I was dozing pleasantly last night, when a message from Mallika came through. Are you all right, she asked. Why, I replied, what has happened? South Bombay under seige switch on the television. A knife twisted in my gut and a sudden clamminess drenched my palms. I jumped up and reached for the remote. The husband was snoring pleasantly. He asked, what happened? I dont know I replied. I dont know. And then the horror unspooled itself almost like I were watching an action flick, the kind with Van Damme and Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis taking on terrorists. But these were frightened looking men, hastily putting on bullet proof vests and going in to confront demons. Demons with AK 47s and carbines and satellite phones and the training that made them merciless killers. Spraying bullets, holding people hostage in the Taj and the Trident, and gunning people down at CST and near Metro. Taking hostages at Cama Hospital. It wasnt sinking in, I sat stunned in front of the television, the hours turning into minutes, online with friends around the world. Messages and calls started pouring in, by the bucket load, Are you alright, is everyone safe?
My mother was in Daman on a mini break with a group of friends, and her mobile was unreachable. My stomach was churning. I saw the terrorist, walking down the street, his eyes maniacal, brandishing an AK 47, the way you’d expect a college student to carry a guitar. He could be my son a few years down the line, He couldnt have been over 20. There were others, and others, and explosions, and police officers succumbing to injuries. I saw them a couple of hours ago, putting on bullet proof vests and leading their men into the line of fire. Unstrategic perhaps. But courageous. With little piddly pistols in their hands. Over confident, Brave. And grossly underestimating the extent of the training, and precision and determination of the terrorists they were confronting. It was horrific, a never ending horror movie we were watching live.
The husband went off to sleep. The rest of the house went off to sleep. I held my child tight and sobbed for all the mothers who had lost their sons, for the wives who had lost their husbands, for the mothers who had the curse of knowing that their sons had brought such grief to the world, the mothers of the terrorists.
I am still in shock, I couldnt post all day. And this is a post with no analysis, no detailing, Nothing. Just an overwhelming sense of helplessness and futility. And a rising anger that we have still not learnt from our mistakes. That we still expect shoddy politicians to protect us from terrorism when all they are interested in is protecting their chairs, For the police officers facing sniper fire with no protection at all. With antiquated rifles in the face of state of the art weapons. In face of the obvious confused bungling of the situation in face of the meticulously planned operation that is still to be quelled at the Taj, the Trident and Nariman House as I write this, over 24 hours since the horror started.
And anger against God, Who let innocent lives be lost. For a war that no one will win.
Please pray for the souls of the deceased.
And a moment of silence for the brave personnel who lost their lives so we could live ours.
Hemant Karkare, Vijay Salaskar, Ashok Kumte. I owe you my life. I salute you.