OURjourney begins from South Mumbai, from the very place it all started Leopold Cafe. It is nearly 5 in the evening, and the bodies are just being taken out from th
e Taj Mahal hotel. In spite of being shut down, the place is abuzz with curious passer bys and journalists. However, the rest of the area is unusually empty.
At Crawford market, although we can’t see anyone, vendors say their business picked up after the drop of the past two days. According to one vendor, “People will forget this incident soon. Things will be back to normal. In fact, even Taj hotel has moved on. Their disposable supplies went from here today.”
The generally packed Mohammed Ali Road, Jijamata Udyan and Haji Ali have fewer people today. Swati Agarwal, a homemaker, has ventured out with her family husband and two children to the zoo. Though angry, she is not afraid of going out and plans to go out tomorrow too (Sunday). But she feels, “If the government had built a strong security system, this wouldn’t have happened.”
However, not many think are as bold as Agarwal. The parking lot of the zoo, which otherwise accommodates around 100 cars on Saturdays, has just four cars. The normally crowded Chowpatty is emptier. After seeing a quiet south Mumbai, it is a relief to see life at Dadar’s Shivaji Park. Senior citizens and youngsters swarm the ground.
In the suburbs, although there is vehicular traffic, the stores seem empty. Pavement shops as well as stores on Linking Road lie vacant. Even hawkers who usually encroach nearly half the road are missing.
The weekend fervour is missing in Dadar, Mahim and Bandra. Theatres and malls have a deserted look.
A moviegoer at the G7 theatres in Bandra says, “I am not afraid but I am upset. The reason being the government is not going to do anything. This incident is not going to alter any plans.”
(Published in Sunday Mid Day on 30th November, 20008)