Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Heartsick

I am sick of it all. I am sick of the ‘resilience of Mumbaikars’, sick of their ‘coming together in moments of crisis’ and of their goddamn ‘indomitable spirit’. I am sick of being stoic and cheerful and smiling in the face of disaster.

I don’t want to be ‘resilient’ anymore. I don’t want this city to ‘bounce back’ and I don’t want to display courage. I want this city to shed it’s ‘never say die’ attitude like yesterday’s muddy, bloodstained clothes.

Because you see what’s happening don’t you?

We are turning into victims of the worst kind of freeloading ever. We are being sodomized by the state and the worst part of it is that, we’re getting so used to it that it seems ‘normal’ now.

From the text of statement issued by the Prime Minister:
"The series of blasts in Jammu and Kashmir and in Mumbai are shocking and cowardly attempts to spread a feeling of fear and terror among our citizens.“

The Prime Minister has also appealed for people to "remain calm, not to believe rumours, and carry on their activity normally".

Also:
Shocked by the brutal terrorist attack in Mumbai, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav along with other officials visited Mumbai late night on Tuesday for an on-the-spot review of the situation.

'Shocking'? ’Shocked’? Took you by surprise did they, those terrorists? Never saw them coming, did you? Because you know, O great leaders of this country, you’re pretty much the only ones who didn't. The normal people, distressed and horrified as they were, moved right into action like they knew the drill. Like they were born removing mangled bodies from scenes of terror and destruction. Like severed limbs, and blood and remains of human bodies, were things that they’d seen so many times, they knew what to do. They queued up outside hospitals to donate blood; they offered food, water, shelter and solace to each other because this has happened before, and it can happen again.

I wonder if you get what this says about your government.

It says, Prime Minister, that you have been – how does one say this diplomatically? – uhhh, slow. That you have failed the citizens of this country so many times, that they’ve gotten used to it now.

They no longer wait for the ‘authorities’ to rescue them, because if they did, they’d have a long wait ahead.

Mumbai has been put in a state of ‘high alert’, which, according to Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, apparently translates as, “All schools, colleges and offices will remain open and run as usual.”

So, you know, just in case you made it home alive yesterday, you can tempt fate again today.

Read this: ”New York police heightened security on subways on Tuesday after train bombings in India killed more than 160 people, while officials unveiled high-tech devices designed to prevent just such attacks.

Police called the measures -- including increased patrols and more random bag searches -- a precaution, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters there was no specific threat.”

And in contrast, this: ”The morning after the devastating blasts on the Western railway line, life is back to normal for the ever-resilient Mumbaikars. Train services are running normally and people are not hesitating to take the local trains to work.”

And this move is being lauded. As courageous, and brave and ‘never say die’ (which is ironic really, because you don’t actually get to say it, do you? You just, die) and that's what puts terrorists off, isn't it? They're probably thinking, "Yeah, y'know, those Mumbaikars...they're a courageous lot, so no point bombing them anymore". Likely? You think?

America, is being cautious despite the fact that there haven’t been any threats, but us? Oh no! We’re the ‘resilient’ ones. We shall shoulder on bravely (in an exemplary display of bloody foolishness) because you know, we’re *Mumbaikars*. And pats on the back from the media and the fucking ineffectual government, are apparently, enough to make it go away.

I saw a couple of policemen standing outside the local train stations, but no signs of bags being checked, frisking, security checks, nothing. So for all you know, the terrorists could’ve walked into the station, left a couple of couple of packages of RDX around and sauntered out again.

I think our country's motto should be changed from 'Satyamev Jayate' (and we all know how true that's been) to:

"Live each day as if it were your last, citizens of this country, because you know, it just might fucking be."

21 comments:

Arthur Quiller Couch said...

Shhhhh. Chill.

As if we have a choice, yes I know.

Chronicus Skepticus said...

Couch: This is only city I've *ever* referred to as mine and, well...I'm just REALLY angry and the fact that everyone's being so 'normal' about it makes me even angrier.

