Saturday, 29 November 2008

My heart bleeds with Mumbai

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Why is it that we realise the worth of this precious word only when there's lack of it?

My family and I just watched the Mumbai ordeal, glued to our television screens for two days straight. The images have engrained themselves in my mind, the heart has bled, the eyes have wept and the blood has boiled as I have watched Mumbai succumb to heartless acts of terror. Before my eyes, there was fire and pain and anxiety, and all I could do was sit transfixed in front of the television, just hoping and praying for the nightmare to come to an end. The helplessness of the whole situation was more painful than seeing any of those images before me. My country was in pain, and there was nothing I could do.

When we first heard about the attacks, panic was the initial sentiment. I called my friends and family in Mumbai, and heaved a sigh of relief after making sure they were all safe and far away from the danger zones. Then began the endless hours in front of the television screens, flipping though various news channels, trying to get news about the latest developments. A handful of beastly vermins reduced Mumbai to a warzone. After each blast, each gunshot, each erupted fire, I could feel my heart race. Each sound of a gunshot rang in my ears like my own life was in danger. With each fire, it felt like my own skin was burning. With each hand grenade blast, it seemed as if a portion of my own self was amputated and left behind somewhere, where the world was a better place.

I cannot even fathom how the people actually going through the trauma of the attacks would be feeling, if I, sitting across from a television, could go through these emotions. I cannot even bring myself to imagine what I'd go through if I was a hostage at the Oberoi or the Taj, watching dead bodies and fear everywhere. I cannot even begin to understand what mental torture it is, to lose a loved one at the hands of terror attacks. But the fact is, there have been people who've been subjected to this pain. There are people who've lost family and friends, whose lives have changed in the span of 60 hours. There are people, who never thought, that in an instant, they would never see their loved ones again. My fingers tremble even as I type this, so I can't say I understand the pain of those who have gone through it. I cannot. All I can do is, extend a hand of sheer support to them...

The news channels are now showing the funeral of the brave men who died to save our lives. Who bravely and fearlessly fought terror, so we can realise the worth of peace. It infuriates me to see brave soldiers of our armed forces lose their lives, over non-sensical terror attacks. I am angry to see a mother break down at her son's funeral. What for? Why did they have to die? Their courage is exemplary, and their reasons honorable, but why why why? It doesn't make sense. What good comes off acts of terror like this? What will change? Brave men lost their lives...but how long are we even going to remember their sacrifice?

At the end of the whole traumatic operation, the news channels have now started to talk about the reason and analyse executed plan of the terrorists. The blame game is about to begin, so is the finger pointing and the one-upmanship. The politicians, like hungry vultures, have already started taking rounds of the streets, and giving speeches and false promises. The fingers are raised, and so are the voices. They have come to scavenge of the civilians and get a few more votes in their bank. Will they remember these days and nights of terror for long? Well, only till the next elections. Will anything be done? Only till this has been forgotten? Are they going to be any more prepared? Only to face the next attack. With my deepest and more heartfelt feeling, I request them to sod off and leave us alone. We don't want games, we want life.

After 3 days, I find myself in a state of mixed feelings. Fear. Anxiety. Pride. Patriotism. Grief. Sadness. I will perhaps never forget the faces of brothers, fathers, wives, husbands, sisters, mothers...who cry at their loss. I will never forget the anger when I hear gunshots from inside the Taj, or watch a roaring fire deface the Oberoi-Trident. I will never forget the story of a newly-wed woman, who lost her husband in the attacks, and broke down on television. I will never make myself forget the sacrifice of the armed forces, who gave their lives for my safety. I will never forget the pride I felt as I watched the commandoes getting dropped off by helicopter at Nariman house. I will never forget that one of my dad's business associates, a friend, were caught in the line of fire along with his wife, and their bodies were sent home yesterday to 2 young children and an elderly father.

I salute the armed forces.
I salute the unsung heroes of this conflict.
I condole all those who lost their lives
I pray, that I never have to see this again.

Proud to be an Indian today.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

My Wish

I was led here, by my unquenching thirst,
for a little bit more, for a time more fine,
for contentment and peace and bliss,
for that disobedient wish of mine.

In agony, I struggled and wriggled,
out of thorns' reach and fire's burn,
away from all tormented tempests,
only to faulter at the very last turn.

Fate's whip bore a deep gash in me,
the blood poured, the wounds screamed,
the bones pleaded, the hands shook,
as the tears rolled and smugly gleamed.

At last arrived the end of pain,
the ultimate goal, the journey's end ,
the doorway to a newfound place,
I walked forward, right over the bend.

