Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Restrict the terrorists

Following the recent attempt by a Nigerian to blow up a plane in the last hour of its flight, new travel restrictions have been introduced in the USA that would prevent passengers from getting out of their seats in the last hour of the flight. By some strange law or understanding, the terrorist would follow the same pattern again and again, and so this restriction would thwart their sinister designs.

You can be sure that 70 minutes before landing, the flight steward would announce to the passengers that the ’60 minute’ restriction would come on in 10 minutes and those who desire to use the washrooms may do so right then.

So, 75 minutes before landing, I would start worrying that the helpful announcement about the 10 minutes left for the restriction to come into force, would be heard in 5 minutes and immediately after that one of the passengers would get up and blow the plane to pieces.

In one of his essays, R.K.Narayan writes about a childhood experience of an all-night journey that he had to undertake by bullock-cart to reach his home town after alighting from a train in a station thirty miles away.

“The bullock carts moved in a caravan, winding along a dark, tree-shaded highway. Robbers were known to attack such caravans about ten miles from the railway station at midnight. The menace was warded off by a simple expedient. One of the cart-men walked ahead carrying a lantern and a staff and throwing bloodcurdling challenges to the night air. “Hey, keep away, prowlers, if you don’t want your skulls pulped… Who goes there? and so forth, the other drivers also sitting up and urging their bullocks with the loudest swear words. This was kept up till we passed a jutting rock beyond the twelfth milestone; the moment we crossed this spot the challenger went back to his cart, curled himself up in his seat and fell asleep, the entire caravan following this example. By some strange law or understanding, the robbers never seemed to step an inch beyond the jutting rock. It always seemed to me that the robbers were missing a fine opportunity to attack with all the cart-men fast asleep and the only wakeful person being myself as I tried to sleep on a pile of straw expecting any moment to be killed.”

Anti-dacoity or anti-terrorist measures have always been reactionary, I guess. The measures aim at pre-empting the method followed the previous time. If the attack happened last time near the twelfth milestone, step up your vigil as you near that spot. Once you cross that, there’s nothing to worry.


Anonymous said...

Haha very interesting indeed. I have always wondered about this, so it was as if I was reading my own thoughts. On 26/11 in India, on 9/11 in US and God knows what other dates in other countries, everyone goes gaga and then quietly go back to sleep, as if they are 110% sure that the attack would happen again on the same date amidst the tight security measures.

I have been a quite admirer of your blogs for a long time, this post made me break the silence. Good job.

- Sarada.

Raj said...

Sarada, I guess the extra security on 9/11 and 26/11 is to inspire more confidence in nervous passengers. And, thanks for being an admirer, but why a silent one for so long?