May 3, 2010

Feelin' Frisky

Almost every large hotel or shopping complex in Pune has installed metal detectors at its entrance and has security personnel carry out body and baggage checks (usually very perfunctory and ineffective). This is yet another aspect to our outdoor lives that we have slowly come to accept. Despite the 'nobility' of the aim, this only causes minor annoyances to the 99.999% of the populace that seeks to demolish nothing but a three-course meal.

Last week, I was at the Landmark store in Pune. Visitors to the store will know the first display after the security checks and bag deposit is that of the latest music & movie releases. I was standing there, when a couple and their son, who must have been about five, walked in. I looked up because the son began to cry.

The father asked him what he wanted and the child pointed outside. It seemed as if he wanted to go elsewhere and not spend a morning in a big bookstore. The father didn't protest and took him towards the exit. Where he spoke to the guard there who smiled and bent down.

The guard then proceeded to give the kid a once-over with his metal detector, immediately at which the boy stopped sobbing as if obeying the PMC water supply regulations for the day.

One could wonder if the guard had been amiss earlier not treating a kid without the complete suspicion that should be his professional stock-in-trade, or to begin with, whether the trio had not been frisked properly because they were white foreigners (for that they were). Or just realise that there well could be two sides to each bomb detector experience.

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