21st August 09
I am in a train. I am travelling from Hyderabad to Durg. The weather is wonderful. The view outside the window, beautiful. Cool air is coming in from the window. It has calmed me down now. But just an hour ago I was terrified. My legs were shaking and I could not stand. I had just kept my luggage under the berth and I was already thinking of going back to Krishna Tatagaru's home.
In the train I saw a man sitting in the same bay as mine. I kept the luggage and went back to the door to see the reservation chart. All the berths in my bay were shown to be unalloted. The man in my bay, I thought, would get down at one of the next 2 or 3 stations. Nothing unusual. But when I went back to my bay the man was gone. But he left behind a small bag under the berth. On witnessing such a thing only one thought can cross the mind of an Indian. And that is what happened! The man is a terrorist!! There must be a bomb in the bag!! Why else would he leave it!! I felt my body freeze with fear. I jumped out of the train to look for a TTE(Travel ticket Examiner) to inform him about the bag. He was there in front of the door. But as is always the case, he was surrounded by passengers trying to bribe him to get seats. To avoid a scene of panic I waited for the passengers to go and while I waited I imagined myself on TV news with "Breaking news: Engineering graduate helps detect a bomb, helps avert a blast" flashing over the TV screen. So when I got a chance I told the TTE about the bag. I was expecting that he would jump into action, make some calls, call the police, do something atleast!! But all he said was 'yeah yeah we will see. wait!'. I did not know what to do. I thought of shouting like crazy - There is a bomb in the train! There is a bomb! But I did not. I just waited there.
Then the train started to move.I got in. but I did not go to my berth. For 10 minutes I waited at the door half-expecting to hear an explosion. While I waited I tried calling my parents. But in vain, thanks to the mobile network. And then I saw the man who had left the bag come back!! Phew!! I wiped sweat off my forehead and went to my berth. I was still shivering. As I write this, the wind has "normalised" me. But what if!! What if there actually was a bomb and the TTE had shown the same inaction that he did!! I guess, my blog would have died with 3 posts in all and so would have I!
The Dunning-Kruger effect
4 days ago