make the life of the neighbouring countries miserable. They would have equalled India if probably they would have channeled their brains towards the development of their country rather that breeding Terrorists and planning coups. India is at this stage today because we “wanted” our nation to be here. We were not busy planning how to kill people in other countries. And what is happening in Pakistan now? Terrorists fighting amongst each other??

The message which the terrorists wanted to send out via the attacks was very clear – India is as unsafe as any of her neighbours. So why the hell are the Foreign companies investing in India? How can the whole world lend a hand in India’s stupendous development when there is no life safety there? Why doesn’t the world look towards its adjoining neighbours? The whole act reminds me of a kid who one day sees his neighbouring kid having a bright shiny bike and feels so miserable and helpless that he goes and breaks that bike just because his loser father does not have the brains to afford one. The kid thinks that this act would satisfy the jealousy, but at the end of the day, he still does not have the bike! No matter what the terrorist wanted, they have just made the world underline the negative mindset which they had of their country. 

If India wanted, we could have been doubly malicious. But we have always been very forgiving. Since we can’t stoop to such a low levels by sending militant groups to our neighbouring countries to kill people there, we need to tighten our own security. 

Its time that the Indian Government acts. For once, the political parties need to STOP using terrorism as an excuse to hit on each other. Please, anything else but terrorism. All the parties and people have to come together when this word is uttered. We have to stand united on this one otherwise GOD knows what more we might have to go through. We all have had enough of tension and drama in the last three days to last a lifetime. It was disheartening to see BJP coming up with slogans against Congress regarding this terrorist attack even before the operation was over. I urge all the political parties to cut the crap and DO something constructive. Something which will make sure that the next time the jealous kid tries to break the bike, we can kick his butt real hard.