Monday, February 8, 2010

A February Saturday in 1998

Feb 14, 1998

Thank God, it was a Saturday. That meant my mom had to work only half-a-day and therefore left office before 3pm on that fateful day. It was 12 years back – 1998. It was when people came to know Coimbatore as the ‘Bomb Blast’ city than as an industrial city. At first, when we heard the news of a bomb blast within the city, I was scared – Amma hadn’t returned home after office and there she did not carry a cell phone in those days and she was practically not reachable. After what seemed an eternity, she reached home. After that, we were kept updated by friends and colleagues (of my parents’) about the various bomb blasts and the riots. It all sounded so unreal – there was no way so many people could have died, there was no way anyone could have planted bombs in the Govt. Hospital (no one was THAT insensitive), there was no way people could set fire to shops in Town Hall and loot stuff from burning shops, and there was absolutely no way there was a 3kg RDX bomb right in Amma’s office building (that was diffused later). I was 12 years old. I thought the world was full of nice people. And villains who murdered people existed only in movies (this was when I was ‘innocent’ as I claimed in my previous post). All the same, I was excited too, because schools declared holiday until a car bomb was diffused and that took around 4days.

The fact was that over a hundred people died (although the official figures claim that it was only one-third of it), and so many were injured and the incident changed the image of the city in a flash – suddenly, people were more unwilling to come and work in Coimbatore (even though it is a beautiful city with a great climate and awesome water), Real Estate prices hit rock bottom (of course, I didn’t realize it then), and business slumped and it took half a decade for it to come back to normal. And for the first time in my life, I felt unsafe. I felt afraid to go out; little did I know that such attacks would become a way of life in the years to come!

I think that is enough and more reason why, as a Coimbatorean, I won’t celebrate Valentines’ day – the day that made my city weep and bleed. To me it is a day of mourning. Celebrating is the last thing that I would do on February 14th.


  1. CBE took a beating in its image tat day...for sure. Such a nice place it is. But, that in a way showed the lack of preparedness to avoid or handle such a crisis(be it police, politicians, or administrators).

  2. @Chan
    Yeah, when it comes to serial bomb blasts, CBE is like a pioneer!!! ;-)
    No one predicted it...

  3. Yaa, to me it is the first image of terror in INDIA with bomb blasts (afaik).

    btw - Valentines' day celebrate pannaadhadhukku adhu mattum thaan reasonaa ?? ;))))

  4. @Satish
    Vera enna reason irukka mudiyum-nu neenga nenaikareenga boss?

  5. @Sandhya,@Sats,Neenga rendu perum edhuvanalum thaniya pesi theethukanga..illana unnecessary naan damage avaen. :-P

  6. @chan
    Chee chee, ungala poi damage pannuvoma boss? :-)

  7. Pannanum nu nenachaa pannalaame Sandy :) Avana yen vittu vekkanum. Paya pulla oru "Turpentine" day kooda kondaadala innum ;)) apporam thaane valentine day kondaadaradhu ;))

  8. @Satish
    Ha ha ha... Chan's image - total damage!!! I likey very much :-D

  9. HEllo I worked in sabal's x office for sometime ;) yeah so when i was in orkut, i just stumbled across your profile and your blog. Since Then i never forget to read it :) Its really nice :) keep writing :)

  10. Ada paavigala....rendu perum kootu kalavaningalaa???

  11. @DJ
    Thank you for visiting. Glad that you enjoy reading this! :-)

    Ohhh kadasila purinjudutha? He he...

  12. that is really very thoughtful of you and i understand what you feel like about the bomb blasts as i had myself experienced it when taj was attacked.

  13. Yeah... thoughtful post... Even my Mom was hurriedly picked up from her office.. Emotional and it was one of the first strikes of terror.. Ever since, police protection in the city has visibly increased and no such repeat of history has happened.

  14. I was in a feeling that the Coimbatore blasts took place only recently. So its already 12 yrs now. Irundaalum Coimbatore la blasts nadandadukkaaga neenga Valentines Day Celebrate pannaamal yen irukkanum? Life has to go on whatever happens. By the way your blog is superb. The language you use is Great yet understandeable to me. Infact, I'm not that Great in Blogging. Kovai ennoda favourite cities la onnanu sollalaam. I frequently visit Coimbatore.

  15. @Pooja
    Why I don't celebrate my anniversary is because it is on 26/11. What more can I say?

    Yes, we can't be fooled repeatedly, can we? :-)

    Yes, it has been 12yrs already. But it is still fresh in my mind coz of mom's fortunate escape.
    And thank u for ur comments abt my blog. Keep visiting!

  16. Yeah thats right, but we have seen repeated serial blasts in Bombay and like cities.. Maybe the strategic importance of Coimbatore has reduced.. All is for the good though..

    P.S. Ellam kali kaalam :P

  17. sad tht it had to happen...

    Ive jus been aquainted wid the city during the past few months, let me tell u its more busy than it has ever been (i mean commerce & business)..everytime i visit the city, the good hotels r booked, flights r full n trains no chance...somehow managed a train tickt last night...

    Its going to be on the world map coming june when the World Thamizh Maanadu is scheduled to happen (we r trying to complete LeMeridien by then)...

    I really dont think anyone can stop the growth of this city!

  18. @Celebrate- Yeah must see the new buses rolling. City is growing by the day. Taj is also coming up. Brookefields mall, another 5 star hotel on Avinashi road, TCS, much awaited Tidal Park and what not... the path for the future is already laid...

  19. @ Sriram
    the one is Avinashi road is Le meridien which we are working on..thers also Sabari Inn coming up nest to it..the sad thing is all the paddy fields would be transformed to concrete jungles which would further deteriorate the micro climate of coimbatore..


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