Friday, 28 November 2008

Mumbai - Bruised But Not Broken

Shock. That's what I felt when mom woke me up at 11.15 on Wednesday night telling me there's been a blast. But it turned out to be so much more. I watched the news in horror. Firing at CST? In a hospital? In the Leopold's Cafe? The Taj and Oberoi hotels under siege? What hellish nightmare have I walked into? It only got worse. As I watched all the familiar South Mumbai places being attacked, my mind could barely fathom that all this was actually happening. Every waking moment was spent glued in front of the television. Even as my body cried for sleep, my mind refused. I was determined to follow the entire tragedy right till the end - which, unfortunately, doesn't seem to be approaching, inspite of repeated assurances that the operations at all three places; Nariman House, The Taj Hotel and the Oberoi Hotel, are in their final stages. They have been in the final stages since yesterday afternoon. When is this insanity going to end?!

Ah, and then came the politicians for their moment of glory. They stubbornly insisted on visiting the sites, choosing to ignore pleas that asked them to stay away. Of what concern was it to them that the police had to deploy extra personnel to look after their safety? Did it matter that the policemen had to look after these attention seeking brats instead of focusing on the situation at hand? Was bringing the situation under control as important as assisting these so-called people in their 15 minutes of fame on the eve of the elections? These politicians were busy passing the blame instead of taking responsibility for their actions; instead of being the leaders they were elected to be and taking charge in this time of crisis.

When I was younger, I remember someone telling me "If Pakistan dares lay a finger on Mumbai, India will annihilate Pakistan." Such was the confidence in the government. Now, however, the politicians are so busy playing the blame game that they barely have time for something as trivial as weeding out the perpetrators and bringing them to justice.

The infallible Mumbai spirit has taken a hit. The streets on Thursday resembled curfew. The usually full-to-bursting local trains were deserted. Very few taxis could be seen in Southern Mumbai. Offices were nearly empty. Schools and colleges were closed. The Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange remained shut. What floods, incessant rains, train blasts, blasts in the BSE, blasts in the midst of crowded markets, blasts in random vehicles around the city, communalism and bloody riots couldn't damage was accomplished by these young ordinary-looking, gun-toting terrorists in one fell swoop.

However, we are Mumbaikars and our resilience shines within each and every one of us. It is this spirit that makes Mumbai what it is; that makes us what we are. We may be down, but we are most certainly not out. Life is slowly getting back to normal. The streets look haunted no more, the trains are fuller. People travelling all over the city are tense but tough. We are Mumbaikars and we will not go down without a fight. We may not fight back with weapons and violence, but fight we will. Our determination to survive through this is shown not by picking up a gun but by going on with our lives. By trying to bring about a sense of normality within our lives, we are fighting back. We will not bow down to this mindless terror. We will not be afraid of you. You are cowards and we know it. You may be determined, but your determination is nothing compared to ours. Not for nothing is the Mumbai spirit admired. We are hurt but not broken. We are bouncing back even as you make your desperate attempts to create even more mayhem in this urban warfare.

We are Mumbaikars and although we fight on with our resilience, we will not forget; cannot forget. We have forgotten in the past. We bounce back but we don't remember. We don't demand security. We don't insist on explanations and clarifications. We don't ask "How?" We don't demand the answers that we should. But no more is this acceptable. Now we demand answers. We demand retribution for the slain police men's widows, for the parents who are suddenly without children, for the woman in Delhi who excitedly planned her wedding in vain, for the family whose sole bread winner was killed, for the son who has been orphaned, for those foreign nationals touring India, for the man who ushered his hotel guests to safety even as his wife and children were killed in a fire - for all those people whose only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We seek justice.

To all those Mumbaikars and fellow world citizens who lost their lives to this mindless terrorism - R.I.P. Our thoughts rest with you.

6 comments:

Tanuj Lakhina said...

Very well written and I think its not just about Mumbai alone but whole of India.

There have been blasts in Delhi,Ahemdabad,Bangalore but I don't think any one city bounces back like the way Mumbai did after the train blasts in 2006.

