Delhi blasts: A reporter’s dilemma
I will have to respect the Indian Standard Time for once.
I was to meet a friend at five in the evening on the day of the serial bombings in New Delhi. But the meeting got delayed — she could not leave office on time and my office elevator kept me waiting for twenty minutes.
We were chatting about good times together in college, how classmates have done well by themselves and making plans to catch up with other friends at the café inside a popular bookshop when the bomb at Barakhamba Road went off.
I had only read reports of how bombs exploded near cafes as people sat there sipping coffee discussing mundane things in life or shopped for household goods or just walked by. Never had I imagined that one day I would find myself in such a situation.
Within moments of the explosion, I saw people crowding the area, police men trying to control the situation and cameras furiously clicking away. The window panes of the cafe were shattered by the impact of the explosion and given that it was a low intensity bomb all of us in the place were safe.
I guess it was sheer luck that saved both of us — I take an auto rickshaw every day from the spot where the bomb exploded. Had we met a little early, or a little late, we might have been caught up too.
I assured family and friends about my safety and headed back to the office. It was the call of duty.
I chose the back alley while the sirens wailed and people jostled at the blast site. As a journalist I helped put out the story on the blast, which is fast becoming the norm in the country — scenes of destruction, loss of lives, grieving relatives and sense of helplessness.
I have been thinking ever since — as a human being and as a journalist — what should have been my priority. To help people who were injured or to report about the blood and pain?
I put into practice the training I had received as a reporter — to tell the world about how the series of bombs went off in quick succession killing, maiming and scarring innocent people for life.
Ever since I have been asking myself — what if a friend was involved? What if someone even remotely known to me had been looking out for help that day?