And we shall overcome…
August 26, 2007 11 Comments
Abhishek was rather happy. His first semester mid-terms just having ended at his engineering college, he and a bunch of friends had taken a long train journey to Hyderabad to enjoy the frills and thrills of a big city. Life in a rustic small town in the state of Maharashtra can get rather dull, without too many sources of entertainment. They all need a getaway. A chance to see traffic, high-rises, to savour pizzas, and to ogle at pretty women sashaying in a mall. Even a ride in an amusement park is a fair deal. And there was a laser show lighting up the sky – what luck!
At the same time Sheila felt a craving for aloo tikki. It had been such a long time since she crossed the Narmada and made her home in a place where she could not find roadside chat vendors, who would charge a pittance for a mouth watering snack. Having gone to Koti Bazaar to buy some GRE books, she always inevitably landed up at a chat vendor to relive those moments, that taste.
Abhishek and Sheila were both excited, and thoroughly enjoying themselves. Hardly did they know that their luck had just run out. Some SOB had made sure that it was the last time they were amusing themselves with such trivialities. Who would tell them that it is safe no longer in India to walk around on an idle weekend.
The two blasts that ripped Hyderabad yesterday terminated Abhishek. Ctrl + Alt + D, as he would have learnt so early in his engineering lessons. And mutilated Sheila – she who had high hopes of studying abroad, of liberating her family. Smashed.
The Times of India writes:
The killing just doesn’t stop. At least 40 people were killed and scores injured in two powerful blasts in Hyderabad, one at an amusement park packed with weekend holidayers and another at a landmark eatery in the heart of the city on Saturday evening…
Weekend holidayers ripped open in a blast. The sad part is (via The Hindu):
A group of 45 students from the Amritavahini engineering college in Sangamera town, Maharashtra, on a sight-seeing trip to Hyderabad, took the brunt of the massive explosion at Lumbini park.
When I think about it, I cringe. Barely a year ago, I was myself in an engineering college. And since it was in a village setting, we often made trips to a big city (Calcutta) to satiate our thirst for city lights. And who doesn’t crave for chat? Those mouth watering snacks you can get for a pittance?
Even if we forget the suffering of the victims, the unbearable agony of their families, and the rude shock to their friends, forget about individuals and stare at a larger perspective:
Such vicious attacks prove that cities like Hyderabad and Bangalore, emerging icons of a vibrant nation, are firmly in the cross-hairs of terror groups which have made India a country with perhaps the highest number of civilian victims of terror (leaving aside war-torn countries like Iraq). [TOI]
I am not sure what our reaction should be. We mourn for those who suffer, but we need to show the perpetrators that we are not affected by them. Our lives should carry on — we flinch but we fight, we are devastated but determined. The growth phase that we have been celebrating lately — which has obviously been an eye-sore for many — can not slow down — not because of a bunch of freaks. We need to push further, undeterred, unrelenting, unwavering. The elephant, pulsating with energy, must show empathy, but not slow down. For that is what the freaks have been hoping for. For that is why she should not succumb. For that is why the country needs to learn from Bombay. For India is more than geeks, nerds, corrupt politicians, baniyas and snake-charmers. For it is also the land of milk and honey children extol. For it is that India for which we live. And fight. And, we shall overcome. Someday.
[Of course, the stories are made up. But not the reality]