Hang in there, Bombay

It's Thanksgiving today. A big thank you to those of you who wrote expressing concern of the situation in my hometown Bombay. You know who you are, and it means more than you might think. A big thank you also to all regular visitors and contributors, for all your insight and for all I learn from you.

I came close, as many did yesterday, to losing loved ones. I've spent over a third of my life in my birthplace, within walking distance of the Taj and Oberoi hotels targeted in the terrorist attacks. I have only fond memories of experiences at the hotels and hope to have many, many more (I've written about them before, but now is not the time for those discussions). Cafe Leopold is a favorite hangout. Metro Cinema is the first movie theater I went to in my life. To see these familiar sites as battlegrounds is more than shocking.

Bombay and her people will hang in there and bounce back, as Bombay and her people always have. Condolences to all families affected, and salutations to all officers who risked so much, fought so hard, and in several cases, lost their lives in upholding the human spirit. A prayer for the city, sadly hardly new to terrorism. We've seen this (perhaps worse) before.

And finally, I absolutely share the sentiments of Aamir Khan (at this post at his blog), Deepak Chopra (on Larry King Live last night), and Suketu Mehta (Sita-ji at her blog wrote about his Op-Ed piece in the NY Times).

Jai Hind. And God bless America.


bollyviewer said...

Bombay isnt my birthplace but I've spent several carefree years in South Bombay. Leopold was a great place to hang out. Colaba Causeway with its plethora of shops, restaurants and juice shops was a favorite haunt during my grad-school days and I even tried Taj's cafe a couple of times (it was super expensive so only a very rare treat!). Early this year I happened to visit Mumbai after several years and really loved how little any of these places had changed. So, it was a big shock to hear about them turning into battlefields! And knowing that they are never again going to be the same... :-( Its all so sad and sooooo pointless - WHY? WHY? WHY?

Darshit said...

I am touched by ur concern.

Saurabh said...

So sad and heart-breaking news :( But this is the first act in which some government officers "actually" cared about people, and risked their lives, bravo! But still, many people have been killed, which is sad.

theBollywoodFan said...

Bollyviewer: 'So sad and so pointless' is exactly right. There is too much hatred in the world, and too many sick people who will always spread it :'(

Aside: I was so spooked when I realized this happened on a Wednesday. We said it when we saw the film, there was *nothing* to appreciate about the way it led to propagating its ideology.

Grad school in Bombay sounds like fun. I really enjoyed everything at Taj, and thought it was all very good value. The cafe (La Patisserie) and its wonderful treats. The restaurant named 'Tanjore' with live Indian classical music and dance (it was later renamed). Then Golden Dragon and Shamiana, all the food is just heavenly. The Oberoi towers (I liked them more for the shopping mall and hair salon than the food, LOL), I could see from my bedroom.

As you say, it's all right where we were, it's just unbelievably shocking and horribly sad. They'll be back, though, just not the same *sigh*.

Darshit: Let's all just keep praying and hoping for the best. It sucks to have to account for family and friends in your hometown like this. It's sadly become more frequent than anyone would want.

Saurabh: That's a good point. Too often, the actions of the police (especially in Bombay) are influenced by politicians, and we know how ineffective the political situation of the city has been for the last two decades.

The police and commandos must be in a heck of tough spot with situations they've faced over the last couple days, and our salutations to each and every one of them for their bravado, absolutely.

Anonymous said...

Adab theBollywoodFan-ji,
So sorry to hear about what's going on in your hometown. Thanks fo rthe links to Khan and Chopra's thougts on the tragic event. Like you, they had some good insight. Viva Mumbai. Jai Hind!

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Jai Hind to u too!

theBollywoodFan said...

Shweta and Sita-ji: Thank you. It's always so discouraging every time this happens. As Bollyviewer said, we believe in peace and justice, and we ask 'WHY?'; is it too much to expect all of humanity to do so? Isn't it supposed to mean good for all?

I found this Times of India piece sad, interesting and very telling of the quality of one of the heroic servicemen we lost in Hemant Karkare. Here's one who'd made it his mission to take on the political system, enough to, per the article, "receive phone calls threatening to blow up his residence." Of course, those same people will be among the first to 'pay their respects'. Go figure.

Jai Hind.

Joss said...

Yes, I know it has all happened before too many times. I've seen enough films and read enough books (and blogs) to actually make comparisons with previous terrorist events. My connection extends no further than what I've experienced in the media, but actually it feels like a very real connection. The internet especially has made the world seem a little bit more like a large family, and I do feel grief for those killed in Mumbai, almost as if they were family.

I could have been a British national staying in a Mumbai hotel (although probably not such an expensive one as the Taj!) It could have been me blogging out of a hotel room toilet.

But I still want to visit Mumbai. Jai Hind.

Filmi Girl said...

I was very touched by Aamir's post - especially his words of praise for the policemen.

It's such a sad thing that happened...

Anonymous said...

hey, my thoughts & prayers are with you & everyone in Mumbai. i felt so sad listening to the news.. and, frankly, i don't know what else to say without sounding redundant. but definitely, i'm praying for India..

~Ranya (your *neighbor* from Bangladesh)

theBollywoodFan said...

Thank you all.

Joss: The state of security in the city has been very inadequate over the last couple of decades, and we can only hope it gets better. You're right about some films doing a very good job of capturing some of the turmoil. Those films are naturally the most painful to consume, though, and I often struggle with the imagery, so I try to stay away. Yet, given my love of films that carry social messages, I cannot ignore the genre entirely.

It's great you still want to visit Mumbai. :)

Filmi Girl: It's good to know Aamir believes in what he's saying, and that what's he's saying now is what he's been advocating for a long time. He's been an exemplary leader in his profession when it comes to the theme, and his filmography over the years illustrates that. An anti-terror force member/cop who fought domestic terrorism too in Baazi (1994) and Sarfarosh (1999). A freedom fighter in Mangal Pandey (2005). Films that addressed religious extremism on both sides, in Rang De Basanti (2006), Fanaa (2006), 1947 Earth (1999). The list goes on.

Ranya: Thank you, we need good wishes to be redundant! South Asia is so vibrant and has so much potential, yet I fear most of it will never be realized because of selfish (not incompetent -- they know well what they do) politicians across the region.


Anonymous said...

Glad your loved ones are all okay...I love Mumbai, and have spent happy hours in those locations and it breaks my heart. So can only imagine what all Mumbaikers are going through. And the commandos and police there have been heroic. "I love my India..."

Anonymous said...

I only have one question to all thats been going on in Bombay: Why?

I'm praying for peace in Bombay, the strongest city in the world.

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Memsaab: Thank you. Like you, I can only imagine the turbulence Mumbai is going through now. The commandos and police have indeed given their all, and we salute them for their service. Great song reference, Vatan mera India, Sajan mera India! (My country, my love)!

Hi Anonymous: I don't think anyone has an answer to 'why?', because there is absolutely no answer that will ever justify it. There is too much hatred all over the place, and too many forces that will always ensure that the hatred continues.

Let's all keep up the prayers, Bombay is certainly one of the strongest cities in the world.

Anonymous said...


theBollywoodFan said...

Thank you Anonymous.