Monday, November 24, 2008

At the Changi Airport

A rather strange incident happened with me on my way back to Bangalore from Singapore.
I was standing at the counter to get my boarding pass. Suddenly out of no where this tall well built guy comes to me and says “I have extra baggage and I see that you are traveling light, please take some of it on your name” and with that he placed a huge suitcase on the conveyor belt and immediately stepped back. No introduction, no identity proof, just a statement and there he goes. I called out to him asking what his suitcase had to which he gave some gibberish reply which I couldn’t decipher and with that he retreated a bit more.
I am not a suspicious person by nature but this person sure made me uncomfortable.
The entire act was mistrustful. And he wasn’t looking me in the eye either. There was no time to think so I quickly turned to the lady processing my ticket and asked her if I was allowed to help a passenger, knowing very well that I wasn’t.
This time both of us called out to this guy who was now standing a good 15 feet away and was giving me stealing glances. He finally came up and spoke to me in Hindi saying that I could tell the ticket lady that I was his friend. I refused point blank. I was sure I wasn’t getting into any such mess especially in a foreign country. At this point the ticket lady very sternly told him to remove his bag from the conveyor belt otherwise she will summon the security.
Having done that I took my boarding pass and walked away briskly.

I am not sure what happened to that guy. Was he able to convince some other passenger to help him? Or did he pay extra money for extra baggage or did he throw away stuff?

I don’t know what I did was right or not. Was I over skeptical and behaved like a paranoid? Should I have helped a fellow Indian in that foreign land? Maybe this was a harmless situation and I over reacted.

Maybe yes maybe no. This is what omnipresent violence and terrorism was done to our psyche. Being careful can save a lot of trouble but did I go a little overboard?

15 comments:

Masood said...

Big clichéd saying: Better safe than sorry!

I think you did the right thing. This has happened to me several times. But it's always best to stay vary of such things. I've helped a few and ignored a few - basically leave it on my instincts. But, in Singapore, never take a chance!

Mampi said...

Nah, Iya, what you did was perfectly okay. He got hold of u as an unsuspecting female who would-in confusion or out of compassion-would ultimately relent. You were brave in taking that stand. Its not only about the terrorism or the suspicions that it has put in our minds. Otherwise also, it is highly objectionable on his part to do such an act. Aaj kall toh people dont take stuff from their own known friends-given the stringent air-travel norms.

अंग्रेज़ी बोलना सीखें said...

What you did was perfectly right.

Monika said...

i think what u did was right... dont mull over it... its best to avoid as u dont know what could it lead to...and then instincts are usually right

Pinku said...

hey u did the right thing girl....and if i were u i would have made a larger scene and ensured the guy got searched or something...

Nikhil Narayanan said...

Iya,
Right thing you did.

-Nikhil

Mumbai Diva said...

ABSOLUTELY the right thing!

Cynic in Wonderland said...

that was the correct thing to do. If he had excess genuine luggage, he could pay for it no?

Sentimentality doesnt work for things like this

Siddharth said...

How can it be helping when it is totally against the rules?
You did right... there's is always a way to take extra luggage i.e. by paying extra for it. Let the guy use that facility!

Indian Home Maker said...

I would have got the guy searched, 100%.
This guy was shifty eyed, he could be carrying anything, even if a very sweet stranger asks you to help like this, I would say watch. Why couldn't he pay for extra luggage?

Good you respected the rules and your own safety.

Unmana said...

Hey, he had extra baggage, he could pay for it. It's not your problem. And to top it, he was rude.

Iya said...

@ Masood, Mampi, Angrezi, Monika, Pinku, Nikhil, Mumbia Diva, Cyn, Sid, IHM Unmana - If you all feel i did the right think i sure wud have done :)
the only question i was asking my self was if we have because to cautious owing to the terrorism and violence around us..

DeeplyDip said...

hey iya my first time here...you did the right thing...one should never ever take luggage from unknown ppl.I know ppl who even chi what their friends are giving to be sure they are not unintentionaly carrying a banned item...

my space said...

IyA.. U were right..u have to ensure ur safety at all costs..if he was that desperate to take stuff he cld have paid charges..

Goofy Mumma said...

Its this soft spot of humanity in people like you and me that these terrorists misuse to their advantage. The Rabbi and his wife had actually let the ones who killed them stay as guests in their house for a month. I htink what you did is completely right, and we should always follow rules, they are meant for our own safety.
Loved your posts, blog rolling you. :)