I had been mulling over these thoughts the past few days and Anamika’s this post has driven me to put my thoughts down today, in black and white. On the day of the blasts and after, I was shocked by the reactions and behaviour of the people around me. It was disgusting – the air and attitude with which the news was received and handled. The thankful fact that the blasts were low intensity ones, was being turned into the butt of jokes saying – it was only firecrackers that had been set off!! Was it a pseudo-brave frontal in the face of fear? I did not pretend to understand.
When confronted with the question – “please pray tell me how on earth is it remotely funny to be bandied about so?”, they offered crass rejoinders saying situations such as these didn’t warrant panic and it was important to keep the atmosphere light and lively!
Lively, my foot! Were they even thinking of that poor lady who lost her life for the sole reason that she happened to step out of her house, to pay a visit to the hospital for her husband’s treatment, on that fateful day? What about those innocent bystanders and pedestrians who happened to be at the spot? What if it had been one of you or your family or friends? – I seethed to ask.
The air was one of nonchalance because it hadn’t been major blasts. Major? Major?? You mean, like how it happened in Mumbai and Hyderabad and Jaipur and scores of other cities, which haven’t been lucky enough to have escaped the terror radar? Did you want it to be of a similar magnitude, leading to loss of hundreds of unsuspecting lives? Why look far? One didn’t have to wait too long. Isn’t that what happened in Ahmedabad just a day later? Were you waiting for our city to be home to such headlines? Would that be serious enough to make you sit up and take notice?!! Whom are you kidding?! – my mind screamed
Notwithstanding the lack of gravity, the cruel apathy was distressing. Check these sample conversations –
Me to a colleague – did you hear about the blasts? Isn’t it so unfortunate?
Colleague – yeah! Terrible! And we have to come to office tomorrow for work even though it’s the weekend. If some more blasts occur then I won’t come! May be another one or two small blasts might occur!
Me – ??$@#$#@!!
A colleague in the cab, talking over the phone – hey, did you hear about the latest blast? It seems it was near the Gopalan mall… yeah, it has been happening since morning… looks like it might continue till tonight or tomorrow!!
My thoughts – hello??? Can we at least be thankful for it not being worse and hope that the situation improves?
And the matter doesn’t end there… there’s more. As we read the reports pouring in about the shock waves that the blasts had sent across the city, the rain gods vented their ire too. When I made a remark to the effect – the panic buttons pressed and the offices closing early coupled with the rains, the traffic on the roads would be nightmarish; my colleague had this to say –
The traffic, the rains, with no diesel and no power, this is s***! And gosh! My bike is of XXX registration, I better get home early; one never knows what the people here will resort to!!
I was benumbed and speechless with shock, anger and hurt. Was this what my beloved city had come to signify and represent?
Looking at all the above, I can’t help but wonder – if this is the kind of attitude/ behaviour/ demeanour we, as Bangaloreans, were gonna arm ourselves with; how can we even imagine or plan ahead for handling any similar strikes/ disaster in the future?
Is there still hope? Someone please tell me, all is not lost!! 😦