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Forty two years ago he came to Mumbai in search for a better life. He vowed to make it big in this city of dreams. Today he owns a fleet of thirteen rickshaws. Today he still stays in a hut. Today he still gets in the general compartment when he travels to his native place in Chennai. He hasn’t yet travelled in a bus, nor has he enjoyed the back seat of a rickshaw, in which he makes his living. His eyes gleam as he talks about where each of his sons and daughters work. Yet a shy smile appears on his face. And looking at his contentment, you realize that he has succeeded in his dream.

She was alone, they knew it.
She was helpless, they knew it.
No one would save her, they knew it.
And so with a gleam in their eyes, the men from the tow truck jumped down
And strode towards the poor little car.

One of my favourite ads is the Priceless series by Mastercard. This is where they list down a few expenses and then as the punchline, deliver something which cannot be measured in money. It conjures up a beautiful combination of pride and emotion for the viewer. Here’s my own version of the ad if ever the Indian Railways decided to follow that format..

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One more attack happens in Mumbai. Hearing such news has become routine nowadays. The latest attack which happened in South Mumbai, in 5-star hotels and in CST railway station was one of the worst in recent times. This time there were no remote detonated bombs. This time terrorists literally walked in, and started shooting. What were the police doing? CST is just opposite the BMC headquarters. Isn’t there supposed to be proper security? The Maharashtra State Police headquarters is at a walking distance from the Taj Hotel. So is the Mumbai Police Headquarters. When will the government learn? How many more lives have to be lost? Has the state devoted itself to kicking out North Indians out of Mumbai? Its time you start kicking the ‘right’ people out of Mumbai, those who carry out such attacks, not those who come to Mumbai to earn a decent living.

Every terror attack now comes as a predictable sequence of events. The attack happens, the PM condemns the attacks, so does the Home Minister. There is a probe set in. And we await the results. Until the next terror attack. Is the government asking for ‘A Wednesday?’ The worst thing is that people will hail and salute the ‘spirit of Mumbai.’ Mumbai will again wake up tomorrow as if nothing had happened. The spirit of Mumai? What a load of bull. It is not the spirit which brings it back to its feet, but apathy. Apathy towards the condition of the common man. The familiar reactions are ‘We were not affected by it. Why should we stop going about our daily lives?” “I have 4 mouths to feed, I have to go to work.” “Who can postpone the inevitable?” Is this what the spirit of Mumbai is all about? Turning a blind eye to the daily sufferings of fellow citizens.

Tomorrow the spirit of Mumbai should not wake up. It should instead take a long vacation. And it should not come back until the government has taken concrete measures to protect its citizens from such blatant attacks. The whole of India needs to think hard and long, are we safe in our own country? Am I alive today just by luck? Where is the safety of the common man who may get gunned down anytime due to the lackadasial approach shown by the authorities time and again.

Change was required in the US, and the people voted. A bigger change is required here. The message we need to send out to the government is we do not want you to give any condolences. We do not want you to condemn the attack. We want action. Can the government guarantee that?

Updates (Saturday)
* This attack has turned out to be one of the worst and boldest terrorist strikes in the country. It shows yet another glaring failure of the authorities to ensure safety for the common man. The impunity with which terrorist can come and attack any city in the country is shameful on our part.

* The PM has invited the ISI chief to help in the investigations! Cmon which world are you living in? Calling the people who have trained and helped to propagate these terrorists will in no measure help the investigation. The Indian government should stop being diplomatic about it and start calling a spade a spade.

* A sincere salute to the ATS officers, the MARCOS unit and above all the NSG commandos who handled the whole situation with the expertise and competence expected of them. Wish the same could be said for our inept politicians.