I was sitting in the common room this morning, reading one of the many insightful works of al-Ghazali. It was a quiet time, around 8:20 am, and there wasn’t much activity going on in the hostel building, most of the girls were asleep or already in class. The only sound I could hear was the rhythmic swoosh swoosh of the maids’ brooms on the pavement outside, strangely soothing and far more effective than Britney in getting me to concentrate on the reading. I would read a paragraph and jot down anything useful my sleep-deprived mind could derive from it; and so it went, as I read and jotted, read and jotted, until I was almost at the end of the reading.
All of a sudden, 2 things happened at once. I heard a discernable yet muted sound of a loud crash. Simultaneously, the building shook and the windows in the room rattled momentarily. Had I shut my eyes for even a second, I probably would not have even noticed it. It sounded as if it had happened just behind our building yet when I got up to look outside, nothing seemed any different from the way it had been just a minute ago. I didn’t really know what to make of it. I first thought it might’ve have been a tremor, since those are common in thsi region but a mini-earthquake doesn’t make that sort of sound, its usually silent unless a building collapses, in which case it would’ve been a stronger movement that more people would’ve felt. Subconsciously, the thought that it could have been a bomb blast popped into my head, yet there was nothing to prove that anything of the sort had really happened. Had I just imagined the sound of an explosion? Was I hallucinating when I saw the windows vibrating?
Apparently not. That was 4 hours ago. I just received frantic phone calls from my mom and my brother asking me if I was alright because, guess what? That nagging suspicion at the back of my mind was right! There was yet again another bomb blast in Lahore today. The target was a gov’t office, or a ‘secret agency’ and Geo reports on its website ( http://geo.tv/3-8-2010/60629.htm ), that was functioning out of the residential neighbourhood of Model Town. Yup, the location’s definitely not so secretive anymore, especially since there’s an 8-feet deep crater at the site of the blast, caused by the car that exploded with the 800 kg of C4 explosives it was packed with.
Around 60 people have been injured, and approximately a dozen have died, one of the casualties being a guy in a building down the road from the site whose ears couldn’t handle the decibel-level of the blast. Bummer. It’s strange though. A week ago, my dad was down here for a visit and he marvelled at how efficient and severe the security situation has become in the city; we would literally drive down a road and see a uniformed rifle-bearing officer at every corner. So I do wonder how it is that a car filled to the teeth with 800 kilos of C4 managed to roam about the city as if it’s completely not dubious or alarming at all? But then again, given the frequency of bomb blasts in this city, maybe it’s become a norm by now. I jest…I hope.
I guess the terrorists decided that the short time period they’d given this city between this and the previous blast was long enough for some quiet time and self-reflection. Co-incidentally, they also managed to make this blowup happen on the same day Gossip Girl resumes after its mid-season hiatus. If this doesn’t mean it’ll be an explosive few episodes, I don’t know what will. Way to welcome back the Upper East Siders with a bang, eh?