Archive for November, 2010

Scars of 26



All these numbers have only one thing in common; 26. Sitting in my room nice and easy, I am one of those lucky many who have survived some of the most horrible days in the history of India. One inquires as to what makes this number a terror among other dates. Ever since I found out I have been looking for specifics of what it really means, and above all what it meant to India, as it’s been a bad omen.
The number 26 adds up to 8, which arguably is an unstable number in numerology. While this number has been more than lucky for many, it is mostly popular for its ugly face. What more can be more terrifying than knowing that another 26 is about to come….that too every month. All we can hope is that it passes away smoothly without any worries.
There are two clear occurrences I recall which dismayed me to the core, events which shook me from top to bottom and has left a hard impact on my mind and soul. First was the Kutch Quake. It was 26 January, 2001. I was in my 10th standard. Being a holiday I was fast asleep. I always enjoyed watching the Republic Day parade as I loved the wonderful display of culture and power of India. That day I had decided to just give myself some rest and catch up with it later sometime. But I was suddenly woken up by my Dad who asked me to have a look at the cupboard. It was shaking and shaking vigorously. For a moment I did not realize what was happening and then he said it’s an earthquake. We ran out of our homes. I still could not substantiate what was happening. And finally when I did, the News channels showed it all. Scenes of devastation, loss of lives and property and what not flashed through different channels. The nation had just witnessed the most catastrophic earthquake of its times. More than 20,000 lives were lost and lakhs left homeless. About 600,000 people were directly affected.
The second and the most disastrous were the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Again, it was a 26….the 26 of November, 2008. The entire world watched in shock and grief as 10 gunmen attacked and killed people mercilessly at some of the most iconic places in Mumbai. The entire security system was sent for a toss as terrorists slaughtered men, women and children at their will. The CST, Taj Hotel, Trident Hotel, Leopold Cafe and the Nariman House bore the brunt of it all. I recollect springing out of my bed up at 3 am to see what was happening. The TV channels continued screening live pictures as forces found it hard to control the fire unleashed by the gunmen. Finally, after 3 days of mayhem and with more than 175 deaths and crores worth of property lost, it was over. The very thought of those days still sends a chill down my spine.
It’s been years after these events and life has moved on….it has to. But how will we or can we bury these memories? The answer is a straight no. So is 26 really a bad omen or is it just a coincidence that these apocalyptic events took place on the same date? Possibly not. The list below will prove us wrong if we want to think otherwise.


26/12 – Tsunami Wave
26/01 – Kutch Earthquake
26/02 – Godhra Carnage
26/06 – Gujarat Floods
26/07 – Mumbai Train Blasts
26/07 – Mumbai Floods
26/09 – Ahmedabad Blasts
26/11 – Mumbai Terror Attacks


Ironically, 26/06 is my birthday. I wonder how this goes down with my loved ones.

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