I was driving home with my colleagues when what-I-thought-was-a-rumour started floating around... Slowly, the confirmation dawned on us in the car. Surprisingly, I wasn't scared. One friend made the wise decision of going back to office. It's wise because my decision to drive home was rather irresponsible; more blasts/ events could have transpired.
So there I was driving. I felt cold, heartless and numb. My head said, "Ah! So another 2 years go by and we have another series of blasts/ attacks. Good I'm alright and the odds are that all my friends are going to be alright." We, in Mumbai, have accepted such occurrences. We understand how easy it is to create chaos and how easy it is to blow up a bomb in a crowded place, and please don't tell me that something like this can't happen in a European city because it is really very easy to make a rudimentary bomb that can cause havoc.
I feel sad that I was as cold as I was. The logical reason is quite simple; there are so many human beings and frankly, most human lives are worthless to most others. I have 500+ facebook friends, of whom I care about may be 30-50. In a city that accommodates more than 15 million people, the people I know form a small small portion. I care about my peeps but I don't think much could probably happen to them.
I know quite well how most other nationalities would react; shock, horror, concern, etc. But when life in India is so cruel and when life in India is best lived with optimism, there is no room to be concerned for those who you don't care about.
I understand the, "This could have happened to me/ her/ him", but no point wallowing over it.
This city is a shit-hole. A shit-hole that is loved by its inhabitants because it is so much better than most other Indian cities. And shit happens in shit-holes like Mumbai. Don't get me wrong, but I love Mumbai immensely - no other place I could call home. But yes, there are times when we hate home.
I will now move to human behaviour. (This might cause a subdued uproar among my millions of readers).
So there were blasts. And we start calling/ messaging friends and family with "Are you alright?". Understandable. If my Mom was stuck somewhere, I would find a way of getting to her.
When we reach the second tier of friends, which is where most of our friends belong, we start somewhat faking the concern. If I message a second tier friend "Are you alright?" - how differently would I react to a 'yes' or a 'no'?
And please, if he/ she is not alright, he is not going to reply to my message... he's gonna be working on finding his way out or doing whatever he is up to. This behaviour of ours makes me believe how big a part peer pressure and guilt play in our lives. It is a truth that most of us will not accept, but it's true. We like showing concern and we like being shown concern. Guess that's what makes us human?