Saturday, November 29, 2008


The other day, Mahesh had asked for a back-to-back session of two movies in my company (wonder why he still enjoys it) in lieu of an exchange duty that I had promised a colleague on a Sunday. Actually, Mahesh had been upset that I had said yes to her during weekend-it is his time after all. He demanded compensation. He was right. My very genuine problem is that I cannot say no. When she requested me to take up that duty in her place, I assumed she had a very very genuine reason to request me-and so I said yes without thinking twice. It meant a spoiled Sunday and a day away from Mahesh and kids. But that never happened, she said she would manage to go; my Sunday was saved and hence there were no back-to-back movie sessions.

Over the week, we forgot about it, in the course of long phone talks over what is going on in India; in the course of his efforts to persuade me to watch television; in the course of my dogged ‘no’ to exposing children to the situation for as long as I could help; and we forgot about it in the course of his cajoling that I must keep myself abreast of the current affairs.

Yester night, when the stress levels of the Mumbai shooting reached the zenith, he proposed that we go watch a movie. Why didn’t I say no? I made quick net searches and we decided to go to the PVR. Found that we could get two respectable tickets and reached there at 9:30 p.m. Which movie will we watch? We will see. The movie was slated to start at 10:55 p.m. Result-Two people-two tickets to "Dostana" in Mahesh’s favorite corner of the cinema, a fast emptying mall, an hour to spend in each other's company and perhaps a cup of coffee.


An honest confession-when I was readying myself to move out of the house, subconsciously I was preparing myself for a hostage situation. What if, while I and Mahesh are in the PVR, some terrorists lay siege to it? Consciously, I kept a hairbrush, wore a shawl and sneakers with thick cotton socks. Why, for God’s sake? Mad, wasn’t I? Consciously I wanted Mahesh to wear his warm clothing, he catches colds very easily. Took out an old cell phone, put it on charging mode, and kept it by Rasan’s bedside; just in case she wants to talk to us. Just in case we want to inform her that we are trapped. I wished I could keep a firearm with me. Should I take my red torch too? But the PVR people won’t permit that. But then, those supposed terrorists would have all the ammunition and they won’t wait for the permission of the PVR people. Hmm, I am not as smart as them to be able to smuggle it in. So, the idea was dropped. Kissed the half-asleep Rasan-did I linger a bit longer on her cheek? She wondered what had happened to Mom. She said, “Mmm, you smell like strawberry. Did you just eat one?” I laughed, put another blanket over her favorite pink one, said bye and went out. “Have a nice time, mom.”

Paranoid? I am not. Why this preparation then? When I and Mahesh move out on such nightly jaunts, we lock the house from outside so that no one is disturbed in case we choose to return by 2 a.m. Last night, I put a very small padlock-just for the sake of locking the house. In case, we are trapped inside the mall, I should be able to communicate to mama that they can get someone to break the lock easily. No, I was not paranoid, I was just preparing for an emergency. Downstairs, in the car, I double checked if I still had my cell phone with me, if Mahesh had both his phones with him. If I had a little extra money with me… but what would money do? No idea. Nothing perhaps, it could do nothing.

"Dostana" started at 10:55. Finished at 1:30 A.M. Total value for money. Had good laughs and moments of craziness. Came out of the Mall to a total empty parking lot. Why was I a little afraid?

No, no terrorist could have anything to gain out of taking hostage a solitary car and its two occupants.

We drove around on the deserted roads till 3 a.m.


Anonymous said...

hey mampi,
ur not paranoid...its the state of everyone after the mumbai attacks.. the sense of security that once existed is not there anymore...

but i pray it comes back soon...
i just pray it comes back soon...

Usha Pisharody said...

I actually got this lump in my throat; I mean this is how it is going to be for each person there, in Mumbai, and most places that seem to be target areas, for a while; a sort of fear psychoses of sorts.

But I must applaud you for going out and doing something normal, to at least show that no matte what you feel within, about the way things might turn out, you are willing to say that you will not be not normal.

God Bless.

Indian Home Maker said...

Mampi maybe we will have to learn to live like this!

Terrorism is a part of life almost everywhere now.

Quirky Indian said...

I agree with's really unfortunate, but terrorism is a part of life now. We'll have to learn to live with it.


Quirky Indian

Iya said...

Mampi u are not reacting, but only responding to the reality..yes terrorism is but a harsh reality now..

Rajindarjit said...

What is happening around us has made us so alert that we counter check all stuff and be prepared for the time being security.
To be alert is the need of the hour.
But enjoy the time , specially the present, it is yours.
Nice sharing your fears and fun.

God Bless you!


Anonymous said...

The main thing is that you still went ahead with the movie. That's the main point. Try to live life normally. Be on guard.

If and when such a situation happens, trust that our security forces will rescue us.

Anonymous said...

I loved your account-if only for the simple reason that it was humourous inspite of the gloom all around!You know, very few people have this knack of taking out something funny out of a sad situation.Now I know whom to approach if I am suddenly feeling left out!(lolz) & You are absolutely right about Dostana-it provides full value for your money!
But on a serious note, as everyone said terror HAS become a part of our lives and we have to learn to live with it-more's the pity:(

Ritu said...

Sad state of affairs isnt it, that we feel like this ... insecure in our own country

Balvinder Singh said...

Manpreet, you have proved the famous saying right "hope for the best and be prepared for the worst".

Mampi said...

Leo-I was worried at my own psyche.

Usha-yes, we are not in Mumbai, but my city might be the next target. ANd I can understand the Mumbaikar's situation.

IHM-But we dont want to live like this. Do we?

