Jul 15, 2006

Dear Terrorist...

For the last few days, I have been spammed with forwards of a mail doing the rounds on cyberspace. It is titled “Letter from Mumbai” and starts off with “Dear Terrorist… We know you may not be reading this, but…” and goes to in the vein of “You may have thought of hurting us, but we’ll continue to survive etc.”

I read it, and I’m confused. Utterly, thoroughly confused. Now, I am not the brightest of the species doing the rounds in this world, so it is normal for me to be confused most of the times. But, this one also made me think, which is not so normal.

Whom is it addressed to? The terrorists? Why are they addressed as ‘Dear’? When the writer knows that they are not likely to read it, why does he start off that way? (I mean, not everyday do you write a letter addressed “Dear Terrorist”). Is it a way of grabbing attention, and making sure that your mail does not suffer the fate of ‘Shift+Del’ without the recipient even bothering to complete reading it.

What is the message? That, we will continue with our lives in spite of all the bombings, and that you cannot break the ‘Mumbai spirit’?? Is it really so heroic to shrug off the loss of 200 odd lives and continue as if nothing has happened? Does ignoring the problem make it go away? (now, don’t ask me what else we can do, I dunno).

If the message is really intended to lift our spirits so to say, and is masquerading as a mail to terrorists, does it really help? I mean, it is ok for me to receive a message saying “We’ll not bow, we’ll show you the fighting spirit of Mumbai”. Try telling that to a guy who is in the hospital, tending to his injuries from the blast. Or to a mother who has lost her son in the blasts? That, no matter how many bombs you throw on us, we’ll shrug it off and go on as if nothing can hurt us.

Is this a psychological reaction that we are programmed to repeat all our lives? That only kids can cry and show pain and the real tough grown ups can take a beating, and just walk through it without flinching. If it is so, then ‘BULL’ to that. C’mon, Mumbai, it is ok to cry now and then.

Why suddenly develop a sense of unity and righteousness? And start parroting lines like ‘we are all brothers, and there is no religious animosity’. I mean, I have friends of different religions, castes and creed (alas, all of the same sex though!!) and I trust they will not drop a bomb on me. I don’t go around everyday assuring them of my friendship for this life and the next. It is something that you take for granted.

And, finally, why forward it to me? Does the sender hope that I might have a terrorist next door as my acquaintance and show him this mail? And, even if such an unlikely thing happens, does the writer of the mail expect the would-be bomber to read this mail, get the ‘Arjuna’ kind of divine realization after the ‘Gitopdesh’, realize his follies and cancel his bombing plan?

As I said, the mail has confused me more than lift my spirits.

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