July 14, 2011

The answer, my friend...

How many deaths will it take till he knows, that too many people have died.
The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind, the answer is..

Blowing in the wind…” Shreya crooned tunelessly along with Bob Dylan. Dylan always soothed her frayed nerves at the end of a long day. Plus, that guy always made so much sense.

She was just back from office, battling the insane crowds of the Mumbai local trains. It had been two years since she was living in Mumbai, but she still hadn’t gotten used to the trains. They couldn’t afford a car yet. Akash had just got a promotion, and a raise, so hopefully, she wouldn’t have to take the trains again, and he wouldn’t have to travel by bus. She could finally put an end to her parents complaining all along that she had taken a wrong decision by marrying Akash, but when love comes calling, you don’t look at jobs and bank balances. It doesn’t matter whether the guy is a millionaire or not. It doesn’t matter that he had to struggle from a very young age when his father met with an unexpected death, leaving him and his mother to fend for themselves. But his mother had been a strong woman. She, who had been a housewife all along, found a job, worked hard, and brought him up. And she had passed on that hard-working and sincere streak to him. How could she agree to get married to some guy just because he was in the U.S and had a green card, when she was in love with a gem of a person like Akash? She had fought, long and hard, and finally, grudgingly, her parents had relented. The barbs still came now and then. But she was happy. Akash kept her happy.

“I’m home. What time will you get here, baby?” She texted him.

“On my way. Should be there in about forty-five minutes. I have a surprise for you. :)” Came his quick reply.

“Ooh!! What surprise??!!”

“If I tell you, it will no longer be a surprise, you monkey. :)”

“Hmmpph! Fine. Get here soon. :)”

“Love you. :)”

“Ya ya. We’ll see after I see the surprise. :p “

Today was their anniversary… One blissful year of being married to each other. And they had decided to celebrate at home. A nice quiet evening, just the two of them. They had wanted to throw a party for their friends, but cancelled it because they didn’t want to waste that much of money. They could always have a party next year, right?

She got to preparing dinner. She had moved on from cooking only pasta for dinner every day, and was experimenting with food these days. This was the perfect opportunity. She had spent hours online, looking for recipes and zeroing in on the perfect dinner. “We’ll have our own little candle-light dinner, right here at home”, she had said to him. She bought everything, plus some fine wine and new lingerie. She wanted to make it special for him…


It was 9:00 PM. “Where is he? He told me at 7:30 that he’ll be home in 45 minutes”. She had made dinner, showered, and got dressed in her new dress, all set for her man.

“Where are you?? it’s 9:00 already!” She texted him.

She sat down on the couch and switched on the T.V. No reply from him yet. This was unusual. He always replied promptly. She started flipping through the channels, not finding anything interesting in any of them.

Fifteen minutes later, still no reply. She tried calling. “All lines on this route are busy”, the IVR lady told her indifferently.

She stopped at the news channel. Breaking News.

“Blasts in Mumbai. City in chaos.”

“Blasts in three locations. Death toll rises.”

“First blast happened at 7:45 PM. The rest followed within ten minutes.”

“20 dead, 150 injured.”

For a second, the world seemed to go still around her. “Oh my god… oh my god… OH MY GOD!”


Akash couldn’t wait to get home and see the look on Shreya’s face when he gave her the keys to their brand new silver colour Maruti Swift. “She’s going to be SO excited!” He had left office early, gone to the showroom, and picked up the car. He had managed to keep it a secret from her for the past few weeks, just so that he could see her face light up when she saw the car. Just the way she had lit up his life…

On the way, he decided to pick up some flowers for her. Asters. Her favourite.
He parked his car in the busy marketplace where his regular flower-guy had a shop. He had been buying her asters from there since a year and a half now, ever since they met. Initially, that was all he could afford to get her. But now, it had become a ritual.

As he got out of the car, two guys passed by in a bike and threw a suitcase onto the road.



“The Prime Minister strongly condemns the blasts. Pakistan Minister tweets his condolences.”

“We will trace the culprits. Terrorism is an enemy to the human race.”

“Casualty not much. Only 20 dead.”

Only 20? Only?

Her husband had become just another blast statistic…

If only they knew, how much even one casualty can affect a life…

She opened the last message he had sent her. "Love you. :)"

Only 20, they say…


Keep your loved ones close… Tell them how much they mean to you…

Who knows when they'll be gone...


