On the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shootings


In 2008, I received  a late evening call on my office extension from one of our finance managers; Mt Ganapathy telling me not to go to VT; the local station from where thousands of commuters travel to and fro from their homes in the suburbs to south Bombay, where most of their offices are located.

‘Something terrible has happened.’ He said.

I thought nothing of it till someone turned on the news and we found out about those dreadful terrorist attacks, one of Bombay’s worst in her history. I remember feeling fear especially when the rumours started flying wide about an ‘escaped’ terrorist. I remember pulling a sofa against the door back home as fragile protection against me and my cousin. It was just the two of us then, my sister was in Pune and my parents in Assam.

It was one of those points in life when I started to feel a bone-deep disregard for my country, especially seeing how everything turned ugly after those attacks. Politicians abusing the parents of a soldier killed, likening them to dogs when all they wanted was to grieve in private, and avoid the press. Bollywood stars going into overdrive, offering sincerely meant insincere remarks about being a Mumbaikar (something like a New Yorker) and media coverage being sensationalist and very insensitive. Is this what the country boils down to? I wondered. Bollywood, the Media and Politics.

I no longer live in India and I hope never to return. Home is where love is, and love ofcourse, is like the tide. Ever sweeping, encompassing, changing shape.

Three days after the attack, or maybe two, it was back to work for all of us. Every day that followed thereafter, it felt as a city, as a country, as a nation, we would be done accepting bullshit. But that feeling of change never did.

Having friends all over the world taught me how to have great perspective. And realize the grass is always the same shade of green. Maybe not compared to a developing economy, but living in Singapore, helps me hold my own against the Americans.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

I have become rather indifferent to hearing about acts of violence. I have way too much to worry about my own life, so while such incidents disturb me, I think of them as something unnatural and obscene happening a thousand star miles away. But hearing about the shootings in Connecticut, I believe the youngest was 5 years old, a baby, hearing about all those heroic teachers who put their lives first, I feel another bone deep feeling. That of sadness.

These were children. Harmless children who could have had imagination and friendships and college parties ahead of them. Kids who would have made CEO, President or high school teacher. Babies who will never know what it is like to have a best friend or swing like a maniac from the handles of a jungle-jim.

I thought human beings were smart, evolution has proven that, has it not? And yet years after the Virginia Tech shooting, we were mourning the loss of all-too-brief lives, the loss of teachers and the mindless murder of people who didn’t do anything wrong. They weren’t even given a choice.

I won’t even comment on gun control or politics or the type of politician that the United States needs to run its government. All I will say is, children died meaninglessly on the soils of a nation belonging to the so called developed economies group. How is there any meaning there?

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