Monday, 1 December 2008

Here's to Mumbai

I can’t stop thinking about Mumbai.

Last summer, Roopa, a close friend who lives in Mumbai, and I had lunch at the Taj Mahal Hotel. We sat in the lovely hotel restaurant and ate an expensive lunch, enjoying ourselves and the serene environment. I remember it being so quiet, in stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of Mumbai’s unbelievably loud and crowded streets.

Having been there, I just can’t imagine what it was like during last week’s attacks. It feels like a scene from a movie, totally unreal.

Then I got an email from Roopa. She made it real.

It reminded me of September 11th in New York. That fateful Tuesday, I could not believe it was real. Even though I watched the towers fall from my rooftop, it still felt like slow-motion cinema. If I looked away, it would be okay.

Then I went to the disaster center to help. There, the reality of thousands of tragedies rained down on me. For two and a half years. But time passed, the skies cleared and I realized that New York would be okay. And she was.

As I walked the city streets this morning, I thought of Mumbai and New York and all the other cities that have recently experienced terrorist attacks. These unspeakable acts of violence are intended to destroy but these communities survive. They are resilient. People pick themselves up, put their cities back together and keep on living. Individually and collectively, they recover.

Here’s to Roopa, Cubas, Nishant and all the other Mumbaikers who survived – and who keep on living.