SOMETHING about me seems to spark off the suspicions of security staff. My face or physique must be conforming to a “type” of a terrorist but my mirror only reveals a greying, middle aged woman who could pass off for a middle school teacher or a happy housewife.
Yet, security guards at airports and airlines offices look twice at me, expecting me to explode a hand grenade into their face. No, it’s not my imagination that’s working overtime, nor am I paranoid. It’s actually happened.
There was this fat security female at the entrance to the Airlines office. She was sitting in a chair and twiddling her toe nails as people went past her into the office. Suddenly, she looked alert when she spotted me. Her radar seemed to have a spurious flash.
“Excuse me”, she said, none too politely, “open your bag”. Just for a moment I wished I had heeded my hubby’s advice to carry around a dainty handbag instead of a contraption which is a cross between a hold-all and an overnighter!
Granted my bag had unseemly bulges due to my stuffing in a soap box, a torch and other paraphernalia, but surely the security Miss couldn’t mistake them for explosives! She rummaged through the assorted collection in my bag and her eyes glinted. Her hand had found something heavy and metallic.
She gave me I-knew-you-were- no-good looks and gingerly picked up the heavy object. “What’s this?” she demanded, flourishing a cloth bag filled with what she presumed was some dynamite. “Open it”, I said with a smile and quite enjoyed her discomfiture when she undid the knot and found a whole lot of 25 np coins!
Bidding goodbye to visions of a quick promotion she settled down to twiddling her toes, waiting for another ‘type’ to come along.
At the Jaipur airport, while other women were given a quick looking over, I was held back for a thorough frisk — made me feel like a woman from the Middle East with an Omega watch belt around my waist.
‘Beep’ went the gadget she waved around me. That was enough to confirm her suspicion that I was trying to make a getaway after at least two bank robberies and a couple of killings. “Beep” went the gadget again and this time she searched thoroughly till she found the culprit — a huge baby nappy pin which was holding up my saree fall!!
The “crowning glory” of such experiences came at the Bangalore airport. After putting my small overnighter into the X-ray machine, I walked up to pick it up at the other end. ‘Wait’, said a curt voice, “open it”.
‘Now what’, I said to myself and mentally went through the contents of the case — my clothes and toiletries and a steel container my aunt had gifted as her daughter’s wedding memento. For a moment I wondered if someone had switched my case!
Enraged by my hesitation the security man prodded the bag saying, “There are round bomb like objects in metal — we want to see what they are — please open”.
Silently praying that the bag I wasn’t switched by a terrorist, I opened the bag. There — lying in the steel container were found luscious ladoos!! I mentally cursed aunty for planting such “deadly weapons” in her gift!