The Fear Stays
Its a Monday. I just left from office & took a cab. As it appears, there is a lot of traffic today- I don't understand the reason as to why are Mondays always so overly crowded. The roads, the trains, the cab lines- everything is hilariously crowded.
As the cab halts at yet another signal, I check the time & realise its going to take long. I debate whether I should get down & run- to get the usual train; or should I try my luck. Being too tired to run a distance of 3 minutes, I decide I’ll better take the next train.
As I get into the train after walking peacefully to the station, I see to my surprise that it is not really crowded. As I settle down at the Window Seat & take out a book to read- a Nicholas Sparks love story that has engrossed me a lot recently, I hear a lady asking me where will I get down. For a moment I wonder why does she need to know- the train is hardly packed. She asks it also to the lady beside me, after which she settles down on the third seat.
She appears to be those extra friendly & extra talkative people who just have to speak random stuff with random strangers. Soon, she takes out her mobile phone & a battery.
I wonder why is the battery separated from the phone. The lady then speaks something with the woman beside me, telling her that she does not know how to put the battery into the phone. Which surprises me. I mean she surely doesn't look like a woman who wouldn't know how to open a phone & put the battery back in. That too, an old Nokia piece. The lady beside me takes the phone, opens it & puts the battery in. The woman tells her to restart the phone. All this while, I am actually pretty surprised. I mean in this age who does not know all this? & judging by her looks- definitely not people like her. She further asks the lady to dial some number- which of course, doesn't get connected.
Now I feel panicky. I know its strange but yes, for a moment there I feel sudden panic. My mind goes haywire with random thoughts. What if this woman is a wrong person? What if she knows everything but is just acting innocent? What if she is some terrorist? We have all seen in the movies how terrorists blow away things by pressing a phone button. My mind contemplates & then reminds itself of the attacks that recently occurred in Punjab and how Mumbai has been put on an alert.
My mind, now spinning out of control, starts framing things. What if something like this happens? What then? Being overtly sufficient, my brain also recollects all the previous train bombings- the times, the places, the horrendous news & the stories.
The brain- truly imaginative to its character- starts thinking about the hows & ifs & then's. What will happen.. What will happen to me.. How will the police interrogate in the tragedy.. & how soon? Will they catch hold of her? If the police ask me about the lady, how will i describe her.. What will the newspapers publish.. Will they do a story on me with those picky lines like ‘how a girl took a different train than her usual one...’
As my mind continues to spin out of control, the phone woman- that's what I have named her- gets up. As I tilt my head to see her, she gets down at the station & leaves. I let out a sigh of relief.
Now that I am not paranoid, my brain decides to work logically & makes me think of how stupid I was. It was just a lady & it drew me thinking weird things.
But then what do I do? Whatever I have seen in the past & in the recent, it is scary. The way Mumbai has faced terror attacks- so many times- though I never recall it in my sane state, the fear stays. Somewhere at the back of the subconscious mind- the memories- the second degree memories & I call it that because I never lost any loved one there- they scare me. What happened, how & the after effects- both on the survivors as well as the general public haunts me. & at such instances, it surfaces up.
I am sure I am not the only one. We all have this fear deep down, buried inside us which we never show. But its there. It is very much there. The ghastly memories of 7/11 train bombing (11 July, 2006 Mumbai train bombings).... The horrifying memories of 13/7 (13 July, 2011 Mumbai bombings)... The traumatizing memories of 26/11 terrorist attacks (26 November, 2008 Mumbai Terror Attacks) though buried inside, are still fresh. I do not think any Mumbaikar will ever forget them or ever get over the fear.
Mumbai- the city that never sleeps. Mumbai- the city that always runs. Mumbai- the city that gets up & continues to buzz day after day even after being traumatized. The spirit of Mumbai, as it is said.
Yes, the spirit of Mumbai. The spirit to bury our fears deep inside & face the world everyday with belief & faith. The spirit to keep going.
We are not people who do not feel the fear. We have it running inside us everyday- every time we spot an unclaimed bag- Every time we see a suspicious person. But we decide against succumbing to our fears & instead get up & live with the belief that such things wont happen again. But the fear- its always there.
Like it is said, pushing the skeletons inside the wardrobe doesn't make them dissapear- they are still there. & our fears are just like the skeletons. Not visible, but very much there.
Mumbai- we love you.
Mumbaikars- we salute you.
(No intentions to hurt any sentiments by the use of the word "Bombay" in the .gif image.
Images Source: https://www.google.co.in/imghp?hl=en&tab=wi&ei=bXK4VfvUHoaUuASU9KDgAw&ved=0CBIQqi4oAQ)
[Disclaimer: The places and incidents mentioned in the blog (except the incidents mentioned as 26/11, 13/7 & 7/11 and Punjab attacks) bear no resemblance to any person living or dead ; or action or incidence, or any other occurrence. The piece is purely a work of fiction.]