Sunday, August 26, 2007

Students' Response to the Hyderabad Bombings

I've had a few people ask me if I was anywhere near the recent bombings in Hyderabad.

No, I wasn't. Thank goodness. I was busy eating roti with chickpeas at the university dhaba.

I was very interested to hear the responses from the students, though. My reaction was that I would wait it out for a few days to see what the fallout seemed to be, but that an isolated incident wouldn't keep me from going into the city; after all, very few things are truly safe and I have just as great a chance of being hit by a car or something as I do of being bombed.

However, the students seemed much more nervous. "Ma'am," they said (all my students call me "ma'am"), "don't go into the city. It has been bombed."

"I know," I said. I assured them that I wasn't planning to go back until a week or so had passed.

They insisted I should never go back again, and that none of them would go into the city either.

The visiting faculty (and the other adults at the guest house in which I'm staying) took a much more cavalier -- and what seemed to me sensible -- approach; yes, it was a horrible event, but it was no doubt isolated, just like last year's train bombings in Bombay. One couldn't live a life in fear of traveling to cities, etc. etc. etc.

I thought again about the reactions from my students. This shook their world much more than it did the adults; here they are, spending their first month away from their families and villages (nearly all of the students are from rural areas), learning that the closest metropolis -- which they may or may not have visited themselves -- has been attacked. Of course they would want to stay away.

Coincidentally, the theatre department has just allowed the students three days' holiday to visit their families, since these students have been working for a month now with not even a Sunday off (yes, theatre departments are alike the world over). It seems a fortuitous time, for them. A good time to go home and reconnect.

My guess, of course, is that the fear will fade from their minds soon enough... but I might be surprised. It was a tragedy, after all; a small one on the world scale but a very large one in the eyes of a first-year university student.

We will see what time brings.


tinkertoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

She was saying that luckily the number of people who were murdered was not very large, not that their lives were any less important.

The rest of your rant makes very little sense to me.

tinkertoon said...

sorry if i mistook some of what you said.. but i guess i am a bit finicky after all...

(I have a surreptitious feeling that i know the blogger behind the anonymous rebuke... guess my commenting is going nowhere afterall... ;)