Panic? Or PANIC!!!

Living in Mumbai, I’ve kinda gotten used to the idea of bomb scares and having to endure extra security checks everywhere we go. Sad, but true. A couple of days ago, I experienced it firsthand. A bomb scare.

I was in the train, travelling to my cousin’s pre-wedding ceremony. Of course, I was reading and whiling away my time in the crowded mess we call a local train. Occasionally, I would look dramatically out of the window, to make me feel like I’m some sort of a highly philosophical person thinking about some very intellectual thing (I was actually thinking about what to eat; I was very hungry, you see). Anyway, in one of those moments when I was looking out of the window, I saw a tiny explosion take place a few meters away from the train while we were halted at a station. I couldn’t help but try to figure out what had actually happened. But before I could satisfy my curiosity, everyone on the train had their panic mode activated and there was a mad scramble for the doors.

They say, fire exposes your priorities. But a bomb scare exposes your inner panic.

Every single person on the train was terrified and screaming to get off the train. I was the last one to get off the train, because I couldn’t make any sense of why people were getting of the bloody train. Then I heard it. The different versions of rumors. There is a bomb on the train. Well, if there was wouldn’t it have gone off already? Why would it have a mini explosion to warn you instead? The train is on fire. This one I thought might be true for a minute. But I looked around and there was no smoke nor did it smell like something was burning. One of the boys sitting on top of the trains got electrocuted. Well then the cable lines would be shot and the train wouldn’t be working, which by now we could see that our train was raring to go. There were more rumors, but I stopped listening. I was looking around the people, instead.

Scared, terrified people. All of them having somewhere to go. All of them having their lives flash before their eyes. All of them holding on to someone they know or even just met. All of them desperate to live a little longer. Of course, they didn’t need to worry because it was only a rumor. But they didn’t know that. By the time we got back onto the train, people were making calls to their loved ones narrating their close call with death. All I did was sit there (because no one would listen to the relatively boring theory of what actually happened) and observe and it got me thinking.

Sometimes, the things we think are attacks on us are actually not attacks at all. We might think that they are going to break us, but they won’t. We might think, This is it. But it isn’t. We might think we are cornered and have no way to go, but that isn’t the case. Sometimes, we hear the voices of those around and panic, when there should be no reason to. Maybe it is time to examine what voices we’re actually listening to. The voice of reason? Or the voice of panic?

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