The Mumbai terror attack has probably touched and come close to people everywhere. In this global village, no-one is that distant – and in a busy, vibrant commercial centre like Mumbai there are bound to be numerous connections – some to us here in Hornsey & Wood Green as elsewhere.
For me professionally Mumbai came close on Thursday when a constituent – whose son was injured in the raids there – couldn’t get a visa from the Indian High Commission despite trying all the night and day before.
I rang the Foreign Office and one of my assistants (extremely able and relentless) persevered until we had the right people to phone him and help him. As far as I am aware he got the visa that day and has gone.
I cannot imagine how terrible it must be to have someone you love there and be desperate to get to them – and then try and deal with the bureaucracy. At least it made me feel I was doing something – as opposed to just watching – so am lucky in that regards.
And personally it came a little close too. I went to the hairdresser on Saturday – and the same woman is there for the appointment before me as usual. She told me she had been staying at the Taj when the terrorists struck – but luckily had gone out to dinner. She never went back. Her room was on fire and she had to just leave everything and fly home. How lucky she was. But that’s it isn’t it – the serendipity of timing.