Sunday, August 1, 2010

Article in the Indian Express - August 1, 2010

This article appeared in the New Indian Express, August 1, 2010.

Existentialist Interrogators at Hitech City

I recently learned something that may interest our Home Ministry. You see I had to visit an office near Hitec city to pick up a document. I tried to breeze into the building with a cheery wave as I normally do, when a posse of security guards clamped the gates shut as if I was a suicide bomber. They don’t let any car in, I found out, without twenty badges and stickers certifying that the car and its occupants are not bombs, terrorists, bacteria, virus and so on. I reversed quickly.
I scouted for parking and parked along the kerb outside the office. As I emerged from the car a uniformed chap came charging at me. I panicked and backed into the car.  ‘Out, out,’ he yelled furiously. I rolled down the window a bit and asked him why? No parking here he said. There was a camera in the building and I had parked right in front of it. Why these guys had cameras trained on a public road I failed to understand but I moved away before he strangled me. I was getting nervous now.
Two silent, unfriendly goons sized me up in the security room. ‘Who are you?’ barked one. Who am I? Wasn’t this the most difficult question in the world? As I stuttered, they shot off another question. ‘Where are you coming from?’ And then ‘where are you going?’ I broke down. If I had answers to these questions I would have gone far in my life. Pleased with my reaction, they gave me a paper to fill - name, address, PAN number, passport number, and other stuff. I wanted to go home by now. But they took my picture and gave me a pass with a photo of mine looking as if I was in a jail. ‘Get your contact’s signature,’ they warned. I nodded. If I didn’t they’d shoot me, I knew. Also I think they sent my picture and details to the FBI, CBI and Interpol even as I walked out.
I walked carefully away from them so I don’t provoke any gunfire or grenades at my back and made it safely to the lobby. The fragrant, air conditioned reception beckoned. Ah, civilization! Sympathetic women! I headed to the pretty receptionist, smiling brightly. She had many gadgets on her head, several computers in front and seemed to be talking to the heads of large nations. I gazed awestruck as she pressed buttons efficiently, connecting important people in America, UK, Japan simultaneously. I waited in front of her for a few years, in which I grew a beard and a small family. Finally, when I was disintegrating, she noticed me, and asked ‘YES?’ But before I could answer, she got another call, most likely from the President of USA by the way she spoke. Many visitors came and went about their business. She smiled at them. Stuck hopelessly between her and the guards outside, I was contemplating suicide when she barked ‘Who are you?’ I raised my hands and surrendered.
My suggestion to the Home Ministry is to move this well-trained talent of guards and receptionists to our borders. Infiltrators will not be able to park their vehicles, will have to answer existential questions - who are you, where’re you from and what do you want, and will have to deal with that receptionist. Most terrorists would return to a quiet life of farming thousands of miles from any border. Others would age prematurely and die while waiting to infiltrate.
And, we could get some business done at Hitec city.


Rajendra said...

You seem to have overlooked the positive side. Employment creation, for anyone who can do any of the things that you discovered these highly skilled people doing. Zillions of security guards protecting what and from whom? A handful of crazy guys. Thank the crazy guys, we'll have 100% employment soon.

Anonymous said...

Did the guards frisk you?

Harimohan said...

Hi Raja,
Yes, I was not too inclined to look those guys positively. I know for sure that the guys that they actually need to catch, are certainly not going to go in through the front door. So we're better off employing some other more efficient chaps at the back doors to ward off the villains.

Harimohan said...

Hi Anonymous, Can't remember but they normally do frisk you. That's a whole new experience so I propose to write about the pleasures of frisking some other time.

Anonymous said...

Pleasures of frisking???
Guess that depends on the frisker...... and the friskee I guess.