Equal opportunity emotion

Sonali Kudva

The emotion of hate may be based on a culture of color, race or difference. But the outcome of hate has no culture, no feelings on who gets hurt. In short, the outcome of hatred does not differentiate between people on any grounds, be it caste, creed, age or color.

This past Friday night in India, a bomb blast occurred in my hometown of Pune. Pune is a city close to Mumbai, a city full of students, tech companies and a major army base. The blast occurred at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and shattered my peace of mind along with the façade and inside of one of the city’s oldest bakeries and hangouts.

I’ve spent many weekend nights hanging out at the German Bakery after a social evening spent with my friends and a good dinner. The German Bakery was an institution, a place where I went to have dessert, cakes, pies and sweets not readily available everywhere. It was a place with a communal seating area, where you shared a table with random strangers and had a cup of tea and a sweet fresh from the oven. Foreigners based in Pune usually hung out there for a sweet taste of home, to read the paper and for its proximity to the Osho Ashram.

The photographs and the footage from the scene of the carnage made me want to weep. That could so easily have been me, or one of my friends, an acquaintance or just someone I met and smiled at. Of the nine who died, two were foreigners, guests in my country, and the majority were said to be women. Preliminary reports also said most of those who died or were injured were between the ages of 25 and 30 years old.

I spent most of Saturday morning in a stupor trying to take it in and to find out if all those I had left behind were all right. They were, thank God. I monitored Facebook to check if anyone posted more details on the incident, I watched live coverage and the Home Ministry’s statement on what exactly had taken place.

It turned out a suspect possibly connected to the Mumbai terror attacks had in fact been photographed in the vicinity and had stayed there two years ago. The bomb itself was in an innocent abandoned backpack that a waiter opened to ascertain its ownership. Needless to say, the backpack exploded, taking with it Pune’s complacence at not having had such an incident happen for decades (if ever).

Hatred, as I said, is very equal opportunity. It hates everyone equally when it is causing destruction and mayhem.

Sonali Kudva is a journalism graduate student and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].