Which is why this particular attack comes as a jolt, set up to grab our attention no matter what. There's no going to sleep thinking that the bodies will be cleared up by morning and we can go back to the old tropes about the spirit of the Mumbaikar. In an era where others out-sourced their work to us, we had out-sourced our willingness to think and form opinions to an increasingly shrill media, which followed the same pattern after each attack - day 1: gory stories of the attack; day 2 - everyone comes on TV saying that India will survive and we will work together; day 3 - the same people come back on TV to blame each other for what happened. Watching the news these last couple of days made me realize just how far we've let things slip in that regard: presenters getting almost orgasmic in their enthusiasm to talk about the latest details, politicians straining to stick to the sort of quotes that come on day 1 and 2 when they want to get started on the day 3 denunciations, Shobhaa De talking rubbish. It almost made me feel like throwing something at the TV.
But that would be wrong, because the fault lies as much with myself and people like me. The sort of terror that was unleashed may not have been predictable or stoppable, but the apathy that lets us get by without facing up to its causes or consequences is something that we could have dealt with. I've lived in this apathetic state for a pretty long time, and I'm sure a lot of my contemporaries have too. I've had the right to vote for almost 8 years now, I've carried out that duty not once in that time. Which is why, it's our own fault. And yet, I was trying to make that change, as were others. I decided to finally get registered as a voter, and signed up online through jaagore.com to get the basic details of how to go about it. I got a mail on the morning of the 25th from the site, saying that they had already signed up one lakh visitors, making it possibly the fastest growing voter registration campaign in India. In a quieter, happier time, I would have pointed out that this wasn't bad for what started out as a CSR exercise for a tea company. Right now, I can only point to the sad irony that the company that is sponsoring it is Tata Tea, whose parent conglomerate also owns the Taj Mahal hotel.