Wednesday, July 12, 2006

a city under attack

some unidentified chaps managed to blow up the first class compartments of 7 local trains here yesterday. as of now the body count is at 183, with another 714 injured.
and panic struck the city. the television channels outdid each other in trying to repeat cliches about 'the lifeline of bombay', 'the spirit of the city', 'resilience of the citzens' and more such blah-blah.
interviewing angry and afraid commuters seemed to be passing off as reporting. watching the entire sordid affair was akin to entertainment. ok, one can sympathise with the commuters who were stuck there but realistically what can any government do in a situation like this. shouting yourself hoarse about injustice, inadequate security, ill-fortune or demanding an attack on pakistan will get you airtime on national television but will achieve little more.
lets face it, bombay is a soft target. the way i see it there's absolutely no way that its possible to protect this city from a terrorist attack. there are just too many options on offer, such as various forms of public transport, public spaces, utilities, etc. the same crowd thats clamouring for security today will badmouth security guards frisking them tomorrow when they are getting late to get on a train. detectors are practically no good anymore since most devices are plastics.
so what does bombay do, other than get back on to those very same trains and get to work the very next day itself. this is supposed to be the much talked about resilience of the citizenry. but the truth you'd know if you asked them is very different. there's not much else they can do. for them no options exist. for a majority of this city the trains are the only way to get to work. and taking a day off is a luxury many cannot afford.

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