Like many of you, I spent much of the past few days glued to coverage of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Like a number of you, the places I saw burning on the screen were spaces I’ve moved through. Taken in. And as with millions and millions of others, Mumbai was made a part of my time on this planet. It is, at once, a completely foreign and utterly familiar place. It is against that backdrop – and the experience of terrorists attacking my own city – that I found myself very much agreeing with this piece by Suketu Mehta:
The terrorists’ message was clear: Stay away from Mumbai or you will get killed. Cricket matches with visiting English and Australian teams have been shelved. Japanese and Western companies have closed their Mumbai offices and prohibited their employees from visiting the city. Tour groups are canceling long-planned trips.
But the best answer to the terrorists is to dream bigger, make even more money, and visit Mumbai more than ever. Dream of making a good home for all Mumbaikars, not just the denizens of $500-a-night hotel rooms. Dream not just of Bollywood stars like Aishwarya Rai or Shah Rukh Khan, but of clean running water, humane mass transit, better toilets, a responsive government. Make a killing not in God’s name but in the stock market, and then turn up the forbidden music and dance; work hard and party harder.
If the rest of the world wants to help, it should run toward the explosion.
Run toward it.
Update: Leopold Cafe is open for business. This is how you do it.