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<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 113 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

July 11, 2003

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Make More Public toilets


Another gold haul at ZIA! Beaming customs officers pose in front of the gold bars, occasionally spelling out something significant with their catch, making sure that the arrested person (if any) is marked 'x', because it is so difficult to differentiate a criminal from the rest in a group photograph.
These are laudable deeds indeed. That is not supposed to bother me and is not.
Imagine if our customs brethren had not been so vigilant, people would be wearing gold everywhere.
There would be gold buttons, gold belts, gold mobile covers, gold spectacles, gold watch, more than one gold tooth and gold shoelaces for the men.
For the female species besides the usual gold ornaments and all that the men would be wearing there would be gold heels, gold hair clips, gold instead of glass in the saree, and gold talk. That is also not supposed to bother me and is not.
What is actually bothering me is the place where they find the gold haul, the size of a large suitcase. Now to be frank, ever since first reading about the perennial place of discovering gold, I have made it a point to visit the airport toilet several times before a flight and even when I am there to pick up someone or to see someone off.
Once during such a visit, seeing me enter and leave the toilet thrice in half-and-hour the toilet attendant asked me, 'Diabetes?'
Cheeky guy! Imagine his nerve. Wait till I find the gold and then I shall diabetes you. Of course I said that quietly, as I looked for the opportune moment to sneak in for the fourth time without the nosy chap noticing me.
I saw several chaps, mostly passengers struggling with their huge bags entering. He was not around. Getting in was easy and I pretended to wash my hand in one basin, and then another hand in another basin, perked up my ears to hear anything remotely suspicious behind the locked doors of the small cubicles that were occupied. I would be lying if I said there was not a sound, but they were not questionable.
After deciding that this was yet another futile search and I was about to leave the toilet, the attendant made his entry. I kept on jerking my both hands frantically, maintaining a face of contentment, to show that I was actually doing something.
He looked at me with what seemed genuine worry and asked, 'Stomach upset? Not good for long flight. There is a medicine store on the other side. You can buy…' I vanished.
I sat in the lounge at a distance, scrutinised every chap going in and coming out of the toilet, but was disappointed. The attendant also noticed me and patted his tummy twice before waving at me reassuringly that all will be okay on the long flight. But where the shucks were the gold?
The failure of a non-expert like me has not been totally pointless. The repeated success of the customs in finding smuggled gold in toilets has given me an idea. It may be a good idea if our other law-enforcing agencies followed suit. Bhai! There is nothing wrong or demeaning in copying a good idea. In that the nation will prosper. So what if it is the golden idea of one government agency? They do not have a copyright, do they!
It is therefore suggested that every time our police are looking for stolen valuables, they should build some public toilets at unsuspecting places. This will make their job easier. In fact they would also find some time to relax. The toilets would be temporary and designed such that they could be dismantled and erected overnight in another place, leaving the old waste to waste in the open air. In the place just vacated, no one will suspect a thing, as the unkempt open DCC dustbins already smell and look like loos.
The City taxpayers will be happy as they have been demanding public toilets for years, but for completely different reasons.
The toilets in place, you can be rest assured that definitely someone within no time of beginning the search will leave the booty, whatever its value, in any one of the toilets.
And, if you catch the criminal in action you too can have a group photograph with the haul placed in front, and all of you good guys marked with a tick (?), just to differentiate a criminal from the rest, and also to symbolise that this is not the airport toilet.


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