Lessons from 26/11: Who needs them?

After the horror of 26/11 faded away and lives limped back to normalcy, for us- the common citizens, it just meant a few more security checks everyday. Which I, as a “hypermom” did welcome even when the security men at a shopping mall created a jam by checking the boot of every car.

I had a big haversack containing the kids’ rackets-I got down ready to get that scanned.

No Ma’am, the bags will be checked when you walk in.

But I am not taking that bag-it’ll remain in the car. Who’s going to check that?

That’s Ok Ma’am. It is not our job.

The cars behind me were having a hooting competition.
I drove in and parked.

Another evening….
A few hundred (or was it thousand) people came through the narrow walkway and collected to see the “light and sound” show at Brindavan gardens, waiting for darkness to fall.

In the melee of grand-dads playing with toddlers, couples looking for corners, and hassled parents buying popcorn to placate howling kids…a man huddled with a larger than usual suitcase.

My imagination got the fuel it always seeks. A suitcase?
Are those two lathi wielding guys the only security here?

The man sets the suitcase down and fiddles with his mobile. I keep staring as he sets the suitcase against the steps and walks off.

Paranoid that I am, I whisper to my husband and point out the suitcase. He shrugs. The guy's  probably going off to pee or to click a picture. I keep my eyes on the stranger who is walking further away.

When he does not come back in 5 minutes, I walk down and ask the guys sitting next to the suitcase if they know the owner. Nobody does.

The lathiwala’s reaction: What suitcase? Oh some idiot did the same yesterday also-can you bring the suitcase here?

This is the guy in a khakhi uniform!!!

As I made him walk up to the area-the people had started moving away, but only a little (they may feel unsafe-but they can't look silly). I pointed out the suitcase wallah-who was propped against the far entrance and looking at us.

That guy rushed through the crowds to claim his luggage and clasped it close. There was a quick conversation in Kannada -which from body language and my “swalpa” knowledge of the language translates as:

A: Women ******. Heee, I was just taking photos****

B: Hee. Women********. Don’t leave your luggage around. You are not allowed to bring it here.

A: Hee*******And he sits down next to the suitcase.

I might have been getting all kinds of looks from all around, but years of practice made them immaterial as I kept my attention on the suitcase till the guy finally picked it up and walked off, five minutes before the show started.

The general verdict: Paranoid woman!

Yep. And I’ll do it again because some things will never change.


  1. I do that @ times too Hypermom! But thatz how the situations have made it na! If I find an auto driver who looks like he just does not know anything about the areas, I ask him questions to find out if he is really new to the city and so on. With people who actually have to take care of these things failing hopelessly, this is what happens to I think. Am so glad u took so much care!

  2. Thank God you had the presence of mind to point out the suitcase to the cop.

    Who knows, you might have saved many lives!

  3. Swaram: I wish someone taught that to the folks we trust our safety with! I guess all we can do is insist these people do what they were supposed to.

    Ramit: Yeah-and the "cop" wanted me to "bring that suitcase over"!
    I am not sure that guy had evil intents-a pro might not have been so easy to spot-but the least the cop could have done was to make him carry that away from the crowd and get it checked. But maybe that's expecting too much..

  4. Better be "paranoid" now than sorry later!! or may be we won't get time to be sorry later if we are blown to peices!!

    I am glad that you did what you did!! @#$& the verdict!!

    "Yep. And I’ll do it again because some things will never change." Hugs to you for this one!! :D

    I would do the same! :)

  5. Yes, good to be paranoid. Glad you gotten used to such stared to not bother about them. We need more vigilant citizens like you.

  6. Sakhi: "@#$& the verdict!!" Oh yes!

    We can't rely on the people entrusted with security, or the masses to comply with basic safety rules. We have to rely on our own instincts and do what we can!

    Poonam: I KNOW I get "hyper" and paranoid-some strangers thinking that about me hardly makes a difference.

    When it comes to a choice between being safe and being considered crazy-we know what the choice has to be!


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