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The aftermath of the Mumbai attack

December 1, 2008

They say it’s over but how do we, the common citizens cope with this? It’s going to take some time for life to get back to normal and I am not sure that I want it get back to normal. We are a nation in mourning and will be for some time. I was not anywhere near the death and destruction, although a person I know was trapped in there the whole night. He got away unscathed but many didn’t. Images flash before my eyes. 60 innocents, men, women, and children, shot on v.t station as they alighted from trains. 17 men and women lined up in a hotel corridor and shot to death mercilessly. The Israeli rabbi and his wife tortured to death on wednesday night. Brave firemen rescuing people trapped in the Taj Mahal hotel rooms even as the battle raged on, unmindful of the bullets. A police jeep ambushed, killing three brave men. Hotel staff maintaining their calm and helping guests out of the hotel, risking their own lives. People huddled in their rooms, frightened to death. Terrorists shooting civilians on sight, killing hundreds. Two killers cornered at Girgaum chowpatty by policemen. NSG commandos storming the hotel and Nariman House…

I feel a little drained and will be on a blogging break for some time. Maybe a few days, maybe a week. Thank you all for being here, reading and being supportive. Take care.

36 Comments leave one →
  1. Karan Makhija permalink
    December 1, 2008 6:33 am

    This is something i wrote on another blog site on the morning of the 29th of november… just wanted to share it with more people…


    the day began with rumours of more incidents of firing at several places. all false alarms. it wasn’t as bad for us in bandra. everyone including my domestics landed up for work over the last two days. but i hadn’t left my room in 48 hours. so i went over to a friend’s.

    seven of us played poker. slowly the humuor slid out. we took pot shots at the news media. we all felt that that the close up coverage given to the NSG operation ended up helping the terrorists and any tech savvy sensible person could see that it jeopardized the effort.

    someone we know who was trapped at the Taj managed to call a friend while he was stuck inside and said that until the media hadn’t mentioned that two hundred of them were hiding in a ballroom in the other wing of the Taj the terrorists had no clue they were there. suddenly ten minutes later they were under attack for the terrorists had heard the same news everyone else had! one of my friends said that a phone camera was enough to do the job. lo and behold, ten minutes later a news channel revealed that the terrorists had blackberrys and were checking live news feeds on the net! they didn’t need televisions or even local ground support for information. we had been handing it to them on a platter. so how come nobody in the media thought of this when lay people were smart enough to realize this on the morning of day one?

    at the end of the game two of us thought we’d get out for coffee. everything was shut early. it was perhaps the eeriest friday night i have seen in mumbai. The Taj has another luxury hotel in bandra, the Taj Lands End. we thought it would be the safest place in town today. but the 24 hour coffee shop was shut. few employees and no visitors or guests were visible. the atmosphere was dismal. its entrance was blockaded like a fortress. this is a place known for its vibrancy at all times, day, night, holiday, work time, weekend or not. not a soul today. just a fervent discussion in the enormous lobby by what looked like management level employees.

    finally coffee at a barista. just one table was occupied. then we trudged homeward. on empty streets. three kinds of life. dogs. military aircraft and copters every few minutes. and rickshaws. by the dozen. parked in long lines at every other street corner. obviously going nowhere for the third night in a row.

    Back home and the other Taj is still under siege. And so is the government by the Opposition party. the knives have come out. its election time in several key states after all.

  2. December 1, 2008 8:05 am

    I share the same emotional sentiments as you. I can understand the toll this attack is having on each and every one of us. God bless us all with the strength to keep our fight and beliefs. May the fallen heroes rest in peace.

    Would miss you during your blogging break. Be safe and spend some quality time with families and friends. I think we all should share this grief amongst. Take care.

  3. December 1, 2008 8:13 am

    Nita, I can sense your feelings of desperation here. I feel quite shaken myself. I was passing by my neighborhood Hilton Hotel last evening and was imagining it as the site of terror attacks. A shudder went down my spine. I wonder if anyone at all will ever be able to stay in a hotel without worrying about his/her safety. What about staying in a city? In a country? Anywhere on this earth? Are we safe ever? I’m just scared. That night, I had to sleep with my room lights on (and I hate sleeping even with a zero watt bulb glowing in my kitchen…I’m that averse to light of any kind while I’m sleeping). Please take care.

  4. December 1, 2008 8:39 am

    Hope to have you back soon. Take care.

  5. December 1, 2008 10:09 am

    Yes, Nita. All of yesterday I was reading bloggers’ reactions and posts and leaving a comment here and there. But I think after going through this on TV, blogs etc, one gets competely depressed. Nothing like a refreshing break from it all. Enjoy with family/friends and of course, take care!

