It’s been ten years since our country along with the city that never sleeps, Mumbai, had come to an unexpected and grim halt. I don’t need to describe the horrors that unfolded in those three days, the lives we lost, the screams that rang through the carpeted corridors and the stunned silence thereafter. My sixteen-year-old teenage eyes were glued to the television and life had never seemed so delicate. For more than 72 hours, I spent all my time at home, sitting in front of the television, looking at live media feed of the burning Taj, the admonishment from the Department of Defence and Army for telecasting our commandos, the re-runs of earlier videos, the winds, bullet firing, glass, shrapnel and the successful but painful rescue of the hostages. I was too young during the Kargil war to remember Barkha Dutt’s reporting from ground zero. For me, this was the attack that etched itself deep, deeper and closer home than the 9/11. There were several reporters lined up outside the Taj, covering the place from all angles, trying to relay, as much information as possible, to the nation. I now distinctly recall one of the reporters – completely unaware that he’d stayed on in my mind till today, ten years later.
That young face on the television which I kept looking at, not leaving his base, forming his thoughts into words, reporting from the promenade of the Taj, trying to give us news even when there wasn’t any, stayed on with me. The ticker below read his name as Arunoday Mukharji. Times have changed, news reporting styles have changed. I moved from television reporting to news on apps and Google news. But today when people all over are attending memorials to a decade of 26/11, I can only think of the young face again, who in the face of the harshest man-made adversities kept a calm and composed demeanor to allay our fears in the best way he could.
Yes, there is fake news and crass media reporting but there are also brave, passionate and unflinching men and women who use the skill of the languages and strokes of pens to keep us from getting blinded in the darkness of lies and betrayals. To the innumerable journalists, reporters, news anchors, camera crew and all staff associated with bringing news to us – thank you!