It's almost as if Mustafa Dossa knew that death was around the bend. From the cocky inmate who mouthed smugly: "Main darne ke liye paida nahin hua", to the man who was afraid of his own shadow, the change in his demeanour over the last six months did not go unnoticed by Arthur Road Jail authorities.
A senior jail official said, "He always stayed calm. He would often tell jail officials: 'Main darne ke liye paida nahin hua (I can't be easily scared)'. But in the last six months, he looked so scared."
The officer recalls that he once revealed his fear to another jail official: "Mujhe faansi ki saja lagegi aisa lag raha hai (I suspect I will be hanged)."
Dossa, the senior most among the undertrials in the prison — he spent 14 years there — lorded over inmates. No one wanted to be in the bad books of the man who orchestrated with others one of the biggest terror attacks in the world. Prison sources said he and his gang enjoyed an "unspoken supremacy".
So strong was his hold over other inmates that no one called him by his name; he was 'Bhai' or 'Chachu' to all. "New jail officers were younger than him," says an officer from Arthur Road Jail.
Dossa is also remembered for his generosity. He helped out poor undertrials with money, but that stopped after a complaint to the court.
Another jail official says he behaved well with all authorities. "He always greeted everyone — from police constables to the public prosecutor — with a salaam."