Friday, November 28, 2008

For all of you who mailed me

For all of you who mailed me, I can't tell you how moved I am by the concern and care pouring in from all corners of the world. I have had emails yesterday from Australia, Japan, France, Germany, Spain, UK, USA, South Africa...and the messages still continue to pour in this morning.
.
Those who have visited Mumbai in the past, and seen it through the eyes of Mumbai Magic tours, are expressing not just shock, but distress. "I am just heartbroken that this is happening to your wonderful city" are the words of a lady who went of one of the tours last month.
.
Many of my work colleagues from Barclays, who stayed often at the Oberoi and Trident while we were working at the Nariman Point office, have expressed disbelief at what's happening. How can this quietly efficient luxury hotel be the site of so much violence, they ask.

People who are planning to visit Mumbai have sent, as I expected, emails of alarm and concern, but alongside it, they have also sent an outpouring of sympathy and love. This is especially true of people from cities which have experienced terrorist attacks - London, New York, Madrid - they have sent incredibly moving words of empathy. From New York, I had this email:

"Listening to the first reports from Mumbai of today’s horrible news, my first thoughts were of Deepa. How is she? Is she safe? Yet I know, since I am a New Yorker who went through the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, that even if Deepa is safe, she is also very saddened and very angry. Sad and angry that such bad things happen to her lovely and beloved city and country. I and my wife understand a bit of how you feel and what you are going through."

Since the queries continue to pour in, yes, I am well, so are all my guides and other associate staff, and my loved ones. Two friends who were at the Taj last night were rescued and are back home safely. But there is an element of uncertainty as well, because the hostage situation is not yet over. I have no news also of some friends who work at the Trident and the Taj.

As I said in the earlier post, the hostage situation feels like something out of a Hollywood movie, quite unreal and something Mumbai has not seen before. I'm almost expecting Bruce Willis to walk out, announcing that the "bad guys" are dead. But are they "bad guys"? Will they go to hell, as many believe, or to heaven as they themselves believe? That is the real tragedy - that these gunmen believe - truly, truly believe - that they are doing something moral. When I saw the first blurry photos of the gunmen, what I found most difficult to handle was how young some of them looked. What a tragic stupid meaningless waste.

In homes all over Bombay, people are discussing how to solve the "terrorist problem". Tighter security, better intelligence, better emergency responses - all of these are being spoken about, in bitter and angry tones.
.
But really, I wonder, can this battle be fought by stealth or might? My usually practical husband said over dinner last night, "We cannot win except by winning hearts and minds." I fell in love with him all over again, when he said that. Because he is right. As long as communities feel marginalised and victimised, terror will breed in ghettoes around the world. Inclusion and integration is the only way forward. Just to clarify, I am not saying we can hug terrorists and make them change. But we can change the hearts and minds of ordinary people and take away the breeding grounds.
.
The enormity of the task is daunting, but I really believe there is no other choice. It is no use waiting for a 21st century Gandhi to do it! You and I must do it, if we are to change the world. I am definite about one thing - I'm going to sit back and think about how I can do it.

14 comments:

Shobna said...

Deepa,

The senselessness is shattering. Verbal expressions do little to reduce the feeling of emptiness. Your husband displays nobility, a likeable trait, but maybe we should relook what is happening. These are men, trained in sophisticated weaponry backed by a huge international organisation. The latest technologies are available to them. This is a form of advertisement for the organisation, a sort of demo to show what they can do, a ppt would have been enough but they chose to show us. These are not poor, underpaid, overworked people frustrated with their lot. These are zealots who believe they are cleaning the world. Try compassion with them and die. The marginalised sections remain so, for it is not religion but economic standing that makes them marginalised.

Deepa Krishnan said...

Shobna - The issues and reasons are economic, social and cultural - but at the root are issues of "us versus them", unless those go away, new terror organisations will continue to form.

Lisa said...

Hi Deepa - I'm so glad you and your family and colleagues are all safe and I'm sending you and your amazing free-spirited city my prayers, thoughts and big-hearted love...

I love your husband's sentiments and I think we ALL should think about how we can do that...

Lisa x

iamyuva said...

got a word from Pramod about you guys. very glad to know.

I was among those who initially was sad, angry, panicked only to wake up next day to realize that may be few terrorist can be stopped but not terrorism.

found this interesting article @ how to defeat terrorism

Anonymous said...

Your husbands word moved me to tears.

The events are shocking and I'm glad to hear you and your family are safe. My morning meditation will hold positive thoughts for your friends who are still missing.

Your tours are a form of ambassodorship. The more you open your city to others around the world the more the people in those communities will experience and learn about themsevles and each other both near and far.


