Fear to tread: Should the travel advisory for every place on earth be ‘Don’t’? – Times of India (blog)

Only the date line changes. Exactly a week ago, London, Paris, Brussels, Dhaka, Delhi, Islamabad respectfully made way for Barcelona. Mowing down tourists is the new normal despaired the Evening Standard while Londoners sat transfixed to the too- familiar photograph of a bloodied avenue. Las Ramblas, the very metaphor of hedonism, had been bustling with carefree crowds when a van emerged like a bat out of hell driven with a fervour linked to the promise of heaven. The next Monday, a bomb alert evacuated the same stretch.

East and West have met in terror. True, each had had enough of its own, but now its of a common genre. What demons or angels drive 22-year-olds to get behind a wheel and ram coldly into unsuspecting strangers? And how alert can we be when jihad comes via such everyday objects as a van, kitchen knife or the tiffin box bombs of Mumbai and Delhi.

This column swells from my time on the Ramblas, my awe over something as civilised as a 1.2 km thoroughfare dedicated to pedestrians, leaving vehicles to fend for themselves on its margins. My first encounter with this incredible boulevard came at an international AIDS conference in 2002. It was where Indias HIV-afflicted finally found their voice, and through which a flamboyant Shatrughan Sinha swaggered as health minister. So the many stories to be filed kept me away from Las Ramblass tireless blandishments. But my hotel was right on it, and i went to bed with riffs of laughter and the weeping of violins. In the morning when i walked to catch my tube, it lay exhausted from its multiple orgasms.

Two other visits allowed a more touristy appreciation. Of the Ramblass gilded statue men, the segueing of the worlds accents, the flowers, food and baubles, the eccentric Gaudi architecture just off it, and suave Hispanics seducing over La Riojas or returning from a late-late concert, the men in long formal skirts (you read that right).

Now in London, my two always-must-dos are also stained by recent attacks: the Borough market and Westminster bridge. But the crowds still mill undaunted. Its the most effective thumbed-nose to terror. Or so they say.

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Alec Smart said: Triple talaq: right decision, hopefully for the right reason.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author's own.

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Fear to tread: Should the travel advisory for every place on earth be 'Don't'? - Times of India (blog)

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