It’s been a year now. But the horrors of that fateful night of 26th November haunt us still. They manifest themselves in the form of the stigmas and the feeling of fear and guilt in the common man which is exemplified in the following account.
Here comes the one to Dadar. It’s vacant. Through the train I try to keep my eyes on the fair boy dressed in a gray suit on the next platform. As the local is about to stop he starts towards the ticket counter. I look at the train and then back at the position. There is a black bag there sans the boy. The shrieking breaks of the local calls all commuters. I start moving towards the second class compartment with my eyes unmoved. I then turn around to look at the ticket counter. Not there. The bag is still there. I can’t locate him. Still walking, I glance at the exit and the PCO. He isn’t there. My eyes panic and my brain raises an alarm and orders me to do the same. But my body does not react as that of a dog trained for 15 years to do the same thing. I send in statements of “oh! Its nothing”, “keep walking and board the local”, “someone may have forgotten it”. I increase my speed after a prolonged blink coupled with an exaggerated sigh. Three steps and a jump. I am in the bogie. I say an underplayed hello to the known faces. And try to get a glimpse of the bag. I can’t, too many people coming in from that gate. The train leaves the station. That boy looked like my officer Bilal Ahmed. Was fair. Wore black. He did not have a mustache. Just the beard. He was looking a bit tensed too. What if the bag had a bomb? What if the boy was a terrorist? Should have I done something? Yes. I should have. Oh no! I feel like getting off the train. The train halts. This is my station. I get off with the rush, and the mechanical feet start doing their work. I reach my office. Put my tiffin under the side table next to the sofa in the visitors’ area and take my cushioned chair outside without wishing anyone. I look in disgust at my Tavor 21. I have not used the rifle ever. I do not know how it is done. ‘It’ – the thing I am paid for. The cushion pinches me today. The rifle points at me. And then comes our manager Mr. Bilal Ahmed along with the same fair boy in the gray suit and the black bag. He is his brother Jamal. Sahib had told me that he would join the bank soon. I look at him and surprisingly I am not surprised. Because the fact remains- Had it been the evening of 26 /11 and not today-had it been Kasab and not JamaI- I would have done nothing.