Once crossed, the doorway closed,
the world beyond, a desert showed,
the colours of emptiness all around,
the barren land, the grey surround,
the rocky pave, the dry drowned air,
this was my wish, and I am here.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008


I hate how life is always trying to teach you a lesson. How it always turns out that what you really really want, is not always what's best for you. How you get what you wanted, and realise, you didn't want this at all. Life is a bloody bitch.

I'm scared right now. I'm in a situation, in which I wanted to be, sometime back. I asked for this. I have no one to blame, but myself. I have no one to point fingers at, but right back at me. I wanted this, and I got it. So now, I'm really scared. What if I ask for something else, and work towards it, and then realise, that that's not what I wanted either? How am I supposed to know in advance that I'm going to be unhappy in that place too? I didn't know before that I'm going to be in the situation I am in now, so how am I supposed to know that the next thing I wish for is going to be any better than this. Don't get me wrong, I don't regret any decision I take by myself. I'm just amused by the sheer evil of life, to put you back down, just when you think you finally got what you wanted!

I have nothing else to say. Nothing at all..

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Graduation Day

I always come back from Milan with a jumble of emotions sprouting up from everywhere. My little short trips are microcosms of a life I once had, and remind me of a time which once was. I go through the same routines that were once just that, daily routines. I meet people I used to live with, literally eat, sleep, study, play, cry, laugh, shout, whisper, just simply exist with. People who know my favorite food, who know my pet peeves, who laugh at my quirks, and hug me when they feel I need the warmth of support. The places I see, are those that still bear my footprints , or have glimpses of where my most beloved memories took birth. How a city can bring back so many emotions all at once, I fail to understand. I do know that I always come back with tears in my eyes, and a faint smile on my lips.

This time, the trip had a unique purpose. I went back for my Graduation Ceremony. Glee. Apprehension. Utter excitement. Euphoria. I set out with my head already up in those proverbial clouds, and my face already breaking out in unexpected smiles, each time I thought about what awaits me. Images of the past swarmed around me, as I made the journey towards my recent turned memory lane. How can I even begin to put it in words? How does one describe the joy of reuniting with friends? Running upto someone to engulf them in an embrace, and feeling the tightness of their hug in return? The look in the eyes, when someone sees you from a distance and beams as they approach you? Or the delight in their voice as they say, "Welcome back"? You're just simply left with simple thoughts, which question why you left in the first place, and how easy it is to be where you are right now. Pure bliss.

The Graduation Ceremony was undoubtedly one of those moments in my life, when I sort of float up above my body, look down and just absorb the benevolence of the entire atmosphere. The black toga-gowns, the funny little square hats, the laughter and cheer all around, the proud familes who cannot stop marvelling at how good their child has been, the friends who come to be there for you on your day, the photographs which capture the happiness and pride which radiates all around...its just magical! Walking down the steps to collect the scroll, which symbolises all my blood and tears of 3 years long years, is a moment I'll always cherish. In that moment, all the pain becomes insignificant, all the tears become past obstacles that I crossed, all the sweat and anxiety, the panic before exams, the disappointments, it all gets stored in a little box in the brain, and gets tied with a string of relief and pride. I did it. I finally did it!

On a more superficial note, its also great to look at what everyone's wearing...and even cooler when you're the most unusually dressed of all! I take my uniqueness seriously, so I decided to dress in a an Italian university. The result was much better than I could have expected. I have never felt more of a celebrity! People actually stopped in the streets to turn and look at me...and honestly, I'm not complaining! The evidence: the pictures, which tell the tales accurately of an unforgettable day.

Of course, even the brightest colours have a darker shade. We were all so charged up in the day, that when the excitement simmered down, we were left with enormous exhaution. Its great wearing high heels with pretty dresses, but how much fun is it to walk in those murdering shoes throughout the day? The sounds I made when I took my heels off in the car could easily have been censored from any respectable PG-13 movie. I guess bleeding feet is just a minuscule price to pay for an enchanting day.

The day is already behind me, its still fresh. The goodbyes were hard. The tears unstoppable. The pain of watching my friends distance away as the taxi pulls out and carries me to the airport, hasn't been burried yet. The blurr as the tears roll out is still clear. The quiver in Mr.A's voice, still seeps through my ears, and shakes me. I'm back home now, the new abode where everything's distant already. I now smile at the pictures of that wonderful day, and hope for another where our grinning faces will be captured again in a single frame...

PS: There was a party too later that night, at a club, with alcohol...but some things should just be left to imagination ;)