Connections of the Heart

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One of my favorite things about Mumbai (and the reason I am living here for longer periods of time) is the connections of the heart that transpire when least expected. Walking along the Colaba causeway on a Friday night, a friend brought me to his favorite bookstore, Search Word. Like many shops and stalls that grace this famous causeway, it was a compact space filled to the brim with whatever you could possibly need and more. The bookstore owner came forth with great openness as they always do, and my friend insisted I share my story of 26/11 and why I am in Mumbai. The bookstore owner put his hand on his heart and gave me a hug when I told him. He then proceed to share at length his own experience of that fateful time when the city of Mumbai was under seige by ten terrorists. His store was located right in the center of all the action and he heard every bullet fired and every hand grenade explosion over the 60 hour rampage. To live through an experience like this kills something inside of a human being. It kills any shred of complacency, any shred of expectation that life will go on the way it always does. It doesn’t. His eyes filled with tears as he recounted his experience. We clasped hands and shared that knowing and very familiar look in the eyes I have shared with many Mumbaikars since I began coming here three years ago. As I checked out with my book, he gave me a copy of Mumbai 26/11 Attacks. When I got home there was another book inside the bag – Only Love is Real- thrown in by my friend as a gift. Yes, love is certainly the only real thing in life. This was the greatest gift from the 26/11 experience – that love never dies. Kill whatever you will, but love lives on forever in our hearts and will keep us believing in the possibility of peace, the possibility that we can live together as one human family, the possibility that we can create a world that works for everyone if we value the sacredness of life in all.

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