My first reaction was that of every angry citizen. Which is:
Confirm that all your near and dear ones are alive. Check.
Thank God for that. Exchange stories on how close you were to the site, how lucky you feel to be alive etc.
Salute the brave police force, army, NSG, fire brigade, hotel staff. Check.
Forward smart ass sms-es to all and sundry.
The spirit of Mumbai cannot be broken by a few gun wielding terrorists!
Where is Raj T hiding? The NSG came to Mumbai’s rescue, not the MNS.
God may forgive the terrorists, but we will fix their appointment with HIM. Etc. etc.
Watch the repeated gruesome images on TV. Check.
Change channels, just for the heck of it. All of them show the same images. Some of them may gloat about the wonderful work of their cameramen. Etc. etc.
Rant about the insensitivity of Burkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai etc, while watching their programs non-stop. Check.
They are beaming live images, compromising on the commando operation! They are asking insensitive questions to the victims’s families, and to the survivors. They are sensationalizing the incident. Etc. etc.
Rant about the callousness of the panel of experts lined up by those channels. Check.
The usual suspects would be Alyque Padamsee/Prahlad Kakkar (‘the South Bombay angle’), Shabana Azmi/Mahesh Bhatt (‘the minority angle’), Shobhaa De (‘the socialite angle’), Rahul Bajaj (‘the business magnate angle’), Rahul Bose (‘the intellectual actor angle’), Rakhi Sawant (‘the outrageous quotes angle’), and one spokesperson each from BJP/Congress/Left (‘the politics angle’). That the same ‘experts’ are lined up for every issue from gay rights to smooching in Bollywood, from economic slowdown to terrorism, does not deter outraged citizens from ranting “Do these guys know anything about ground realities?” Etc. etc.
Rant about the spineless opportunistic politicians. Check.
Why did Modi go to the scene of attack before Manmohan? Why wasn’t the PM more emotional in his speech? Why did Shivraj Patil change his outfit in the middle of the crisis? Where was Raj Thackeray hiding? How can RR Patil call this a ‘minor incident that happens in big cities’? How can RGV accompany the CM? Etc. etc.
Rant about the system failures. Check.
What was the intelligence doing? Why don’t we have NSG type units in every state? How can lathi wielding policemen be expected to counter AK-47 wielding terrorists? What happened to the federal agency which was supposed to co-ordinate intelligence from various agencies? Why did it take 15 hours for a relative to claim the body of a victim? How many more attacks before the country takes it seriously? Etc. etc.
Think up ways to show ‘solidarity’. Check
We’ll go to Leopold and have chilled beer. We’ll arrange candle light marches. We’ll donate blood. Join a ‘Say NO to Terrorism’ community online. Etc. etc.
I must confess that I went through each and every one of the above emotions over the last 3-4 days.
Then, thanks to my perverted understanding of a glorious religion, which tells me that what is destined will happen no matter what. And it happens for good. And, if you die today, you always have the next birth to fulfill your remaining dreams.
So, I finally settled on the easiest path. Pure cynicism.
Come and shoot me. Bomb me to hell. I just bloody don’t care.
PS: Neither does the state. But they won't say it outright...