The politicians need to understand that you are working for the public so don't hurt the public more than what it already is reeling under.

Shock. That's what I felt when mom woke me up at 11.15 on Wednesday night telling me there's been a blast. But it turned out to be so much more. I watched the news in horror. Firing at CST? In a hospital? In the Leopold's Cafe? The Taj and Oberoi hotels under siege? What hellish nightmare have I walked into? It only got worse. As I watched all the familiar South Mumbai places being attacked, my mind could barely fathom that all this was actually happening. Every waking moment was spent glued in front of the television. Even as my body cried for sleep, my mind refused. I was determined to follow the entire tragedy right till the end - which, unfortunately, doesn't seem to be approaching, inspite of repeated assurances that the operations at all three places; Nariman House, The Taj Hotel and the Oberoi Hotel, are in their final stages. They have been in the final stages since yesterday afternoon. When is this insanity going to end?!

Ah, and then came the politicians for their moment of glory. They stubbornly insisted on visiting the sites, choosing to ignore pleas that asked them to stay away. Of what concern was it to them that the police had to deploy extra personnel to look after their safety? Did it matter that the policemen had to look after these attention seeking brats instead of focusing on the situation at hand? Was bringing the situation under control as important as assisting these so-called people in their 15 minutes of fame on the eve of the elections? These politicians were busy passing the blame instead of taking responsibility for their actions; instead of being the leaders they were elected to be and taking charge in this time of crisis.

When I was younger, I remember someone telling me "If Pakistan dares lay a finger on Mumbai, India will annihilate Pakistan." Such was the confidence in the government. Now, however, the politicians are so busy playing the blame game that they barely have time for something as trivial as weeding out the perpetrators and bringing them to justice.

The infallible Mumbai spirit has taken a hit. The streets on Thursday resembled curfew. The usually full-to-bursting local trains were deserted. Very few taxis could be seen in Southern Mumbai. Offices were nearly empty. Schools and colleges were closed. The Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange remained shut. What floods, incessant rains, train blasts, blasts in the BSE, blasts in the midst of crowded markets, blasts in random vehicles around the city, communalism and bloody riots couldn't damage was accomplished by these young ordinary-looking, gun-toting terrorists in one fell swoop.

However, we are Mumbaikars and our resilience shines within each and every one of us. It is this spirit that makes Mumbai what it is; that makes us what we are. We may be down, but we are most certainly not out. Life is slowly getting back to normal. The streets look haunted no more, the trains are fuller. People travelling all over the city are tense but tough. We are Mumbaikars and we will not go down without a fight. We may not fight back with weapons and violence, but fight we will. Our determination to survive through this is shown not by picking up a gun but by going on with our lives. By trying to bring about a sense of normality within our lives, we are fighting back. We will not bow down to this mindless terror. We will not be afraid of you. You are cowards and we know it. You may be determined, but your determination is nothing compared to ours. Not for nothing is the Mumbai spirit admired. We are hurt but not broken. We are bouncing back even as you make your desperate attempts to create even more mayhem in this urban warfare.

We are Mumbaikars and although we fight on with our resilience, we will not forget; cannot forget. We have forgotten in the past. We bounce back but we don't remember. We don't demand security. We don't insist on explanations and clarifications. We don't ask "How?" We don't demand the answers that we should. But no more is this acceptable. Now we demand answers. We demand retribution for the slain police men's widows, for the parents who are suddenly without children, for the woman in Delhi who excitedly planned her wedding in vain, for the family whose sole bread winner was killed, for the son who has been orphaned, for those foreign nationals touring India, for the man who ushered his hotel guests to safety even as his wife and children were killed in a fire - for all those people whose only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We seek justice.

To all those Mumbaikars and fellow world citizens who lost their lives to this mindless terrorism - R.I.P. Our thoughts rest with you.

Parinita said...

