Monday, December 7, 2009

The fear

I have written about 26/11. Read about the terror stories and the tales of average common man turning into something incomprehensible. Things which i saw only in movies being repeated in real life and acts being more heinous, and crimes being more hurtful. Simply said, its not explainable. But i must say; The terrorists, have done one thing right, which is instill fear on a day to day basis. We might not think about it day in and day out. But its there!
Last night, we were at the airport dropping off IL's. It was a direct flight to India, so needless to say, over 85% of the travelers were Indian. While we were sitting with IL's and laughing at V's jokes, a lady late 40's came by. Sat down. She was dressed simply in black pants and black jacket. I smiled at her, she looked back. But that's it. Then in a minute asked us in Hindi if we could watch her luggage while she went to buy tea. Its just chai, we Indian's are tea-addicts. In a second, i said yes. I mean why not!
Instantly SD who was on the other side of the gate, rushed to me, and said: Why did you that? I was confused, did what?. He said- Airport officials make it very clear to not look after anyone's bag. You shouldn't have. Not in this day and age!!
I was dumbfounded. He was right. I should not have. We waited for the lady to come back. 10 minutes, no sight of her. Her luggage was right there, untouched. By now, i was officially worried. I mean who leaves there stuff with perfect strangers and goes for 10 minutes plus. Who in there right mind would volunteer to look after someone's luggage at an airport with strict norms.
Yes, i was anxious. I told SD, if the lady doesn't come in the 15th minute, i am going to the person behind the desk and telling him the story. Even if it might seem unalarming to them. Having seen enough movies, read enough thriller novels and having an active imagination, i had played out several scenarios in my mind. The worry had transformed to anxiety which was transforming to fear with every passing second. SD was calmer, though a bit upset at my carelessness, he volunteered to go and find the lady. She was "at the Starbucks sipping on her tea blissfully unaware. Phew! SD asked her to come back and take care of her own luggage. She stomped her feet back, and I think she was offended, since for the rest of the evening, she darted looks at us. But at that point, i didn’t care.
Then it hit me, Fear is deeply rooted in our minds. I have heard the announcements on airport and train stations: "Don’t leave bags unattended. Report anything suspicious!" For those 15 minutes of waiting, the words on the radio were making perfect sense; they were resonating in my ears.
Recently in my " eights " i mentioned "World Peace". It was by no means written casually. It might seem too general but it is true. Don’t all of us want to live a life without fear, without hatred and without anxiety?
Wouldn't you want to do something for someone without thinking twice? Even if it was a simple thing like watching over their bags!


Lakshmi said...

As we progress as society, new rules are added. The # of rules today is exponentially higher than when we were younger. It does add fear to our mind. I can feel the fear you are are describing, especially when your husband questions it.
I have similar experiences if I spend time thinking. Less pondering is sometimes better.

GNSD said...

Yes, i think we did live a simpler life, a less complicated life! I understand when you say, the lesser thought the better. It keeps mind at ease. Else, paranoia can set in very easily.

Arzan said...

Nice story.. I remember travelling on the local trains in Mumbai after the train blasts and being paranoid one day about a bag that was lying next to me in a first class compartment with no one around me seemingly assuming ownership of the bag. I also remember being afraid to even go near the windows of my own house during the Gulf War when you never knew where the next missile was going to land. And my parents have had their own stories such as during the Mumbai riots when a man would walk on the streets screaming "andhera karo" so that no one stays out or keeps any lights on during the curfew. But we must not forget how far we've come over time. A peek in to any history book will quickly show how far we've come and that should give hope that we can continue walking on the path of progress and a safer world.