Ultimately and over a period of time they will just remain numbers in our head until one day, it gets you or your loved one, and you become another bloodied or wailing picture. 14/07, 26/11, 13/02, 13/05, 07/11.... a series of numbers that may bear relevance to you depending upon where you were during the blasts and whether it impacted you in any way.
After the last blast that tore through parts of Mumbai, my 12 year old wanted to know if it was “as bad as the Taj attack.” “Difficult to say” I said, knowing well that in our world of increasing nonchalance we judge a blast by the numbers it killed. 11 killed? Not that bad. Less than the 60 from the Jaipur blasts of 2008!
I did want to tell her that each blast is different. Because the people who die or are injured were/are a person, with dreams, hopes, aspirations, families, careers, friends...all cut short by a terrible tragedy. But I don’t. At 12 she is young and may not understand the cruelty this world is capable of.
After the well established cycle of political-intelligence-failure-nexus-passing-the-buck-bombardment-by-media, life always gets back to the way it was for most of us who didn’t die or get injured on the fateful day.
And that is what I have a problem with.
I have a problem with moving on, with what is inevitably hailed as the “spirit” of the masses (i.e. us) that survives and survives well. I have a problem with media’s portrayal of the survivors, and again, of the spirit. I have a problem with the re-visitation of the victims and their families on the “anniversaries” of these blasts.
I have a problem with the way we have mutely accepted idiotic and unintelligent frisking in the name of “security” at our malls and multiplexes while we can actually walk in with a bomb at any one of our over-crowded and poorly secured railway/bus stations. I have a big problem with politicians and bureaucrats announcing ex-gratia to the dead, while passing the buck of failure to each other, until the next blast/series of blasts strikes innocent citizens.
Most of all, I have a problem with the word “tragedy” when we refer to a bomb blast; natural calamities, we can’t help, but it is sad to watch our Nation become terrorism’s poster boy, one blast after another.
I am also scared. At 12, my daughter who reads the newspaper and is aware of the occurrences in the country, knows that terrorists strike at will and in the aftermath, leave "dead" people. I am afraid that by the time she becomes a citizen eligible to cast her vote, she may become immune to such travesties to human kind. For isn't it the natural course - to become "used" to something? Like we get used to luxuries, won't the children in her generation also get used to hearing/reading about such attacks?
Will they, like we are slowly developing, have a defense system that will guard them against "feeling" any thing for the victims?Until, the 'tragedy' strikes closer to home??
On the 26th of November today, the third 'anniversary' of perhaps India's most audacious terrorist attack, these are my thoughts. Strangely, I didn't dwell much on the sacrifices of the likes of Major Unni Krishnan too...
The virus of immunity is already spreading. And seems to be nothing much we can do about it.