  6. December 1, 2008 10:30 am

    Nita – I am glad you have not been harmed nor any of your family. Once a home turf has been defiled by senseless violence, it takes much time and ongoing calm to regain a sense of trust and equilibrium. i have a difficult time to wrap my mind around anyone killing innocent unknowns without flinching. it is so an unthinkable occurrence. And for what/ some imagined slight done, a resentment of history, hatred of peace?
    Take time with friends and loved ones. G

  7. December 1, 2008 10:49 am

    I fully understand how you feel… take care and come back soon, healed!

  8. December 1, 2008 11:09 am

    You bet….

    The last couple of days have been emotionally exhausting.

    In my latest post I have talked about the emotional trauma and devastation that Mumbaikars feel at the moment.

    I feel a dull heaviness in my head and have resolved not to watch TV for atleast a week.
    Reading the newspaper is also so depressing.

    It is important that Mumbaikars take some steps as unknowingly we are internalising and repressing our feelings.

    Need to release pent-up emotions. It is time to revert back to tried and tested ancient Indian stress busters like Yoga, pranayam and other techniques.

  9. December 1, 2008 11:26 am


    Well it has been so much for us, that we are not able to digest.
    To attain right state of mind, and a mindset will take time.
    Heard of those guns shots on Thursday night. A War-Zone. We are not used to it.
    Healing time for many of us. Cant help for those who have suffered permanent and ir-repairable losses.

    Take a break.

    Get Well Soon, Nita.

  10. December 1, 2008 11:27 am

    This is an attack against freedom and democracy, and i sincerely hope the government is strong enough to do something about this, apart from calling for a a bloody Bundh!

  11. Dnyanesh permalink
    December 1, 2008 11:49 am

    About 200 people died.
    1. How much time do you think it will take to forget this? for people? for politicians? for people who lost their loved ones?
    2. What issue politicians will find to divert our attention from this? Any guess? Reservations? Ram Janmoabhoomi?
    3. Will our police force get new guns or they will continue using guns they got from Gov Gen Mountbatten? Some police died because bulletprooof jackets failed to save them from bullets. Who is responsible for this negligence?
    4. Do you think police could have saved some lives if they had better guns? Do we feel that our protectors should have better arms than our enemies?
    5. Will MPs think that it is better to provide more funds to police force than giving it to loss making PSUs? Unfortunately they don’t have vote value. But you can vote only if you are alive.
    6. Will we cooperate if government comes up with tougher laws to protect us from NRP? (Non resident Pakistanis). I think many instance have shown that we don’t have adequate laws. But our so called human rights folks don’t like that. What do they want to say about 200 deaths and this strike on our self confidence? Are there any suggestions by so called ‘new freedom fighters’?
    7. Govt has realized need for new govt agencies to fight terror. Are we not intelligent enough to anticipate these problems before they strike? Our politicians don’t understand seriousness of these issues even after terror struck the parliament.
    8. I think to address terror, we must improve our police force, intelligence. We must stay united. All communities should stay united and defeat main aim of these terrorist, which is to break our society.

  12. ruben chowdhury permalink
    December 1, 2008 11:57 am

    i am a arms expert the weapons used used by terrorists are fear and hatare.also they not only use ak-56 or ak-47 they should have mp5 submachine gun ,charged expolsives like the nsg,they should be trained according to thier moves by marine wing of ssg -pakistani special forces not mere lakshar or any one esle like special
    boat services of uk.think about that.also number of nsg commandos in protection to our corrupt politicans are 7000(approx2006) than 3500 of commandos of sag wing of nsg,think abou that,now there shoiuld bem ilitary raj in mharashtra than civilian.and vote or elections will
    do nothing but false promise with mafia leaders.

  13. December 1, 2008 11:59 am

    We all are in this mourning, lovelorn, bereft, anger and upset …we all need surely a considerable amount of time to come out of this tragedy … Praying god to give us enough strength to heal ourselves soon to be on track again. And I urge god not to repeat this , saying that – ” we can’t bare this kind of upset in our lives in future”.

  14. December 1, 2008 12:42 pm

    I can imagine how emotionally taxing this has been on almost everybody. Mumbai will never be the same again, but we should all rise up and take charge of the situation. We need to ask questions. I feel angry and don’t know how to channelise this emotional outburst!

  15. December 1, 2008 1:43 pm

    I am angry like every other Indian at the system we have in place. We should use this emotions that are pouring out in the right direction to hit the core of terrorism and get rid of it !

  16. December 1, 2008 2:39 pm

    @ Nita : Its exhausting is it not. Well one must do what one has to though. Hope to see you back soon.

  17. ahumanbean permalink
    December 1, 2008 4:29 pm

    Where are the TV grabs of survivors of the VT station carnage? Why are we seeing the affluent victims/survivors?

