September 15, 2008 @ 1:53 am
We were in Chennai over the weekend, and yesterday, reached the Chennai Central station to take a train back to Bangalore.
The Delhi blasts had occurred a day before, on Saturday evening to be precise. The Hindu had dedicated one half of the front page for this news, and they were quite sober in their reporting, as though there were more important things to be spoken about and this had unnecessarily come up. Times of India’s headline alone occupied as much space as the entire Hindu article. Neither of the newspapers had spoken about what should be done going forward. It was all about showcasing horror or displaying indifference. ToI Chennai, for instance, screamed “Helpless?” (in a font-size 80+ I would say). Is this what we want to portray to the perpetrators of the crime? Helpless? Perhaps we are, but still would you want to give that moment of satisfaction to the criminals?
So anyway, we walk towards the entrance of Chennai Central (the main railway station). There are numerous entry points, and one of them has a metal detector installed. No one really forcing people to walk through the metal detectors. We see the metal detector and decide to walk through that one rather than the other open entries. We walk, no one notices, go ahead and then turn back to observe that there is a baggage screening machine as well. I was happy to see this level of security, but was immediately dismayed to note that no one bothered to ask us or the passengers alongside us to actually go and get our baggages screened.
We decide to do what seemed right and go back near the entrance and haul up our bag on to the rollers of the x-ray machine. The bag goes in, comes out with the others and there is a constable pasting stickers on some of the bags. He forgets ours, I pick up my bag, go a little ahead and then come back to get the “baggage screened” sticker. The constable, without raising an eye, puts the sticker on my bag too, not concerning to know whether the bag was actually screened or not.
We walk away into the sea of crowd which, in a railway station, always seems to be in some hurry. And that was the security system installed in one of India’s biggest metros, as a reaction to the Delhi blasts. You no longer want to ask this question – How safe are we?