It’s been four years since I left India. I’ve always wondered if there would come a time, when I came to India and felt I did not belong there anymore. I wondered if this trip would be it. I got here on Wednesday morning, and since then, I have either been jet-lagged or watching TV. Three days of minute by minute coverage of the worst terrorist attack on Indian soil, have made me realize I am more Indian than I thought I was. I felt the same frustration, anger, disappointment and grief that everyone in Mumbai did. I was anxious for my brother who worked a few buildings away from the Oberoi Trident hotel. I was waiting for him to get out of Mumbai and get to the safety of our home in Bangalore. Yet I worried incessantly about the route to the airport, the security at the airport, and his plane journey home to the point that I wondered if perhaps he should just stay at home in Mumbai and not come to meet me. For an hour on Thursday I was seized by anxiety as we heard about an uncle who was at the Oberoi. We were later informed that he had left from there earlier that evening.
While I would love to ramble on about the gruesomness of the despicable act carried out, I doubt if I can truly ever express what I feel. I am not sure if it is more helplessness or more sorrow at what has happened. It is good to see that we Indians who are usually an imperturbable lot, have reacted and in some cases quite strongly. People are openly telling politicians to go to hell and not talk to them about the Mumbaikar spirit and crap. For the first time, I am seeing little coverage of politicians on TV.
After this is all over, when the investigations have been completed and some terrorist group has been blamed along with Pakistan for it’s support of that terrorist organization, when the news media has moved on to more mundane and useless news like an actor getting married to an actress or the election spectacle in the country, when the fallen heroes have been honored, this day would either have been a turning point for the country or it would have been yet another terrorist attack.
I salute the security personnel who gave up their life or put their all at risk and saved the many hundreds that did get saved. To those hundreds who didn’t make it, may their soul rest in peace. I hope their deaths will change things around here.