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Blast 'em! Rage grips NRIs

It isn't remiss to say that the 'desi' abroad is more in tune with the vibrations of his/her homeland, writes Meeta Chaitanya.

india Updated: Jul 19, 2006 19:36 IST

Que sera sera it wasn't for Indian-Americans here. As jolting news of the Mumbai train blasts filtered through local and international news channels in serene living rooms all across Atlanta, all of last week, reactions ranging from irate diatribe to heart-felt grief gripped the Diaspora.

It isn't remiss to say that the 'desi' abroad is more in tune with the vibrations of his/her homeland than some of his relatives actually living that reality.

In happier times, this is because he misses home. In times like these, sadly it is because he misses his family and friends being home!

Echoing this sentiment, Prashant Shah, a Mumbaikar who works as a project manager for a leading software firm here says, "What is being championed as the spirit of Bombay is nothing but the helplessness of people trying to make ends meet.

The common man doesn't have the choice to not travel by local trains. It is so easy for politicians to go a-visiting to hospitals in crisp white kurtas and sarees giving away a dismal 'package' of a lakh per family.

How about cleansing their own consciousness which is the biggest culprit of all? I'd also like to know where Mr Aamir Khan is these days. Was the Narmada Bachao Andolan more pertinent to him than these mindless killings? Where is the film industry for that matter? Surely not on the streets of Mumbai."

Shah, who has family living in Mahim, Mumbai is not alone in his anger and distress. The tragic loss of over 200 lives in the serial blasts that rocked Mumbai is being felt ever so keenly by the community here and people across the metro are converging informally and formally to condemn the dastardly act as also to show solidarity with their countrymen.

Home to nearly 70,000 Indians, metro Atlanta has many NRIs whose connection with Mumbai is intrinsic. Needless to say, with the news of the blasts, even those that are not from Mumbai or even India are affected.

Innumerable instances have been cited by people who have had American and Chinese co-workers show express concern at the tragedy. The constant refrain on their lips seems to be "Oh! You're from India…hope all's okay in Mumbai?"

Knowing that to be a far cry, Mumbai natives ended up on jammed phone and internet telephony lines last Tuesday, when they tried to call home to see if their families were safe.
People in Atlanta had not heard from their loved ones for nearly two days following the blasts.

While the city of 17 million grapples with the gory aftermath, Indian organisations such as India American Cultural Association (IACA) and VHPA are holding prayer meetings as a token of their empathy and concern.

Prayer meeting for the victims of Mumbai and Kashmir blasts was held by the IACA at 5.30 pm on Sunday, July 16, at the IACA center, Smyrna.

The sombre gathering was open to all and organizers freely relayed their contact numbers on local websites and news sources for any additional information.

Similarly, the 7/11Condolence meeting for those who died in Bomb blast in India was organized by Vishwa Hindu Parishad's Atlanta chapter. Held at the Impact centre, Global Mall, Norcross GA on Wednesday, July 12th at 7.30 pm, this meeting too was organized to condemn the killings of innocent people.

Those who could not make it to such prayer meetings, stood united against acts of terrorism by taking the other popular propaganda route- blogging for justice. Several Indians have been busy burning the proverbial midnight lamp in order to make their comments seen and heard across personal and media websites.  

Asmita Saxena, a local medical student is not temperately inclined. Says she, "The contrast with which Israel deals with terrorism and the way India shields its terrorists is abysmally obvious at such times.

Barely a week after the attacks it is already becoming a fading news piece. To add insult to injury, mindless shielding of organizations as SIMI that impact vote-bank numbers in spite of their obvious criminal past and communal moorings is inexplicable and intolerable." 

While their words may be different, the sentiments rippling through thinking-feeling Indians everywhere are the same. Everybody wants retribution. 

Before quickly slipping back to Krrish mania, Miss Universe and Zizou antics the nation without boundaries is obviously calling for a firm clasp on the North Western frontier.

And while ideological rhetoric may not be the most sensible way to deal with it, it is time India said unequivocally: the lives that were lost aren't a lost cause.