Last week saw some serious drop in business across malls, restaurants, hotels, airlines, and other such places. I expected a small drop because of the Bombay terrorist attacks, but in fact it turned out to be about 40%. As I waited for guests, I decided to phone and ask fellow restauranteurs how things were going. The word "dead" was the usual reply. The clubs, already hurt by the clamp on nightlife in Bangalore, got hit more. When I enquired at one well-known club, I found that they had gone to another club to figure out how much business they had, and both were doing very little.
Then a fellow chef friend showed me an SMS he had got. Apparently it was doing the rounds in Bangalore. It warned people not to go to movies, malls, and restaurants till 07 December because of some alleged army intelligence that there was going to be a terrorist attack. And people were relentlessly forwarding it to everyone they knew.
Unfortunately, this is exactly the kind of fear that terrorists try to create. That's their line of business - to disrupt lives of citizens and make them afraid for their lives. And when people forward such messages without having any first hand knowledge, they actually do the terrorists' work for them. Fear propogates, and thanks to technologies like the Internet and SMS, it propagates faster.
I for one refuse to forward such messages. I will not live my life in fear. I will not let the bloody terrorist have the satisfaction of seeing that his work has been successful. And the rest of us should not either. For how long will you keep it up anyway? Statistically, you are more likely to die in a car accident than a terrorist attack. Do we then stop using our vehicles too? And for how long will we let fear haunt us? A week? A month? A year? What happens after that?
So don't be a victim. Go out, watch movies, try restaurants, have a drink at a bar, and go on with my life just as before. It's a sad day when the terrorists physically kill a couple of hundred people, but kill the spirits of hundreds of thousands. Don't be part of that statistic.