    Surely We Indians need to speak for the other less fortunate VT station traumatized folk. The up-market models/actresses/whatevers have more than enough validation and footage, for heavens’ sake (witness the fluffy model on The Shout Channel – we the people held by a hysterical Barkha Dutt last night! Very stomach churning, even though she was a “survivor”)

    I’m more annoyed than sad when I see the endless Jewish angle being harped on by what many call the Hitler channel – a k a CNN. What – the Jewish community worldwide doesn’t get enough TV footage?

    Human Bean, I too feel that too little has been mentioned about the vt carnage, but that’s typical of our page 3 tv channels. I also feel Barkha Dutt is a put-on, although she is very savvy. – Nita.

  18. December 1, 2008 4:31 pm

    hmm…I don’t know what to say..

  19. Joss permalink
    December 1, 2008 6:37 pm

    I am thinking of all my Indian friends, and can imagine what you are going through. After 7/7 here in Britain I felt the same, even though I don’t live in London. Every time I turned the news on I found myself in tears almost immediately. Ihave shed tears now too, for all those who died in Mumbai, and for all those others who have died this year in incidents which never made it to the front pages of the western press.

    I can understand you need some space now, Nita. But thank you for continuing with your posts through last week. You were under pressure and it must have been difficult to know what to say. You mananged, however, to be both impassioned and objective, as ever. Take care of yourself and those around you. You may find Karan Johar’s blog helpful.

  20. December 1, 2008 6:47 pm

    Dear Nita,
    I can see how you feel…especially for someone like you, who is taking such things seriously and close to the heart – it must have been very painful to watch it all so close.

    Please take your reast and come back to us soon!
    LOVE&HUG, axinia

  21. December 1, 2008 8:30 pm

    I am glad you are safe, but I know how you will be feeling being in Mumbai. It is time for us to retaliate. We should just go and attack the terrorists at their place. Something has to be done, not just merely increasing security, it doesn’t help. Take a break, breathe and then come back when you feel normal. Hope everything will be good soon.

  22. December 1, 2008 9:09 pm

    Emotionally draining for any resident, understandable.

    Mumbai will hit back in its own unique style and will pack a punch when it does so… I’m just praying that it will have a knock out effect on our dear leaders who have brought us this far…


  23. December 1, 2008 9:47 pm

    hey all of you, thanks for being here! I am here and reading all your comments and enjoying reading every word. Each comment I read is like a little band-aid to my heart.
    I am also waiting to see some action by our politicians, and I pray that something good comes out of all of this. Let these people not have died in vain.

  24. December 1, 2008 11:23 pm

    I completely understand. Even though I was in a different city, the incident has completely drained me. For three days, I felt so tired and angry. I was not able to work at office and there was so much anger at what happened and the immature statements by our politicians.
    I think there should be something like a weekly check on what steps the politicians have taken so far. The citizens have to keep them on their toes otherwise something worse could happen.

  25. stud.boy99 permalink
    December 1, 2008 11:54 pm

    to start with, lets try not to be communal ourselves… you never know when you yourself act like a communal person, we might not realise but just plain omission can be “misused” by a third person as being communal…

    i will give you a very small example–in the office we used to go out for coffee breaks like typically people do, and we usually go out with someone with whom you can talk in your own language bcos it feels more relaxed to talk in your own mother tongue.. slowly and steadily as the communication between people from different languages got limited to official contact, somewhere during all this the regional groups got formed, and people got suspicious of each other… no, i am not asking for pre-approved-&-anti-communal coffee groups here :)… but all i am saying is that “no-communication is a miscommunication” even in everyday interactions

    in office, its not that we tried to be “communal”, just that we were just limiting ourselves to our “comfort zone” and it was misintrepreted as being communal… (on hindsight i think it was definetely avoidable but it still happened.. and i have learnt some lesson) i think most of us are not “communal” in the strictest sense, but we should try to be out of the “comfort zone” to discern any malicious misinterpretations and reach out to people who are not from our community, religion…

    lets try as much to mingle with people from other regions, castes, religions without prejudice… and discriminate people (not communities) only if they have been proved to have said/done anything illegal/immoral/anti-national

    2. make sure that the centre and state governments act on this terror attack, they ensure training, equipment, intelligence.. lets not get the pressure off government on mumbai attacks.. its our pressure that the CMs are attending the funerals of the martyrs today.. remember entire political leadership gave a miss to field marshal Sam manekshaw’s funeral, no one from CMs, to PM, to the “nationalist opposition” was present when Sam manekshaw was given his last rites, and now they find time to come to funerals of mumbai attacks to get political mileage ahead of elections…

    both of the things i said sound very simple, but it take me a lot of concious effort to do it…

  26. December 2, 2008 12:32 am

    Do blog regularly, we should not let these terrorists win by emotionally draining ourselves…..