  1. man...i was dreading that end!
    amazing post! ripped my heart...n here im am texting the mumbaikar who means the world to me!

  2. You almost made me cry. Goose bumps were but natural.

    What i like most about this post is, you hit the point on the head. No one knows the pain till you experience it. For all the others, it was just a blast that killed 20. It was just a riot were 100 women were raped.

    The people whose lives changed that day, are part of the background. I will scream with joy if those in 'power' and 'media' realise that.

    Beautiful post. Heart wrenching, yet apt. :)

  3. I don't know what to say..I have a family in Mumbai and hopefully they are safe. Beautifully written though! :)

  4. @Indumathy: Life can't always have a happy ending, right...? :)

    @Srinidhi: Exactly.. We all sit back thinking "Oh this kind of stuff happens only to others." One fine day, we'll be the 'others' to someone else...

    @DawnZhang: Hope your family is safe. Even I have family there. Couldn't reach their phone till late into the night. They're safe too..

  5. I'm crying and I don't even have anyone there. And I just realized it's one of my worst fears.

    Why? -is the only question I have. Why rip so many people apart with such cold, calculated cruelty. In the name of Allah, no less.

  6. "Her husband had become just another blast statistic" Sad.. But the truth. Beautifully written. Touching.

  7. @Priyanka: Religion.. the mother of all problems. And they talk about God... Would Allah have wanted to rip the world apart?

    @Spicy Sweet: Hey, thank you for dropping by. :)
    It is sad, isn't it, when normal human lives become statistics...?

  8. Gosh! So beautifully written. you killed me though!
    I cant imagine going through that much pain!!!

  9. not much found of reading ...but i do make it a point to read ur blogs wenevr u post ..everytym i xpect sumthng diffrnt ..and u do cum up with all sorts of topics evrytym..u r blessed...and its ur gift ...may ur wishes b fullfilled and god bless u...

  10. @Red Handed: Didn't mean to kill you... :) If reading this was painful, I can only imagine the pain the relatives and loved ones of the victims must be facing. And we grieve over chipped nails and bad hair days...

    @Prasad: Thank you so much, Prasad. :) You made my day.

  11. make sure that Ram Gopal Verma doesn't read your blog. Orelse Her husband's death will become another movie story for him..

  12. loved the piece.beautifully written.knew in the back of my mind that this was coming.people have become statistics. sad state of affairs

  13. @Kanthu: :) Oh c'mon, give that guy a break. he's a misunderstood genius. :P

    @maniac.hunter: Really sad. I feel so helpless, not being able to do anything.

  14. touching...

    31months that have prevented an attack...they say
    99% attacks stopped...they say
    we should be grateful...they think
    just 20....just...they think

  15. When I read the 'Only' in all those news reports I couldn't believe language could be used in such an insensitive manner.

    You have written the story beautifully. I can't even begin to imagine the pain of losing a dear one. I just hope Mumbaikars resilience is not taken for granted any more.

    Keep up the good work :)

  16. Loved the story.He was just a number for us.But for her.How long can we go on as if nothing has happened?I clearly dont understand why our so called Intelligence Bureau cannot protect us.It makes me feel desperate and helpless.

  17. reading the stry gave me shivers!

    how the precious ones can be lost just in a moment.

    Loved it.

  18. Oh, BTW. You've got a new follower :)

    Love your description in About Me. cleverly penned.

  19. @SUB: Exactly.. In the larger scheme of things, this is a small number for them...

    @Destiny's Child: That's what is happening, right? The Mumbaikars' resilience and never-say-die is being taken for granted. And in a way, the media has a large part to play in it. They portray Mumbai as a superhero that can never be defeated, and after every attack, they go on saying that Mumbai is back on its feet etc. This will obviously make the terrorists even more determined to break this spirit..
    And thanks. :)

    @Blue Lotus: Seriously. I feel so bloody helpless and useless. I really wish there was something I could do... But what?

    @Defiant Princess: Hey, thanks. :) I always get excited when someone new drops in. :)

  20. a very well written story..
    i agree how casually words can be thrown around and only those at the receiving end can feel the pain.

  21. @Somya: Thank you, Somya. :) Thanks for dropping by.

  22. Hi Divya..whatever you wrote was worth complimenting. I am not a prificient writer and neither am i vigorous reader. But somehow this post of yours inspired me to write one myself. Giving below the link
    thank you for being an inspiration.


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