2008/12/01

Mumbai

Watching the 9/11 attacks in a hotel room was surreal – at first the visuals looked like shots from a disaster film and I appreciated the artistry of the stark grim picture of a plane flying straight into a building, the clouds of smoke and fire from the explosion against a deep cerulean sky and laughed to myself at the ingenuity of disaster films .
Just a little later I shifted channels and saw the same visuals being repeated ,I surfed some more channels , trying to understand what exactly was happening – so bizarre and unreal was the situation, until realisation dawned that it was real life , not a film .

There was a feeling of dejavu on 26/11 . A lit porch , glass doors with warm inviting lights and interiors within,interspersed with the crackle of gunfire and the madness .of people running around . Rapid visuals – of the railway station , a petrol pump belonging to my Company, bombs going off in cabs , a young South Asian man talking of a man walking out of Leopold’s café holding a machine gun casually , grenades being flung off the roof of Colaba market .

It had the makings of a third rate thriller with ambitious young men holding a country to ransom – a plot totally fantastical and illogical – the backdrop was pure Julius Caesar - Act I , to mind – dangerous and evil things walking in the dark , ominous rumblings hinting of a world gone so terribly wrong – a premonition of a disaster still nascent but throbbing with life.

The last 5 days, as it were , has been a jumble of frenetic images, near miss experiences of two friends , a loss suffered by a friend at the Taj Mahal Hotel .I was glued to the television set , watching the monstrous scenes unfold . I have been numb with fear and frozen with what I have seen .Images endure – thanks to the relentless reporting of the TV channels – images that will be hard to erase from memory . There is anger , too at the inept and callous government . which time and again shows how incapable and irresponsible it is and I am afraid does not care whether you say ENOUGH or not .

I also wondered about the terrorists – whose youth had provided fertile ground for ideals , however irrational and misguided they may be, to take root ; a system which has taken over the minds of men , so completely as to produce mass produced terror machines with just the one agenda - to destruct and also liquidate themselves in the process.

And the most enduring pictures are those of the armed young men at CST , hardly older than my daughter – one terrorist especially terrifying because the expression on his face is perky and happy as though he is enjoying himself – Through it all I have in the last 5 days also wondered how a handful of young men have held my country to ransom with a swaggering insolence which has entailed destruction, death , savagery beyond belief and there is a numb and frozen despair that this is a world we have brought our children into .

9 comments:

Onedia Hayes Sylvest said...

terror acts against the innocent were introduced in the 20th century and used widely in my country as forms of oppression by the KKK and as opposition by others who were against the Viet Nam war and against abortion clinics. It has simply been reduced to a curriculum and discontent people are recruited .

Sonnjea said...

Since I heard the news, I have been thinking about you and wondering if you and your family are well. Thank you for the post. My thoughts are with you and all the innocent people held hostage by idealogues with weapons anywhere in the world.

Usha said...

"there is a numb and frozen despair that this is a world we have brought our children into."
- you said it. That is the thought that has been playing on my mind repeatedly since 26/11. Sheer despair!

hillgrandmom said...

I feel a deep sadness that it is so easy to indoctrinate people. The terror lay in the sheer mindlessness of it.

Mama - Mia said...

EL - the saddest part is no one has any answers. how do you make sure that more young people are not waylaid with misguided sense of idealism?!

yet at the same time, it is our kids who can make a difference eventually. and i hope we can help them along the way...

abha

Jane Turley said...

Terrorism is one of those acts that completely frustrate me; how can some people believe they have the right to destroy the lives of innocent people? At least with open warfare, whether it be right or wrong, you know where you stand.

So much of this terrorism is routed in the indoctrination of young adults who are easily influence and at a vunerable stage of life - Young men laying their own lives and the lives of innocents to waste. It's a sad tale.

Blimey, I feel depressed now; why is it some people have no respect for the lives of others? The world is changing and not to my liking.

dipali said...

This seems now, to be a permanent source of grief- the nature of the world our children will inherit. These attacks were really monstrous.

Spontaneous Mini said...

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A Muser said...

26/11 reminded me of 9/11 too. The smoke coming out of the Taj was a benumbing image, worse for me than the Twin Towers just because the Taj for me was more than a landmark or a place I visited. It was host to so many childhood memories. I feel like the terrorists violated my childhood.