It was a beautiful day…the third weekday…a Wednesday…a perfect day. I had a good day at office, and was back home early. I was planning for an early dinner so that I can retire to bed by 10:30 pm. I was just done with my dinner that my brother received a call from one of his friends informing about the terror attacks in Mumbai. My mom turned on the news channel. All the news channels were flooded with inhuman act of the terrorists – firing at CST, firing at Leopold restaurant, firing at Cama hospital, blasts at Vile Parle, Santacruz & Dockyard, and the hijack of the Taj, Oberoi and Nariman House. I was glued to the television till 2 am. It was then that I could take no more glimpse of the pain caused to the city. I decided to sleep.
Was it a sleep or just a quick blink of eyes, I don’t know as even in my dreams reflected the terrifying images of those savage attacks. I could see the sun rays peeping through the heavy drape of curtains in my bedroom. I knew it was morning but what I did not know was the scenario at the Taj, Oberoi and Nariman House – the three main terrorist target spots.
I gulped down my morning tea surfing through the news channels. The painful footages showed the images of the firing and blast victims…of the courageous officers’ funerals and the mourning of their families…of the confusion among the family and friends of the hostages held up by the terrorists…of the tension residing in every Indian heart…of the shock that gripped the world. I did not realize how time just drifted watching this horrifying news. It was now 9:30am, time to leave for office.
The atmosphere outside was very silent. Though being a Thursday, it just appeared as a weekend. The schools were closed down. Many offices had declared an off. As I did not receive any call from my management, I decided to go to my office. I could see the pain on the street in the eyes of Mumbaikars. These attacks were the sole topic of discussion amongst one and all. The attendance in my office was hopeless. Whoever came was in a state of panic. No one could concentrate on work. All were just glued to the web pages to know about the status of this painful battle between the commandos and terrorists.
Every minute the damage rate just kept escalating…The death toll kept rising…There was a mixture of news and rumours…It was getting difficult to differentiate between them now…The confusion and the panic just kept piling on…It appeared as if these terrorist attacks had no end… I could make out that fear had gripped everyone. We were asked to leave office early.
The following day at office was equally bad. The discussion of these gruesome attacks and the keenness to know what will happen next, kept every person mentally busy at office. It was only after 59 hours of ordeal that the commandos and police force succeeded this war with terrorism. The newspapers and channels covered up every bit and piece of these terror attacks. There were many brave officials who had lost their lives fighting this war of terrorism. Entire country was mourning along with their families.
Saturday was a better day. Usually, it is a half day at my office but the pending load of work from the previous two days had to be completed. So, my Saturday was a quarter less to full day.
My Sunday went juggling between the newspapers and the news channels. People were aggressive. There was a common voice against the government and terrorism. Candles were lit to pay tribute to the innocent and brave lives lost. People marched in rallies to condemn the coward act of terrorism and the weak political system of our country.
Monday brought with it the last month of this year. News channels still displayed the same image of the single terrorist caught alive but newer images of the damages caused at various sites and to various families. Newspapers had larger and coloured images in the demise section – a section barely read but had become the most eagerly waited section this week. It also gave the list of the dead bodies identified at various hospitals. At office all were back to work. Newer assignments were given to be completed this week.
Tuesday had new headlines of bombs found at three different spots along with the same old pictures of the captured terrorist, the burning Taj, the shattered Oberoi, the partially collapsed Nariman House, the martyrs from this attack, the brave commandos in black suits, the tired policemen in bullet proof jackets and the worried politicians. There were interviews of many eminent personalities on matters like terrorism and fragile politics. There were reports of the politicians resigning. There were mocking and sarcastic articles on our good-for-nothing politicians and the disappointing political system of our country. Candles were still lit to acknowledge the death of all the innocents in this battle with terrorism. My work at office was just a continuation of yesterday.
It is a Wednesday today, a week since the terror attacks. Mumbaikars have regained back the pace that the fast-life here demands. The spine-chilling atmosphere of last Wednesday – 26/11 – has subdued but not wiped away completely. The flash of images of the young terrorists behind this mayhem still continues…The display of destruction caused still continues…The blame game played between the politicians still continues…The anger among the citizens still continues…The grieving for the brave lives lost still continues…The expression of sorrow on the death of innocents still continues…The confusion between the news and rumours still continues…And the visibility of the tension frown on the forehead of every Mumbaikar still continues…
Today is another beautiful Wednesday but the newspapers, TV channels and Internet articles remind us that tomorrow will be one year since those terror attacks. 26/11 terror has left scar in the mind of every Mumbaikar. Today, people still hunt for the bullet damaged spots when they go to CST. Those barracks on stations, the weapon detectors, and the uniformed officers are clear reminders of 26/11. Always known for their luxury and ambiance, today Taj and Oberoi are associated as the 26/11 spots as well. How can one forget this day?
26/11 does not require the year 2008 ahead of it as no one who experienced that day, as a victim or as an audience, will ever forget those terror attacks and that year. Till date papers carry the same snap of the terrorist…till date articles are written on 26/11…till date discussions are going on and on and on…but since 26/11, every person leaves his/her house praying that everything today should go well and Lord alone save everyone from what happened on 26/11 or any day similar to 26/11.
It is rightly said…In The Absence Of Light, Darkness Prevails…And the hunt for that light still continues…
Finally, we will no longer have to see the same picture of Ajmal Kasab, the only terrorist caught alive, something that repeatedly flashed everywhere almost everyday since 26th November 2008 – a picture we saw more often than the martyrs of the terror attack.
Finally, although after four years, those people and families who were victims of this attack get some peace of mind. This may not be the solution to what these families suffered or rather are still suffering, it may not bring smiles on faces, but sure, we all breathe a sigh of relief.
Finally, the Government is done spending huge amounts on the high security check on Kasab.
Finally, he is hanged till death.
Finally, it ends on yet another Wednesday.