Friday, November 28, 2008

Can't Sleep - Mumbai Blast

The great bricks of Agra Fort

It was a rather depressing night for me last night. I had work to catch up with but that wasn’t really the reason why I was so pissed. Earlier in the day, India was rocked again. This time in the City of Mumbai, one very heavily populated city, popular with its Bollywood stars and also the financial centre of Mr Manmohan Singh’s government.

According to Indian media reports, an unknown group – Deccan Mujahideed was behind these brutal attacks on the city. Apparently, the Deccan is a region in southern India that was traditionally ruled by Muslim kings. Many quarters have said that this attack was deliberately planned to hit the international targets which are frequented by foreigners and the top Mumbai elites. Two years ago, bombs exploded during the rush our at one of the train stations. This time, target was the Taj and Oberoi Hotels.

If there is such a thing on caste for hotels, indeed the Taj and the Oberoi Hotels would be placed in the highest position. High profile (local) businessmen dressed in fine wool suits accompanied by their beautifully dressed, fair skinned, perfect English speaking wives are the usual sightings in these hotels. They all walk with such fine grace only stopping to chat with acquaintances of their same kind. As they pass you, that soft sandal wood scent follows the breeze. Once they are done with their mingling or meetings, they call upon their drivers and within minutes the obedient servant, dressed in the pressed white uniforms will drive right to the entrance of the hotel. Having opened the doors of the Indian made cars – the Ambassador, they are entrusted to deliver their Maam Shahabs safely and happily home or to other destinations of her calling.

Ahhh…that’s the kind of luxury lives these Taj and Oberoi frequenters lead. A few meters away, just outside the borders of the hotel, the colors are different, the smell is pungent, the pace is a lot faster, the skin is a lot dryer and even the teeth is less white (if there’s still any teeth left in the poor soul). This is where the real India lives and breed – all the other many millions of the population. Little homeless children crammed the shantytowns while the sick and very old would just die on the streets underneath their cardboard homes. Side by side but such a world of difference.

At the Oberoi hotel lobby

Indeed some of the sights of India could be somewhat difficult for one to swallow. I’ve been to India a few times. When I tell friends that I’m going to this colorful place on earth, they don’t believe me. They’d say I’d never survive that place, so smelly, dirty, overly polluted and populated like India. As a matter of fact, I had doubts if I could survive the trips. Nonetheless, I managed to pull through each one of them.

One of the mosques next to Tak Mahal

Truth be told, I love this place. Call me a hopeless romantic, but there’s just so much romance here. What’s with that great love of Shah Jahan for Mumtaz, the discrete love affairs of the Moguls Kings and his secret ladies, the land owners and the little peasant girl…the list is endless. Love and passion is depicted in their architecture, literature, song and dances. The practices (and positions..heh heh) of Karma Sutra, ayurvedic healing and even Yoga, put emphasis on love, peace and harmony with oneself. Hence, why the bloodshed, why the sadistic acts??

Nissa at the Oberoi pool

It gives me chills to the spine thinking about the dead and injured in Mumbai. Human lives should never be wasted just as such, Muslims or no Muslims, militant or no militant. It could have been someone so dear to you, it could have been members of our congregation or even the guy who lives down the road. None of such beastly acts is worthy to man and neither should we condone them.

Hotel lobby...

As I look out from my window this morning, my condolences goes out to the families of victims who perished in the condemned blast. I wonder if it’s too much to ask for – the act of trustworthiness, forbearance, mercy, compassion and loving-kindness towards all peoples.

Peace to the World….

17 comments:

Kak Teh said...

Kay, my daughter loves India so much after her one month backpacking there. and now she still wants to go back. Am not sure whether I will sleep at all when she goes.anyway, during the last trip, she left delhi for sikkim and there was a blast around the area she was staying in.

Its scary what is happening there.

Madam Tai Tai said...

Hi Kay,

It shamed me that those people who called themselves Muslims yet dared to commit such heinous acts. This is what my religion is advocating, no..it certainly isn't.

The world is no longer a safe place now, wherever we are.

Just me...Naz said...

Kay,
I've been planning a trip to India for a few years now but bila dengar cerita cerita mcm ni, rasa macam tak apa lah...tak pergi pun tak apa. It is indeed sad that instead of teaching the children that there is a big world out there waiting to be *discovered*, you end up teaching them that dangerous things happen no matter where you are, that they have to be careful of the kindness of strangers etc.

kay_leeda said...

