Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Just another day in a terror stricken city

Today mording I started for work on time. I got out of the house and walked up to the bus stop. I board my office bus from the BEST bus stop on the Western Express Highway. There is a cluster of three bus stops adjacent to each other. New bus shelters with seats have been build few months ago.

When I reached my bus stop, couple of people were sitting inside. On getting near the stop, I saw an unattended plastic bag kept on the seat. With bomb blasts happening every other day in India you can't help but be wary of such unattended bags. I went near the bag and inspected it closely without touching it. It contained some old cloths.

I concluded that there is nothing dangerous. But I did not feel like moving the bag, or touching it. Normally I would have taken a seat to wait for the bus, but now I quickly moved away from the stop and stood on the road. Then I wondered that if there is nothing suspicious in the bag why I stepped away from the stop. Realising that it was an over reaction I moved closer to the stop and stood there.

Few other people arrived at the stop and took the empty seats. They seemed to ignore the unattended bag.

In a moment a police van with six to seven men drove slowly past the bus stop. They seemed to be looking out for something. As they drove past the stop I thought it must be a routine patrol. I had never seen a patrol van in the morning hours.

It occured to me that I could have stopped them and pointed out the unattended bag. Then my logical mind took over and reminded me of the conclusion that it was unlikely to be a bomb. Anyway the moment had passed and the cops were gone. But when I turned, I saw the police van parked few yards away.

After wondering why the police van stopped there, I turned away to look out for my bus. In few moments I was thinking that maybe some one could walk up to the cops and tell them about the bag. Thankfully logic prevailed.

When I casually looked towards the police van again, three cops had already got out of the vehicle and were walking towards the bus stop. Now that got my attention. In a minute they were at my stop and were looking under the seats. Since people were seated it would have been difficult to notice the unattended bag. They moved on to the adjacent bus stop few yards away.

On seeing the cops the people who were seated in the bus stop seemed to get uncomfortable. A couple of them got up. I decided that it is time to take action and walked up to the cops. The cops meanwhile had checked the other stop and started walking back. I walked up to the first one and told him that there is an unattended bag there and pointed towards it. He said that they had come to check that only. Now everyone got out of the bus stop.

I walked back with the cops and saw that there were actually two bags there. The bag that I had inspected had old cloths and the other one had food in it. The cops concluded that some begger must have left the bags there. On occasions I have seen some vagabonds sleeping in the bus stop. The cops picked up the bags and threw it away.

I saw my bus approaching at a distance and got ready to board.

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