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Bleeding City

by Sneha Subramanian Kanta

(written during the blasts that rocked Mumbai in 2011; in memory of the many who lost their lives)

Have you ever thought how difficult it is to let go of a person when he or she physically ceases to exist? Especially if this happens all of a sudden, when you least expect it. Life is anything but predictable; it’s sometimes rough turns are enough to give one a permanent setback. The first thing I always think about whenever there is a terror attack is about the families of people who have lost their lives. Someone once correctly said that the dead go through painful death for a moment, and then; in a whisker, it’s all gone. Life is sucked out of the body, but one tragedy still remains – of coping with it. Everything, until seconds ago, that made sense is all lost somewhere. A person’s identity is then depreciated to just being another ‘body’ in the hospital. No name, occupation, caste, gender or anything else then matters. In other words, whatever that was, is lost…or is it not? I am sure the countless people who aren’t with us here have relatives and generations remembering them, keeping them alive in their memories. For isn’t life is all about reminiscences, which help constitute life itself?

A beautiful quote by John Irving explains the feeling of separation:

‘When someone you love dies, and you’re not expecting it, you don’t lose them at all once: you lose them in pieces over a long time – the way the mail stops coming – and their scent fades from the pillows and even from the clothes in their closet and drawers. Gradually, you accumulate the parts of them that are gone. Just when the day comes, when there’s a particular part that overwhelms you with the feelings that they’re gone forever, there comes another day, and another specifically missing part.’

My heart leaps up to the blast victim’s kith and kin. To have spoken to someone just sometime back; or to have been awaiting someone back home - - and knowing its not going to happen is heart-wrenching. There is food made, there are bills waiting to be paid, there are children waiting eagerly, and there is so much more of life’s unprecedented business that goes on. Just a touch of the person sometimes gives one unexplainable security. How much ever we would like to believe that life is lonely; and we’re all alone at the end of the day; we feel good to be with people. An old gentleman who lost his wife once told me he just missed her presence around the house; there was an almost mental time-table that they had set for themselves. Even though they did not speak for hours on end, silence and doing petty chores connected them. It is intriguing how the human mind works on relationships.

As for me, my father works in Dadar, very close to where the blasts took place. Fortunately, I thank all forces which may be responsible for this; that he was traveling to Chennai on the fateful day. I left several text messages on his phone to call me as soon as he lands. To be frank, I was quite perplexed until I saw his name calling flashing on my cell phone. We discussed how every place where the serial blasts took place was dear to us in their own special way. Dad often took me to a hotel near the Dadar kabutarkhana; while my nani and mother both have had several trips with me to Zaveri bazaar. Opera house was where I often took a bus from, when I had to travel to town.

I was fortunate and blessed to have my dad safe, but what about those who have lost the ones they love? Will this feeling ever be easy to ‘cope with’? Cynics may say that moving on is life, but how easy is it? My heartfelt condolences to my bleeding city; and I wish such terror attacks are prevented. I am sure there are many capable and eligible leaders and policemen we have. I pledge to them to make us feel safe. I do not want the resilient ‘spirit’ of Mumbaikars to be cheered for; rather, as a citizen of this city, I want its due to be given now. It is high time.


The end

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Feb 01, 2012
by: vimala ramu

A heartfelt tribute Sneha, which only a person like you can offer with your most sensitive heart. For us away from the city, it is eventually a statistic when the initial shock wears off.

Feb 06, 2012
by: Sneha

Thanks, Vimala. It's terrible - - to see such attacks!

Feb 08, 2012
by: Geetashree Chatterjee

One tends to be emotionally attached to the place one is born or brought up. Your emotional attachment to the city of Mumbai is quite evident in this poignant piece penned by you.

It also raises a few very important issues. While the Government and its arms coolly blame each other for such massacres or term the blast victims as "soft targets", it is just a "situation" for them and the dead just part of the statistics.

It is the people who are affected in and by the holocaust who suffer the most as you have rightly pointed out. But in a country teeming with millions of such "soft targets" who bothers to find out what happened to their families ? How they are getting over their personal trauma? What future are they left with after such shocking bereavement?

You have raised all these questions with the flourish of your pen. I hope the concerned and the competent ones are listening who can actually make a difference to this country.

In Bengali we have a saying which loosely translated shall be : 'When kings cross swords, its the weeds which burn to ashes.' Are we the people of this country derogated to being weeds? Point to think over!

Feb 14, 2012
by: khushboo

loosing innocent people and loved one's is really painful ... yes it is high time.


Feb 17, 2012
by: Sneha

Yes, Geeta, we've been de-sensitized to a great extent. My heart leaps upto the families and friends of those who lost their lives.

Yes, Khushboo, let there be peace.

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