When I arrive at Nariman Point, I see a knot of people. I mean, there are several knots of people, but this one is immediately in front of me as I walk from the Mantralaya. I stop. The few dozen people are gathered around a Bollywood director I know fairly well, taking photographs of him. He catches sight of me through the crowd and waves; he walks over and we hug. We chat for a few seconds and then there's some new commotion which everyone peels away to find out about.
Much later, another man appears at my elbow. He nudges me and asks, "Woh hero tha, na?" "He was a hero, wasn't he?" By now, so much else has happened that I have forgotten I met the director, and so I don't immediately know what this man is talking about.
I ask, "Kaun?" "Who?"
"That man you met earlier, wasn't he a hero?"
Now it dawns on me. "No", I reply, "he's a director. Old friend."
The man nudges me again, points at the Trident. "You see, the operation is over!"
It isn't, as far as I know. So what is this man talking about?
"What are you talking about?" I ask him.
"No, really. It's over. Look at those windows, see they are all open?"
They look closed to me, like they have been throughout the hours I've spent here. So I say so.
"They look closed to me," I say.
"No, no, look at the next building. Those windows."
That's not the Trident, and anyway those windows also look closed to me, like they too have been for hours. So I say so again.
"Those look closed to me too," I say.
"No, no! Look carefully! You see the curtains? They are all open! That's a signal from the commandos that the operation is over!"
I shake my head in confusion. For one thing, my recollection is that those curtains have been open for hours too. For another, does this man really believe that when the commandos finish an operation, they go into the next building and roam the floors, opening up the curtains for all to see?
"I'm telling you, it's over!" he repeats.
"OK, thanks," I say, and take the next opportunity to disappear into the crowd.
Fifteen minutes later, Police Commissioner Hassan Ghafoor appears. Media and all the rest present rush to crowd him. He announces, to a chorus of cheers and claps, that the Trident operation is over.