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July 29, 2006

An entrepreneur and a VC salaam Bombay

Among the blogs that I read - typically those penned by VCs and entrepreneurs - I found the following two remarkable posts about the most recent terrorist attacks in Bombay.

From Basab Pradhan's blog:
If Bombay were a boxer, he may or may not be the champion. But you could never knock him out. He would go down to the mat once in a while, but would pick himself up every time, not by the count of 10, but immediately.

I was in Bombay during the 1993 bombing. And I was in the US during 9/11. Granted 9/11 was a much bigger act of terrorism - both in death toll as well as how telling the blow was, which is how a terrorist would look at it. 9/11 caused the American psyche a trauma from which it will not recover for a generation. Bombay moved on in a matter of months. And the same will happen this time.

The question is why? Why does Bombay (or maybe this is an India thing) have such a short memory for great tragedies? Is it because people don't have choices so they have to settle with it? As in, they have to take the train if they have to go to work so what's the point of fearing it. Or is it because accidents and acts of terror are so commonplace that you get inured to the idea? I am told, Israel is a bit like that. It may be so. But I think there is also a little bit of another thing - Mumbaikars don't look back. Jo ho gaya so ho gaya. The past holds nothing for them. The future is where its at. The future is when the stock market will break all records. The future is when Sachin Tendulkar will help India win the World Cup. The future is when Amitabh Bachchan will make his greatest movie. They approach the future with the bright,shiny eyes of optimism. And that makes enduring the past that much easier.

Mumbai, a self-healing city, I salute you. Salaam Bombay!

From Anand Sridharan's blog:
I feel a mix of pain and anger at the Mumbai blasts.

Pain - seeing the inconsolable suffering of innocent victims and their friends & families. My wife was on a train in Bandra around 6pm yesterday, and it’s only a matter of chance that she is unhurt. Others were less fortunate, and our hearts go out to them.

As for the cowardly scum who perpetrated this crime – yes, you’ve hurt some of us beyond repair. However, as a city and country, we’ll quickly get back to our feet. Since moving to Mumbai 5 years back (like everyone else, to earn a living), I’ve seen the city’s amazing resilience and Mumbaikars’ willingness to help each other out in a crisis. It’s a great city that will only get stronger after such events.

As for today, we donate blood, do what we can to help, get back to work and yes, take the train home!

Arun Natarajan is the Founder of Venture Intelligence India, which tracks venture capital activity in India and Indian-founded companies worldwide. View sample issues of Venture Intelligence India newsletters and reports.