Fear. Bombs. Blood. Screaming. TERROR. This was all I could see, hear, and think about while visiting one of Mumbai, India’s exclusive malls. All I could do was watch the people in the mall, with their eyes glued to the television sets, as they were watching the news discussing the bombings that were happening at that second on the Mumbai railroads. People were screaming as they realized they might have loved ones riding the trains coming into Mumbai.
My aunt, fearing for my life (as I was an American in a foreign country), grabbed me and pulled me close to her. Scrambling for her cell phone, she tried to contact my uncle to pick me up on his scooter to take me to safety. She became frantic as she realized that all the phone lines were jammed because everyone was trying to call one another. Finally, my uncle got through on my aunt’s cell phone, and was yelling at my aunt to meet him in front of the mall so he could pick me up. Ten minutes later, he was there telling me to jump onto his scooter. In our native language, he yells back at his wife saying, ‘Take the first rickshaw you find, and I’ll meet you at home. Be safe!’
Clinging onto my uncle, we drove past the only route back to my uncles’ house – by the train stations. Watching the road, I began to see numerous men, women, and children screaming and crying. I saw a multitude of men with their arms and with their legs severed with bloody wounds walking in the streets.
Looking back to that day, I had never been exposed to such horrible atrocities in my life. I cried for hours contemplating all the events that had unfolded before me. I watched the news, read the newspapers, listened to the radio but no matter how many times I heard the sequence of events; I could not believe I had actually been there. I, an American, alone without my immediate family, had first-handed seen terrorist attacks in a third world country.
This event has greatly impacted my life. The first major impact was the sudden realization of how fortunate my relatives and I were to be alive. The second major impact is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. The idea that exposure, to something as devastating as multiple bombs going off in a country that I am not familiar with, really helped to understand what my culture was about.
Events, such as these, allow humans, such as myself, to understand what the world really beholds. The world may be a cruel place; however, it is up to us to help one another out.
Listening to the news, they declared that the police simply sat around yelling at people to get off the trains and ultimately did nothing to help the citizens of Mumbai out. However, there were numerous stories, photographs, and events proving that although many people were hurt, the citizens of Mumbai came together to help each other out of the rubble.
Previously to the trip, I had believed India was just some place that my ancestors and parents were from – not a place that really meant anything to me. Returning back from India, I called the country, MY INDIA. India: no matter how much devastation, how much sickness, how much terrorism, MY INDIA will always come together and fight off these adversities. For the first time in my life, I began to realize who I truly was.
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