I’m at work today, on Thanksgiving, surrounded by news that projects mankind in the worst sort of way — war, murder, rape. But I am also heartened by the best of humanity.
I was especially reminded of that as I wrote a CNN story about a Holocaust survivor who met his Polish Catholic rescuer for the first time since the war ended. The survivor told me how grateful he was to the family who hid hid from the Nazis. Because of them, he was able to continue his family.
I am not with my family today but I am thinking of them. Some are still here in this world; others, including my mother and father, have passed away. They remain in my heart and fill it with love.
I am thinking today of two dear friends who each lost a parent this year, Valerie Boyd and Jan Winburn. I know this holiday season will be especially tough for them. But I know their mother and father’s spirit will warm their gatherings.
I looked through an old album last night and found this photograph of my father’s family. It was taken at my grandfather’s house, in the backyard, in Kolkata in 1970. I’m sitting in the front row, my parents, brother, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and great aunt around me.
I wish we could all be together today. I am thankful for each and every one of them being a part of my life.
A year ago, I was making my way to Mexico City, dreaming of the serene canals of Xochimilco and the burst of a hot tamale in my mouth.
By my heart was heavy.
In my homeland, Mumbai was under siege, attacked by gunmen in hotels, the main train station, a popular restaurant and a Jewish cultural center. More than 160 people perished on that day that came to be known as “26/11.”
I watched the flames engulf the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel, a majestic landmark in India’s largest city. The stairwell there is mesmerizing. British Raj architecture at its finest.
On my last visit to Mumbai, I had stayed at the Oberoi-Trident in a room that offered a view of Marine Drive and the waves of the Arabian Sea.
Both hotels were scenes of tragedy a year ago.
Mumbaikers are like New Yorkers. They never stop in a city that hardly sleeps.
But they did stop on Thursday. Just as they had a year ago. Except then, it was forced upon them. Today, they chose to pause — and remember.
Fallen citizens and local heroes. And what it’s like to survive.
In the CNN newsroom, I sat quietly in a corner to write about the anniversary. Tragedy is always difficult to convey. It’s that much harder when it becomes personal.
And with each bite of turkey, give thanks for all we have.