Archive for November, 2008

Mumbai Limps Back To Life

I traveled into town today, in the aftermath of the terror that Mumbai has lived in the past week. The reason was a Tweet-up/Peace walk/gathering at Colaba Causeway. Honestly? I stand in deep respect of the police force, the fire-fighters and the NSG who delivered us from the terror. And I’m going to wear white tomorrow to symbolize our mourning as well as a plea for peace. Yes, I will also light a candle and thank every police-person I see for the bravery of their comrades. But mostly I went out today for myself. To reassure myself that I still could. I needed to. If as a Mumbaiker, this city’s spirit resides in me, then I speak for the city when I say I’m battered, I’m crawling, I am gasping for breath.

Traffic was light as it has been since Wednesday night, even for a Sunday afternoon/evening. Even so, the journey took us a half and hour either way. We passed shops that were open, people out for a stroll with their families, cars driving down…but there was an air of barely concealed tension. I had my camera out for the better part of the journey and I know I drew some curious (and not necessarily friendly) glances from the other cars. In case you’re wondering what an atmosphere of terror looks like, come to Mumbai right now.

The photos I took today of Mumbai in post-terror trauma….

Here’s the media jumping onto the sympathy-brand visibility bandwagon, over the Western Express flyover. DNA asks…

Spirit of Mumbai
FOR HOW LONG?

1-bandra-flyover.jpg

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Join the Army

A friend, Dhanashree Vhatkar had this to say in a discussion over email

The way I see it, each of us can help in our small ways to prevent repetition of the 26/11 episode mainly in two ways.

Firstly, We should all say No to Corruption . Corruption amounts to compromise of Intergrity. When Intergrity is lost everything is lost. As responsible citizens we should lead our lives with Intergrity and Discipline. When we do this we naturally prevent growth of all anti social elements.

Secondly, and most importantly, it is high time that like Israel, Government of India(GOI) formulates a Policy wherein atleast one member of a family should enroll in the Armed Forces and other members contribute towards Community Service for a few hours in a Week. It is not fair that some bravehearts lay down their life to protect ours and on the other side corrupt Government Officials, Politicians and Business men indulge in eroding the nation . Lets all of us contribute equally towards maintaining the Security of our Country. I am sure Citizens realize this and like Prince Williams and Prince Harry they will be glad to to be enrolled in Armed Forces simultaneously to pursuing their careers.

This is a very interesting idea. Obviously Israel has more reasons than India to force a draft to the military. What are your thoughts ?

NOT India’s 9/11

Ingrid Srinath has a fantastic post on citizensforpeace

It is my home. The city that used to pride itself on being the most cosmopolitan, the most tolerant of difference. Where, as a young girl or grown woman, I could wander the streets, ride the buses, eat out, hang out whenever and wherever I felt like. Where I wasn’t labelled or judged by my religious beliefs or political leanings. Where the people who mattered were not defined by their net worth but by their contribution to the city’s quality of life. A city whose best and brightest aspired to careers in law, journalism, the arts and yes, the police, the bureaucracy and politics.

Read the entire post here.

Also read Priyanka Josheph’s comments below the post.

Dilip D’Souza: Under Siege

Dilip D’Souza, brilliant journalist and good friend writes in the Washington Post

 

We’re in wait-and-watch mode here outside the Trident hotel on the seafront in Mumbai, where terrorists have killed and wounded hundreds and are still battling police and commandos. We’ve all seen the horrific images — fires, explosions, bodies, shootouts on streets so familiar that it’s a punch in the gut to see them like this. It’s why we’re here. Yet in front of the Trident, where terrorists are still holed up hours after this outrage began, very little is happening. I’ve met people anxious about relatives, journalists desperate for news — and also bystanders offering their varied and peculiar takes.

Read the entire article here.

The Questions Unanswered

Carbon over at Metroblog Hub raises the questions that remain unanswered

The grim scenario in mumbai might be drawing to a close, but the VITAL fact, which seems to be getting sidelined- is really the issue of the terrorists who have escaped..and are scot free till now
Something about the mumbai attacks does’nt seem right!-
1) 22-24 year old boys coming out with such a precise operation, and that too in a span of their ‘3 month’ training by the LeT just doesn’t hold water with me- something smells there- these guys were just pawns in a much bigger game!
2) As per the phone convo that the terrorists made to the media- when asked what their demands were- the guy simply didn’t know what to say!!- now this really makes one wonder what presence of mind they had while ‘planning’ out the entire op. If they were so motivated with religious and communal ideologies, it should be ingrained in their minds that “this is what we are fighting for!!”.

Continue reading here.

Suketu Mehta: Amchi Mumbai

Suketu Mehta writes a lovely Op-Ed in the NYTimes.

