Salaam Bombay

In summer of this year, I was in New Jersey and I arrived at work on a morning like any other to find out that my hometown of Bangalore (India) had been targeted in a series of attacks across town using homemade grenades. It tore me up. I was born in Bangalore and grew up there. When I moved away to the states, I knew most everyone in town. Like the Cheers theme song, that’s where i went and everyone knew my name. However, in the last ten years, the town has grown into the tech hub it is today and when I go back now, I wander my old haunts and don’t recognize the faces. Still, if you grew up in 80s and 90s Bangalore, that place will never leave you. It was the most serene and amazing place to grow up. And now some fucking terrorists were trying to mess with it. It hurts because you are helpless. You just take it. You hope it won’t happen again. You hope common sense prevails. However, you know it won’t. You wait.

I found out about the Bombay attacks on a schoolday. I was on break between classes and I saw the photos and video footage on my Yahoo homepage. I never went to Bombay until I was 25. I loved it from the minute I got off the plane. It was my first time in India in a lonnng time. Bombay hit me pretty hard. It was huge. I felt like a tiny little speck in the city. And i love that. It had Beaches. Restaurants. Women. Bars. Clubs. Goa! More than you could ever see in one year. My friend Abhi had moved there and he showed me around. Maximum City. It’s like New York without the Yuppies. Instead, we have studboys. I noticed everyone was really proud that Bombay had a low crime rate. My friends told me that, like every other place in India, the judicial system accepted donations. So, how did the Bombay cops beat that? They started shooting criminals in their police cars before they even got to the station. Forget the arrest, they’ll be back on the street anyway. Kill them. Why did you shoot him? He was trying to escape , sir. Bombay cops were famous for this. Soon, all the troublemakers and criminals got the message and moved to other cities. (like Bangalore) So, here was this sprawling metropolis, it was like paradise to me. I was within an inch or a moment of moving there, I loved it that much.

And now. These terrorists struck Bombay. Although there have been a ton of terrorist attacks in India in the past year, this really was the dagger. I went to Bombay for the second time in April of this year for my friend Som’s wedding. It was even better. Both times I have gone there, I have decided that should I be lucky enough to make a lot of money, I will go live there. (It is the sort of place that you need a lot of cash to afford your own place) On this last trip, I hung out a lot in Colaba and went to a lot of places around the Taj Hotel. That’s why this latest terrorist attack had a strange effect on me. To see the places you chilled in, to see them riddled with bullets and on fire…it makes you furious. You boil.

The aftermath is horrible. A country on edge. Hatred builds. People assume that since the terrorists were Muslims, then all Muslims must support this madness. Nothing could be further from the truth. Do we blame all Hindus if a Hindu commits a crime? Do we do the same for Jews, Sikhs, Jains or Christians? The fact is the truth gets blurry when there are tears in your eyes.

One response to “Salaam Bombay”

  1. “The fact is the truth gets blurry when your eyes are filled with tears.” – a great line from a great post my friend. Still we must hope that common sense does prevail.

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