Mumbai bounces back, but I think it becomes too complacent too. Even after dealing with so much crap, we still don't DEMAND the security we deserve. People calmly say that when they go out of the house, they dunno if they're going to return. Is that any way to live? Isn't it the government's responsibility that we feel safe in our own city? My heart broke as I saw my beloved city being attacked in such a never-before-seen brutal fashion. And this inspite of being guaranteed better safety measures.

Shock. That's what I felt when mom woke me up at 11.15 on Wednesday night telling me there's been a blast. But it turned out to be so much more. I watched the news in horror. Firing at CST? In a hospital? In the Leopold's Cafe? The Taj and Oberoi hotels under siege? What hellish nightmare have I walked into? It only got worse. As I watched all the familiar South Mumbai places being attacked, my mind could barely fathom that all this was actually happening. Every waking moment was spent glued in front of the television. Even as my body cried for sleep, my mind refused. I was determined to follow the entire tragedy right till the end - which, unfortunately, doesn't seem to be approaching, inspite of repeated assurances that the operations at all three places; Nariman House, The Taj Hotel and the Oberoi Hotel, are in their final stages. They have been in the final stages since yesterday afternoon. When is this insanity going to end?!

Ah, and then came the politicians for their moment of glory. They stubbornly insisted on visiting the sites, choosing to ignore pleas that asked them to stay away. Of what concern was it to them that the police had to deploy extra personnel to look after their safety? Did it matter that the policemen had to look after these attention seeking brats instead of focusing on the situation at hand? Was bringing the situation under control as important as assisting these so-called people in their 15 minutes of fame on the eve of the elections? These politicians were busy passing the blame instead of taking responsibility for their actions; instead of being the leaders they were elected to be and taking charge in this time of crisis.

When I was younger, I remember someone telling me "If Pakistan dares lay a finger on Mumbai, India will annihilate Pakistan." Such was the confidence in the government. Now, however, the politicians are so busy playing the blame game that they barely have time for something as trivial as weeding out the perpetrators and bringing them to justice.

The infallible Mumbai spirit has taken a hit. The streets on Thursday resembled curfew. The usually full-to-bursting local trains were deserted. Very few taxis could be seen in Southern Mumbai. Offices were nearly empty. Schools and colleges were closed. The Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange remained shut. What floods, incessant rains, train blasts, blasts in the BSE, blasts in the midst of crowded markets, blasts in random vehicles around the city, communalism and bloody riots couldn't damage was accomplished by these young ordinary-looking, gun-toting terrorists in one fell swoop.

However, we are Mumbaikars and our resilience shines within each and every one of us. It is this spirit that makes Mumbai what it is; that makes us what we are. We may be down, but we are most certainly not out. Life is slowly getting back to normal. The streets look haunted no more, the trains are fuller. People travelling all over the city are tense but tough. We are Mumbaikars and we will not go down without a fight. We may not fight back with weapons and violence, but fight we will. Our determination to survive through this is shown not by picking up a gun but by going on with our lives. By trying to bring about a sense of normality within our lives, we are fighting back. We will not bow down to this mindless terror. We will not be afraid of you. You are cowards and we know it. You may be determined, but your determination is nothing compared to ours. Not for nothing is the Mumbai spirit admired. We are hurt but not broken. We are bouncing back even as you make your desperate attempts to create even more mayhem in this urban warfare.

We are Mumbaikars and although we fight on with our resilience, we will not forget; cannot forget. We have forgotten in the past. We bounce back but we don't remember. We don't demand security. We don't insist on explanations and clarifications. We don't ask "How?" We don't demand the answers that we should. But no more is this acceptable. Now we demand answers. We demand retribution for the slain police men's widows, for the parents who are suddenly without children, for the woman in Delhi who excitedly planned her wedding in vain, for the family whose sole bread winner was killed, for the son who has been orphaned, for those foreign nationals touring India, for the man who ushered his hotel guests to safety even as his wife and children were killed in a fire - for all those people whose only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We seek justice.

To all those Mumbaikars and fellow world citizens who lost their lives to this mindless terrorism - R.I.P. Our thoughts rest with you.

Tanuj Lakhina said...