Mumbai is all about dhandha, or transaction. From the street food vendor squatting on a sidewalk, fiercely guarding his little business, to the tycoons and their dreams of acquiring Hollywood, this city understands money and has no guilt about the getting and spending of it. I once asked a Muslim man living in a shack without indoor plumbing what kept him in the city. “Mumbai is a golden songbird,” he said. It flies quick and sly, and you’ll have to work hard to catch it, but if you do, a fabulous fortune will open up for you. The executives who congregated in the Taj Mahal hotel were chasing this golden songbird. The terrorists want to kill the songbird.

 

Continue reading here.

Reactions from the Blog World

In the whole news cycle about the terror attacks, the blogosphere has been ignored a bit. Here are a few must-reads.

Prem Panicker

As I stepped into the elevator, it struck me why that hug felt odd. The wife wasn’t hugging me. She was trying, in her own helpless fashion, to hug this wounded city that has been home to us for 19 years. I suspect similar scenes, similar gestures, are playing out across homes and hearts throughout Mumbai.

Rahul Bhatia, a good friend [and ex-Metblog Mumbai blogger]

 It struck me then, and by struck I mean a deeper realization, that men like this care for nothing, for no human effort or endeavor with meaning, and they care not for the struggles and ambitions and dreams and so much pain that every man woman and child has come through to survive life, for theirs is an unthinking effort of destruction and despair, and there is no talking to them, for we cannot even be from this planet.

Amit Varma, a good friend [and ex-Metblog Mumbai Author]

It struck me then, and by struck I mean a deeper realization, that men like this care for nothing, for no human effort or endeavor with meaning, and they care not for the struggles and ambitions and dreams and so much pain that every man woman and child has come through to survive life, for theirs is an unthinking effort of destruction and despair, and there is no talking to them, for we cannot even be from this planet.

Udayan Tripathi

But we can’t naively carry on. To enjoy life like this, made up of the things we savour from vibrant cities like Bombay, we need to be protected. 94.6% of sixty thousand respondants at NDTV.com say it is time for India to enact stringent laws to curb terror. That’s quite a mandate, but I believe they are wrong. They suggest following the example laid down by the United States after the 11th of September, 2001. This includes a Department for Homeland Security and a Transportation Security Administration. Security is a wonderful word. At times like these, reading it in bold typeface across buildings and on cloth seals pinned to the shoulders of frowning men, it make us feel safe.

Dina Mehta, a good friend 

 
Embedded video from CNN Video

Under Attack: In Images

Some mind-numbing images of the past two days.

A reporter talks on her phone as smoke is seen coming from Taj Hotel in Mumbai November 27, 2008. Large plumes of smoke were seen rising from the top of the landmark Taj Hotel in Mumbai on Thursday and heavy firing could be heard, a Reuters witness said. (REUTERS/Arko Datta)

A reporter talks on her phone as smoke is seen coming from Taj Hotel in Mumbai November 27, 2008. Large plumes of smoke were seen rising from the top of the landmark Taj Hotel in Mumbai on Thursday and heavy firing could be heard, a Reuters witness said. (REUTERS/Arko Datta)

Check out all the images here. (Note: some have graphic content)
[Hat tip: Dina Mehta via Facebook]

Mr. Terrorist, What A Coward You Are!!!

By Noshir H. Dadrawala

I had flown in from Hong Kong around 4:00 a.m. on Wednesday 26th November and had planned to leave for Sri Lanka the same night. I had broken journey in Mumbai only so that I could attend the new Parsi Punchayet Board’s meeting with Mr. Nusli and Mr. Ness Wadia. I left Neville House around 9 p.m. and went home for a quick bite before continuing for the airport. As I was about to leave, news about the terror attacks began to filter in. Initially it looked like only two of Mumbai’s best hotels in South Mumbai were under siege. But, soon enough there were reports of two blasts in my own neighbourhood in Mazagaon. The taxi that blew up in Andheri was reportedly headed for the International Airport. My travel program reluctantly had to be aborted.

Continue reading here.

CNN Talking Heads Spew Utter Nonsense

CNN International has some security “expert” being interviewed by another stand-in newsreader. They are showing a video of a NSG commando shooting his rifle one-handed. He was shooting into a window at Nariman House where the terrorists were holed up. 

The security expert was all over himself criticizing how this was so shoddy and he could not imagine any police officer in the US doing something so amateurish. 

He then goes on to say that he is shocked that the city had no plans for the hotels and other buildings that were easily available to the Command Center.

My one question to this asshole….have you forgotten the disaster that ws Hurricane Katrina. And I dont mean the natural disaster, but the one that was created by the inaction of the government in New Orleans.

Where does CNN get these jerks as talking heads.

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