Your friend Jeanne
San Francisco, CA, USA

Rada said...

Dear Deepa,

I posted a comment in my blog which is reproduced below:-

"Dear Ravi,

Is it all that simple?

It was the US’s unsympathetic handling of Islamic sentiments in the Middle-East and their blind support to Israel that gave rise to Islamic terrorism in the first place. It is also not fair to compare US and Israel with India: India’s multi-ethnic history is replete with conquests and atrocities committed by one religion against the other and some of those scars and animosities run deep and have never been given a proper chance to heal, thanks to the politicians.

Unfortunately it forms a vicious cycle: Every time an atrocity happens, such as the one that happened in Mumbai this week, we expect the Muslim community to stand up and reaffirm their loyalty to the nation. In turn, this leads to a sense of betrayal and alienation and at least a small percentage of their impressionable youth, are lured to the extremist camp. This cross-over is made easy by the jingoistic politicians of all hues who fan the flames of hatred and exhort their cadre to kill and exact revenge, to fulfil their own political ends.

Right now it seems an impossible dream but we have to heal the wounds and build bridges between communities. One of my blogger friends puts it succinctly: “As long as communities feel marginalised and victimised, terror will breed in ghettoes around the world. Inclusion and integration is the only way forward. Just to clarify, I am not saying we can hug terrorists and make them change. But we can change the hearts and minds of ordinary people and take away the breeding grounds...”

It is simplistic to view problems and solutions in black and white. Most often truth lurks somewhere within the grey areas.

Moiz said...

Dear Rada,

I am pleased to read your comments and views. I also think that it is a matter of ignorance and India can play a vital role to over come this and try not to do the mistakes which west has done. India is a secular country and can convert its multi ethnic into power. Pakistan is not a terrorist country but there are some elements which are always present in India and other countries as well. Its seems to be very unrealistic that terrorist came by sea traveling more than 500 Knots Miles????? where ordinary fisher men are easily watched and captured by Indian cost guards???? this seems to be very childish. This needs to be look into very seriously. It seems that some anti-Islamic forces like US are tying to pressurize Pakistan and using India as a tool. I think Indian government must review its relations with US and must not do the mistake which Pakistan has done in Afghan War.

I pray for the victims and peace in the region.

Best regards,

Mike Bynum said...

It is somewhat disturbing that in such a beautiful part of the world there is so much trouble. Hopefully things will improve.

Kievas said...

I find myself largely in agreement with Shobna...but as you said, the underlying issues are complex. To be honest, I'm not sure we will make real progress anytime soon.

route2j said...

The rest of the irresponsible politicians should follow suit. I am ashamed at the facilities that were provided to the NSG commandos.. Where is all our armed forces spending going actually ???? Where is the tax payers money being spent? The cops have pre-historic guns. I think tipu sultan had better guns in his armoury than the guns that our cops carry.

Vashi Ram Chandi said...

I would like to extend my sincere sympathies and condolences to the bereaved Families and prayers and thoughts to all affected by this attack

This is totally unfair; innocent Lives being cruelly snatched by perpetrators of such condemnable actions

"When" will the perpetrators of such condemnable actions ever understand that by committing such actions, they are literally committing the very most sinful of actions!

It only leaves one more confused, perplexed and wondering in amazement with so many questions unanswered as to Why, Why and Why are such actions taking place? What do the perpetrators achieve?
Why don't they realize and understand that the World needs Peace, Love, Progress and Prosperity; that when they first contribute and invest in Peace and Love can they expect to reciprocate likewise, "When" will they ever learn?

Life is extremely Precious and when the perpetrators just take decisions and commit unforgivable actions; they only foster more repulsion and disgust at what they are seeking to demonstrate.

By committing such actions, they are only creating more hatred for themselves primarily; as well as further distancing and surrounding themselves with a vicious circle of further infinite hatred

At this crucial moment, where we stand at the cross roads of doing our very best to comprehend the reasons for these condemnable actions; it is sincerely Hoped that decisive resolutions are identified whereby they are able to facilitate an effective mitigation right from the core roots of these elements, where they emerged.

"Understanding" the core elements relating to this process is one of the strategic and instrumental keys in effectively managing and regulating the process instead of solely combatting since the first process is to establish a platform upon which a firm foundation could be built; the foundation of Universal Hope, Peace, Trust, Love, Peace, Harmony, Progress and Prosperity

It is pursuing an hopeful and practical process; whereby anticipating, innovating and embarking onto pursuing a practical approach for adeptly and resolutely dealing with such type of condemnable actions is being encouraged; Alas what has occurred cannot be recuperated, but the sacrifice that has been made by several innocent victims over the years reminds us and encourages us to stringently identify resolutions that could effectively harness the various factors effectively and implement a resolute approach in dealing / combatting with such condemnable actions decisively and practically.

