Enteric Terrorism

The fervor of the India winning the cricket match against England on November 26th night was still on, when the news channels began showing strips of some firing in Mumbai. Am not much of a cricket buff though, but yes, do enjoy and watch it when the country wins. I was preparing to sleep, when I felt the first shot being fired! No not in the Caf' Leopold. It was inside my tummy. The terrorists had entered the Taj and in the garb of bacteria they penetrated the flimsy security of my digestive system as well. And suddenly there was shooting pain and the anti-terror measures began, of course within my tummy! It was a sleepless night, with a bloated stomach and nausea. It was a sleepless night for many.

The stomach problems are funny. And if they are related to appetite and digestion, they assume still funnier proportions. For example, while the tummy was bloated and the nausea was at its peak, wife was worried what will I have for the breakfast and mom was insisting that she must apply a pinch of sizzling asafetida in my navel to relieve the uneasiness.

The media channels at that time were vying with each other with interviews and statements of invited experts-the retired chiefs-who toed the line of the politicians as long as they served and now were shouting at the top of their voice that the police reform are a must. As if a 'reformed' police will drive away the terrorists like asafetida would drive away the gas, thought my doting mom!

The terrorists continued to take their toll, though the NSG was doing their best and there were piercing sounds of cross-firing, grenades bursting and glass being shattered. The situation inside my tummy was no better even after 36 hours of vomiting. It was burning. And there was fire in the Taj, Nariman building etc as well.

In moments like this, impromptu sympathizers, self-appointed experts emerge out of no where. Advice on what to eat and what not to eat is freely available with people claiming that they have seen their neighbor's son-in-law recover even from a worst situation of this type, just by holding a banana stuffed with fenugreek seeds. The son-in-law lived nearly a 1000 km away wonder if they saw him recover really or it was a wild fantasy, I thought!

Somewhat similar was the scenario at the Taj. While the NSG commandos were doing their job, the interview givers in the TV were eager to project their suggestions. Some were lucky to have visited the 'Ground Zero' after the 9/11 tragedy of the US. They were extolling the virtues of US Security forces and vehemently suggesting the need for a similar force in our country. Their main emphasis was on the electronic surveillance measures, CCTVs etc. Perhaps they forgot that to operate them one needs electricity and constant maintenance and for want of the same the cameras became a mere show piece within a few days of installation in many towns.

Like terrorists the bacteria penetrate the system after a meticulous preparation. Each incident needs an expert handling by a doctor. But like self styled security experts, there is no dearth of 'doctors'.

Situation was gradually coming under control and the places were being sanitized said the TV reports with reporters permitted to come closer and grab shots for the viewers. But the spate of debates and advisory interviews continued. Some condemned the politicians for not coming to the scene others criticized them for poking their heads unnecessarily. The self styled experts were generally giving 'I told you before' type of statements.

The situation, incidentally in my stomach too after the purge was almost similar. When I told a friend 'I had been to a wedding reception', he immediately took the 'I knew it' instance and began to sermon me about the most risky 'dishes' at a wedding dinner. The list was so long that it left me with only alternative of wishing the just-married a long and happy conjugal life and handover the customary envelop and return home. Well that's what I did at the reception. It took me quite an effort and a bit of out-shouting my friend that I did not touch anything there, except the heads of the couple to bless them!

But like the self styled media savvy security experts, know it alls and political analysts the experts on stomach ailments are hard to convince.

May be next time the terrorists, oops bacteria strike I am better prepared!     


More by :  V. K. Joshi (Bijji)

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