I wrote this after the 26/11 attacks by terrorists on the iconic Taj Hotel in Bombay in 2008, India’s own 9/11 😦

I will never forget waking up to the news of the attacks on the morning of my Birthday on 27/11 – what a beginning to my Fortieth!! Just as I was reaching a milestone, my city was reeling under the onslaught of terrorists with their wanton violence. The attack felt almost personal this time, coz the Taj was a place my family and I frequented often for meals and special occasions. Anyone of us could have been there on the given day and one of cousins, with whom I share a Birthday, very nearly was! It just put everything in frightful perspective. I did celebrate my Birthday and looking back, I think the only reason I could was because my friends made the day super special for me 🙂 and because distance allowed. We were still in Singapore then and I could switch off the TV and pretend at least for a few hours that all was well with the world. But it wasn’t and as the tragedy stretched on I was left wondering what the World was coming to. Why do events like 9/11 and 26/11, happen over and over again? Is it because we, as responsible citizens, let them – with our narrow vision of the World, our reluctance to get over our prejudices, our unwillingness to compromise and our penchant for talking without listening? Is it the often senseless foreign policy of our countries that is mostly (certainly in India), vote-driven and not solution-oriented? It’s all of that and more, I know. I just wonder when we humans are finally going to get it right.

The reason I thought to re-post this, was because with all that ‘s happening in Japan, surely we must see that in the disaster-department’ we are not a patch on Mother Nature. She can do what we can only dream off, on a humongous scale, in the bat of an eyelid, with no warning, no pointless posturing and no mercy. The only thing that then remains is for us battered humans to pick up the pieces, the ruptured threads of our lives and try our best to move on. To somehow find Hope amidst ruin and salvage what’s left of our broken spirits. To rise again, Phoenix-like, from the ashes of our existence. What gives me heart is how we manage, repeatedly, to do just that! A year after the horror, the Taj Hotel, opened it’s doors again to visitors from all over the World 🙂 President Obama visited it on his trip to India and paid homage to Her courage and spirit.

And so no matter how cynical I get about the future of the human race, somewhere in a corner of my soul – Hope Floats 🙂


She stands majestic by the sea,

Her brick walls steeped in history,

A century of memories, witnessing all,

Love, Intrigue, Scandals & Balls,

The birthing of Nations, Coronations of Kings,

Anniversaries, Birthdays, Luncheons & things.

Yet after all that She had seen,

Tragedy loomed, grim, unseen.

On a black day in Time ,

When the nightmare began,

Her walls lay shattered,

O cowardly hand of man!

Milky marble burnt to cinders,

Hot coal fires, fatal embers.

Her spirit torn asunder by a billion silent screams,

Blood; Blood everywhere, flowing crimson streams.

Dark those days and darker nights,

No respite, relief in sight.

The nightmare continued – endless, fey,

The sky coloured a morbid grey.

The world watched silent, as it always does,

Doing little, saying much.

Determined she battled for freedom & grace,

Wrenched herself free from Death’s embrace,

Lives surrendered, Innocence lost,

Victory was hers, but alas the cost!

People cheered, forgot their fears,

Visions dimmed by happy tears,

She rose again, phoenix-like,

A beacon of hope from the ashes of Life!

If She can do it, perhaps so can I?

Spread my broken wings and fly,

High above in cloudless sky, spread my broken wings and fly.

– Harsha


11 thoughts on “Phoenix

  1. It’s so hard to make sense of tragedy, whether brought by man or nature. All those innocent lives lost. I think you’re right in that we just need to turn to the resiliency of human kind and our ability to hope to help make it through.

    Wendy’s right–brilliant poem.

    1. Here I am Maura!! Thanks for the nudge and the concern 🙂 I’ve just been busy and Ishaan is on vacation so uninterrupted time in which to write or think is very very scant, as you can imagine. But here I am and here I intend to stay no matter how irregular!

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