EDIT. 27 NOV, 2:52 PM : I have just come back from Ashish Manny's place. He is dead. Died after a 10 day battle with death. In his life I have never seen him sad or anything unrelated to mischievously happy. He was my chief tormentor and we always used to crib. He always got up very late just like me and was a miser when it came to gifts. He was the only boy apart from my own brother to whom I used to tie a rakhi. Now he's gone. Ashu Anna. I can't believe any of my senses. This day cant get any worse. May he be smiling wherever he is.
It all seems irrelevant. My exams have been cancelled today and it just doesn't seem to matter. What's an exam when I am watching people die right in front of my eyes?
Mumbai is under siege, siege, something i never knew could happen in a place like Mumbai. As we all sit appalled throughout the night, it's like we have been drugged into numbness. At 1 in the morning, me and my family are waiting for my brother to come back home. My aunt is waiting for her husband, my maternal uncle, to reach home while she is putting her 3 year old to sleep. 2 of thousands of people who work for their mere existence but don't know when it might all end. Just wiped due to something really really unexplained.
I still remember Dec 7, 1992, my birthday. I am wearing a new frock with a new bag full of sweets waiting to go to school to my tiny friends. When my mother who is crying on the phone says that I can't go. "Why not?? It's my birthday!!". She doesn't reply but i can hear her telling my dad and her brother to stay where they are, safe, not to travel. We are sitting scared and alone and I am still holding my bag in my lap asking her why she is crying and what is this noise in the streets? It was the Babri Masjid riots which still haven't stopped. It still bloody hasn't stopped.
Then in March, 1993 the windows of my house rattled. We all woke up petrified. I was just a little child but till date I cant forget the tears. Not the tears, not the sound of those explosions, 13 explosions which ripped through Bombay, and the one i heard was the Bombay Stock Exchange. I still didn't understand enough but I was scared.
Now I understand and I am terrified. I am scared to grow up and have kids in this place. How will I breathe easy knowing they are out in the city? Now I know why my mother is so scared when we even 30 minutes late.
My country. My India. My Mumbai. A place I love, where i was born. I am Orissa native but I know nothing beyond the fact that I belong to Mumbai. Its my home. And I am watching it being ripped apart. I cant help the tears, everybody I know is safe, but all the places I have grew up with are scarred forever. Taj, a place that you dream about, a glorious heritage hotel built by Tata. But moreover a symbol of emerging India. I rmemeber gazing up atthat dome, the magnificient splendour of Indian heritage, the TAJ. It's gone. It's simply burning. Alive.
CST station! I find no words to express my terror on this one. A place which is what Mumbai is all about. There is probably nobody here who hasn't been to CST station in Mumbai and now I see broken stalls, Scared vendors, blood. So much blood.
Oberoi, Trident and Cama Hospital has been taken over. Establishments that have been there since before i was born. A hospital. 9 hours after this mayhem started. Taken hostage. Approximately a 100 people are dead. Just gone.
100 bomb blats this country has seen in the past 2-3 months. How do we recover? How? Is there no limit to how much we are being tested? Indians are resilient. Mind you, Indians, the real Indians. Not the ones in power, but people like us, who are being killed one by one. We are resilient and silent and we are being tested.
I don't think I can breathe anymore. I am suffocated by the sheer degree of hate, the prejudice, the mean mindedness, the putridity of it all.
Incredible India boasts the advertisements and colorful brochures. A united country of over 100 communities and 6 religions. What bullshit. who needs this? A county so fractionated that nobody has any faith anymore. A country so wounded that it doesn't know where to turn to. A country tortured into various levels of submission by petty politics. A country which gave a home to all and is now being punished for it.
They say, it'll get over. India is too united to be intimidated by this. We will Recover.
I say, fuck off you bastards.