Thursday, December 11, 2008

I am intolerant...

I got to know of the Mumbai attack through an sms at 11 PM that night which said " Mumbai...terrorists...am stuck at the Taj restaurant...still alive". It came from someone who had just arrived in India that day and someone with a feisty sense of humor. I gave the sms a bemused look before deleting it. Then the same sms came again and I decided to check on the internet.

I kept feeling sick through the night and that feeling has still not gone. I could not make myself switch on the TV and after 2 days when I finally did, I saw Barkha Dutt chocking with melodrama over a half spilled glass of wine that she had discovered at the ghost of the Taj. I could survive the TV for less than 20 minutes, the same sick feeling.

I feel a changed person, I am brimming with contempt and I have a feeling that my lid will blow off. I am feeling helpless, I have been wanting to 'do' something beyond reading newspapers, pressing the 'join' button for every call to 'join hands against terror' e mail..,to do something dammit, even if just to buy an air ticket to Bombay, stand across the Taj and hurl abuses into the sea to wherever it is that the monsters came from.

More disturbingly, I am feeling intolerant. I am distrustful when I hear my muslim family protest against what happened. I intent fully look for denial in what they say - you can hear it sooner than later. A day post the Bombay tragedy I was broodingly silent ad-mist an animated family discussion when the inevitable came up - stuff like Mossad, Hindu Terrorism, cover job to save Col Purohit...I felt a nerve was going to crack in my head and I framed my sentence in my mind " Indian muslims will always live in denial...until Indian muslims stop pitying themselves and become a part of the Indian fabric, until then terrorism will have a market in India...".

As I started to speak I stopped at my first words " Indian Muslims.." My words were hanging in the air, I thought of the consequences. I would become an alien with that one sentence. A lot else would happen..was there any reason to ignite this? I would be told I know nothing about Islam so I could ill afford a point of view. I decided to stay quiet and leave the table. It was left to assumption what I had intended to say and no one asked. I think the point was anyhow made that... I was intolerant...

My children do not know their religion yet. Ruhi thinks her mother is from Punjab and her father is from Mars. A year ago, a lot of kids from the local mosque came over to my house for reciting verses from the Koran. It is called 'korankhani', the same purpose as holding an 'ardas' in your house - for purification and blessing. Ruhi was woken up by the loud sound and she went over to watch and then came running to me and said "mama a lot of Punjabi people have come to our house" ( implying that they were speaking a foreign (punjabi) language). It was funny then and I had laughed. Today it is sad. There is so much irony in that humor. She is seven and its time for me to tell her who she is supposed to be, before anyone else does. I wish I did not have to. Not when I feel like this.

15 comments:

aneri_masi said...

I know you already mentioned clicking on every "Join" button, but still, click on a few more.

Rebuild India Mission is started by a group of professionals, who like you, want to DO something. They are slowly coming up with an action plan based on participation of people like you and me. Please do participate in their survey here: http://www.intheorbit.com/2008/12/rebuild-india-online-survey.html and let your opinion and ideas be known. The group is getting quite big, and *hopefully* will achieve something!

Thanks,
Kashmira

Mampi said...

We are living in strange times as it is. I can understand how hard it can be for you and your family to maintain sanity.
God be with you !

~nm said...

I know what you mean and I totally agree with you. This is what me and hubby have been discussing amongst ourselves. Why do the muslims in India feel they are being blamed or taken as part of those terrorist groups? Why can they feel being Indian before feeling Muslim? Why? Even after these many years?

This is the main reason for all this chaos in our country. We all are educated 21st century people and when all the religions are accepting each other so freely why have this religion thing cloud our minds at such crisis moments?

And I really don't know how you are going to solve the problem of telling what religion your kids belong to till this problem of feeling "Indian Muslims" or "Indian Christians" goes away.

~nm said...

I still beat you in the unread posts count in reader. I have 548!! :P

MultiMenon said...

everyones disturbed after wats happpened in mumbai..and its a sad thing that muslims are looked down upon as tho its oly them who are doin such things..not rly so..I almpost feared another communal riots post 26/11...god save this country..

