26.11.2008

“If you’re coming to terms with a job loss or have a home loan you can’t pay, come to India to find peace.” This was the tourist minister’s prescription for all those who have been burnt in the global meltdown, which was of course before the terror attacks in Mumbai.

These attacks have left Mumbai shaken and numb. The very famous “spirit” of Mumbai was crushed – maybe beyond repair. A day after the attacks started, life in the suburbs got back on track. Of course, this wasn’t because of the resilience of Mumbai or its undying spirit. Trains were packed and roads filled with traffic because people have responsibilities, and commitments. While the world is heading in for a recession, they tried to cling on to their jobs and “survive”.

But whatever people may say, even 4 days after the terrorists were killed, Mumbai has not returned to “normal”. There are still people glued to the news channels, waiting to find out what remedial actions are being taken…waiting for someone to reassure them that this won’t happen again. There are still people who jerk slightly when they hear fireworks, or a car backfire. There are still parents wary of sending their children out unnecessarily. There are still people who are mourning the loss of their loved ones. There are still people who have survived and who are haunted by their experience.

Things won’t be the same. We have seen the faces of terror this time, and the people of Mumbai want to make sure that they won’t have to ever again. They want to be sure that the next time terror mails are received, the Government will act on it…the next time calls are intercepted between the terrorists, the Government will buff up security and inform the public. They want to be sure that the next time NSG commandos are required, they don’t have to wait to transport them from Delhi…the next time commandos are required at the scene of terror, there will be planes ready to transport them.

What the people definitely do not want to hear is “Bade bade shehero main aise chhote haadse hote rehte hai” (these small things happen in big cities) If Former Maharashtra Deputy CM R R Patil had even an aquaintance at any of the attacked venues, he may have been more reactive. People also don’t need certain leaders (not that they can be called that) to surface only to create a havock to protect their “Maharashtrians”. If Raj Thackeray believes that people who are not from Maharashtra should not benefit from employment in the State, then I believe he should be ready to send out his Maharashtrian men to the venues to bail out his “Mumbai”. With all his “passion” for the state, he should not have been able to sit back and watch the North and South Indians walk into the face of terror and allow him to sleep safely! People don’t want politicians to take advantage of this situation to get electoral votes…we don’t want an internal blame game!

So how are they going to convince the people of Mumbai that they are acting to make it a safe place? What are they doing to be PROactive, rather than just REactive? Whatever it is, they better work fast, because the full-spirited Mumbaikars are ready to take action!

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