As I was riding the train to Townhall, there were a thousand thoughts budding in my mind. The impending deadline, code completion, apparisal, job, christmas...etc etc.
It was about 10:30 am when I received the mail from HR informing us that hostages have been taken by a gunman at Lindt cafe, in Martin Place, which is about 4-5 blocks away from my building. Soon all the nearby buildings were locked down, including ours. It was not the fear that was disturbing, but the realization of how fragile human life is and how easily can it be tampered with. All my issues and problems felt so insignificant and small. It was shocking that a beautiful and friendly city like Sydney could become victim to religious or political war.
Till now 5 hostages have escaped. I feel for the families of those who are still trapped in the cafe. I cannot even imagine the pain and distress that they must be going through. Although the news agencies know about negotiations and who the Gunman is, they are not revealing it to public on request by the police.
As the terrifying drama unfolds, there's another heart warming act that is taking twitter by storm - #illridewithyou , where Australians have offered to travel with people wearing religious dress, so that they don't feel uncomfortable.
The maturity and camaraderie of Australians, specially residents of Sydney has touched me deeply. Instead of fighting over religion and lashing back, they are displaying unbelievable compassion and empathy to people.
It fills my heart with pride to be associated with a city like Sydney. I sincerely pray for the release of all the hostages and hope tomorrow is a much brighter day.