February 4, 2009

Fear Factor

I wasn’t scared. Fear is in the mind. Without meaning to be vain, I’ll make it clear that so long as you’re in good company, fear is a relative term. Maybe I would’ve been scared shitless were my parents in a state of panic, and as I’ve said earlier, the second my mother stopped crying I realized that these wise-ass terrorists are barking up the wrong tree. They crave fear, they want to see it in the eyes and soul of each person looking down the barrel of their guns. They feed on fear. If you’re scared, you’re giving them what they came for.

I urge those reading this to keep in mind that it’s human to fear, but it’s also within us to abolish that fear when the need arises. If my family can, yours can too. God forbid were anything similar to happen to you or people close to you, remember the golden rule: You are not Superman.
Always safeguard yourself before others. If you’re safe, you will later have enough time to take things forward.

If your family members are ambushed at home, Do Not rush to their rescue, remember the golden rule. Don’t lose heart; Gods Will won’t lead you where His Grace won’t protect you.

Press Stress

I will not talk about the myriad issues concerning the attack save those related to my residence, but I feel I cannot leave the role of the media untouched, as their handling sorely disappoints me. The media bungled up Big Time for the first twenty-four hours following the attack. I think they caused more damage than provide news. The coverage was sensational and it looked as if they were doing a great job, until people began realizing that the terror-kids too had access to live TV. Big mistake, and in hindsight one that cost us dearly. I believe rules are laid down within channels for the coverage and broadcast content in situations such as these, and the channels violating the same must be severely reprimanded. Not only was it breach of public interest, but a gross display of stupidity. My parents and I were in a blackout state for the entire period, and were surprised at the detailed SMSes coming in from our well wishers with respect to the activities of the terrorists as well as our forces. A thought passed my mind: if I don’t know what’s happening on the outside, I feel stranded and helpless. Why couldn’t we have done the same to the terrorists?

Ok, we’ll never be able to calculate the extent of tactical damage inflicted through the live coverage being accessible to the terrorists, but controlled telecast could have helped reduce loss For Sure. The other thing I’m sore about comes out of personal vendetta rather than the attacks. When they aired live footage of me and my family exiting our lane, two channels NDTV (hindi) and Live India gave me my worst moment yet: “Aur yeh dekhiye, ek chhota sa, dara sa sehma hua bachha apne mata-pita ke saath bahar aa raha hai” (Now see, a small, scared, terrified child (??) walks out with his parents)

I won’t even going into the embarrassment that’s been caused by my ever-courteous friends and some creative cousins J I’ve been the butt of most jokes for the past two months and it isn’t so pleasant. If I was in another country I’d sue their pants off for who knows how many things. I think it was my short white jogging shorts. Do I consider putting them up on Ebay? Nah, not a chance!

I wasn’t scared, honest. It’s been a calm experience with none of us in any state of panic whatsoever. The only time I felt jittery was for the first couple of hours when I returned home after four days.

Holtzberg's Funeral

Holtzberg's Funeral

Conspiracy Theory

For the three days after our rescue, I was put up with my cousins. I’ve spent all those days combining our viewpoints and analyzing observations with Wesley, who has been most generous in sharing not only his room, but also his razor during my hour of need. In the end we agreed that Nariman House was NOT intended to be a part of the attack. It was meant to be the safe-house and getaway location.

This is based on a number of premises:

Over 95 kilos of chicken recovered from the building. Sources indicate that the chicken was bought from a wholesaler, and cooked at an Irani restaurant, ostensibly to avoid suspicion.

The GPS phone and navigation system that was left behind in the tugboat is enough to suggest that a return journey was on the itinerary.

The location of Nariman House is quite obscure and away from the public gaze. I feel it would suffice as a suitable hideout for anyone looking to keep a low profile for a few days.

There is an obvious mismatch between Nariman House and the two hotels. The Taj and Oberoi are high-profile landmarks known the world over. Each, at peaktime, caters to over a thousand guests and staff. Nariman House is a random five storied building which at best houses not more than ten people at any given time. It is foolish too, to bring out an Israeli hate-shooting as the motive behind the attacks.

The terrorists were drinking on the terrace of Nariman House, when they got into an argument with somebody from a neighbouring building. Presumably not used to being needled, they shot him in anger. This (the first ‘gas tank’) drew the attention of the locals and passerby, who rushed toward the building (the mob I heard).

Based on these reasons I assume it would be fair to conclude that the attack was meant to be elsewhere, and plans were bigger than Nariman House. The terrorists, aware that since shots had been fired, leaving the building wouldn’t be easy, decided to go on the offensive.

Moche - At the funeral of his parents

Moche - At the funeral of his parents


My only real sadness is the tot, Moshe Holtzberg, who was orphaned just short of his second birthday. I dread to even think how scarred this incident would leave him, were he a couple of years older. No idea whether I must thank Gods grace, or lament since this lovely child now has no parents. He was the cutest kid around, and pretty friendly. He used to show off his new toys to my mother, smiling ever so sweetly every time she would call out to him from the window. He’d just got a new red car with a large boot, all the better to keep his precious toys, and was real proud of it. He was very kicked about the latest word he’d learnt, ‘banana’ and had been yelling it out at the slightest opportunity.




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