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Awaken Humankind- calling out to the Spirit of Resilience

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3 powerful resources that are always available to us



Those of us who have lived in fear of terrorist attacks will empathize with the people of France and especially Parisians because we know the feeling firsthand.

We know that life changes and a fear sets in that when we step out of the house to go to the market or for an evening outing, anything can happen. When we see the police barricades on the road and a bunch of similar colored vehicles parked on the side and police officers checking the papers, we know that Intelligence has sounded an alert.

Cities that have witnessed serial bomb blasts and terrorist activity in India turn into high security zones during Independence Day and major festive holidays and after 8 years, one is immune to the sight of police and army on the streets and the announcements in newspapers and television about staying secure and who to call if one sees a suspicious package. We are always on alert.

After 26/11, I feel more comfortable having my car checked when I go to a Mall or a Hotel. I don’t mind waiting a few minutes while the bonnet and back of my car are checked and even under the chassis. I don’t mind driving at a snail pace through police barricades because it means that there has been an intelligence alert and someone is doing their job to keep me safe and alive.

But when one gets news of a terrorist attack even if it is thousands of miles away in another country, the memories that we push to the back of our minds to enable us to live in an Ordinary World resurface.


Ordinary Days that turned Nightmares

Delhi is no stranger to terrorist activities. I still recall the attack on the Indian Parliament in on 13 December 2001 and the sense of indignation that the symbol of democracy and sovereignty of India had been attacked. I saluted the people who died trying to protect the building and the country’s elected representatives in Parliament.

We demonstrated and showed determination to live normal lives.

I remember the 2005 Delhi serial bomb blasts and shudder when I recall that we were watching a comedy play at a famous venue just a few short kilometers away from one of blast locations which incidentally was my favorite shopping place way back in the mid-80s and a well-known Delhi haunt which was busy with shoppers because Diwali was around the corner. Our first inkling that something was amiss was when we were driving home and saw the lots of policemen on the streets. Imagine our horror when we reached home and saw the news.

I remember the serial blasts in Delhi in on 13 September 2008 and then again 2 weeks later. That evening we had 2 important art show engagements in 2 different parts of the city. About an hour before we were supposed to leave the house, my back started hurting and I had to lie down. I couldn’t move. I told my mother to take a cab and attend both functions but she refused because her heart told her that she needed to be with me and instead, after settling me on the sofa, she went to the market to quickly pick up the clothes she had give to the dry-cleaners.

I turned on the television and the news made me go cold. Serial bomb blasts had taken place and 2 of the locations were near to the venues where we had to go. I called my mother on the mobile and told her to come home immediately. By the time she got back, another 2 blasts had taken place and Delhi was on high alert as were other major cities.

The strange thing is that once the blasts were over, my back returned to normal. My mother considers it Divine Intervention to make sure that we didn’t go out that evening. I think she may be right.

One of my friends told me how her brother had a morning client meeting at one of the Twin Towers on the fateful day that history remembers as 9/11 which was suddenly cancelled minutes before he was supposed to leave for the meeting and he escaped a horrific death.

I remember the night of 26/11. As is our habit, we put on the television to check the news and there was nothing exciting going on and we went to bed. We awoke the next morning to find 3 days of terrorism had been unleashed on Mumbai. One of the victims was killed in her hotel room at the famous Taj Mahal Palace Hotel by the terrorists and was known to my parents. It tore at the core of our heart.

Each of the major cities in India has witnessed serial bomb blasts in the last 2 decades and it doesn’t matter which city is attacked. It cuts to the core of one’s Soul because the heart feels pain.

Friday, 13th November 2015 was also an ordinary evening. As ordinary as the night of 26/11 or the morning of 9/11 before history changing events unfolded.

The week had been one of festivities starting with Dhanteras on Monday and Diwali on Wednesday. In fact the 13th was another Hindu festival – Bhai Dooj. An uneventful day and an uneventful evening while I worked on my new Kindle book on Wakeup Calls, determined to complete it over the weekend. I also engaged in a bit of banter on Facebook between friends and in the Groups that I participate.

I still remember chatting with my friend Roslyn about some more comments that I needed to respond to at my guest blog post on her website that week. We joked about Jason from the movie Friday the 13th. Shortly afterwards, I went offline and to bed. I woke to the frightening news the next day.

The rest is history as news channels and the internet covered the incident in Paris the night before. Such was the power of the event that many people did not realize of a similar attack in Lebanon the day before.


Where do we go from here?

Frankly speaking, I have no idea but I believe in the power of prayers and the Love of the Divine.


Quote on power of prayer


The politicians and heads of States will do what is required with military intervention. There will be bloodshed and fighting in the fight against terrorism.

The families who have lost their loved ones will grieve and the world will join in solidarity with posts on social media and vigils and then return to their lives leaving these families to cope with their loss as they rebuild their lives which will never be the same again. If they are lucky, they will get grief counseling and support to move on.