It's not normal dammit!

I don't deal with it too well, do I?

:(

Anonymous said...

You speak for me and I guess thousands more when you say that!

I spit at such resilience and such spirit!

Chronicus Skepticus said...

Anonymous: Why are you anonymous?

>I spit at such resilience and such spirit!

I think you might've misunderstood me. Most days, I admire this very resilience. It's just that in situations like this, I think we take it too far.

It's *hardly* normal that 190 people be torn to shreds on their way home after an honest day's work, how is it that we're treating it like that?

Pranay Da Spyder said...

And to think of that everyone is happy that people got bedsheets from their houses to use as body bags. Yeah, rather than lambast the emergency services (are there any?) on their poor response, the media lauds the people who picked up the dead and wounded.

Resilience doesn't mean picking up bodies from the sides of the track - the dead deserve some respect and that cannot be given by a crowd of people doing something that trained medics should be doing.

Virgo Guy said...

The worst part is the same people who planted the bombs could be boarding local trains again .. becos there are no sketches ... no idea who they were and why they did what they did.

But frankly, even when i see all these debates on tv, i feel whats the use ... its not going to lead to any action. Can we do something apart from debating and berating?

Mumbai is angry and scared .. but so what??

Anshul Tiwari said...

Sorry for the anonymous post...

What I meant by saying that is
We the people of India never make anybody accountable...We know who is resposible for this...Directly Pak and Indirectly our Govt...why can't we follow Israel's policy?For 2 soldiers they have invaded Lebanon...they might loose a few people...but they have their self respect INTACT...but Mumbai's motto seems to be keep suffering and moving on!

MinCat said...

hello. thank you. the point is for them to suck ro how wld one know formality from in? :D

Rhyncus said...

Yes, the repetitive use of 'resilience' tends to dull, tends to mask apathy.

Chronicus Skepticus said...

PdS: My point exactly. Why don't we have emergency services in place? Hell, we don't even have normal services!

Virgo Guy: I think being angry, and debating/berating is, well, at least a beginning?

Anshul: Absolutely! What puzzles me is, why the hell are we always, always, always on the defensive? We know who's done it, we know where they live, yet, we sit around and twiddle our thumbs and pray that they'll have a change of heart. Like that's likely to happen.

Mincat: Hello, to you too! And I have no idea what you just said. Nope, none.

You spikka da ingliss? :D

Rhyncus: I'm so sick of that word, I could cry!

Virgo Guy said...

What beginning are you talking about ... a beginning of people actually punishing the culprits and/or the authorities ... or a beginning that people go out and vote ...

The day of the blasts while driving back home we gave some lifts and the people who got lifts while discussing said that they are never going to vote again becos they dont have a choice.

These discussions will die and nothing will happen, what they do is give us a false sense of "feel good" that we think about all this.

Saltwater Blues said...

I like your blog.

shine on!

km said...

Incredibly sad situation, but unfortunately without easy answers. I wish it were as simple as blaming the politicians. You can swap one set for another to for some temporary gratification, but the next set is just as helpless and useless.

The US government actions/reactions hardly constitute a good roadmap. Politicians are a bit more media savvy and position themselves better to exploit the feelings of the people (which were very similar in case of 9/11), but often do more harm than good. While Bush actions on Afganistan were right, the political motivations led to Iraq which has given new life to the very forces that we were supposed to be trying to defeat. But, they were - at remain almost to this day - good domestic politics. And, then there is the money: now there has been a new economy created to profit from people's fears. Surely that's coming to India.

Fundamentally, to be a bully and lash out at the easily available target does not solve anything.

Anyone managing India frankly has hardly any attractive choices. Indeed, sabre-rattling with Pak would be highly popular, but what'd it accomplish? Going to a war presents a Hobson's choice. For various reasons, the country offers too many soft targets for terrorists, and that's not an easy fix. They can make bold representations, but with little to back them up. So, there is little practical remedy but resilience. Like Couch said: "as if we have a choice..."

