The situation in Mumbai has unfolded a bit. At least now, we know something about the number of attacks and the locations of the attacks. The differences between yesterday's post and today's post clearly show how the informed guesses have metamorphosed over time. As of yesterday, there was news of explosions at some key locations like outside Metro Cinema, in the lobby of the Oberoi Trident and at the Taj Dome. But today, as it turns out, the hostage situation is of greater gravity. But what is even more worrying is the gross uncertainty. How many terrorists? How many hostages? Who are being held hostage? What are the terrorists' locations? What is their greater plan? How do we tackle such a situation. We know how to handle serial bomb blasts - search for bombs, diffuse them, alert people towards unattended things - end of story. But here, for the first time, we have a massive hostage situation - in not one but 3 places. The Taj, known for housing some of the most high powered business meetings and known to be the trave pitstop for most of the globe's celebrities when they visit Mumbai, The Oberoi Trident and Nariman house. What is the motive? Who are the targets? What do these people want? How many more are there? We can only speculate. As of now, the toll is 101 people comprising of 14 police personnel and 6 foreigners. Over 275 are injured. But since no one knows the exact location of these terrorists, one can't even say how long the carnage will last and how many more heads will roll.
But the fact remains that there is no cause so great as to demand the killing of innocents. The smiling pictures of the cowards on all newspapers is repulsive. How terribly insane can anyone get? And if they really feel that their cause is so strong, then why did they escape showing their backs? It is very easy to wreak havoc and run away. But cowards always take the easier route. It is very easy to put your tail between your legs and run away - like a jackal. But it takes courage to lead from the front. And courage comes when your cause is on the side of truth and is justified as being right. Courage comes when you are not afraid of the consequences to yourself, since you want a greater consequence for the greater good. Courage comes in the form of ATS chief Hemant Karkare, ACP Ashok Kamte and cop Vijay Salaskar. Courage is what is possessed by the police who boldly guide people out, make people duck, while themselves being unsure of messengers of death that can come out of nowhere. Courage is the fireman who hoists himself high up to douse a fire, with no bullet proof protection whatsoever, just because he wants to save the few caught up in the Taj Dome, without for a minute wondering whether the victims could indeed be the perpetrators. Without wondering whether the people stuck up there could be terrorists, who wouldn't for a minute flinch before downing a bullet through the fireman's skull. Courage comes in the form of the hotel staff, who tried to maintain calm amongst the hotel hostages by giving regular updates and directions on how to proceed, themselves unsure of which bullet would come whizzing by and deprive them of the chance to utter another word. Courage comes in the form of truth. Salaam Mumbai - once again.