I was looking forward to the Bengaluru Habba, an annual dance, music and arts festival which was due to start yesterday and run for the next 2 ½ weeks. I and my dance friends were excited about the excellent line-up of dancers who were due to perform this weekend, beginning this evening with a performance by the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble. But I was surprised (and disappointed) to read in this morning’s newspaper that, only hours before it was to start, the festival had been postponed indefinitely. The reason cited is security concerns. It appears that the State government has asked for a postponement of mass public gatherings until December 15 because of threats of terrorist strikes.
In light of the recent events in Mumbai, airports around the country have been put on high alert. This is also in anticipation of December 6th, which is tomorrow. Every year on the 6th of December, security is tightened in airports, bus and railway stations, and other public places all over the country. This is the anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid mosque 16 years ago which had sparked off deadly riots.
Security had already been on everyone’s mind following the bomb blasts here in Bangalore this past July. The tightening and enforcement of security measures since then has been very noticeable. When we go to movies for example, there’s always a long line to get into the parking lot. This is because security personnel inspect the trunks and back seats of each and every vehicle, while a mirror on wheels is slid under the car to check the undercarriage. To enter the mall, each person has to pass through a metal detector and bags are searched at the door. Then, before entering the cinema, cinema goers are asked to step through another metal detector before being frisked and having their bags searched a second time. A night out at the movies resembles a trip to the airport!
All this extra security means long lines, and lots of tedious waiting… people try to be patient because they know that unfortunately such measures are necessary given the current climate. But it seems like our patience will be further tested now that additional security measures are being put into place. Hopefully, life will continue as usual with no unexpected incidents and the Bengaluru Habba can happen soon!
Image © The Times of India