Its a situation which the government faces after every terrorist activity but this time for once the government is not being too nice with its foreign policy and handling it with Pakistan who is almost everytime found guilty of attacks.

There would be talks and debates about UPA not doing enough about the terrorists(which they aren't) but like many analysts on various channels suggested,we need homeland security just the way US does.

The chills of the attacks were felt here in Delhi too with reports in TOI about low turn up in schools on Thursday.Every fire cracker burst becomes scary for us too.They've hit the whole India and they better not be spared.

Shock. That's what I felt when mom woke me up at 11.15 on Wednesday night telling me there's been a blast. But it turned out to be so much more. I watched the news in horror. Firing at CST? In a hospital? In the Leopold's Cafe? The Taj and Oberoi hotels under siege? What hellish nightmare have I walked into? It only got worse. As I watched all the familiar South Mumbai places being attacked, my mind could barely fathom that all this was actually happening. Every waking moment was spent glued in front of the television. Even as my body cried for sleep, my mind refused. I was determined to follow the entire tragedy right till the end - which, unfortunately, doesn't seem to be approaching, inspite of repeated assurances that the operations at all three places; Nariman House, The Taj Hotel and the Oberoi Hotel, are in their final stages. They have been in the final stages since yesterday afternoon. When is this insanity going to end?!

Ah, and then came the politicians for their moment of glory. They stubbornly insisted on visiting the sites, choosing to ignore pleas that asked them to stay away. Of what concern was it to them that the police had to deploy extra personnel to look after their safety? Did it matter that the policemen had to look after these attention seeking brats instead of focusing on the situation at hand? Was bringing the situation under control as important as assisting these so-called people in their 15 minutes of fame on the eve of the elections? These politicians were busy passing the blame instead of taking responsibility for their actions; instead of being the leaders they were elected to be and taking charge in this time of crisis.

When I was younger, I remember someone telling me "If Pakistan dares lay a finger on Mumbai, India will annihilate Pakistan." Such was the confidence in the government. Now, however, the politicians are so busy playing the blame game that they barely have time for something as trivial as weeding out the perpetrators and bringing them to justice.

The infallible Mumbai spirit has taken a hit. The streets on Thursday resembled curfew. The usually full-to-bursting local trains were deserted. Very few taxis could be seen in Southern Mumbai. Offices were nearly empty. Schools and colleges were closed. The Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange remained shut. What floods, incessant rains, train blasts, blasts in the BSE, blasts in the midst of crowded markets, blasts in random vehicles around the city, communalism and bloody riots couldn't damage was accomplished by these young ordinary-looking, gun-toting terrorists in one fell swoop.

However, we are Mumbaikars and our resilience shines within each and every one of us. It is this spirit that makes Mumbai what it is; that makes us what we are. We may be down, but we are most certainly not out. Life is slowly getting back to normal. The streets look haunted no more, the trains are fuller. People travelling all over the city are tense but tough. We are Mumbaikars and we will not go down without a fight. We may not fight back with weapons and violence, but fight we will. Our determination to survive through this is shown not by picking up a gun but by going on with our lives. By trying to bring about a sense of normality within our lives, we are fighting back. We will not bow down to this mindless terror. We will not be afraid of you. You are cowards and we know it. You may be determined, but your determination is nothing compared to ours. Not for nothing is the Mumbai spirit admired. We are hurt but not broken. We are bouncing back even as you make your desperate attempts to create even more mayhem in this urban warfare.

We are Mumbaikars and although we fight on with our resilience, we will not forget; cannot forget. We have forgotten in the past. We bounce back but we don't remember. We don't demand security. We don't insist on explanations and clarifications. We don't ask "How?" We don't demand the answers that we should. But no more is this acceptable. Now we demand answers. We demand retribution for the slain police men's widows, for the parents who are suddenly without children, for the woman in Delhi who excitedly planned her wedding in vain, for the family whose sole bread winner was killed, for the son who has been orphaned, for those foreign nationals touring India, for the man who ushered his hotel guests to safety even as his wife and children were killed in a fire - for all those people whose only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We seek justice.

