By Kiran Manral | posted Nov 20th 2015 at 1:44PM
“Will the Paris terrorists come to Mumbai?” he asked. “Will they come to my school?” He’d asked a similar question before, many years ago, when gunmen came to our city from the sea, in a dinghy and unleashed a spree of terror that left many dead, many wounded and a city shell-shocked with the realisation of its complete vulnerability when confronted with terror. He was much younger then, and I’d explained to him then, in much simpler terms, that while there was always a possibility there could be an attack anywhere, anytime, we would do all we could to protect him and the other children in his school. It wasn’t accurate, but it was, I like to think, reassuring. And at that moment, the only thing a child does want is not an explanation of the politics behind terror, but the simple reassurance that the adults in charge of him or her will do the best they can to protect them.
He was much older when the seven gunmen stormed the school in Peshawar last year, killing 132 children, of a total of 141 people they killed. He was old enough to know now that there is good in this world, and there is inexplicable evil that co-exists. “Will they come to my school?” he asked again, “Will they come to my building? Will they come to the mall?” I comforted him. “Anything could happen at anytime. A car could hit us while crossing a street. A plane we are in could crash. But that is life. You must be prepared for every situation. But you have us, you have security guards in the mall, and security guards at school and security guards in the building. And there’s us. Your father and me. We will keep you safe.”
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