July 13, 2006

The waiting

They say we're "back to normal" in this city. And sure, I can hear the interminable drilling from next door, I can see the waves rolling in, I can smell the building's accumulated trash as the woman who takes it away comes to my front door. The buses are running, the little corner shop is open.

Normal as can be. And as one journalist just told me, the blasts here are already no kind of news any more: after all, there's new violence in the Middle East, kidnapping of Israeli soldiers, Israel attacking Lebanon.

Normal as can be too?

Yet I have the same feeling I've had after every act of terror in this country. Consider a random sample of these acts of terror:

  • the massacres in Delhi, 1984
  • the massacres in Bombay, 1992-93
  • the bomb blasts across Bombay, March 1993
  • the various bomb blasts in trains and buses in Bombay in 1993, 2002, 2003
  • the massacre in Laxmanpur Bathe (that report itself is a telling one), 1997
  • the massacre in Rukhsagar Bigha, 1999
  • the massacre in Senari, 1999
  • the massacre in the train at Godhra, 2002
  • the massacres across Gujarat, 2002
  • the continuing horror in Kashmir right from the massacre and persecution of Pandits over 15 years ago to the Srinagar attacks on July 11
  • now the blasts in Bombay's trains on July 11.

    So right, after each of these, I have had the same feeling. Because a while after they happen, someone will pronounce sagely that we are "back to normal." Yet by now I'm beginning to wonder, exactly what is "normal"?

    Is it "normal" to live from one horrible atrocity to the next, from one attack on ordinary fellow-citizens to the next? (From one newsworthy outbreak of violence to the next?) Is it "normal" that we now live our lives knowing that the killers from most of those terror attacks live their lives in our midst too? Is "normalcy" just the period of waiting for another great outrage? In fact, is it that very fact of waiting?

    My answer: yes.
  • 6 comments:

    Bling Dling said...

    Dilip,

    For the last 5 years I have observed most such extreme developments (or destructions) from a remote perspective. However, each time, I felt that the "spirit of mumbai" is actually no spirit at all. If anything, it has evaporated long ago. From what I see it is extreme apathy. I agree that most people have extremely good spirits towards fellow citizens. e.g. the blood donations and show of support etc. However, what we need here is to put an end to this. In another "extreme" perspective, we should gather all 1 crore "Mumbaikars" in an army and start rooting out the terrorsim.

    Mumbai Guy said...

    Spirit is good to show terrorists that we cannot be bowed down but we should also not forget thise sad incident. The terrorists responsible for this shouls be hunted down and punished.

    Godot said...

    waiting? You must be talking about Godot.

    Was Godot a terrorist?

    Kumar said...

    Any reason why you start this list in '84? Maybe because it was after your pappa the head honcho in maintaining law&order retired? I could be wrong, just speculating.

    Let's go back a bit more and cover your pappa's time:

    Jabalpur '61

    January to March 1964 Bihar & Orissa

    August 1967 Ranchi

    November 1969 Gujarat

    Bhiwandi, Jalgaon and Mahad riots of 1970

    Tellicherry riot of 1971

    Jamshedpur riots of 1978

    April 1979 - Bihar

    August 1980 - Moradabad

    1981 - Biharsharif, Bihar

    1982 - Meerut

    1982, Meenakshipuram

    Kanyakumari riots of 1982

    1983 - Neille, Assam

    May 1984 - Maharashtra

    October 1984 Delhi

    1984 Bhiwandi
    May 1987 Delhi and UP

    1989 Bhagalpur

    80s Gujarat 500+ incidents of mob violence

    1990 Somnath to Ayodhya

    October 1990 Bijnore

    December, 1990 Hyderabad

    December 1990 Aligarh

    December 1992 Bombay & Surat

    Mumbai riots of 1992-1993

    1992 riots after Babri

    Anonymous said...

    after tsunami tharangambadi .... actualy we thought we all lost our life but with the govt and ngo's
    (hope foundation,world vision) we got lot of opportunities . it shows our human unity. thank uuuuu for who all are helped us....

    Anonymous said...

    this is sasi from tranquebar after tsunami in tharangambadi .... actualy we thought we all lost our life, but with the help of govt and ngo's like
    (hope foundation,world vision) we got lot of opportunities . it shows our human unity. thank uuuuu for who all are helped us....