To all those Mumbaikars and fellow world citizens who lost their lives to this mindless terrorism - R.I.P. Our thoughts rest with you.

mssnlayam said...

In India, we cannot even control traffic -- something which happens right in front of our eyes, and the rules for which are clearly defined.

If we cannot solve easy problems, there is no way we can handle hard issues.

Shock. That's what I felt when mom woke me up at 11.15 on Wednesday night telling me there's been a blast. But it turned out to be so much more. I watched the news in horror. Firing at CST? In a hospital? In the Leopold's Cafe? The Taj and Oberoi hotels under siege? What hellish nightmare have I walked into? It only got worse. As I watched all the familiar South Mumbai places being attacked, my mind could barely fathom that all this was actually happening. Every waking moment was spent glued in front of the television. Even as my body cried for sleep, my mind refused. I was determined to follow the entire tragedy right till the end - which, unfortunately, doesn't seem to be approaching, inspite of repeated assurances that the operations at all three places; Nariman House, The Taj Hotel and the Oberoi Hotel, are in their final stages. They have been in the final stages since yesterday afternoon. When is this insanity going to end?!

Ah, and then came the politicians for their moment of glory. They stubbornly insisted on visiting the sites, choosing to ignore pleas that asked them to stay away. Of what concern was it to them that the police had to deploy extra personnel to look after their safety? Did it matter that the policemen had to look after these attention seeking brats instead of focusing on the situation at hand? Was bringing the situation under control as important as assisting these so-called people in their 15 minutes of fame on the eve of the elections? These politicians were busy passing the blame instead of taking responsibility for their actions; instead of being the leaders they were elected to be and taking charge in this time of crisis.

When I was younger, I remember someone telling me "If Pakistan dares lay a finger on Mumbai, India will annihilate Pakistan." Such was the confidence in the government. Now, however, the politicians are so busy playing the blame game that they barely have time for something as trivial as weeding out the perpetrators and bringing them to justice.

The infallible Mumbai spirit has taken a hit. The streets on Thursday resembled curfew. The usually full-to-bursting local trains were deserted. Very few taxis could be seen in Southern Mumbai. Offices were nearly empty. Schools and colleges were closed. The Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange remained shut. What floods, incessant rains, train blasts, blasts in the BSE, blasts in the midst of crowded markets, blasts in random vehicles around the city, communalism and bloody riots couldn't damage was accomplished by these young ordinary-looking, gun-toting terrorists in one fell swoop.

However, we are Mumbaikars and our resilience shines within each and every one of us. It is this spirit that makes Mumbai what it is; that makes us what we are. We may be down, but we are most certainly not out. Life is slowly getting back to normal. The streets look haunted no more, the trains are fuller. People travelling all over the city are tense but tough. We are Mumbaikars and we will not go down without a fight. We may not fight back with weapons and violence, but fight we will. Our determination to survive through this is shown not by picking up a gun but by going on with our lives. By trying to bring about a sense of normality within our lives, we are fighting back. We will not bow down to this mindless terror. We will not be afraid of you. You are cowards and we know it. You may be determined, but your determination is nothing compared to ours. Not for nothing is the Mumbai spirit admired. We are hurt but not broken. We are bouncing back even as you make your desperate attempts to create even more mayhem in this urban warfare.

We are Mumbaikars and although we fight on with our resilience, we will not forget; cannot forget. We have forgotten in the past. We bounce back but we don't remember. We don't demand security. We don't insist on explanations and clarifications. We don't ask "How?" We don't demand the answers that we should. But no more is this acceptable. Now we demand answers. We demand retribution for the slain police men's widows, for the parents who are suddenly without children, for the woman in Delhi who excitedly planned her wedding in vain, for the family whose sole bread winner was killed, for the son who has been orphaned, for those foreign nationals touring India, for the man who ushered his hotel guests to safety even as his wife and children were killed in a fire - for all those people whose only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We seek justice.

To all those Mumbaikars and fellow world citizens who lost their lives to this mindless terrorism - R.I.P. Our thoughts rest with you.

