By Vijay Marur
This morning I saw someone’s post referring to the rude and uncouth behaviour of the security detail attached to some obscure minister. And I was reminded of an incident that proves that the problem is endemic and has a long heritage to boast of.
In 1985, when I was packing up from Chennai and returning to Hyderabad (for the first of many times) I suggested to my sister and brother-in-law that they came down to Madras, and that we could drive down to Kodaikanal for a relaxing week at the Carlton.
They agreed immediately and so we went for a cosy foursome of a holiday and coochie cooed through the week. The fact that a few months later both my wife and my sister had babies may indicate how romantic our sojourn was.
But like any other magical holiday this one too came to an end and we drove back to Madras where everything lay ready and packed for our departure to Hyderabad.
I was driving as we entered Madras and we were on Nungumbakkam High Road, barely a kilometre away from our home on Sterling Road when a flag bearing Ambassador Car tried to overtake us. The car was being driven rashly and I noticed that it seemed to be filled with Security Detail kind of goons.
I was in highway mode still and my car was a Fiat that was perfectly tuned so I had no difficulty in speeding up to disallow the Ambassador taking the lead. Within seconds our turn off came and we swung off towards Sterling Road and forgot about the ruffians and their brash handling of the car.
We reached home and freshened up and barely were we discussing where to go for dinner when the door bell rang and I found the Madras Police at my doorstep informing me that I had been accused of eve teasing on Nungumbakkam High Road and my presence was immediately required at the Police Station.
I was aghast and tried to explain to the ACP or CI (or whatever rank he was) that accusing me of eve teasing when both my sister and my wife were in the car was not even bordering on the ridiculous. And I admitted that I was impressed at the speed at which they had managed to trace me.
The cop was sympathetic and told me off the record that he understood perfectly well that I didn’t seem to be the eve teasing sort but his hands were tied since he had received instructions to apprehend me from the higher ups. He was kind enough to let me go with the advice that I better use whatever influence I had to negate the powers that were at work because by then an All Points Bulletin had been issued and my Car Number had been flashed to all the border towns.
What I had to do in the next 12 hours to wriggle out of this conundrum is embarrassing so I shall desist from recounting my harrowing experience. Suffice to say I had to call in a few million favours from friends and family to untangle myself from the web. Finally I was told that all they could manage was a 48-hour window of freedom and that I had better cross the border before then.
So we ran away from Madras like fugitives that we were not and swore never to `eve tease’ security guards ever again.
From the post that I stumbled across, I see that nothing much has changed. And nothing ever will.