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Sunday, November 30, 2008

I am sick and tired...

I am sick and tired
Not just of the bastards who did that to my country – and I don’t mean the politicians alone…

I am sick and tired of those who take on a holier-than-thou attitude

Of those who see demons in everything and everyone

Of those who blame without basis

And of those who dub any opposing view as a ‘generalisation’

Of those who talk about being open to discussion… but only if all that is discussed is in agreement with what they feel or say

I am sick and tired of those who want to act as if sectarianism doesn’t exist in India, or if it does, talking about it makes you a culprit too

I am sick and tired of how bloody indifferent people can be

When I commented here that “I am totally dumb struck by the non-Mumbai folks out here who seem to be rather unmoved by the incident” it was taken as an accusation of me generalising, and making it a Mumbai-nonMumbai thing. When in fact I was making it exactly the opposite!!!!!!!

I don’t care to be rude to people who have an opinion on what I say or write, as some people are wont to do. Because I know when you are rude, your meaning is never heard, only your rudeness causes hurt.

Why did I say that in that comment? There are dozens of reasons why…

I am stating a few here…

1. A friend of mine (born-bred Mumbai, origin somewhere further south) was actually asked with a smirk by at least 3 ‘non-Mumbai Indians’ – What is happening to your Mumbai now? Her Danish and British colleagues showed a lot more sense and sensitivity. They enquired about her family, and then her country!

2. There are quite a few Indians in my workplace. Only some of us were frantic with worry. The others barely showed a passing interest. They didn’t have family there, they don’t know what or where Colaba and CST are. So the attack didn’t deserve more than a ‘ha, yes…” On the very day we were out on work, and at that meeting so many of the foreigners came up to me and asked me about the situation. They saw me as an Indian, and asked me about India.

3. Sun TV carried wide coverage of the cyclone (which all the ‘national’ channels totally ignored. Close to 100 dead and thousands displaced!). Sun TV’s coverage of the Mumbai attack was at best indifferent. While it showed a 15 minute footage of that nepotistic MK distributing bread to the cyclone affected, it dismissed off the ongoing Mumbai crisis in a couple of minutes.

4. When a fellow South Asian told me (in reference to the young terrorist) “When you see bad things, you do bad things”, the other Indians who were with me just nodded. They couldn’t even be bothered to take offence at what that guy was saying. The people who were so brutally murdered, deserved it?

5. Someone who obviously was not following the news told me, ‘I am sure they let go of all the Muslim hostages! And no Muslim died’

6. And more than a dozen people told me, “oh Muslims, no wonder!” I almost prayed then (and I never do) that not one of those terrorists turns out to be an Indian. Because we know what would follow.

7. Then 2 people on Thursday told me that this is in response to what ‘the minorities endured’.

8. I stopped counting at 10, when people either invited me or spoke about catching the latest releases that night.

9. And when I spoke about the indifference of some here, I was asked by a friend, “What if it had happened elsewhere. Not in Mumbai or Delhi or Bangalore… Would you still be so upset?” Would I? I seriously hope so. I would probably be far more devastated if it happened in Chennai, because it is my city, and the victims could well be my near and dear ones. But I would be scared and angry wherever this took place… I would feel threatened for my country.

10. One person told me (must be a cousin of R R Patil) that the whole thing seems so much bigger, because of the live coverage.

11. And then so many didn’t even mention the attack.

12. And well, every single person who had these weird comments/ideas was a non-Mumbaikar, they couldn't identify with what was happening.

Does that mean I found no ‘Indian’ patriot here? It doesn’t. Fortunately, R & I are picky about our friends, and they (and their friends) were all angered/saddened/upset/concerned by what was happening.

Unfortunately, during the course of my work day, I interact with people who are not all to my taste or liking, many of whom are Indians. And quite a few of them figure in the list above.

I speak of my experiences, not my personal opinions, so how the hell can someone question that? Don’t we all make up minds based on our experiences?

I am not going to bury my head in the sand and claim every single Indian was affected by this. Because every single Indian obviously was not. And they anger me almost as much as those who did that to India.

We are so divided as a country. So bloody divided. North, South, West and we don’t even give enough thought to the East!

I am also sick and tired of people talking about my right to comment on India because I don’t live there… I have whole different take on that, but will save it for another post.

And one more thing, I here voices out there saying we can’t brand all Pakistanis as our enemies. Yes, let’s not. But Pakistan is, whether we like it or not. At the height of the Kargil crisis when R & I refused to buy Pakistani produce here (we work with Pakistanis and are cordial enough with them), people mocked us, saying we were new to the Gulf, and will soon forget all this. We haven’t. We still don’t.

I agree we cannot blame X who lives in Islamabad or Y in Lahore for this. But as a country, they can’t shrug off their responsibility in escalating terrorism.

I am not done with this rant, so will continue soon. And unlike some, I don’t mind being disagreed with, as long as it’s done civilly.

4 comments:

mg said...

I think it would be more realistic to expect the liberal, educated intelligentsia in Pakistan to acknowledge they have a problem, and some of them already do, very vocally and have often put themselves at risk. Often they don't get air time. "As a country" would be more difficult, because they are so riven with problems, the central govt isn't fully in charge, rioting all over, warlords...

Anonymous said...

I came to your blog recently and this is the first time I am commenting . I like your honest writing. I can see the maturity in your writing as a journalist thanks to your life/professional experience.

I have seen Indians living in US not feeling any anguish about some incidents since they don't belong to particular region/caste/religion. I have been living in US and though this country is full of immigrant when it comes to national issue everybody jumps in. We as Indians don't seem to have it. My neighbors and colleagues enquired about the welfare of my family in India even though they live in south. I felt so helpless living so far away not able to reach out to people who needs help.

I dunno why people have problem accepting our patriotic feeling though we chose to live in a different country. I feel it is not fair to judge others since they chose to live outside India. For me India is like my mom's home and US is like my in laws. I have good relationship with both and I chose not to take sides when it comes to crisis but deal with it fairly .I treat both places equally so I don't have any problem living and appreciating the life it gave me. At the same time, I do care about my home which is close to my soul.
We don't lose our right to our mom’s home just because we chose to live with our in laws right?

We humans always divide ourselves in the name caste, language, religion, region, race or country. For me a person who supports his/her caste or religion so firmly and adamantly is no different than person supporting his/her country. Feeling strongly for caste/religion /race is same as feeling strongly for one country. Don’t we all know that this “strong feeling” is main cause behind all ghastly acts against humanity? People kill each other in the name of country, religion, race and caste.

Living in a country different than country of origin teaches tolerance and eradicates this judgmental feeling. I am sure thousands of people who have emigrated will agree with me.

Feeling negative or indifferent for anything or everything is intolerance. Be it for caste, religion, race or country. There is only one thing which separates us which male- female factor other than that we are all just human beings.

Your little one needs you to relax and take it easy.

Take care.

Does it matter said...

We are all looking for soft targets.
Whether it is the terrorists or our politicians, or us as a society.
And show our power.. fan our ego..

Maybe we ARE third world, and we ARE second class.

I have often wondered in the last 4-5 days, whether we are as uncivilised and uncultured as I suspect we are.

You take care of yourself and yr health, and I can understand how hostile the environment around could become at times. If it is any comfort, things are not much better here.

Tk care.

Trailblazer said...

Awesome. Truly.

I second all of your views and have experienced most of what you did. At workplaces, on the road, indifference in Indians around me.

It's very sad, but I guess we are third world because WE WANT TO BE SO.