Parinita said...

@Tanuj The politicians keep making false promises and supposedly reassuring statements. Yesterday as one of them was speaking, I could predict what he was going to say in the next sentence.. that's how hollow it has become. Words and no action.

@mssnlayam if we keep thinking that the situation is never going to improve and come to terms with that, how is anything going to get better? Being complacent with such major issues going unresolved is unacceptable. Not being able to handle such hard issues isn't even an option anymore.

Shock. That's what I felt when mom woke me up at 11.15 on Wednesday night telling me there's been a blast. But it turned out to be so much more. I watched the news in horror. Firing at CST? In a hospital? In the Leopold's Cafe? The Taj and Oberoi hotels under siege? What hellish nightmare have I walked into? It only got worse. As I watched all the familiar South Mumbai places being attacked, my mind could barely fathom that all this was actually happening. Every waking moment was spent glued in front of the television. Even as my body cried for sleep, my mind refused. I was determined to follow the entire tragedy right till the end - which, unfortunately, doesn't seem to be approaching, inspite of repeated assurances that the operations at all three places; Nariman House, The Taj Hotel and the Oberoi Hotel, are in their final stages. They have been in the final stages since yesterday afternoon. When is this insanity going to end?!

Ah, and then came the politicians for their moment of glory. They stubbornly insisted on visiting the sites, choosing to ignore pleas that asked them to stay away. Of what concern was it to them that the police had to deploy extra personnel to look after their safety? Did it matter that the policemen had to look after these attention seeking brats instead of focusing on the situation at hand? Was bringing the situation under control as important as assisting these so-called people in their 15 minutes of fame on the eve of the elections? These politicians were busy passing the blame instead of taking responsibility for their actions; instead of being the leaders they were elected to be and taking charge in this time of crisis.

When I was younger, I remember someone telling me "If Pakistan dares lay a finger on Mumbai, India will annihilate Pakistan." Such was the confidence in the government. Now, however, the politicians are so busy playing the blame game that they barely have time for something as trivial as weeding out the perpetrators and bringing them to justice.

The infallible Mumbai spirit has taken a hit. The streets on Thursday resembled curfew. The usually full-to-bursting local trains were deserted. Very few taxis could be seen in Southern Mumbai. Offices were nearly empty. Schools and colleges were closed. The Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange remained shut. What floods, incessant rains, train blasts, blasts in the BSE, blasts in the midst of crowded markets, blasts in random vehicles around the city, communalism and bloody riots couldn't damage was accomplished by these young ordinary-looking, gun-toting terrorists in one fell swoop.

However, we are Mumbaikars and our resilience shines within each and every one of us. It is this spirit that makes Mumbai what it is; that makes us what we are. We may be down, but we are most certainly not out. Life is slowly getting back to normal. The streets look haunted no more, the trains are fuller. People travelling all over the city are tense but tough. We are Mumbaikars and we will not go down without a fight. We may not fight back with weapons and violence, but fight we will. Our determination to survive through this is shown not by picking up a gun but by going on with our lives. By trying to bring about a sense of normality within our lives, we are fighting back. We will not bow down to this mindless terror. We will not be afraid of you. You are cowards and we know it. You may be determined, but your determination is nothing compared to ours. Not for nothing is the Mumbai spirit admired. We are hurt but not broken. We are bouncing back even as you make your desperate attempts to create even more mayhem in this urban warfare.

We are Mumbaikars and although we fight on with our resilience, we will not forget; cannot forget. We have forgotten in the past. We bounce back but we don't remember. We don't demand security. We don't insist on explanations and clarifications. We don't ask "How?" We don't demand the answers that we should. But no more is this acceptable. Now we demand answers. We demand retribution for the slain police men's widows, for the parents who are suddenly without children, for the woman in Delhi who excitedly planned her wedding in vain, for the family whose sole bread winner was killed, for the son who has been orphaned, for those foreign nationals touring India, for the man who ushered his hotel guests to safety even as his wife and children were killed in a fire - for all those people whose only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We seek justice.

