Saturday, Dec 10, 2022
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Trenchcoat City

Trenchcoat City

The city of dreams sleeps with an eye open. But the new terrorist is protean. Will Mumbai hold up?

Trenchcoat City Apoorva Salkade

At the Gateway of India, there is no dearth of tourists, even on a weekday afternoon. Noisy sight-seeing families, larger groups, foreigners, youngsters, locals taking ferry rides to Elephanta or Alibaug or for an hour or so at sea, are all queuing to get past the security check. They file through rickety metal detectors, separate for men and women. Across from the arched, sea-facing monument built by the British stands the iconic, vintage Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, with the Taj Mahal Tower besides. People barely notice the ropes and barricades, police vans, the guards, engrossed as they are in selfie moments marking ‘I was here, at the site of the 26/11 attacks....”

Rosalind Pereira, 44, a Colaba resident, regularly goes past the crowds and security details whenever she takes a ferry at the Gateway. Seven years after the terror of the 26/11 attacks that played out at places frequented by residents like her, Rosalind, who was pregnant when 26/11 happened, still feels deeply disturbed by them—and by the sanguinary reminder from Paris 13/11. “I don’t think anyone can forget or get over an attack like that,” says Rosalind. “I notice all the changes here—the barricades, the armoured vehicles and metal detectors, the security checks—because I use the jetty often. But come to think of it, in today’s times, when a city like Paris has been att­acked, anything can happen anywhere.”

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