Everyone I love is safe.
M. is in his little Scottish village, curled up with an evolution book and a hot water bottle in a warm house with his parents.
Neither my sister nor I were there. We very well could have been - at my insistence.
Shiv was in Andheri and nowhere near the attacks and actually picked up his phone when I called.
My parents didn't go to visit my Uncle who was in hospital, because they'd have dined in the area. There.
For this, I am grateful.
And for my gratitude, I feel guilty as hell.
If I - the most withdrawn person in my high school class, the person with a tiny group of friends, who doesn't go out much and certainly doesn't have 200 friends on Facebook - now knows two people who died, then everyone knows someone who died.
If not yesterday or the day before, then a while ago, somewhere else, sometime else.
Two of the chefs at the Taj were known to me, one of them was a school-time buddy. His grandmother taught me and my sister yoga when we were little. We'd get teased by him, and chased around the parking lot. I never saw him much after, and I won't see him ever again now.
I don't suddenly remember him fondly because he's gone: I just remember that I knew him once, and now there is no chance that I can look back and say: Hey! Remember when...!?!? Wasn't that fun?! His parents travelled to Mumbai in the morning when they heard he'd been shot. Halfway there, they heard that he'd passed away (such a MiddleEarthish phrase - what's it doing in this Hell?) I can't imagine getting bad news on the Expressway. You can't even stop the car! There's nothing but hills and valleys. I wonder if they heard on the ghats. I wonder who was driving. I wonder if his mother cried, or screamed, or if her years and years of yoga have taught her to be Buddha-esque, or if maternal instincts or love transcend Buddha-esque-ness.
So much to say, so much to think, nothing to do but sit and stare numbly at the TV (am resisiting, for many reasons) or out the window, or at disgusting Facebook and news sites.
The world feels cardboardy. Stale and inflammable and so fragile. I can't breathe. I don't want to let them do this to me. The only thing to do is make a conscious attempt to enjoy the coffee this morning. Play with the cats. Smile. Drink a Scotch (or two, last night, with family. Best evening I've had at home so far. We huddled around the TV, drinks in hand, cat on the sofa with us, aunts, uncles, cousins, Papa (who dozed off in the middle! Wisdom? Age? Both?), Mama and I. We watched, we even found things to laugh about (Tara! Is that a Scotch?! Are you a man or a mouse! Fill your glass!!) Text M. Tell him how much I.. you know. Look at the leaves. Take in their greenness. Fetishise every small tiny pretty, peaceful and loving thing and raise that act to an artform, make a martial training schedule of it, as pervasive as an in-breath.
God. Home, home, home.