It’s been over two weeks since the horrific events that unfolded in Mumbai. And I have wanted to write something about what has been happening in my city almost every day since it happened. But someone always beat me to what I wanted to say and said it much better. So I am going to just stick to talking about how it has affected me personally.
To start with, there is this lingering feeling of ‘that could have been us’. The night the attack started happened to be our anniversary. And for the first time in three and a half years, we left a sleeping Ayaan at home with the maid and headed out for a romantic candle-lit dinner for two. At a restaurant not very far from another five star hotel (JW Marriot), which is rumoured to have been a terror target too.
And then there is this lingering feeling of ‘it could still be us’ Because suddenly it seems like something like this is just around the corner. You might be unlucky enough to run slam bang into it or your good fortune might allow you to dodge a bullet, like so very many people we know directly and indirectly did two weeks ago. But the shadow of possibility exists and it still haunts. And the paranoia is hard to shake in its entirety.
A colleague got married on 6th December in Chennai. The Sixth Of December. And a group of us colleagues had planned to travel down from Mumbai for the wedding. But then 26/11 happened and there were mutliple media articles on terror threats to airports and corporate travel advisories issued against travelling that day. So we didn’t go… and felt foolish later, since nothing happened…
And I find myself thinking twice before going shopping to a big mall. And wondering if five star hotels (with their retinue of bag and car checkers) are a soft target, what about schools and offices? And looking for the location of the emergency exit when I am in a building. And feeling just the slightest bit uneasy about the the fact that we are taking 6 flights across the country this winter vacation.
Last weekend, we were thinking of going to the local market to pick up some stuff. But then it struck me that the market was very close to a suburban railway station and who knows whether that might not be the next target. So I suggested that we avoid going there together. So that atleast if anything did happen, atleast Ayaan would have one of his parents.
Morbid thoughts these but I can’t stop them from popping into my head at will. But what if the worst were to happen? In the last couple of weeks, I have come to realise how unprepared we are for it and its implications for Ayaan:
- We don’t have a will.
- Jai manages all our money and other than the ATM PIN, I have no idea how it is invested.
- We had only written out our numbers in the vernacular and pasted it on the kitchen notice board for easy access for the maids. But what if something happened to the both of us? They have no other contact for anyone else.
I know people directly affected have much bigger problems and a bigger right to mourn. And my heart bleeds for them. I also feel for this city that has been my home for over eight years. But at a more selfish and personal level, I mourn for the almost careless sense of security and disregard for mortality with which I have lived my life upto now. For the sense of surety that I made the right choice when I brought my son into this crazy world. And for my anniversary, which will forever be known as the day that Mumbai was attacked...