Friday, November 27, 2009

Box of memories

Last night was the anniversary of the first day of the Bombay attacks. Most of you know I went to cover the story for PBS -- I reached Bombay on Day 3, after the major operations were over, and stayed for the next week, talking to people and sussing out the security situation. It was heartbreaking.

Been a year, and I've been revisiting those days in my head. It makes me so sad.

So, imagine my surprise, when I opened the Indian Express this morning -- to find the lead article called "The Vanished Moment" asking why show of grief by the "middle class" is pushing to "replicate -- artificially, inaccurately, in miniature, and in bad taste -- the trappings of America's grief?"
I'm sure not what sort of show of grief would be deemed appropriate by the columnist and others who may share his view. Perhaps, since we are Indian and not America, we must always beat our chests and sob uncontrollably? Perhaps, since we are Indian and used to violence, we should not try and be this affected by an event that should ideally bounce off us? Perhaps we need to apologize that the Bombay attacks affect a demographic that has easy access to the news media and therefore dominate the news?

We have not had the hysteria that surfaced in America, the columnist argued, so why are we trying to be America by holding vigils? Are we going to do this for every attack? Must our grief be a "cheap knockoff"?

I, for one, am deeply offended. Say what you will about TV channels cashing in our collective urban grief, but to chide people for showing their solidarity with victims, survivors, the buildings, the city and for showing up to make themselves feel better is rubbish. Perhaps if we could all write national columns, people wouldn't need to take to the streets to express themselves.

I never thought you'd have to be present at the scene of a massacre to feel sympathy, but I might just be proven wrong today. To call emotions still unresolved from that attack "synthetic" is awful. Have a heart.

India is not America. 26/11 is not 9/11. I think we know that.

Don't tell us to get over it. YOU get over it.

PS - You blame the country for comparing the Bombay terror attacks to the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York. In your article, you have compared "genuine collective emotion" for Bombay with grief for Princess Diana's death.

PPS- I was told many years ago to lock my idealism in a box because that's the only way I will succeed in life. I beg to differ.


Dantedownunder said...

"Perhaps if we could all write national columns, people wouldn't need to take to the streets to express themselves." ... you've made your point.

mahima said...

Ha- when I see people agreeing with the sentiment, I can't help but wonder (a) I didn't get it (b) I'm too sentimental (c) people who say it doesn't matter are the ones who really don't give a f*** (d) they think TV coverage is all there is.

aaaa. forget it.

I'm starting to write my blog again. It drives me crazy when I don't!!!

Roy said...

what strikes me is the lack of continued emotion. where does this solidarity go everyday and why are issues of national security and babri(currently) raised on the anniversaries of the tragedies

egg style said...

Idealism boxed in wouldn’t be idealism if it weren’t restless to burst out.

That said, with reference to the article you mention about the first anniversary of 26/11, subjecting the Indian response to some test of pop psychoanalysis is quite unnecessary, as you observe (even if the newspaper columnist’s point about the ‘humiliation’ of a 60-hour ordeal is piquant), just as endless arguments over the relative merits of memorialisationism vs let-it-go-down-the-Ganga-ism, or Chabad Lubavitch’s Zionism vs anti-Zionism, are futile in the face of what we know and what matters:

1) The 26/11 attacks were an ineffable blow of an enormity that just cannot be dismissed, regardless of all qualifiers. Innocents are innocents, period.
2) The Karkare-Kamte-Salaskar trio of cops did humanity proud through exemplary integrity & courage that is worthy of commemoration.
3) Mumbaikars showed a heartening fraternalism that had everyone feel “Hum bul-bule hain iski, yeh gulistaan hamaara”
4) Deterring attacks necessitates the frustration of the attackers’ divisive goals by behaving exactly so: with integrity & unity. India tested is not India entrapped, which is what puts the country ahead.

And yeah, a blog does matter, so blog abstinence is pretty pointless

mahima said...

where does it go? well i think people get back to their own lives and assume the ones in charge of national security are actually doing their jobs..

blog does matter? hehe. good to knw :)

IR said...

hopefully you will blog more often on national/ political issues ,

my question is are we any safer than we were on 25/11/08 ? i mean , of course we feel sad just as we do , when inncoent people are killed by naxals ?

but so much noise on tv , do we know this is not going to happen again ?

Anonymous said...

kiss911貼圖片區ut女同聊天室38ga成人尼克成人百分百貼圖18禁區無碼av艾利絲寫真集自拍露點熟女人專賣店免費下載av女優電影人妻熟女自拍動物性交正妹被強姦3p換妻無碼短片洪爺色情網站自拍走光愛愛愛鋼管本土自拍圖貼ms5 hinet net 性愛85cc街影城a圖貼大奶正妹正妹牆qk176tt 同志交友網免費色情小說a片dvdsexinsex人妻性愛素人王國人氣女優激情無碼yes 777杜蕾斯免費貼圖區wii777遊戲備份站lion travel素人大全集85cc 嘟嘟影城性愛補補辣妹神算走光影片裸體彩繪比基尼車隊色情交友proteng無名正妹牆qvod成人tt1069男同志論壇天天看正妹

Anonymous said...

Your blog is nice..keep it up..
Post your blog link in our web and get more web traffic free.
We are a web Journalist Group. We invite you to our group. Join with us.
For details mail us

Anonymous said...

You may probably be very curious to know how one can make real money on investments.
There is no initial capital needed.
You may commense earning with a sum that usually goes
for daily food, that's 20-100 dollars.
I have been participating in one project for several years,
and I'll be glad to share my secrets at my blog.

Please visit my pages and send me private message to get the info.

P.S. I make 1000-2000 per daily now. [url=]Online Investment Blog[/url]

Anonymous said...

I love readding, and thanks for your artical.........................................

IR said...

post post ? there is so much happening , are off blogging ?

オテモヤン said...


Anonymous said...

cool blog,期待更新........................................

dearbeavis said...

The shocking truth behind the recent Pune German
Bakery Bomb Blasts - police along with real
estate underworld

see the following link for yourself to believe