Leo’s opens for a while, finds crowds waiting
It was meant to send out a message as well as showcase Mumbai’s indomitable spirit, but Café Leopold’s plan to reopen three days after the deadly terror strike backfired, reports Riddhi Shah.india Updated: Nov 30, 2008 23:16 IST
It was meant to send out a message as well as showcase Mumbai’s indomitable spirit, but Café Leopold’s plan to reopen three days after the deadly terror strike backfired on Sunday.
“We wanted to show the terrorists that we’ll not be cowed down. They’re a small community, but our numbers are huge. We can't let fear or terror rule our lives,” said Farhang Jehani, owner of Leopold’s. However, after the crowd outside grew unmanageable, he had to seek help from the police, who told him to postpone the opening.
“How can we allow him to open so early? The panchnaama is being filed; evidence is being collected. Maybe he can open in two or three days,” Sub-Inspector Inamdar from the Colaba police station said.
Outside, the mood was of defiance even after the café downed shutters. Many among the crowd waiting for the café to open decided to walk around the Colaba Causeway. After three tense days, Sunday saw many stall-owners and patrons trying to restore some sense of normalcy. A Fort resident, Urvashi Pithadia, 15, came to the causeway with her sister Drashti. “We walked all the way from our home to see Leopold’s. Our parents didn’t want us to come,” she said.
Down the road, Rajesh Kumar, who has a bookstall next to Café Mondegar, was busying setting shop. “Dar to lagta hi hai. Jab shooting hua, tab mein yahin tha. Lekin kabhi to vaapis aana tha (yes, I'm scared. I was here at the time of shooting, but I had to come back some time),” he said. Both Café Mondegar and Barista were open for business on Sunday.
It wasn’t just locals who came. Sunia Ali, a German who runs a business in Mumbai, was there, too, with friends. “These things can happen anywhere. You can’t just sit at home and stop your life. We’ve decided to come here, walk around and grab a bite,” Ali said. Her family wanted her back home, but she refused. “I told them, give me two more weeks. If the city stands strong and returns to normal, I’ll continue to live here.”