Amitabh Bachchan, recently voted Bollywood's superstar of the century, has slept with a revolver under his pillow in his heavily guarded Mumbai home since last month's terrorist attack on India's financial and entertainment capital. Bachchan, 66, who has starred in many action films, confessed on his extremely popular blog: 'As the terror attack unfolded in front of me, I did something for the first time. I pulled out my licensed .32 revolver, loaded it and put it under my pillow. My sleep is still very disturbed.' He also startled Mumbai airport security officials by trying to board a flight with a revolver in his hand luggage. Fear and insecurity have gripped India's most glitzy and westernised metropolis since the carnage last month in which nearly 200 died. Unable to cope with the traumatic impact of the terrorist rampage, hundreds of shaken residents are flocking to psychiatrists for counselling and treatment for acute anxiety, panic attacks, palpitations, hallucinations and delusions. Mumbai newspapers report that, even as daily life is slowly resuming, many are so badly shaken that they are refusing to step out of their homes. Those too worried to go to a clinic have psychologists visiting them. Residents are even afraid of going to restaurants and theatres, hurting businesses that were already struggling. A clinical psychologist conducting counselling sessions in Mumbai schools says children are particularly traumatised. 'They feel targeted, insecure and fearful about the future. The main fear is that they will lose their loved ones and, when they say goodbye to their parents in the morning, they feel as if they may not return home.' According to Dayal Mirchandani, of Mumbai's Behavioural Science Foundation, the attacks are driving people from diverse economic and educational backgrounds to feel that they are not in control of their lives any more. Another expert remarked that the terrorists had 'rattled India's collective psyche'. Now, by all accounts, trauma is afflicting old and young, rich and poor, and cuts across genders. Psychologists say the mental scars of the three days of murder and mayhem, when parts of Mumbai turned into a battlefield, will take a long time to heal. 'It [Mumbai] was like a war zone, leaving ordinary citizens as traumatised as soldiers who see their comrades-in-arms or enemies riddled by bullets from automatic weapons or blown up by grenades and explosives,' said Yusuf Abdulla Matcheswalla, head of psychiatry at Mumbai's Masina Hospital, whose helpline is receiving as many as 60 calls daily. 'Ordinary people across India, including young children, watched on television as the tragedy played out for 60 hours. They virtually had a ringside view of the bloody violence thanks to the rolling coverage by competing TV channels fighting for viewers in the supercharged atmosphere. 'I've helped in the aftermath of the [Asian] tsunami, earthquakes and bomb blasts. But this was a war-like situation. Many people who were taken hostage by the attackers but were rescued are going through severe panic. They get very shaken and very fearful at every small sound. They're not sleeping, not eating, getting nausea and vomiting.' Many blame the round-the-clock TV coverage of the events for adding to the sense of fear. After the guns were silenced, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government appealed to TV channels to stop telecasting footage of the mayhem and give ordinary Indians some respite. But the broadcasters refused to budge. Citing press freedom, networks insisted they would 'gradually' regulate themselves rather than follow governmental diktat, although many viewers have complained about the coverage. Defiant TV channels are now in the dock for fanning mass hysteria. Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta denounced the 'irresponsible' coverage and angrily branded TV channels a 'disabling instrument'. Ramachandra Guha, a historian and respected social commentator, told The Telegraph newspaper: 'There was non-stop coverage and people were hooked to television sets. It disturbed people and led to greater paranoia.' The sheer magnitude of the suicide attacks clearly took its toll. Mr Guha said: 'It was not just one bomb blast or a big explosion but a 60-hour siege. Some people have told me that they are haunted by TV images of the burning Taj Mahal hotel and commandos being para-dropped on the roof of Nariman House from air force helicopters. It was like an urban war. So it has left very deep scars.' Vaihayasi Pande Daniel, a journalist and mother of two children aged eight and 10, wrote that the blazing Taj Mahal Palace hotel was visible from her apartment window. Nariman House, too, is nearby, bringing the children uncomfortably close to the violence. 'My children thought they were going to die. They refused to sleep in their room. Even after the terrorists were flushed out, they were too scared to walk alone from one room to another,' Ms Daniel wrote on rediff.com, a popular news website. Significantly, an Israeli team of post-trauma experts is helping doctors and counsellors in Mumbai. Although India and Israel have diplomatic relations, New Delhi is wary of forging close links with the Jewish state, primarily because of the sensibilities of India's substantial Muslim population. But it granted permission to IsraAID, a co-ordinating body of non-governmental organisations, to fly in experts with considerable experience in the Gaza strip. Israeli physicians Rony Berger and Marc Gelkopf said in Mumbai that they are sharing with Indian hospitals and schools post-trauma recovery models developed in the towns of Sderot and Negev, which are subjected to frequent rocket attacks. Interestingly, Mumbai police - who bore the brunt of the terrorist onslaught before the arrival of army commandos - are being treated for physical and emotional stress. Sixteen policemen - including three senior officers - fell to terrorists' fire. Experts say fewer would have died if the force had been better equipped and trained. Hemant Karkare, head of the anti-terrorist squad, was shot through the chest because his bullet-proof vest was defective. His subordinates had no body armour whatsoever. They had only second-world-war-vintage rifles to take on terrorists armed with the latest automatic weapons and explosives. Raju Waghmare, a trauma counsellor to whom policemen and women are baring their hearts, said: 'The men in uniform, who constitute the first line of defence, did not flinch although they knew their firepower was no match for the terrorists'. They were sitting ducks for the attackers. 'Moreover, policemen are supposed to be tough guys. So it's very difficult for them to admit that they are traumatised by the death of so many colleagues. But they badly need professional help to regain their mental balance.'