The Metallica Gig “Bag Debacle” – Responsibility?

Notwithstanding the awesome experience and success it has been, it has now come out that during the Metallica gig in Bangalore on October 3oth, hundreds of people had lost their belongings, meaning bags with gadgets, documents and even passports in them! This Facebook note post has been doing the rounds in the effect of this, leaving a trail of thousands of shares and people generally outraging against the organizers etc. But I believe this outrage is largely unwarranted. I feel said for people who lost their stuff and pray that they may get it back as soon as possible because, believe me, I know your pain as a victim myself, but I would like to believe that they cannot really blame anyone but themselves for this debacle.

My sympathies are to an extent with the victims, as they could not get the cops to help them and being unable to stop people from looting their stuff, but none for losing them. The entire incident reeks of naivety, stupidity, irresponsibility and carelessness. Why? First, it was clearly mentioned on the back of the ticket that no bags of any kind will be allowed inside the venue. English! Do you read it?? Of course we don’t follow rules and outrage at someone else if we mess up. Second, why in the sweet name of God will you bring laptops, external hard drives, iPods, irreplaceable documents, and *for heaven’s sake* PASSPORTS to a Metallica concert, where there will be nothing but mayhem and chaos present with more than 40000 hyper energetic people around you?? Where is your logic and common sense, my brothers and sisters? Third, how do you expect the organizers to take care of your stuff? They have got enough to do otherwise. And there were no baggage counters simply because they were not needed. No one was supposed to bring bags to the venue! Fourth: When asked to put your bags out there in the open, if your *really* valued your stuff, you would not have left it out there in the open. What with the mud, a downpour coming and a gazillion people around. It was almost sure that your stuff would not be there by the time you get back! There were any number of other ways around.

This is India, where swindlers and crooks wait around every nook and corner wanting to rip you off at the first possible opportunity. When you cannot be sure of your chappals you left outside a place of worship to be there when you get back, HOW in the name of sweet potatoes can you be assured that your bags full of stuff worth tens of thousands of bucks will be safely where you left them after 4 hours, in a public place where tens of thousands of people pass through and is kept for everyone to see with no security? There were any number of ways you could have kept your stuff safe: Hotel Rooms, Railway and Bus Station cloak rooms (Cantonment station was just 5 km away), Cars of Friends, the Croma showroom across the road and so on. Passports and tickets will fit in pockets. Even if you hadn’t read the instructions, it would be only commonsense to think with all what is happening in India today, bags would not be allowed inside for security reasons. Now, imagine even if they allowed bags inside, what would you do with them inside a jam-packed venue covered in mud?

As someone said, this is a problem of first world people unaware that they are living in a third world country. A majority of our people who are part of the elite sanitized India are so gullible, naive and vindictive that I would say they are not really aware of the ways the world really works. These must be the same people who expect top class service from private bus operators, wear tons of jewelry in public and take private life insurance policies. Believe me when I say that Bangalore, or any Indian city has comparatively lesser number of crooks and snatchers compared to more “developed” cities, but even then, you should make sure that your stuff will remain with you. Do you leave your car unlocked in an unknown place? Do you leave your bags unattended in trains etc.? I am sorry that I had to use such harsh language, but it can’t be helped. I agree what the cops did was bad in supposedly siding with the thieves. But blaming the organizers for something they can’t really take responsibility of is simply not right. It is not as if people were mugged. They were leaving their house wide open for unscrupulous elements to help themselves. When you are traveling to a different city, it makes sense to book a room and all and plan things in advance, right? That is how it is done everywhere in the world. You cannot claim that amount of entitlement to expect random people to take all care of you and your belongings and walk you through everything.

My bike was once stolen because I did not lock it and in another incident lost much of my stuff due to my own irresponsibility in an incident much similar to this (when I was much younger). In both cases, I did not get even an iota of sympathy from anyone because what happened was due to my own fault. I learned my lesson that day that you cannot expect random people to take care you and your stuff in public places, that you will have to do that yourself and you would have to plan ahead. I do so religiously ever since and have made sure things like this don’t happen to me. I wish everyone did.

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