India…to go or not go to?

Gateway of India, MumbaiImage by Andy Hay via FlickrWe are supposed to take off for India in a few weeks.  We were very excited as we began to gather information about restaurants, stores, off the beaten track finds, etc.  Needless to say, our excitement has turned to ambivalence.  Should we go or should we not go?

We have all been scouring the Internet daily to learn more about the tragic events in Mumbai.  Hearing from friends and friends of friends with information and stories.  There are a million stories as there was on and after 9/11.  I just look at the pictures and read about the pain in all the hearts of Indians and my mind returns to 9/11.  How can it not?

Everyone has their 9/11 story.  Although we did not lose anybody close to us on 9/11, we knew people who did.  We also live downtown and watched the planes fly into the buildings, literally.  We walked up Sixth Avenue holding hands with our young children while people roamed the streets blood stained and covered with white soot.  Every day for weeks, the air would change with a fog and bad smell depending on which way the wind was blowing.  We did not feel safe with Bush at the helm, as it appears now, we were right in our assessment of his leadership or lack there of.

Although the city was buzzing the next day, as if nothing had happened, you could feel the change.  It was in everyone's face, it was in the body language.  There was an edge of fear but you had to move on.  We live in NYC, we can't just crawl under a rock because then the terrorists have won.  We all needed to return to our daily life with hopes that time heals all wounds.  And it did.

Yet, when another place in the world, that is just living everyday life, gets hit with an act of terrorism, it makes all of us take pause.  It brings back a rush of memories. 

On one hand, I know in my gut that India will probably the safest it has ever been in the next few months.  I know that there will be a slight edge to the country that didn't exist before.  I know that Indians will be thrilled to have tourists come and visit their country after a terrorist rampage.  But, will there be a war between Indian and Pakistan?  Will we feel scared while we are there?  Will we be jumpy?

At the end of the day, it is about the kids.  If it was only me and Fred, I wouldn't hesitate to jump on that plane, as planned, in a few weeks.  I don't want terrorism to rule the way I live my life. But, the kids, who were quite young on 9/11 (5, 8 and 10) shouldn't have to feel fear on their winter vacation.  

If anyone wants to weigh in on this decision…I'm all ears.  We plan on making this decision by tomorrow.

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