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Nothing has changed

December 03, 2008

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Has anything changed in Mumbai since the terror attacks? I think nothing has.

After the recent terror attacks, around 11pm I was travelling by train. When at Mankhurd station (in Mumbai's eastern suburbs), I saw a bag hanging from a seat. It looked abandoned.

So I asked a guy near the door if it belonged to him, because he was the only one without a bag on him. He said no and put his head out to enjoy the breeze. Then I started asking people who were sitting, all answered in the negative.

As the bag was very dusty it looked all the more suspicious. I picked up the bag, and for the last time asked, 'Whose bag is this?' Suddenly one guy who was standing at the other door came forward very unapologetically and claimed that it was his.

I smiled at him and said, Boss, I fear for my life, that's why I bothered to ask. He had the cheek to retort that 'if you feared then you shouldn't have touched it'. Yes, many may argue that he was right. I shouldn't have picked it up.

I told him I picked it up to throw it out into the sea. By now, our train was over the Vashi creek. He kept quite.

Then expert comments started flowing in. One said, 'He should have learnt his lesson after having seen what's happening around'. Another said, 'Saala, No civic sense'. But yes, no one had bothered to check whose bag it was.

This morning I opened the newspaper to read about a man who walked through the security at CST with his licensed revolver. What was he trying to achieve? I think he was just trying to show off to his neighbours or friends or even his enemies that he possessed a revolver. And the media is always there to help.

Trust me, if this same man had been frisked by the security, he would have passed comments at the officer, 'Kya main chor nazar aata hoon? Aap log sirf shareef logon ko tang karte hain (do I look like a thief? You only harass decent people).' He wouldn't appreciate the fact that the security person was alert. He wouldn't compliment him; forget informing the same media who was there to click his photograph with his gun.

I have seen many people do that. They would taunt the security. People have a smirk on their faces if you check under your seat or inquire about unattended luggage.

I think we should a little responsible ourselves. At least we shouldn't leave our baggage unattended. Don't always point at security lapses. Be a little alert and I think it's not asking for too much. If you can't do even that, at least don't laugh at others who are responsible.

Reuben NV is a designer with

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