Media will share stories until it is yesterday’s stale bread and move on to the next happening event.

We will forget until we are reminded again.

What I do know is that this is time to remember that the human spirit is resilient.

Some of may decide that prayer and forgiveness are the best way to cope with the incident.

Others may choose to defy terrorism by stepping out and going about their work every day. They will be alert but they will not allow heinous acts to make them cower with fear.

This is what the people of Mumbai, the commercial capital of India did in 1993 when a series of 13 bomb explosions on Friday, 12 March 1993 shook the city to its core starting with the first blast at the Mumbai Stock Exchange.

The coordinated attacks were the most destructive bomb explosions in Indian history and the first of its kind serial-bomb-blasts across the world. There were 357 fatalities and 717 injuries.

What I remember with pride is that the people of Mumbai showed up the next day going to work and while there was much rebuilding of the city required and care for the injured and helping the innocent people who had lost members of their families, the spirit of Resilience showed.

There was no Facebook or Twitter in those days so there was no coloring the profile picture with the colors of the Indian flag or sharing breaking news with friends and followers although media carried the stories and nations condemned this abominable act. It would be years before the masterminds were brought back to India and punished under the Indian legal system giving closure to those who had lost loved ones in the blasts.

People used telephones to contact each other and share the word that all was well.

In the new Millennium, we hold candlelight vigils near India Gate and condemn what has happened. We use the power of social media to protest against the abuse of our human right to live in peace.

We remember we are a secular country and that terrorists who kill people in the name of God don’t look at the faith of the innocent person. For them it is a numbers game.

And the best way forward is to show up every day, even when we are scared and frightened because true humanity wins the numbers game any day.

That is what we do when hit with serial bomb blasts in India and what Parisians will do once they come out of their 3 day national mourning.

And the world will join us in our vigil.  We need to keep the spirit of Resilience alive so that the tomorrows will be more peaceful than the today that has shaken us.


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24 Responses to “Awaken Humankind- calling out to the Spirit of Resilience”

  1. I marvel at your ability to write so beautifully about such a painful topic. I find when terror hits, be it in NY, elsewhere in the United States or anywhere else, I become speechless. I can’t find words to express the turmoil of feels. Sometimes I refrain from participating for a day or so in social media because the posts seem so trivial. But in truth, I do get back to my life, which includes day to day tasks & survival.
    I feel honored to have made you my friend, you brilliant woman with a wonderful perspective.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      I am honored to count you among my friends, Roslyn. The truth is that the following morning, I was dumbstruck too and glued to the television box. Then I realized that the best way to cope was to get busy with some engrossing work and pray for those whose lives had been changed forever by the untimely deaths of their loved ones.

  2. Very touching post, Vatsala and as you remind us, none of us are immune to the dark side of humanity. Humans by nature are good and yet these horrific acts that seem to be happening ever more frequently these days, raise our awareness, joining us together for a brief moment in time to show how connected and resilient we are as a species. As someone who sees the world through rose-coloured glasses and envisions a world where Love and Peace reign, I am heavy of heart when I hear about such a blatant lack of both of these values when man strikes down another man. There seems to be no respect for human life, but then look at how man is the same to animals. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us, as often we only remember the “event” of the moment and yet reading this, I see how those who have experienced horrific acts, carry them with them forever into the future.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Mission accomplished, Beverley! In today’s fast moving world, media highlights ‘happening’ events and then moves on to the next big breaking news. It is also human nature to offer sympathy and then move on with their lives while those who are affected have to cope on their own after the spotlight disappears.

      Showing solidarity needs to be taken beyond the first candle vigil.

  3. Gisele says:

    Your post was beautifully written and I was telling Joe yesterday that is just seems so surreal that the world has come to a place where violence like this is part of our daily lives. I don’t ever discuss political or religion in a public forum, so what I’d like to share is that it’s comforting that so many citizens and levels of government are coming together in a united front against those that wish to do us harm.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Thanks Gisele. Unity between the citizens of the world and a collective action at government level is the need of the hour to demonstrate the spirit of Resilience.

  4. Deb Nelson says:

    What a beautiful post, Vatsala. It is amazing the memories that flooded your thoughts and you then were able to share with us. How quickly the actions of this past week transported you, and many others, back years to similar experiences. And while technology allows us to communicate more quickly, we all have the same need to connect, share, and heal.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      You said it, Deb. So true. We push these incidents to the back of our minds so that we can function on a daily basis but one new incident and the memories come flooding back into the conscious mind.

