Wednesday November 26th - 4:00pm EST
I find myself heading to the Indian Consulate in NY city to collect my approved passport and documents...but it will all probably have been in vain given the current state of Mumbai, India.
All day the city of Mumbai has been under siege by what appears to be an Islamic terrorist group. They have raided multiple five-star hotels in the district of South Mumbai and are actively looking for, shooting, and kidnapping U.S. & U.K. nationals. Grenades have been thrown. Bombs have been detonated. Small arms fire is rampant in the streets and hotels.
The consulate is in a frenzy. People from all various walks of life are flooding both the consulate and the office of the outsourcing company that I've used to process my emergency visa. Families and business people are desperately trying to get visas for flights to aid loved ones in the region.
I'm in a cab heading to the upper east side of Manhattan while listening to the latest NPR news summary with updates on the situation. My iPhone is continuously pinging from a Facebook conversation regarding the incident. I'm getting real-time updates from PRG's Los Angeles office in regards to two of my fellow crew members who are already at our hotel in Mumbai. They're locked in their rooms with gunfire ongoing just outside their windows and fire raging across the street.
The initial reports show that the hotel that we're booked in has come under siege in some way. The reports vary on CNN. One says that the hotel in question is fine and that it's a different hotel that's in turmoil while another report confirms that two grenades have gone off inside with four terrorists running from room to room demanding passports. It's nerve racking enough to think of our two guys enduring this but I can't help but think what this situation would be like if this happened a week from today with all of the extra U.S. & U.K. production personnel inhabiting this hotel.
What happens in a situation like this? Do we move forward with the show? Do we cancel it immediately? Who's truly willing to get on a plane and walk into the city at this point? Are you crazy if you do so? Are you being overly dramatic and not doing your job if you don't? There are a lot of different ways to look at it but the bottom line is that if there's an ongoing coup still transpiring in the hotel that you're meant to stay it then it's probably not the best of ideas to jump on a plane and spin the proverbial wheel-of-chance to make some lights blink and flash.
Prudence demands that I get my passport out of the hands of the consulate immediately. If I end up getting on the plane I'm going to need it. If I don't then I still want it in my possession as opposed to possibly having it caught up in what could easily end up being bureaucratic paperwork chaos by tomorrow morning. After a long wait I finally obtain everything and race out the door. More details come in claiming the safety of the production personnel that are already in Mumbai which is relieving but only slightly given the fact that the situation is still very much in flux.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in the States. It will be interesting to see what it brings.