Originally published on Turnstylenews.com, a digital information service surfacing emerging stories in news, entertainment, art and culture; powered by award-winning journalists.
It was just another day, as I sat checking my email and Facebook, when my friend yelled, "Bomb blasts in Mumbai!"
My immediate reaction was two-fold: "S**t, not again," I thought. The next thought in my mind was, "Man, I hope everyone here is okay... Are we even safe?"
As I began surfing the net for headlines, I soon realized that news outlets had not yet picked it up: In India, SMS works far faster than the news—even faster than Twitter, if you can imagine. So, I quickly switched over to my Twitter account in search of the latest news on "#Mumbai" only to discover that this was not any rumor. We had in fact been bombed... again.
It was during this time that all of our BlackBerry Messengers (BBM) and SMS starting going off, along with the landline. Phone lines were getting clogged and people were frantic to learn anything they could about where the bombs had gone off and whether their loved ones had been harmed.
With no working television in my friend's house, we were reliant solely upon the net—which was still not producing any stories on the local news networks. Thankfully, someone tweeted a mention of a live news stream—so we were quickly able to jump over to that site to hear updates.
As my friend's family and I sat around listening to reports, the house was abuzz with things we were also reading via BBM: "13/7 is the birthday of Kasab (one of the terrorists from 26/11)"; "The areas bombed were primarily Hindu"; "One of the areas was known for selling jewelry", etc. But frankly, none of that really mattered. What did matter was Mumbai was targeted again and why—a question yet unanswered.
What we did know by this time was three bombs had gone off and they were seemingly connected. The areas hit were Dadar, Opera House and Zaveri Bazaar (which had already been bombed back in 1993 and 2003).
I was starting to recollect all of the bombings in the past few years and I started to become angry—not sad—angry.
This is when I started to ask myself, "Why Mumbai?" Were these people trying to terrorize a peaceful place where most citizens are tolerant of other's beliefs and practices? Or were they trying to sabotage the financial district of
India? Whatever the case, I can begin to understand why Mumbaikars were starting to feel restless. What was going on with Indian intelligence and why were they unable to foresee this?
Today, the local news channel, Times Now, kept replaying the same soundbite from a politician stating that this was "not due to intelligence, but policy failure." What does that even mean anyway?—because I don't think I like what he is implying.
The general consensus on the streets and amongst my inner circle is this: Mumbaikars are experiencing feelings of sadness, anger and confusion.
My friend Neha told me she was upset with the lack of diligence on the government's part and how they had not been stringent enough with past terrorists (e.g. Kasab). She has a point. If the Indian government wants to say "Enough is enough," shouldn't there be consideration of a zero tolerance policy?
When I discussed the attacks with another friend, Ravi, he was beyond upset. "Why (is it that) every three years Bombay gets blown? No one has been found guilty of (the) Ghatkopar bomb blast, (the) seven train bomb blasts, (the) Gateway of India bomb blasts. This is homegrown terror. Why does everyone want to blame Pakistan? They are not (the) ONLY culprits." Now that was a frightening and disturbing thought—could this be the result of an inside job? If so, why? What was the message this latest bombing was supposed to leave... Was there even a message?
When I asked Suraj how he and his friends felt about Wednesday night's attacks, he stated, "Everyone is actually getting used to the terror attacks, because it is never-ending. The police and bomb squad are very slow. Some people were on the ground bleeding to death and the paramedics reached (there) an hour after (the fact). The local people (were the ones who) helped the injured. The government is taking things too lightly (and) something needs to be done."
I could not agree more. There needs to be a better way to expedite assistance to the injured in a more orderly and organized manner—which means we need to be better prepared.
Last night as I was going home, my suburb looked like a ghost town. All of the businesses were shut at 10 p.m. It felt like like it was 2 a.m. Cops were out with their kevlar and tank nearby as they gazed suspiciously into each of our eyes. All I kept thinking to myself was, "How long must we endure this as a city, as a nation?"
Today, as I sit and reflect upon the past 24 hours I realize there is not a sound or peep on the streets—because the city has been practically shut down since Wednesday night. When there is silence on the streets of Mumbai it is deafening.
While we need to move on and try to resume to a sense of normalcy, it is difficult knowing that 18 people lost their lives and 131 were injured in another pointless act of violence. When will we stand up and say "enough is enough"?