Kak Teh,

I know how you daughter feels about India. You gotta really be there to "feel" the country.

My first trip was rather an eye opener..ABE asked to tengok how it is there so that I bersyukur with what we have back home. Yarr..the "bersyukur" part was just for a little while, the momemt I hit the shops, bersyukur nyer because I got rupies to use!!!

kay_leeda said...

Tai Tai,

Everywhere is the same these days. Just up north, there's just so much unrest in TaksinLand too.

What is sad, very sad, is when these groups manipulate the religion and say that this is jihad, mujahidin...whatever lah. But it is still not right to go blasting up innocent lives. NO religion teaches to be cruel killers!! Depressing, just thinking about it.

kay_leeda said...

Dear Naz,

India is a MUST go. But with the situation as such now, my advice is to wait a bit. Then again, when "these" people are going to strike, you just don't know kan.

It's getting more difficult these days to teach our young ones about the good, the bad and the ugly. These just a thin line that separates them. And with such chaos, even we get confused ourselves.

tireless mom said...

Dear Kay

I don't know much about India except the Bollywood stars and the Taj Mahal. Never been there and never get the chance for the India project to land on my lap. Oberoi is what you call a *e**o**s for us who go for outstation trip there. Hotel lain if nak stay, it is like at your own risk lah. Now with the bomb blast, haiyo amma, appa... where to sttayy noww ... geleng kepala.

Ezza Aziz said...

kenapa manusia ni tergamak membunuh . Hospital pun di bom nya! kadang kadang mereka di datang dari golongan yang tersepit. Yang di tindas atau mereka melihat ibu bapa mereka mati begitu..Dendam membara di hati..siapa nak di salah kan..Apa apa pun semuga kita di malaysia tidak jadi begitu dan di harap jangan la pemimpin kita meniup api perkauman diantara kita..

ng2000 said...

Valuable resource of Mumbai news summaries: http://www.ng2000.com/blog/2008/11/29/mumbai/

Uncle Lee said...

Hi Kay, wow, you in India. Glad not in Mumbai.
But do take care, huh.
I love your pictures....your kid looks sama mak dia, really lovely.
You take care and have a good time, Lee.

Queen Of The House said...

Never been to India but it's one of the places I'd like to visit. My husband had been there and he who does not normally like to shop, did have a good time shopping there. Apa tak nya .... murah! But I guess for all of us, India is a sobering experience. All the poverty side by side with opulence.

kay_leeda said...

Dear TM,

You want to know alternative hotels to stay in India...ha, speak to the expert - ABE!! He can provide you with the list from local to international hotels in the major cities in India.

We were cleaning up the back room yesterday. Found some old pictures from his ealier trips to India. Wahhh...got pics of him dining in Taj Mumbai!! Seeing it set ablaze, is really sad. Such a beautiful and historic landmark down to ashes.

kay_leeda said...

Kak Ezza,

Inilah perkara yang menyedihkan dewasa ini. Bergaduh, bermusuhan dan akhirnya berbunuhan. Kita di sini, alhamdulillah, tak ade lagi case extreme macam di negara-negara lain. Tapi kalau tak dipantau and diperhatikan dengan betul, boleh berlaku juga. So sama-sama lah kita menjaga sensitivity masyarakat sebangsa Malaysia kita agar perkara macam ni tak berlaku.

kay_leeda said...

Ng2000,

Thanks for the link. Do come again :)

kay_leeda said...

Ng2000,

Thanks for the link. Do come again :)

kay_leeda said...

Uncle Lee,

Yes, have been there a couple of times, the last trip was 2 years ago. Love it there, and yearning to go back. But now, I think many times before booking my ticket and flying off. You just never know when danger strikes kan.

kay_leeda said...

Dear QOTH,

Ohh..shopping in India is a real heaven. Things are cheap coupled with the lower Rupie against the Ringgit. At times, I buy things because I feel sorry for those who sell them. Consider it as sedekah lah.

Some of them really don't have much, no proper house, plagued with diseases, abandoned children...the list could go on and on. Comparing them to us, boy...we really must thank Almighty for peace and harmony in our country.