I do not know how would I have reacted if I was in Bombay during (any of) the terror strikes. There would be a mix of reactions and feelings in my head and I wouldn’t quite know how I would be dealing with the situation. Would I be writing about it? Would I switch off my television, disgusted of whatever I see? Would I have prolonged discussions about it with people I can talk sense with? How would it be?
But I do have a certain idea of how I would not want to be. I would not be like Narendra Modi. I would not go there with my bunch of security guards around me and I definitely won’t talk to the press. All this while hostages and the commandos fight it out only a few meters away. I promise you that I won’t try to score a political point out of it, for deep inside I would know how shallow my words would be then, as they have always been and I would just not have courage to do it, no matter what. Perhaps I would fear that my doing it would show to the world how oblivious I am to the intensity of the situation.
I would also hate to be in the (then) CM’s shoes. After being ashamed of my deputy’s comments while trying to mellow down the mood of the public by telling that this was just a choti si baat in a bada sa shehar ( a small incident in a big city), what I would definitely say no to would be my son’s demand of accompanying me while I go (with my personal commandos of course) and inspect of what is left after the massacre. And even in the hypothetical case that I take him with me I swear to you that I would keep his friends out. No matter how good (or bad) a director you are, this is a ticket I can’t get you Mr Verma. I am Sorry.
Nor would I be like this man, who, I am sure, has quite earned the irk of of a few cosmetic companies apart from the womenfolk. It must be obvious that anyone condemning the lipstick should be prepared to be left “red-faced”. The ghosts would definitely come back to haunt when Mr Naqvi gets elected to some office in the Government (It may happen, who knows) and have a couple of women superiors to report to.
Lastly, I would hate to be this other CM and earn the wrath of the proud father of a brave soldier. I wonder, how much, if I may use the apt word, shitty, one can be to call a press conference and say it all, quite calmly, that “not even a dog would have glanced that way”.
Perhaps the most surprising impact of the Mumbai terror attacks has been the wrath earned by our politicians from the junta. It had been long impending. Today no politician can roam on the streets of Bombay or Delhi as a free man.
These are the leaders we elect and put on high places. Be scared because they come from you and me. Be worried because it is no one’s but our failure. All these years, we have failed to deliver one strong leader we can look up to.
These lines were captured on TV, while a mumbaikar took a printout and held on them:
Mr Terrorist: I am still alive, what more can you do?
Mr Politician: I am alive despite you.
I AM A MUMBAIKAR.
Its a pity that these come from the streets of Bombay, the pulse of what is the World’s largest democracy. What a shame.