I know there are plenty of e-mails making the rounds on this circuit but below is one that I have liked very much as it puts forward an action plan that you and I can adopt in our lives.
Dear Friends, Firstly I would like to thank you all for the love, support, prayers and good wishes extended to me over the last few days. I would like to reply to all you messages one by one but it will be impossible to do in such a short time frame. It was these messages that kept me going for the last few days giving me hope and comfort. As many of you might know from email and newspaper articles my father was trapped in the oberoi hotel for 36 hours. He was eating dinner with his two close friends Anand Bhatt and Pankaj Shah, both of whom have been father figures to me over the last several years. The three of them were trapped along with another fifteen people in the Kandhar restaurant when the terrorist arrived. They were all marched up fifteen or so flights of stairs up to a landing in the fire escape where two terrorists lined them up and opened fire with AK 47s. A bullet grazed my father's neck and he collapsed on the floor with all the bodies piling up on top of him. Some how he and 3 others managed to survive hiding among the dead bodies for the next two days. We lost both Anandbhai and Pankaj Uncle in the shooting. My father is now safe at home with minor wounds, which will heal, but the damage of losing such dear friends and good people continue to haunt us. Somehow with the help of God and all our friends we hope that one day we can reclaim the innocence of life which is now so lost to us. There are several stories I can tell you.... tales of near escape, luck and sheer herosim. I am inspired and touched by the many brave men and women who gave their lives to perform their duty and know that somewhere they are with God. To their families I give my deepest condolences and pray to God that somehow one day we can understand why they fell to such madness. Today I attended the march outside the gateway of India... the press were calling it the gateway of anger and in many ways they are right. I saw the impassioned youth of India frustrated with the ineptness and impotence of our leaders. I saw a spark in their eyes that fills me with a hope that we can change this city and this country. The youth are educated and strong and believe in a better country for us all. Their strength will carry us forward into the next phase of our country. I only wish to ask a few things of everyone that reads this... things that have become clear to me over the last few days. I shall list them down point by point. The following is my action plan for the rest of my life... what I will take away from this experience. 1) Do not preach violence and war without first understanding its true nature. I spent 2 nights hearing the guns and grenades going off from outside the hotel and imagined my father in there. What I felt at that moment I would not wish on any family in the world. We must not let our passions take control of us and become the very same demons that held our city hostage. Our response must be measured educated and precise. Please do not ask for anything more from you leaders. 2) Corruption is the cancer of our society and has now shown how it can cripple us. Politicians are too busy making money to carry out their work. This again starts with you and me. From today I promise never to bribe another government servant. I will go to every businessman I know and ask him to do the same. Please let us collectively rid our nation of this poison. 3) Train yourself mentally and physically to protect yourself and your family. Learn a martial art or basic self-defense. If everyone in these hotels knew how to react to violence maybe we may have overcome this situation sooner. If you do not with to learn to fight learn basic first aid and lifesaving techniques. We are heading to a situation of war soon and these skills will serve us well in the future. 4) Be involved with an NGO/govt org/ prayer group. Connect with your society and help to uplift it with money and time. We now have to be concerned with what goes on outside the doors of our apartments and bungalows. Educate a poor child and he will be an asset in the future not an easy recruit for terrorists and criminals. Reach across communal borders and get to know other religions. It is only after we start this dialogue on the basic level will we be able to be undivided when the terrorists try to divide us. 5) Love and cherish your family and friends... even the ones who you think are weird and different. The sheer number of people who supported our family through this crisis has been amazing... people who I haven't spoken to for years have reached out with love support and prayers. It's only after incidents like these that you realize how petty your day-to-day problems are. The terrorists didn't check whether the people they shot were Hindu, Muslim, rich, poor, ugly, well dressed etc etc.... They just shot.... we should not diffrentiate between people when we share our love and support. If you can make a sad person smile for me you are a hero. 6) Fear nothing except fear itself.... your destiny is written.... if the bullet had been one centimeter off my father would have been dead.... never be scared.... be bold and be brave and when the time comes you will meet your maker with dignity. 7) Stand up for what's right... support those who do ... 8) Smile, dance, sing enjoy the beautiful world that god has given us. Plant a tree and give back to nature. Life is fleeting and if you don't enjoy it what's the point. 9) Confront your guilt and stand up to your fears. Apologize to those you have wronged and forgive yourself for the wrongs you have committed. A few messages I wish to convey - To the terrorists and people who committed this cowardly act I want to thank you for exposing our weakness so now we may become strong, for hurting our pride so that we may be humble, for scaring us to that we can be brave, for angering us so that we can unite. You have served as an alarm clock for a sleeping giant and I hope that one day I can meet you face to face and show you how wicked and weak you hearts are. To the people of Pakistan... I know that you have been victims of terror too and I pray to God that you have the strength and clarity to face the demons that exist in your country. Money and power means nothing without the love of your friends and family and it is now time to stand up and fight for what's decent and right. Its time to stop letting the jihadis and self-serving govt officials fool you. Take control of your country - never forget that we were once one proud nation and the same breed of men split us apart. We are with you in body heart and spirit. To fellow Indians.... never forget where you came from ... we have inspired the world before and the time has come again... never again is a casualty or death acceptable..