Can I live please?

bloodI went to Barakhamba Road yesterday. I was standing at the exact place where the bomb blast happened last year. I moved my right ankle in a semi circle to displace the dirt on the road. Maybe I was trying to see if it was still red? I went there to meet my very old friends whom I was meeting after a gap of 7 years.  While standing there I realized how fragile my own life was. I have a lovely family, adorable friends, a good job and some dreams, but someone can press a button and everything will vanish in a second. I just have to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Moving around in Connaught Place yesterday gave me this creepy feeling. I loved that place! I have some beautiful memories of C.P. but now there is always this fear that its not a safe place. The old warm feeling has died. Its gone.

Whom should I blame? Whom should I blame for embedding this fear in my heart? The fear that I might have to see a mingled, limbless, burnt body of a family member one day? The fear that I, who just want to lead his normal life and live happily ever after with his family and friends, might be blown apart the very next second?

Should I blame the Indian Government? Indians have a “Get used to it” attitude towards everything. Someone is littering on the road. Get used to it! Spitting? Get used to it! Corrupt policemen? Get used to it! BOMB BLASTS? Get used to it! Ofcourse, the Government officials also suffer from the same disease. It took thousands of people flocking the roads of Mumbai and carrying derogatory posters to wake up the government and to make them realise that there is a difference between butchering humans and butchering goats, to make them realise that they were chosen to protect us, to make them realise that “Get used to it” is not going to work this time. We, the citizens of India, choose politicians and give them bullet proof vehicles and 50 black cat commandos each from our hard earned money, not because they can feel safe and forget about the common man who is as vulnerable as he always was. Thinking and mulling over something is good but there comes a point when action is required. How long did the Pakistan Government took to sack its National Security adviser after he confirmed that the lone surviving terrorist is Pakistani? And how long did the Indian Government took to decide “something” about what Mr. A.R. Antulay said? The difference is stark and naked, and THAT is the problem with us. Having a pessimistic and defensive approach does not work when your neighbouring countries are a breeding ground for terrorists. War can never be an option, but can the  government at least come strong on our own security agencies and the police force? 

Or should I blame the Pakistani PM? He is trying every trick to make the world believe that its an internal problem of India. Infact, after his latest statement today, which says that – Why is the world more concerned about the Mumbai attacks than the killings in Palestine? ‘‘We have to see that the world does not have double standards. See how many innocent women and children have been killed in Palestine. Why is nobody talking about that? Why is the world silent on that?’’, I have decided not to follow the buffoonery anymore. Its tormenting. I think its high time that the Pakistani PM stops using the forced and mindboggling euphemisms and tell India to go to hell. That would be at least honest, if nothing else! Whether it may be Mumbai or Palestine, you would be glad to know Mr. PM, that it is me, the common man, who is dying.

I don’t care about the political mud slinging matches which Indian and Pakistani politicians are indulging in right now. I don’t care about and I am not a part of the various religious groups which are fighting their mindless and stoical wars by killing innocent people like me all over the world.

I just want to live happily. I want to love the city I live in. I wan’t to roam fearlessly in C.P. I want to believe that I will live to see my dreams fulfilled and will not be shot through my head while celebrating a friend’s birthday in a hotel or when I am at a railway station to receive a family member. Am I asking for too much? Is it too hard to achieve this? Is it too hard to stop fighting over pieces of lands, stop turning terrorism into a profession, stop waging wars in the name of religion?

Or is everything too complicated now to move it backwards? 

Mumbai Attacks : The week that was

It has been a week now since the ruthless attacks. Public anger has never been so omnipresent and neither have our politicians come under such a heavy scrutiny(no wonder they have been royally goofing up and giving tactless statements which is doing nothing less than fuelling the fire). Targeting foreign nationals in the attacks was one foolish move by the terrorists because the whole world is now upon them like red ants. Statements which included words like “Stateless actors” which intended on shrugging off the responsibilities were not bought by anyone and laughed at. Incidences like a movie director taking a walk in the burnt down Taj were blown out of proportion by the media while the public gulped the news in disbelief(Sometimes the media do comes handy).

