On July 13, serial bombs went off in Mumbai. Like they have before. I
called the brat up from play, hugged him hard and kept him at home for
the evening. Call me selfish. The serial train blasts in 2006 had him
a babe in arms. The terrorist attacks in 2008 had had him see the
telecast on the television, he had seen me sitting transfixed in front
of the screen, with tears pouring down my eyes, but he was too young
to realise what was happening. Now he is older. He understands things.
He asks questions.
There were some bomb blasts in town, I replied. Dat's far from our
hauz? Yes it is, I reassured him. Dey wont come here? I hastened to
reassure him that they wouldnt come home. He settled down to his
dinner and his hour of cartoon watching.
While nodding off he asked me, Wai dey pud the bombs? I don't know
baby, I replied honestly. Dey don like us? I don't think so. Wai?
I had no answer.
The next day he returned from school, yes, his school was open and we
sent him to school and I will slap the next person who says "Mumbai
Mamma, he said as we trotted out from school, all d terroridst are Muslims.
Dey wantu kill us because we are Hindus.
My blood froze in my veins. Why, son, what makes you say that? L's
parents tole him and he tole me.
I looked at my one fourth Muslim mongrel and despaired. How could I
explain to him that not all Muslims were terrorists and that terrorism
had no religion except hate.