This might seem redundant - to beat my chest and cry aloud for what is happening to my beloved Mumbai, my city, my home. I have always been asked what community I belong to - and people are always surprised to know that I am a Tamilian. (Apparently, I look like anything but a Tam). I am not bragging, but I have always claimed to be a Bombayite at heart and a Mumbaikar for political correctness. I identify more with the cultural bhelpuri that Mumbai is a moniker, a metaphor for, than with my Tamilian roots. Make no mistake, I am not denouncing my roots - I am very proud of it. Yet, if I were to choose, I would choose the city of my childhood, the city that gave me everything I have today - the city that shaped my dreams.
And today, my home is burning. With rage, with shock, with sentiment, with grief, with red tears that stain its structures in the false hope that the sea, betrayed by treachery, will wash them away.
I am oceans away from home, yet my grief is no less and the pain is palpable even in this cold town I live in.
My questions might seem redundant, boring, oft-repeated. But as Mumbai's child, as a stakeholder, as someone whose home was invaded, ransacked and whose home survived an attempt to reduce its structure and fabric to rubble, I demand answers to my questions - NOT BECAUSE IT'S MY CITY, BUT BECAUSE IT'S MY COUNTRY:
1) How can the home minister of the state have the sheer audacity to relegate these horrific incidents to be termed as "small" incidents that Mumbai is now used to? Does he have a heart? Does he have a brain? Does he have eyes? Does he have any sense?
He hails from a small town unaccustomed to the terror that Mumbai has seen in the last 15 years. He came with a baggage of small-town mentality that was focussed more on shutting down dance bars (as if they were terrorising the city) and forgets that as the Home Minister, it is his duty to ensure REAL EFFECTIVE EFFICACIOUS BULLET-PROOF JACKETS TO ATLEAST THE ANTI-TERRORIST SQUAD. It's a no-brainer situation to me. He sits in a plush bungalow surrounded by commandos who ought to have been protecting innocent citizens, but were forced to protect this insignificant insensitive man as a call of duty. Will someone at least slap him?
2) WILL PEOPLE PLEASE STOP BRAGGING ABOUT MUMBAI'S RESILIENCE? There is a limit to how much you can falsely hype our helplessness for resilience and use it as an escape into amnesia. Does anyone remember the lives lost in the July 2005 floods - where is the promise to clean the Mithi River? A 2001 report had pointed out the failure of intelligence activities on the Indian coastline - the primary route for terrorists in the the 1993 Blasts and the 2008 Massacre in my home. How many years and how many more lives before you sitting in that high and mighty chair will decide to do something about it? Don't politicians at least have a collective conscience that reverberates into action for national security consciousness?
3) WILL SOMEONE INVEST IN THE POLICE FORCE OF MUMBAI? PLEASE. It is no joke that the city falls prey to terrorism time and again. If it is not suffering from chilling spineless ruthlessness and cowardice of terrorism, it is held to ransom by the mindless bloodshed by the underworld, or just the gimmickry of cranky politicians greedy for print space.
4) Will the responsible politicians please step down? I DEMAND THE RESIGNATION OF VILASRAO DESHMUKH, R R PATIL & SHIVRAJ PATIL.
5) WIll AFZAL GURU PLEASE BE HANGED - ATLEAST NOW? (Yes, I absolutely support capital punishment for the devil incarnate).
I am seething with anger, I am pained with the grief, I am scared for my people. We have been taken for granted for too long. It is payback time - to give Mumbai its due and not leave it to bleed each time in the false hope that resilience will bandage its wounds and the need to survive will nurse it to normalcy. Enough is enough.