It was at the Taj Palace Hotel, New Delhi, on the eve of 26/11 that the thought first struck me about our changing attitude towards ‘frisking’ in semi-public spaces, particularly ones patronized by the privileged like us.
My friend Devdutt Pattnaik has written about rituals impacting beliefs.
Set in a changed context, beliefs around a ritual also change.
The act of being frisked has been frowned upon by all of us, a violation of personal space – our mind yelling “You don’t trust me?”. Security barricades and frisking at luxury hotels, or similar spaces, would be a complete no-no, a discourtesy, just a couple of years ago. However, in a changed context post 26/11, Mumbai (not that these were the first terrorist attacks, but the first impacting the elite), frisking, coupled with enhanced security and scanning devices, has come to be seen as an assurance – the mind giving a comforting “I think I can trust you!” signal.
This is perhaps how, over a period in time, culture is shaped.
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