As the country’s advertising and fraternity was celebrating yet another edition of the Effie Awards at Mumbai’s Turf Club on November 26, not far away, a bloodbath was beginning to unfold.
Crime and terror are not new to the city. In the last decade-and-a-half, we’ve had 11 blasts, including those in 1993 and 2006, we had the riots following the Babri Masjid demolition and violence induced by political groups, but nothing to match the scale and suffering of what happened on ‘a Wednesday’.
It is indeed going to take a long time for one to recover from the turn of events. The television has been on since the time I returned home from the Effies on Wednesday. It was all unfolding on television. Round-the-clock Reality TV for which I hope channels get into a ratings war. Though, of course, one did hear the ‘exclusive’ word being used rather liberally by many anchors.
While I am sure the Government and law-enforcers will do their bit to fight terrorism, my heart goes out to the families of all who have lost their lives to this mindless mayhem – from among the police, the guests and employees at the hotels and the person on the street. My heart goes out to the girl who was scheduled to get married next Monday to this man shot dead at Cafe Leopold, to all those who never returned home after a hard day’s work. This just isn’t fair. Why did it have to happen?
We are sure Mumbai’s spirited citizens will bounce back. In fact, the sense of enterprise could be seen as several shops and restaurants were open yesterday – why even the friendly neighbourhood bhelpuriwallah in the suburban bylane was around and so were the people asking for that extra mirchi in their wares.
We hope the Government learns from this and our intelligence and security systems are better equipped to prevent such acts from recurring. There is no point having elaborate checks at hotels when such large amounts of explosives could enter the country with ease. Enough is enough. But in all of this rhetoric, let’s not forget the precious lives lost. Let’s say a prayer, and better still, reach out to their families and friends in every way we can.
(Pradyuman Maheshwari is Group Chief Editor, exchange4media.com and impact)