To all those Mumbaikars and fellow world citizens who lost their lives to this mindless terrorism - R.I.P. Our thoughts rest with you.

Tanuj Lakhina said...

Yeah well their thoughts and words come very hollow now.There is only one politician who I feel means what he says and that is Rahul Gandhi,although I've not seen much of him to be totally sure.

Shock. That's what I felt when mom woke me up at 11.15 on Wednesday night telling me there's been a blast. But it turned out to be so much more. I watched the news in horror. Firing at CST? In a hospital? In the Leopold's Cafe? The Taj and Oberoi hotels under siege? What hellish nightmare have I walked into? It only got worse. As I watched all the familiar South Mumbai places being attacked, my mind could barely fathom that all this was actually happening. Every waking moment was spent glued in front of the television. Even as my body cried for sleep, my mind refused. I was determined to follow the entire tragedy right till the end - which, unfortunately, doesn't seem to be approaching, inspite of repeated assurances that the operations at all three places; Nariman House, The Taj Hotel and the Oberoi Hotel, are in their final stages. They have been in the final stages since yesterday afternoon. When is this insanity going to end?!

Ah, and then came the politicians for their moment of glory. They stubbornly insisted on visiting the sites, choosing to ignore pleas that asked them to stay away. Of what concern was it to them that the police had to deploy extra personnel to look after their safety? Did it matter that the policemen had to look after these attention seeking brats instead of focusing on the situation at hand? Was bringing the situation under control as important as assisting these so-called people in their 15 minutes of fame on the eve of the elections? These politicians were busy passing the blame instead of taking responsibility for their actions; instead of being the leaders they were elected to be and taking charge in this time of crisis.

When I was younger, I remember someone telling me "If Pakistan dares lay a finger on Mumbai, India will annihilate Pakistan." Such was the confidence in the government. Now, however, the politicians are so busy playing the blame game that they barely have time for something as trivial as weeding out the perpetrators and bringing them to justice.

The infallible Mumbai spirit has taken a hit. The streets on Thursday resembled curfew. The usually full-to-bursting local trains were deserted. Very few taxis could be seen in Southern Mumbai. Offices were nearly empty. Schools and colleges were closed. The Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange remained shut. What floods, incessant rains, train blasts, blasts in the BSE, blasts in the midst of crowded markets, blasts in random vehicles around the city, communalism and bloody riots couldn't damage was accomplished by these young ordinary-looking, gun-toting terrorists in one fell swoop.

However, we are Mumbaikars and our resilience shines within each and every one of us. It is this spirit that makes Mumbai what it is; that makes us what we are. We may be down, but we are most certainly not out. Life is slowly getting back to normal. The streets look haunted no more, the trains are fuller. People travelling all over the city are tense but tough. We are Mumbaikars and we will not go down without a fight. We may not fight back with weapons and violence, but fight we will. Our determination to survive through this is shown not by picking up a gun but by going on with our lives. By trying to bring about a sense of normality within our lives, we are fighting back. We will not bow down to this mindless terror. We will not be afraid of you. You are cowards and we know it. You may be determined, but your determination is nothing compared to ours. Not for nothing is the Mumbai spirit admired. We are hurt but not broken. We are bouncing back even as you make your desperate attempts to create even more mayhem in this urban warfare.

We are Mumbaikars and although we fight on with our resilience, we will not forget; cannot forget. We have forgotten in the past. We bounce back but we don't remember. We don't demand security. We don't insist on explanations and clarifications. We don't ask "How?" We don't demand the answers that we should. But no more is this acceptable. Now we demand answers. We demand retribution for the slain police men's widows, for the parents who are suddenly without children, for the woman in Delhi who excitedly planned her wedding in vain, for the family whose sole bread winner was killed, for the son who has been orphaned, for those foreign nationals touring India, for the man who ushered his hotel guests to safety even as his wife and children were killed in a fire - for all those people whose only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We seek justice.

To all those Mumbaikars and fellow world citizens who lost their lives to this mindless terrorism - R.I.P. Our thoughts rest with you.