It is more easily said than done; but every step taken in the direction of seeking to identify each resolution is essential and imminently approaching

Evolution is testament and holds evidential records of various events that have occurred and it is our duty to educate and inspire the concerned to seek to "Recognize" and "Understand" the immense potential value of each and every Life, since Life is extremely Precious and Splendid; and can "NEVER" be snatched away by these type of cowardly actions on any pretext or instance whatsoever.

Each and Everyone has the rightful privilege to Live and cannot become subject to what perpetrators of such condemnable actions think and decide, it is absolutely very wrongful, punishable to the maximum possible extents and unpardonable; (Although the deviation is there when reference is made to referring to the aspect of punishment, it is but natural that when all steps that are taken to make the concerned understand the significance and importance of reality and when they refuse to understand and persistently seek to establish their own agendas, then in such contexts, this is NOT permissible since there has to be Universal Harmony, Peace and Love that is accorded contentious precedence and pre dominance since the Universe provides us and bestows us each and every Moment with the very finest of virtues but when there is an interruption or attempts made by perpetrators to change the course of what is being manifested Universally, then the perpetrators are naturally SUBJECT to pay a price for their irresponsible actions, face the consequences; they need to be accountable and responsible and essentially "Understand" that defying the Universal Principles, The Laws of Nature is having a price that NEEDS to be paid)

It is not only retribution alone, it is fairness where no sides are taken, but what is just and unjust; since Nature never discriminates or favors one over another; but tends to remind and make one aware time and again that it makes one pay for one's wrong deeds whether now or later; but definitely has its own way of compensating those that have been made to endure and face unfortunate events due to the mindless actions taken by perpetrators; the distinguishing of those that are right and those that are wrong is already being journalized / recorded and will seek accountability accordingly.

I shall summarize the above comments on this note since it is an extensive appeal that consistently seeks to kindle the Hope for establishing Universal Hope, Peace, Trust, Love, Peace, Harmony, Progress and Prosperity; If a reference has been made to certain tendencies that reflect accountability, this is natural, since every action that is taken is linked and bound to result in a reaction; so every action that is taken must be carefully assessed and taken explicitly on the basis of establishing Universal Hope, Peace, Trust, Love, Peace, Harmony, Progress and Prosperity; it is the pursuit of a mutual process and not solely for suiting one's agenda alone!

With sincere Hopes, Thoughts and Humble Prayers,
Vashi Ram Chandi

Chitra Sharma said...

Glad that all of you are well. Pramod is absolutely right - Gandhism in each person and a clear approach to take out the hatred and resentment and build communities with a sense of security and confidence will be the only solution and it will only come through warmth and inclusion, not seggregation and brute force.
I likeyour Bruce Willis analogy, myself felt that way watching the scenes on NDTV and Times Now the last few days!

Vashi Ram Chandi said...

May you find serenity and tranquility in a world
You may not always understand.

May the pain you have known and conflict you have experienced
Give you the strength to walk through life
Facing each new situation with courage and optimism.

Always know that there are those whose love and understanding
Will always be there, even when you feel most alone.

May you discover enough goodness in others
To believe in a world of peace.

May a kind word, a reassuring touch, a warm smile be yours
Every day of your life,
And may you give these gifts as well as receive them.

Remember the sunshine when the storm seems unending.

Teach love to those who know hate,
And let that love embrace you as you go into the world.

May the teaching of those you admire become part of you,
So that you may call upon them.
Remember, those whose lives you have touched
And who have touched yours are always a part of you,
Even if the encounters were less than you would have wished.
It is the content of the encounter that is more important than it's form.

May you not become too concerned with material matters,
But instead place immeasurable value on the goodness in your heart.

Find time in each day to see the beauty and love in the world around you.

Realize that each person has limitless abilities,
But each of us is different in our own way.
What you may feel you lack in one regard
May be more than compensated for in another.
What you feel you lack in the present
May become one of your strengths in the future.

May you see your future as one filled with promise and possibility.
Learn to view everything as a worthwhile experience.

May you find enough inner strength to determine your own worth by yourself,
And not be dependent on another's judgement of your accomplishments.

May you always feel loved.

Copyright © 1987 Sandra Sturtz Hauss

Anonymous said...

hi deepa. iam bharat shah. i am i kenya kisumu city. iam for last 15yrs setteled here. iam feeling soory to see whats happeneing to our india. but then the spirit of us indians is also pushing life in these terror times. i miss india specially mumbai where iwas born

Like this story? Share it !!