Even as I write this, Burkha Dutt is writhing in orgasmic fervor on the TV screen in front of me. Revelling in the drama of the situation and getting into her zone, with her voice breaking almost at will and her vocabulary scaling new heights in dramatization. This is her thing!
As I watch this newscast from my couch all weekend, I think to myself….’isnt this a dream newscast for a terrorist’? Isnt this how they would have exactly wanted to script it?…..20-30 of the best journalistic minds in the country fighting between themselves to prove who can ‘magnify the fear’ better and who has the best ‘drama’ on offer?…..for heaven’s sake, they even have a ‘highlights’ sorta music video every hour or so….just in case you had forgotten any of those images.
I rewind back to the early morning hours of Thursday, when I got out of my hotel room in Mumbai after being huddled in front of the TV all night. Though I was ridiculously far away from all the ‘action’ of the previous night, I ask the bell boy something I have never asked in my life before “Is it safe to go out now?”.
30 minutes later, I reach the domestic terminal and it was a shocking sight. Not because something changed, but because Nothing did. It was exactly the way I left it two days back. Well, actually no. There was a lone cop standing with a semi-automatic.
Ten minutes later, I pass through security and for the 22nd time in the last 2 months, my super-large shaving cream canister, my 500 ml Davidoff and packs of matches – all in the front zipper of my laptop bag, make safe travel through the X-ray tunnel, without tickling the attention of the guard. My mind is shouting out to him “common!! see it! See it atleast today…..this is the morning after a terrorist attack and there is enough room in that canister to blow up the plane I am taking”. But No. He gets out the rubber stamp, and mid-way over sharing a joke with his colleague, brings it down on my tag.
(Even as I write this, Arnab Goswami has just repeated the words “These are visuals that are coming to you exclusively on Times Now and no other news channel” for the 104th time in the last 48 hours.)
As I board the plane, I am convinced about one thing. You dont need an international conspiracy to blow this country up. You dont need a meticulous plan. You dont need a terrorist ourfit. You can do it at will. All you need is just a desire to die and a few hours of your time. So, lets not pretend that something has been breached. There was nothing to be breached. No fucking thing.
The Director of HR of Infosys just popped on screen, demanding the right to bear arms. Fair enough (are you listening Mr. Terrorist? Is this panning out like you planned?). And Milind Deora pops on screen talking about Mumbai like as though it is a neighbouring country. Dude, you are the MP from South Mumbai, for cryin out loud!! But the most appropriate sound byte in all these 4 days came from RR Patil. Surprisingly, everybody is calling it a gaffe. Absolutely not! I think it is the most honest, objective and pragmatic assessment of the situation. A masterstroke.
“Aise bade bade sheharon mein aise choti choti baatein hoti hai”.
Bravo, my man! He is right. A much much larger thing could have happened. And no, the cop in the police station in my vicinity, weilding a lathi and a modified version of the 1880 “.303 Musket” is not gonna stop it. The fact that the “.303” was a big hit in both the World Wars, notwithstanding.