By now I am ready for some twitter action when crisis happens. Especially if it is in Mumbai then the crisis is very much home! There are lot of different aspects of how Twitter helps in these situations,

Action
It allows laymen like me to actually be some part of the event. Its really difficult to sit in your house wanting to help. Not knowing what is happening with people out there, someone might be right outside your house needing help but you won’t know! I still won’t know it if he/she does not tweet about it with the right hash tag but at least I know something. So just simply retweeting a call for help or offered help is an action on my part! Whether someone takes my offer or no, I feel better just knowing my number is out there for anyone who might be in trouble in my area.

Listen
These events – even when everyone I directly know are all safe, are shocking. Just reading tweets from other concerned and shocked people gives a sense of solidarity. Reading tweets about people who are somewhere outside trying to get home gives a touch of reality to our panic, which is much better than just imagining the worst.

Yesterday the prominent hash tag used was #mumbaiblasts and later there were two lists created #here2help and #needhelp for apparent reasons. Then we could match the right needs to the offering. A spreadsheet and blog were created with many of our numbers and where we can give help. Anyone needing help could just check it and call the right person. Sadly some medical student contacted me but I wasn’t sure it was a genuine sms since he did not give me any credentials, which institute the person was associated to etc.. so I didn’t help much there. Other than that I got couple of random smses against Pakistan, one ‘kudos for contribution’ and two media calls for an interview. Why could they not have integrated some twitter stuff during the crisis? That could actually have helped the situation if done properly! I sometimes feel tired that our media is so useless. That is however a blog for another time.

What can I say the event was very shocking and I am glad that today most of Churchgate was empty which means many people stayed at home. Lot of people think well of Mumbai’s ‘never say die’ or ‘I will go to work no matter what’ spirit. I think its because of two reasons,

1. Taking these events as part of their life – “amongst my everyday routine local train panic where daily people are dying, the random water logging and flooding, the long traffic jams today there was some additional! A bombing with a few casualties… Doesn’t mean I don’t go to my office”

2. Many folk are not sensitive to the situation because none of their loved ones are affected.

So once again the familiar sensation of uncertainty. What I realise is that our choices in this situation is limited and the best option which we have is to respond to these situations as humanely as possible. Out of compassion, intelligence and wisdom (whatever little of it I may have).