November 28th, 2008

The world and I

Fear is the key?

So sang Iron Maiden. To what I ask.
People are back to work though there is an air of gloom all around. But I ask, why are we back to work? Why were people in different parts of the city still going to office yesterday? I personally know someone who almost went to the CST station yesterday - a place where indiscriminate firing had taken place day before evening. Because apparently he has some 'urgent' work. Oh totally. The only thing that stopped him was - offices and roads closed. Work so important.

When does the apathy end? When do we stop acting like ostriches with our necks so deep in the sand that extricating them is impossible. Fear. I feel fear. I feel so afraid that the places which I frequent so often have been attacked - and so mercilessly. That people I know have been shot at and forced to spend time inside hotels as collateral hostages.
It is scary to note that once again in Indian history people have to factor in 'killed by firearms' as one of the possibilities of "causes of death". Gone are the Peace times.
The top police men, including a man who is/ was a legend of encounter operations were killed - and their vehicle hijacked. Think about it. Three top police men and a fourth inside a car - get shot, killed, and their vehicle hijacked and driven away by terrorists.

The top hotels - landmarks of the city - nay - icons of the city are still occupied by terrorists. These men are so well trained that they have been continually monitoring their hostages (no one knows for sure whether they still have hostages) and fighting the armed forces for more than 36 hours now. I grant you that our forces are dealing with it well - systematically and cool headedly wiping clean the areas amidst irrational media pressure.

Already some international media are pointing to religious fascism as the cause. Balderash I say. If religion had something to do with it, the attacks wont be at religion neutral places and would not target international tourists. This is beyond religion. This is a hatred towards the country.

There is a feel of fear in the air, though people are tending to act normal. Some of them. Most though, are going on like nothing happened. It is this ... absence of acknowledgement that gets to me. Why are we not acknowledging that there is something seriously wrong??
What is wrong in saying that there is an issue - the country is at risk! At least if we openly face it we can openly work towards doing something about it - seeking help internally and externally if required. Why do we have to brush it all under the carpet and wish it away? There is a school of people who want to destroy the country and its economy by deeming it unsafe. They will not vanish if we don't acknowledge them. The don't-acknowledge-and-it-will-vanish strategy only works for tantrums by stupid children - and that too not always.
At a basic level people are more worried about stock prices than being shot. The news on TV is now a high TRP reality show to be discussed intermittently with lots of enthusiasm - gossip. As if it is a bad Hollywood movie minus Bruce Willis or Superman.

And that makes me scared. Scared about what happens next. Companies don't have the guts to ask employees not to come to work. The government does not care about putting a Red Alert on the city, much less a curfew for a day. That scares me even more. If we are a nation with a central government, why is it that we have to look out for our individual selves? The BSE is in Nariman Point. The place supposedly under curfew with Police and Army patrolling. Then how is it that people are sitting there and the stock market has opened?

Does it make the pain lesser if you dont react? Does it make you feel better if you avoid the issue? Perhaps it does. Perhaps that's why people here are not yet insane with apprehension and fear. Perhaps that's why the so-called 'blind eye' is being turned. For the comfort of peace situation. I don't know. I sure am trying to be part of the peace scenario while people get killed a few kilometers away. There is a tight sensation in my chest and I cant do anything about it. I cant go up and fight for the commandos there. I am not strong enough to start my own army for the country. All I can do is wait and watch and hope the axe does not fall on anyone I know - because thats when it hurts most. And then, like so many others, I come to office - but I try to work while others forget about those fighting for us.

I will do the least I can - remember them. Remember the day, feel the fear and tension.And I will not joke about it. Not diminish the essence and scale of the issue at hand. That's the least I can do.
Watching waiting

Terrorism - more

Sitting in a meeting a few minutes ago with a top management person whose TV was tuned in to 'Times Now' on mute, discussing the financials and future of a company seemed surreal.

Looking at the TV while someone answered a phone, sometimes I felt like screaming out - Why are we here discussing inanities?! There are people being killed, mourn!

And then the prosaic me answers - But the company will exist, they will still need a bank, both will still function. I will exist and I will also need money. Being emotional and worrying will not help anyone.
Perhaps thats what all these people think.

Yet it still doesn't make sense. It still makes sense to be emotional. The strongest emotions give us power to do things we wouldnt otherwise dare to do - fight as terrorists, or against them. Sure, the daily bread is important. But it can wait for one more day. Meanwhile we can build our morale to do something.

The prime ministers address yesterday wasnt depressing in what he said. It was how he said that made it insipid. Where was the fire behind the words he spoke? Where was the conviction and assertiveness that what he said was indeed what he meant?

Emotion. We need emotion. Else whats the point of the prosaic us? Whats the point of economy if there is nothing for it to sustain?