Every time Mustafa Bakri, 15, a resident of Mohammed Ali Road hears of a terror attack he sleeps badly. His family lives at walking distance from the spot where the blasts took place on Wednesday at Zaveri Bazaar. “Everything seems to happen around places I visit so often – the Gateway of India, Zaveri Bazaar, Colaba, CST station,” he says innocently, “I get nightmares now. I dream of bodies covered in blood.”
City-based psychiatrists are afraid that constant terror attacks will impact how children think. “Children under the age of seven are desensitised by the constant bombardment of terror news and gory images. Their emotions are deadened,” says city-based psychologist Anuradha Sovani, “The older children who grasp the consequences feel angry but don’t know what do with their emotions.”
Most city schools stayed open a day after the triple blasts rocked the city and forced the children to return to normalcy.
“If children stay at home, they stay glued to news channels. Coming to school and following the routine is one way of coping with the trauma,” reasons Vandana Lulla, principal of Podar International. At her school, after a short interactive discussion during the morning assembly, the school returned to routine lessons.
While most schools resumed classes, few discussed the terror attacks.
“Teachers avoided the topic. I feel sick every time I think about it,” says Vishrut Kumar, 11, “Things went on as usual. In fact we were sad, we weren't given a holiday.”
Psychiatrists insist that schools need to discuss these attacks in detail and provide children with an outlet through art workshops and group discussions.