This write up is my attempt to describe what I, a mere spectator went through when I saw the attacks on the television. Let me assure you, it is not an easy task. Though I feel I remember 26/11 vividly, when I actually try to think about it, I can only recollect vague pictures of the incident. It is like trying to hold sand in your closed fist. The harder you try, the more slips out...
That being said, though the pictures are vague, the feelings are still raw and powerful. A wound that has never closed. That feeling of monotonous sadness. That fateful night, my father came to me in my room and told me that there was an attack in Mumbai. It is a sad albeit true fact that my first reaction was to groan "Oh no, not again!!!" in response. I did not even bother to get up to see what had happened. I just grunted, rolled over in my bed, thought about how evil, people could be and went right off to sleep.
The next morning, while glancing through the paper, I realized that it was just not another bomb blast, but something more... But even then, the enormity of the situation did not sink in. I went to school and the day went on like any other normal day. AT home, I turned the TV on and tuned it to NDTV fully expecting them to report the aftermath of the attack.
It was then that the feeling of dread started to sink in. A gnawing fear took hold of me as I watched the channel show the situation at Taj, Mumbai. My mother came back from work and the two of us sat together and watched in silence as the story unfolded. I can tell you this much, up to that point the whole thing still felt real. I sat watching the T.V till late at night and finally, my father had to push me to my room and onto my bed. I slept that night with the hope that it would end.
But no, the morning had no better news to offer. The household was quiet. We got ready for our respective destinations in unnatural silence. The silence continued in school. But, it was marginally better in school, perhaps because, there were kids who did not fully comprehend what was going on, kids from standard 1 through standard 7. Their daily chatter lent a sense of normality to the otherwise unreal situation. Back at home, the same scene as the previous day played out.It felt like a sense of deja-vu. In order to break it, i reached out for the phone and called up my mother. "Mom, it is still happening, it is not over yet", I said. there was a shocked exclamation from the other end and when I repeated the procedure with my father, there was a shocked silence.
We went to sleep that day, each of our thoughts with the families there and also with the hope that it would, at least, end by the next day. For the first time in a long time, my sister slept with our parents.
I woke up the next day with a very strong feeling of unreality. What added to the effect was the empty bed next to me. I was used to seeing the outline of my sister as I woke. I just sat up, hugged a pillow and sat unmoving for 15 minutes. It was as if the pillow was my only anchor to reality.
It got over that day. But where there should have been a sense of victory, there was only loss. Where there should have been cheers of joy, there were only tears of joy and sorrow. A baby, who lost both his parents on his birthday was shown crying on T.V, and a whole nation cried with him.
I was not involved directly, and neither were millions of other people. But the waves of the attack reached all of us and made us numb with shock. For then, there was only quiet solidarity, the anger came later.