MultiMenon said...

I have moved...

I had to take this step to ensure that ppl around(read parents,relatives and certain others)dun read into my space and hence make life difficult for me.Its already started in a small way for they are apprehensive of certain things and this is makin me uneasy.So I decided to take the plunge by bailing myself outta the old one and off to this one

www.multimenonwrites.blogspot.com

see ya thr..

cheers!! :)

Balvinder Singh said...

I can understand your pain. But at the same time we should stop looking at the Indian muslims as a separate entity. It is just their misfortune that some of their self serving brethren got the country divided and are still not satisfied with what they got in the partition. They have acted like a cry baby which is fast turning into a dangerous brat. As every crisis throws up an opportunity, this is right moment for the countrymen to come together, cutting accross the religious lines and fight the anti Indian elements -- external or internal.

But yes keep alive your intolerence. "Apnee aag ko zinda rakhna kitna mushkil hai"

tearsndreams said...

Hey Gurpreet,

I am a Hindu from both my father's and mother's side. Our family has been settled in Delhi from the last 3 generations. I had very few, almost none, Muslim friends growing up.
And believe me, when I hear that our Police cracks a case in flat 2 days be it attacks on Parliament or the most recent Mumbai attacks, I get suspicious too. So are they trying to tell me that they had no idea this was going to happen, their intelligence is that bad but they can crack it in less than 24 hours after it happens! And oh yeah! Obviously Muslims were involved!
I am just sharing something that I haven't shared with anyone because I always get that feeling so I cant blame your family.

Gazal said...

I am not sure if the earlier comment reached you so pasting it again from my google account.

Hey Gurpreet,
I am a Hindu from both my father's and mother's side (my name is just a result of my father;s fondness for Urdu). Our family has been settled in Delhi from the last 3 generations. I had very few, almost none, Muslim friends growing up.
And believe me, when I hear that our Police cracks a case in flat 2 days be it attacks on Parliament or the most recent Mumbai attacks, I get suspicious too. So are they trying to tell me that they had no idea this was going to happen, their intelligence is that bad but they can crack it in less than 24 hours after it happens! And oh yeah! Obviously Muslims were involved!
I am just sharing something that I haven't shared with anyone because I always get that feeling so I cant blame your family.

How do we know said...

OMG! Talk abt being in a soup! Yes, these are difficult times for you. All the Best, and do believe me when i say that i will be thinking of you - often.

The Luscious one! said...

Good show!!

I recently started a blog of mine. I would love it if you would add me to your blog roll and vice verse. http://luscious69.blogspot.com

Pinku said...

You have had a tough time.

and yes to explain to children that they may only take one set of Gods as their own and leave the rest is very sad.

But dont mix the two feelings. Terrorism has nothing to do with Islam, its got everything to do with mean selfish people and some misguided young kids.

Islam when interpreted correctly is as beautiful as any other religion...dont feel defensive.

mango said...

We are very tolerant and liberal but have to admit that I felt or feel the same way many times. Intolerant. But i applaud you for being candid and brave and being aware of these feelings and sharing them.

That bit about mother from punjab and father from mars is similar to our story as well. My kids 8 year old daugther and 6 year old son are blissful unaware of any religions and communal stuff. I have to try and do religious stuff example on Diwali since want some traditions and roots for them at least.

the mad momma said...

@Nids - well perhaps the day people stop referring to them as Indian muslims or Indian Christians... things might be different... the religions are still looked at as imports

@ GW - the SMS you got - was the friend okay after all?

Inexplicably said...

Thanks for asking MM ! He managed to escape along with his Indian host and took shelter in a house in Colaba. The next morning he took the first flight to Paris. Many days later he wrote me an sms saying that he will be back soon since he thinks he owes it to Bombay and to India and that is his way of showing solidarity...FC if you are reading this, I thank you for the thought.