Death (by terrorism) the leveler


In this country of frustrating divides and inequalities, we now have something that makes us resonate alike. Death by terrorism. Finally it’s not just faceless masses at crowded market places, the poor and the defenseless. The rich and the privileged in five-star hotels, foreigners, tourists, top police officers, all face the fire, too.

We spent a frantic few hours on Wednesday night and early Thursday morning trying to reach my parents who are in Mumbai, visiting an ailing relative; they were out in the city till late Wednesday night. Turns out their phone was dead. I was sitting utterly distraught, by the phone, willing it to ring, when the kid came up to me and asked quietly: “Amma, is Ammama going to be OK?” Does he have to grow up like this?

My little one knows more about grenades and AK-47 rifles, and has seen more charred, dismembered human flesh, than I ever did at his age. Does he have to grow up like this?  

We spent a sober hour last night, the spouse and I, explaining to our little one why some people pay with their lives for no fault of theirs. Does he have to grow up like this?

Just last week, I gave in a detailed proposal at my son’s school’s Board meeting (I’m on it as Parent Advisor) on how we can alert and train children to cope with terror. Do they have to grow up like this?

Terrorism is here to stay. These attacks will happen again and again. They are now as much a reality as government, legal and security ineptitude. I don’t see any of this changing. Given this, I think what we need is to learn and share coping mechanisms. The resilience of the Mumbaikar’s spirit — yes, clichéd it may sound, but isn’t this what’s keeping people going? A spirit born out of the stark, compassionate knowledge that it could have been me, that tomorrow it could be me or my loved ones.


Good reads:

Bombay Burning

The Right Way for India to Respond



  1. Quirky Indian said

    Hope your parents are fine……

    Yes, terrorism has become a part of life, and the best coping mechanism is to still fight to lead a normal life. I exhorted all my friends to make sure they went to work yesterday, and most did…to the best of our abilities, we all need to ensure we do not live in fear….otherwise they’ve won. Of course, this is not to say one should be foolhardy…..but I’m sure you get my drift.

    Quirky Indian

  2. Quirky:

    Parents are safe, thank you. Shaken, but fine. Some kind people saw them home safely.

    Full admiration only for your drift!

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