  5. Tamuria says:

    Vatsala, you really are a light in the darkness, encouraging strength and determination even as your heart is breaking. Hubby came out and told me when the news came on TV. I think he was a bit amazed I didn’t go and watch with him. I can’t stand to see the ugliness of what we are capable of doing to each other and I know, in this day and age, the news was inescapable regardless of whether or not I watched it on TV. Most people here accept it’s only a matter of time before we are hit in Australia and when it happens elsewhere it just brings that thought to the fore, but to give in to the fear is to play into the terrorists’ hands. The challenge is to keep love in your heart and not hate entire groups because of a few madmen.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      You’ve nailed it when you wrote ‘to give in to the fear is to play into the terrorists’ hands’ which is exactly the game plan of those who wish to instill fear in the larger population. The saddest part is that there will be a backlash on a larger group which does not identify itself with the minority and I have seen the protests on social media where they are distancing themselves from the extremists and trying to raise awareness that the faith shown by the terrorists is not a true interpretation of the teachings of the Holy Quran.

  6. Ian Campbell says:

    We are all exposed at moments like these, our darkest fears of what may happen in the future bubble to the forefront when our sensibilities are awakened by yet another terrorist act.

    There does not seem to be any rhyme or reason for the senseless acts of waging war on innocents in the name of an extremist interpretation of their religion except for a numbers game to try and shock people into living in fear. This is not what religion was created for. This is against everything that I, or anyone I know, has ever been brought up to believe.

    The fact that anyone can calmly and purposefully commit these acts is beyond my comprehension. I do not think it will get better in our lifetime, but I do hope that our children and their children can find a way to live in peace and be free of fear.

    Thank you for sharing your story at this time Vatsala, I had not known anyone who had been directly impacted in such a way before and it is encouraging to hear that human nature can overcome, at least to some degree, the effects of such acts.

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Thanks Ian. I join you in hoping that the future generations can live without fear and in peace.

      Religion is supposed to be a way of life and Faith in the Almighty is a key essence to it. So any war waged in the name of a religion which puts fellow human beings in danger or is meant to frighten them is not a true reflection of the said Religion or of Faith. One lives in hope of better tomorrows and the best way is to maintain Resilience and keep moving forward.

  7. Such an inspirational post Vatsala, thank you for sharing 🙂 I agree with you about all of the “terror” and “bad things” that are happening in the world today, that we need to keep the spirit of resilience alive so that the world around us can find peace.

    I choose not to watch negative tv or have in in my social media newsfeed, just makes me feel more calmer that way 🙂

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Thanks Joan. Keeping off the news channels and unfollowing negative updates on social media is a tip that I had read some time ago on a metaphysical blog and can confirm that it works to keep our vibrations higher and our mind calmer. We do check the news in the evening and by chance the then story had not broken. Imagine if it had? It would have affected us even more strongly because who will go to bed knowing that there is an attack in progress on mankind?

  8. Liz Benoit Cozby says:

    You and I had the same thought; you wrote so much more eloquently than I, but then, I think you had more that you needed to share, and I am grateful to know the beautiful show of love and strength from your past. I agree: our love trumps the hate. Darkness still has to hide when light appears. Go shine some light on everyone, Cupcake, and have a great week! 🙂

    • Karmic Ally says:

      I loved your post too, Liz. We both wrote from the heart. You are right, watching Paris in pain did bring up a lot of old memories that needed to be shared to ease my pain.

  9. Vatsala, just like many others who commented before me, I try to stay away from negative events as they bring me down.

    That being said, it’s important to not ignore such events though. I completely agree with you that we should continue to believe in “the good” in the world and people and go on with our lives by focusing on the positive, always!

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Staying positive means we believe in what can be good in the world and not letting those who wish to make it a scary place win, Delia. When the time is right, the citizens of the world do make a difference in their own simple way.

  10. Lisa says:

    Vatsala your writing has just really touched me, hearing about your back hurting, which saved your life just gives me chills. Your writing is so important and heartfelt, thank you for sharing

    • Karmic Ally says:

      You can imagine the heebie jeebies I got later when we saw the news and my back went back to normal, Lisa. It was truly as if a Divine Power had intervened because I can be stubborn and determined at times. I remember something similar happened way back in the mid-90s when my boss’s wife and son were supposed to go for a group tour to Russia and there was a minimum requirement of 12 people for the tour. At the last moment the son decided he did not want to go and would not relent and because the wife and son were not going, the entire trip got cancelled. The plane that they were supposed to have gone on crashed and the son, who until then was in everyone’s bad books ended up saving 12 lives. These things do happen. We need to trust our intuition.

  11. Very inspirational post. In the midst of all the terrorist attacks that are going on in the world prayer, love and forgiveness will get us through it all. Despite all the terrorist attacks taking place we must not live in fear!

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Giving in to fear will mean that the perpetrators of the heinous act of terrorism have won. Living in peace, safety and harmony is non-negotiable, Sharise.

  12. Very inspirational post. In the midst of all the terrorist attacks that are going on in the world prayer, love and forgiveness will get us through it all.

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