We’re back on track. And we’re much wiser.
This morning I hopped off the train and walked right into two neatly dressed cops. Standing outside the first-class compartment in their crisp khaki saris and tidy plaits they scanned me for any potential terrorist threat. One of them obviously found a glimmer of terror in me and promptly got to work. From lazy strolling cop she suddenly became all business, barking her order in perfect textbook cop style ...madam bag check please.
Nothing wrong in that, I thought, she’s just doing her job. And the obedient citizen I am, in a show of faith, I flashed her a bright happy smile. Shit! Wrong move. You never smile at cops. You scowl or you cower but you never smile. She almost cart wheeled in delight as she gave her colleague a triumphant ‘I told you so!’ look. My flashing smile had openly betrayed my criminal intent, more reason then to probe the contents of my bag. After all bags can carry some pretty scary things. Other then your everyday bombs and hand grenades you could be carrying scary bubblegum strips, cruncy red apples, broken pencils, rubberbands, sharp nibbed pens, dirty handkerchiefs. The list is terrifying and endless.
I opened my bag and tried to guide them through the hundred different things in it, but once again, I was curtly stopped. Again, I gave her the benefit of doubt. She had a point; I could be up to some mean mischief, I could detonate unknown devices using a remote control hidden in my bag. I could be carrying a touch-and-boom-we-all-explode contraption. I could have nerve gas and trigger off even more trouble. My hand in my bag could be the end of our world, making this a very dangerous situation. And so my hand stayed exactly where it was, hanging aimless from my shoulder while her hand gingerly shuffled through my stuff. Pens, paper, book, tissue, more scraps of paper, empty chips packet, blah, blah, blah… damn where were the usual suspects?
The bag gave me a clean chit but not the cops. They had another brainwave, hoping to catch me on the wrong foot. What’s your name they asked me, where are you coming from. Brilliant! If I were a part of the movement for mass destruction, I would definitely tell them my name and where I come from. It is but natural. For that matter I would also alight from a crowded train during rush hour, just after a major mishap in the city carrying a nasty device in my bag. Obviously.
Then again, they were just doing their overworked underpaid job. So what if it was a lousy attempt. Finding nothing in me to suit the profile of a closet terrorist, they reluctantly thanked me and let me go. And focussed their energies on some other equally terrifying person hopping off the next train.