Quirky Indian-Why not to learn to live without it? Though I was upset and paranoid about safety, I dont want to be like that.

Iya-We must think now in terms of changing this reality.

Mama-Alert? Cautious? Upset? Suspicious? Pata nahi.

Philip-Yes, I trust the security forces to the full, I trust my State Police, my Army and other forces-all except politicians.

Mithe-You are always welcome my dear.


Balvinder-Yes, it has been my motto for a long time, but the insecurity?? It stays on.

PARRY said...

The times we find ourselves in, the definition of being paranoid needs a review.
If only our govt agencies and institutions were a bit extra careful (as you were) so many lives could have been saved.
Seems you have an aptitude of handling humour in ur posts even during these sad times.

zirelda said...

After 9-11 we were like that. Even as I knew nothing would happen here (there's nothing here to draw anything really) there was a tickle in the back of my mind saying "What if?"


I hope your sense of security comes home to you.

my space said...

well all of us are a bit wary now..honestly havent yet picked up the courage to go for a movie or to a mall..have called my friends and told them that in case of emergency my son will come to their house(his school is abt 15 kms from my house)..have given him extra harm in being cautious..but sad na ki apne hi ghar mein sab kuch begana lage???

Pinku said...

Mampi ...if with a commando next to you, you are going to behave like this...then imagine the state others would be in.

Indian women are known for putting a victory tilak on the foreheads of their men going out for battle.

thoughts such as these....hume shobha nahi dete.

Every post in this vein is a minor victory for those terrorists. dont allow them that pleasure please.

D said...

Though life appears normal for all of us in India, it has changed irreversibly post 26/11.

Hip Grandma said...

You are not paranoid.This is the exact situation.We all need to keep our fingers crossed for each other.No one is safe.

roop said...

mampi ... omg i can imagine. :( made me cry. i can't believe all of the country is feeling the same and so is every person sitting out here who is remotely connected to india or even not. we're all hurting. i hope something comes out of this suffering and sacrifice!

love ya mampi! hope to talk to u soon.


not at all..all of us are in such a state..we both just wanted to be with Baby B all the be frank..i even posted twice and deleted in my blog..
sharing the same feelings..

~nm said...

You are in no different state of mind than the rest of us! We all are living in this mode of paranoia!

But then what are we doing to come out of it? And I feel so helpless because I really don't know what can I contribute to removing these elements that cause such paranoia in our minds.

And am glad that you managed to spend some good happy times with hubby :)

Jagjit said...

Oh! You were that scared? I completely understand that fear.

Firearms is a good idea. Government should make it a bit easier for people to get licenses? That would help fight terrorists. But on second thoughts, no. It would create many more pseudo-terrorists on roads.

God help Indians.

Manasa said...

Bravo... If its written in our fate that we should die at this time, then we'll. Fate will drag us to death though we deny.

Sidhusaaheb said...

I remember my mother telling me over and over again that I was to pick up my younger brother (who was about an year old at that time) and escape through the door at the rear to go and hide in some bushes at the rear of the house, while she and my father would try to hold the attackers at bay for a few seconds at the front door, during November 1984, if the anti-Sikh violence reached our door-step.

Fortunately, such a day never dawned.

It is parental instinct, I suppose.


roop said...

the kind of threat of violence SS talks about, i've experienced the same ... and im sure you have too ... but at the hands of Sikh terrorists .... it used to make no sense because we called ourselves Sikh too rite ... but i guess terrorism is terrorism. horrific days. may no one ever live 'em.

Imp's Mom said...

chilling, but realistically true. We have to learn to live with terrorism as it has entered our lives. but we cannot let it get us down.

I don't live in Mumbai, but yet I follow the same precautions... and its scary to me!

Mama - Mia said...

c'est la vie now, is it, mampi?

we went to watch a movie sat night too and no i somehow i didnt panic. i guess i have resigned to my fate. agar kuch hona hai toh hoke rahega! though i understand your sentiments so perfectly well...

glad you got some much needed laughs! you must watch Oye Lucky, Lucky oye. a very good movie! :)



Nidhi said...

i am sure we all feel the same just feels soo unsafe!
btw i watched dostaana too and laughed soo much :-)

Mampi said...

Parry-Yes, did u find the definition of Paranoid then??

Z-Things are getting better, I am cooperating more with security agencies and without grumbling now.

MySpace-absolutely; you remind me that i have not taken any such measures of instructing kids about such emergencies-I didnt have the heart to.

Pinku-I wish some terrorist were reading this. No, I am not allowing them any victory. They already know this, thanks to our brilliant TV Channels who telecast live the movement of our commandos atop the hotels under seige.

D-Yes, but somehow now I feel more faith inside me.

HG-Hope saner times return.

Roop-Hope, hope, hope...

MIP-Hope you all are okay.

NM-Life has that tendency. It bounces back. But the scars remain.

Mampi said...

Jagjit-Yes, I was THAT scared. I am THAT scared for all the people around me, for my dear ones, for those whom I dont know. Yes, you are right, the free availability and licensing will create law and order problem.

Manasa-Yes, you are right too, but then one tries to fight back, doesnt one?

SS-But such trainings leave lifelong scars. Parental and survival are right.

Roop-Amen to your hope, we want a safer world for our kids...

Imp's Mom-Mumbai or elsewhere, we are all targets now. Time to stay awake.

Abha-Yes, being fatalistic helps, but then one tries one's best to take allll the precautions as far as one can.

Nidhi-Somehow, this insecurity enrages me-against those who have the security at our cost.
Yes, we will laugh...

dipali said...

Bloody life in the twenty-first century has done this to all of us, methinks!

Anonymous said...