Mumbai: just the way I left it. It’s been a day since 3 bombs killed 20+ people in 3 heavily populated areas of the center city, and Mumbaikars carry on as usual. The only noticeable signs of the attacks are the tan-clothes police officers stationed every 20 feet along highways and electronic traffic displays that indicate which neighborhoods to avoid.
But it’s the sensationalized “blame game” we see all over the news in India that has been fueling already prevalent terrorist fears. Although heated rhetoric against Indian Muhjadeen or Pakistan’s ISI has been pretty ubiquitous on the TV screen, I sense no palpable hatred when walking down the streets of Mumbai. Although we’re still trying to make sense of Mumbai’s checkered history of senseless tragedies, I can’t help but question whether we should limit to the dangerous finger-pointing that the media is encouraging. Conspiracy theories help people cope with the unfathomable, but it also stokes the momentum for perpetual violence.
But then again, it’s also our fault that we buy into sensationalism, treating the 24 hour news cycle like some sort of endless soap opera. And if we keep doing that, we’ll end up detached from reality, not fully understanding that the drama we’re watching is happening to real people. Maybe the best thing to do is to turn off the TV when such “news” becomes anything but respectable. But then again, that’s like asking for addicts to quit smoking.
As it was last year, being in Mumbai is sort of a mini vacation from the vacation for me. So last night and tonight, we celebrate arriving in Mumbai safe and sound, in “That 70s Show” style (grabbing drinks at Bar Zinc):
In order of appearence: Me being foolish, Joyce & Anya (whom we met only 2 weeks before in the Delhi airport and have been traveling with us since), Avanti & Shivani (old friends from Mumbai!), and Stephanie (the intrepid travel partner).