Not to say it will solve the terrorism problems, we must move forward on the Kashmir problem to start to lower our profile. That's the most practical step we can take. Clearly, dealing with the security apparatus of India is another step that must be taken, but expecting that to solve this problem in our lifetime is asking for too much.

Sorry about this downright pessimistic assessment, but I wish anything else looked even remotely realistic.

Hang in there!

Chronicus Skepticus said...

>What beginning are you talking about?

The beginning of hopefully, change?

>They are never going to vote again becos they dont have a choice.

Virgo Guy, I don’t agree with that line of thinking. You always, always, always have a choice. I don’t say it is an easy choice, it will probably involve work and sacrifice and blood and sweat and tears, but to say it doesn’t exist, is not true.

What I’m trying to say is, you get what you settle for, and we’re settling for too damn little.

SwB: Ummm…thank you and uh…I’ll try to? ☺

Km: I’m not blaming just this present set of politicians, I’m blaming all of them...not that that solves anything either…or at least, not yet (sometimes, I surprise myself at how optimistic I can be).

Re: The US governments actions

I’m lauding their good sense in being cautious, which is more than I can say for us. And of course, the fact that they don’t just sit around and wait for 200 people to die, before they take action.

Re: Bullying/lashing out at easily available targets

You are a bully when you attack, without provocation, people who are weaker than you. That’s America all over. We, however, have had plenty provocation, don’t you think?

>Anyone managing India frankly has hardly any attractive choices.

That’s true enough, but having unattractive choices (by which I mean, following a course of action which might not give you the best result) is surely not the same as having no choices?

We’re already being targeted by terrorists (in fact we seem to be the favourite terrorist destination!), would it not make more sense to have our lives (or in the more likely case, our deaths) count for something?

>Clearly, dealing with the security apparatus of India is another step that must be taken, but expecting that to solve this problem in our lifetime is asking for too much.

Is it? I think I will ask for it anyway. If I start now, maybe by the time I have children, things will be better? :)

Arunima said...

Came through some other blog who had quoted this post.

Straight from the heart and it stood apart.

I really wish some of the leaders would read this but damn bastards must be busy preaparing another speech.

Rohini said...

I can understand how we would hate the terrorists for their senseless and inhuman acts of terror. I can get why we would want to berate the government for being slow and ineffectual. What I do not get is this scolding of the general population of Mumbai for getting on with their lives. What other choice do they have? I don't think the answer lies in congregations and mobs but history has shown that more often than not these turn violent and destructive. And that would be playing right into the hands of the ones who perpetrated this heinous acts in the same place. Or should they just give up on life and livelhood and stay at home cocooned in their fear.

The biggest problem here is that politicians and the government lack accountability. They can get away with such apathetic behaviour because no one pulls them up for it. They continue to get elected or wreak havoc as leaders of the opposition seeking a way back in. And we keep re-electing the same idiots inspite of the repeated disappointments. Our failure lies not in our resilience but our inability to use our right to vote to exercise power on the government to be more effective.

Sriram said...

nice post. I'm linking it on my latest post. cheers!!

Drunken Master said...

Uh, in response to NYC upping security, it was only for a few hours, and that too to ease the minds of the residents.

Everyone here media, residents and politicians agreed that the measure didn't and doesn't work because the searches are random. There are no new high-tech measures in place, or none that are in response to Mumbai.

NYC's budget could run a state in India, so I think your analogy is quite out of context.

Swapna said...

Well said. It's really sad that India, not just Mumbai is like this. Resilent... which is in actuality a positive word is so negative in this situation.

indianpeppone said...

it is really frustrating isnt it..... the heights of apathy!!

jedi said...

and im sick of people writing frothy posts about it and people like me commenting about ppl just frothing. most of us dont even know the local corporator (just knowing that johnny joseph exists isnt enuff), and worse dont even want to know. all we want to do is crawl to office, work, crawl back home, and crawl, crawl, crawl in this cmm1 city. numb, tired, resigned, apathetic, pathetic.