Sunday, July 27, 2008

Praying for the Bombing to Stop

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

On Friday morning, Pat heard a quick news item on the radio while I was getting ready for work. "There has been a bombing in Bangalore."

I drove to work and looked for Bangalore-based colleagues and friends on our instant messaging system and found some. All of their families and friends were OK. Then I went on an e-mail writing campaign, sending notes with my prayers for their safety to everyone with whom I worked closely while on assignment there for six months last year.

All of them were safe, thank God.

This morning, I woke up to learn that more bombs went off over the weekend, this time in Ahmedabad, where I have a colleague with whom I worked fairly closely for some months. I've written to him. He's due to come to Armonk in a couple of weeks.

During my assignment, Pat and I were so frustrated by how elaborate a process it was to get a cell-phone number. A representative from the cell phone service provider came to our house to ensure that we really lived there. This rendezvous took weeks and weeks to make happen. We were so annoyed...but it was all about Security, to ensure that we were who we claimed we were. Standard practice.

Just about every day that my driver -- same driver, same vehicle -- pulled into the IBM parking lot on Bannerghatta Road, a Security guard checked the trunk and under the car. I can only imagine the Security precautions now.

It's unnerving to be so far away from there now. And I have assignee's guilt, I think, that I'm not living there permanently -- especially when I think of a couple of colleagues, who are still in India, still on assignment.

It's amazing to have so many people about whom I care if they live or die, who live nine and a half hours ahead of me. When I lived in Jerusalem from July, 1985 to July, 1986, there was a bomb at a Hebrew University campus bus stop and I walked by it after it had happened, on my way to a final exam. What if I had walked by it earlier?

And I was in New York City on September 11th, but uptown, at Madison and 57th. What if I had been at the World Financial Center instead? Early that morning, we had met by phone to discuss a potential project for a client based there, and then I drove into Manhattan, just as the first plane crashed into the first tower; I had a shocking view of the building right after it happened, from across the river, before entering the Lincoln Tunnel....Times like this remind me of times like that.

And we keep going and living our lives until our time is up. I'm reminded to be grateful for whatever time I have left.

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