Saturday, 29 November 2008

Commando drop

Two days in and the terrorist standoff in Mumbai continues, although it appears Indian troops are getting ready for one, final clearing out of the Taj Hotel.

The above photo shows a chopper dropping two of about 20 commandos on the roof of Nariman House, where two gunmen were holed up with five hostages. While they killed the militants, sadly they found the bodies of the hostages, including a rabbi and his wife. 

The situation has already been dubbed 'India's 9/11'. It's an apt moniker given that both were surprise attacks on a number of landmark locations, in areas that are highly photographed, visible and within easy reach of news cameras. Chatham House, a London think tank, issued a press release earlier today asking whether this latest event is another chapter in the age of celebrity terrorism.

And much like the Twin Towers became the most memorable target of the September 11 bombers, I predict the Taj Mahal hotel will in the same way become the central focus of this tragedy. It was, and no doubt will remain, a beautiful building, despite the battle scars it will sustain. 

It's grimly amusing to see that even in the midst of battle, officers blanched at the damage being done to the icon:
"The officer who ran out of the Taj, carrying a pistol, said, "Now everything is burned. The stairs are burned. The woodwork is all spoiled." (Time) 
Husband and I are still determined to go to Mumbai; we'll likely postpone our travel for a week and then head to another city for a bit to wait it out. 

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Mumbai attacks

Well I certainly wasn't expecting this to happen.

At this stage, 101 people are confirmed killed, most of them Indians, although Westerners have been targeted.

Husband and myself are glued to the teev, trying to work out what to do.

I shall keep you posted.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Dateline: London, W9

Fantastically, for the past two months my life has consisted of: croissant or pain au chocolat for breakast? Sightseeing, shopping or wi-finding? Spanish Vogue or Paris Tales? Pretty much, the hardest decision I've had to face is whether to check into a serviced apartment or a pensione. Yup, travel's a tough life.

But it's all set to change, in about a week. Husband-like creature and myself are due to touch down in Bombay/Mumbai, home to two generations of parental ancestry, and try to build a life. We're starting from scratch: no jobs, no home, and a fairly scant address book.

It's been six years since I last visited the city; and HLC's maiden voyage. He points out he'll likely have a better time of it than me, coming with no pre-conceived notions. In contrast, he says, I'm the one more likely to be pointing and shrieking things like "look, paved roads!" etc.

At this stage we have no idea what to expect. But that's kinda cool, rapidly diminishing bank accounts notwithstanding. A global recession might not be the best time to quit one's job and move countries. Luckily, we both can, and will, work. HLC, despite being Australian of birth and pink of skin, is now officially deemed a Person of Indian Origin, and consequently can work and buy property. We're very much looking forward to seeing the looks on the faces of customs officials when we arrive in the Non-Aliens queue at Mumbai airport.