Black Tuesday II


I’m posting something forwarded to me by my cousin that seems like blog entries from one of her friends.

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I would have liked to review “Superman Returns” that I watched at the IMAX Dome on Monday night. I would have liked to talk about how absolutely gorgeous Brandon Routh is, how delicious his eyes are, how similar he looks to Christopher Reeve (which to me is obviously the prime reason he got the part).

I would have liked to comment on the defacing of Bal Thackeray’s wife’s statue on Sunday. How something comparatively trivial like that can make the Shiv Sena rile so many people into doing unbelievable acts of vandalism, destroy so much property, injure so many people and create so much havoc. How instead of trying to diffuse the situation, the RSS created more communal disharmony by stating (TOI) that incidents like these are caused because of the Muslim community and because churches were built by the Portuguese and we should get India back to being a land for the Hindu.

On Monday there were so many things I would have liked to say, to comment upon, to rant about.

But Tuesday has left me, and the whole of Mumbai city, a different human being.

The people of Mumbai suffered yet another grave tragedy, one which was so eerily reminiscent of the tragedy of March ‘98. Then, 13 bombs strategically placed all over the city went off one after the other leaving people in a state of confusion and panic. This time it was 8 bombs on the busiest railway line, the Western Railway during peak hours, just when everyone was returning home tired after another long day’s work.

I got to hear of today’s blasts through a phone call before the lines got jammed. I sat with my mum and watched, our hands shaking ever so slightly as we changed from one TV channel to the next, as the blasts increased in number from 3 to 4 to 5 and so on until it numbered 8. We watched in horror the bloodstained compartment walls of the blown up railway stations. We stared in compassion and anguish at the ones who had been injured, blood flowing freely out of their head, legs, everywhere; the repeated footage doing nothing to ease our angst.

Hundreds had died. More who had been injured and possibly would succumb to those injuries…

The tragedy of today’s bomb blasts has left everyone in our city of Mumbai shaking. There are so many questions, so much pain, so little sense to it all.

And yet through the insanity of it all, there is one small ray of hope – the reaction of the people, the common man of Mumbai.

The common man found the strength to call his family and friends and warn them about the situation before the lines got jammed. The common man got out of his home and helped those who were injured, bleeding, many whose limbs had been blown up. Each TV channel had a different set of people at the railway station all saying the same thing – the railway staff & the police may not have come to their rescue, but the common man did.

If you asked me on Monday who the new Superman was, I would have said “Brandon Routh”. Ask me today and this is what I’ll tell you:

* Superman is the man who got bed sheets from his train-side slum home and carried half-dead first class passengers into ambulances.

* Superman is the man who didn’t realize his own bloodstained shirt while he helped his other more seriously injured fellow travelers.

* Superman is the man who stood on the roads in the dark partially rainy night and offered water and biscuits to people stranded in hours of jammed road traffic.

* Superman is the man who donated blood at the hospitals.

* Superman is the man who rushed to do anything, everything for anyone he saw. He wasn’t wondering what community the injured were from… he subconsciously realized that there was no distinction between Hindu or Muslim or Catholic or Parsi; that all lives are equally important.

In the movie ‘Superman Returns’ the character Lois Lane wins a Pulitzer Prize for her article titled “Why the World doesn’t need Superman”.

I’ll tell you why Mumbai doesn’t – because the Common Man on the Road in Mumbai is Superman.

If any city can get over the tragedies we have faced one after another, be it natural disasters, politically created disharmony or brutal acts of terrorism, we can.

We can Mumbai. We’re a city of Supermen.

Edited, 12th July, the day after:
* My heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Jitendra Nagar, Taj Land’s End, Engineering Manager whose life was lost in one of the blasts.

* I also thank my close friend Khushroo Battiwala of Yashmun Engineers Ltd. – when I spoke to him today morning I found out that he had already sent nearly 100 people from his company to donate blood.

I was touched and inspired by his initiative that I spoke to my boss and got our company to encourage everyone to do the same & even offered a small monetary incentive to each of our employees who give blood. I’ve even called up a couple of other friends who own their own businesses to encourage employees to donate blood. I believe each of us can make a difference in our own way if we try – do try.

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