  27. December 2, 2008 12:33 am

    A small reaction from my side after the 26/11 episode. too lengthy to post it here. u can have a look on my blogpage:


  28. December 2, 2008 1:52 am

    Nita, maybe a Mumbai bloggers meet will be helpful for all, as it’ll get all you bloggers together and share ideas.

  29. ahumanbean permalink
    December 2, 2008 8:58 am

    Sorry to return to the same point made earlier ( the Page 3 / Barkha Hysteria Duttification of the whole incident:


    CNN and the BBC turned the spotlight yesterday – 5 days after the carnage began – to two weepy survivor stories from the VT station fall out. While I was happy to see some focus go away from the “spiritual seekers” who were in / near the Trident ( oh, who happened to come across as very affluent spiritual seekers. “Master Charles”?!!! wt* ), it was even more distressing to hear these two channels go on and on and on about w.a.r.

    Dudes. Reality check. We Indians need to declare war on the Kerela CM and drag his sorry ass out of office. Negotiating with our neighbours is a far easier task than that, I think!

  30. December 2, 2008 12:26 pm

    Nita, Xylene was right! Please do not do this to us and your blog! Let us all be brave and fight back. Please, for God’s sake! Mumbaikars are said to have high spirits..I request you to not take this break.

    By the way, Kerala CM’s comment on Major Unnikrishnan’s family was disgusting! Such is the breed of the politicians. Common man too should be blamed for all this.

    And ya,cojncidentally, I wrote a post on the same day with almost the same title on my blog too!! I felt that the change should start from the common man.

    Manoj, tomorrow I am posting a guest article. And my break isn’t going to be long. Thanks for your encouragement. But you know I just feel too depressed. – Nita.

  31. Jasim Akhtar permalink
    December 2, 2008 12:37 pm

    I am very tense with the activity of Indian politicians. why they are pulling leg from their job.
    just they are blameing to each other. I think the time has come, the youth of India need to go on
    RANG DE BASANTI (movie) pattern. then these politicians will learn lesson. why we have deployed them ? Just they are thingking toward their self own. we are paying tax and they are misuseing our fund on their own security to deploying NSG Commando and CRF, why ?

  32. December 2, 2008 5:24 pm

    As I said in PoonamSharma’s blog, I didn’t comment until now on the Mumbai attacks because, as an outsider, I thought I should shut the hell up and first read newspapers and blog comments and try to comprehend.

    I can understand you feel a bit drained. But on the whole I think that India and Mumbai have reacted well, even with heroic acts. Mumbai’s (Induia’s) reaction has been praised. India is finding the moral strength to resist to all this folly.

    You’ve got to have faith that India as a whole, despite all her ethnic differences and languages, her contradictions and communalism, is much stronger than this foolishness and repugnant terror. You’ve seen worse moments since the days of Independence. You’ve got to have faith.

    Many people, not only in the West (I read a lot of comments) think that India’s resurrection will not be stopped by envy, nihilism or fanaticism.

    My best regards

    I do not doubt that India willl win. Life always goes forward, not backwards, I believe that firmly. A step back and ten steps forward, that is what is going to happen. There is anger and as someone said, a lot of good can come out anger that is channelised well. – Nita

  33. December 3, 2008 12:25 am

    The internet has enabled us to have close connections to people we may never meet. People like me feel a close connection to people like you because we have blog centered relationships. We care about one another and when we hear news like this we immediately share your sorrow and send out our best wishes to you. May the violence come to an end – now and you and all your countrymen be safe and well.

  34. December 3, 2008 6:21 pm

    Mumbai was back to normal on Monday, believe it or not. People at trading desks and IT support went to work a couple of buildings away from the Oberoi on Friday. This is indeed a city of bravehearts! But this has been a terrible event, and I for one would like to urge people to shut the city down till the security levels are beefed up!

  35. December 4, 2008 11:30 am

    i share some similar views. i have tried to cut off myself from all the sad stories of innocent people nearly escaping death . since 26/11 i just feel so low .
    though i cannot take break from my work but with my exams heading on , i just dont even feel like studying.
    but lets hope that it all gets fine 🙂

  36. Manoj permalink
    December 7, 2008 7:21 am

    what next.

    Whatever happened is done. But what next. Shall we stay idle accusing politicians , scared from next attack of terrorist, stop going in to places , looks for news everytime expecting something bad can be happen anytime. NOT ANY MORE. This i the time we shall all rise from rumble. We shall get togther to fight against these incompetent politicians, lazzy beauraucracy, corruption and “sab chalt hai” attitude of ourselves.

    Lets make a united voice which can be heard shall be heard which will make the difference. After all its our country If not me than who will think of it.

    Lets come all the indian come togather to change the country this time not for the better but for the best

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