THE GREAT INDIAN FUMBLE

It had been a week of revelations. A coup de theatre beyond an equal. Two days into the ghastly event and three statements made by our politicians were elemental in converting the tide into a tsunami. 
R.R Patil made a juvenile statement about the incident being a “small one” and dug the grave of his political career. 
BJP Vice President Abbas Naqvi puddled in troubled waters when he made the “women wearing powder and lipstick and burning candles” remark. The audacity of it was that he himself was wearing a coat while he defamed the Indians for aping the west and its an entirely different story that he was asked to comment on something else.  
The icing on the cake came from Kerela’s CM V.S. Achuthanandan who ended up making a statement which could be considered the worst insult someone can inflict on a martyr’s family. Of course, a lot of pressure went into making him apologize but the harm was already done. Sample this:

mumbai

On the other hand, the attacks opened up the Pandora’s box and everyone from the Intelligence Agencies to the Maharashtra Government and the Center turned a beetroot red. Our PM mumbled a few inaudible statements about setting up a federal spy agency and creating four NSG hubs while the nation came in terms with the fact that the Navy and the Coast Guard ignored the intercept from RAW that these attacks were expected, that the intelligence agencies had informed a year ago that such an attack was in the pipeline and that the U.S. informed India twice about the upcoming sea attack on Mumbai. The Government gave a jaw dropping performance making the citizens realize that their lives really don’t matter. The word politician ended up becoming a swear word and the nation realized that human life was the cheapest commodity in our country.
The way the whole operation was handled also came under the scanner. A minister taking 90 minutes to respond to such a critical situation, the NSG commandos transported from airport in BEST buses and shoved in the 1500 room Taj without any night vision equipment knowing very well that there was no electricity in the hotel and policemen wearing outdated bullet proof jackets was something which the common man was not ready to watch on live television. The crudity of it all was hard hitting.

THE REACTIONS

Israel offered help but India denied it without a second thought. Pakistan Government and media were busy vehemently denying any connection with the attacks. It was not surprising that Pakistan rejected the list sent by India stating that they wanted more proofs. I am sure that even if we dance in front of them with proof in our hands, they will even go to the extend of putting hot rods in their eyes to ignore us. The main accused of the 1993 blasts is still to be handed to us, even after ample proof of his involvement and whereabouts in his plush bungalow in Pakistan, so we can expect some action on this recent event in another 20 years. Ofcourse, there were some sane people who understood the gravity of the situation. You can read three very balanced articles by eminent Pakistani columnists here.

Although people have been dying left right and center in India since ages, the whole world suddenly woke up to the fact because this time the target were foreign nationals too. Atleast 26 of them lost their lives and although Delhi, Jaipur and Ahmadabad had gone through such similar attacks this year, the repercussion which the Mumbai attacks created were something else. Its good in many ways because this time, the “Rice” boiled with a lot of pressure over Pakistan. Lets just hope that the pressure mounts instead of subsiding.

WE THE PEOPLE

I don’t think India has seen such massive reaction from the citizens since a long time. People flooded the roads and the media projected the anger beautifully. For the first time I thought that they were doing something constructive, no matter how melodramatically. Its not just that we are condemning Pakistan(maybe we are too tired to do that now, because its of no use), but this time we were questioning our own security system. I just saw an operation done by a news channel where they were checking the security at one of the Delhi Railway Stations. Nothing has been done and its as vulnerable as it was earlier and that too when there have been reports that Delhi is the next target. A similar operation was done in Mumbai and the policemen were caught napping as a revolver was taken inside the railway station.

We have been pointing fingers at the politicians about being irresponsible but how much cliched it might sound, we have to be the change we want to see. We, as citizens of this nation, are also irresponsible at the grassroot level. Leave alone taking responsibilities about important issues, how many of us don’t bribe traffic police officers, litter of the road, do illegal constructions and break traffic rules? Did we succeed as a generation who considers themselves as Indians first and then something else? Isn’t it ironical that we need a tragedy of such humongous scale to unite us? Oscillating the Government from BJP to Congress and back to BJP is not going to play the trick and we all know that. Both the parties have an equally bad track record. Its the “people” of this nation who have to change, and those “people” include the “politicians” and “all of us”. 

Lets not become this guy who spit all his venom on a Jet air-hostess. Generalizing and putting a whole community in a box is the last thing which we should indulge in right now. Hats off to all those who stood up and actually did something to help the victims. I know one of them and you can find her here

FINALLY

Even though India has a go ahead for the air attacks in case the Pakistan Government fails to raise the terrorist camps to the ground, I am not sure if the Indian Government might actually take the step. I hope we don’t forget this incidence like so many other and our Government take the necessary steps without wasting ages to ponder over them. We don’t have that liberty left and it definitely doesn’t work when we end up being called “a known softie”.

Some interesting reads:

Dear Mr. Terrorist

Reflecting on Mumbai

For Heroes of Mumbai, Terror was a call to action

[photograph courtesy Times of India]

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.