Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Layers of security - check in.

The initial fear was that whether the tickets were really confirmed. The booking was done online and I have a severe trust deficit for the online thingy, perhaps due to seeing so many fake stuffs and websites lurking in the virtual world to pounce on innocent and gullible people. The website that booked my ticket, was however, not fake as I got my boarding pass. 

The way till the boarding pass was a zig zag path made in the hall with a portable tape. The barrier marking the zig zag path was not threatening or strong but not a single person tried to cross the barrier as the followed the queue towards the counter. The line moved one or two steps at a time. 

In the first counter it was just a visual and speculative security check of the luggage. I was asked whether I was carrying and sharp objects and whether the bags were packed by myself. My negative and affirmative answer respectively must have satisfied the security person or I did not looked like a nasty person that I was let to go after a customary visual scan. 

Another shorter queue had already formed near the counter where the boarding pass and the luggage were weighed and checked in. When my turn came I handed over my passport. 

“What time is your flight?”

“At twelve o’Clock.” I have seen that in the email I received and that time was the base time, like h hour in military, where all my movements were worked backwards and started my journey from my apartment. 

“Which destination does your transit flight go from Moscow?”

“India”.. after realizing that that answer must be too broad, and it might threaten my boarding pass I narrowed in and said, “New Delhi.”

When he was about to handover my passport along with boarding pass back. Something struck him about the visa. 

“Where is the visa for India?”

“We do not require visa to visit India.” No I was not going to give him lectures on why Bhutanese do not require visa to go to India and vice versa. Neither am I going to tell him about the SAARC countries and the agreements there off. 

Obviously he had never heard of Bhutan before. His ignorance wasted my precious couple minutes, thank god I came there well in advance. He tried to call and confirm from his supervisor. In the mean time I also told him that I have never heard,  rather known up-close, about  Israel before I came here. There are many countries that we do not know and we club them together in big mass as continents. 

I would never want to know the exact location and differences between Slovenia and Slovakia just as I would not delve deeper into Estonia and Croatia. But when people behind boarding pass desk does not know it and wants to confirm it, it hurts. I am sure I wasn’t the first Bhutanese to travel through Tel Aviv, I maybe the first Bhutanese to get boarding pass through him. 

Finally I got my boarding pass and proceeded to for final security check and to check in the cabin baggage or the hand baggage. The bags were sent through the x ray machines and I passed through the metal detector gate. After that I had to find out the gate, mine was B3, before going there I had to go to the line of machines to scan my passport myself and I guess photograph was also taken simultaneously. They called it biometric machine. I must have scanned three times because the success signal was in Hebrews in red. I cannot read Hebrew and red for me was not successful. After three flashes of camera lights from the robot I could find the language option for English. It was too late I already scanned thrice. 

In the last counter with the final obvious question - “Where is Bhutan?”  I mounted on the travelator, being too lazy to walk and proceeded to my gate to wait to board the plane. 

On the travelator I was thinking that a insignificant man from an insignificant country was provided an opportunity to see the world and to contribute to the peace keeping mission of the United Nations. As we travelled you see the world and more than that a person behind the desk, going nowhere sees you and the country through the passport that you are carrying. 

I am sure that he will google up ‘Bhutan’, later during his leisure after he finishes with the levels of the video games that he was busy playing behind the counter. He got a real quick thumbs. I use my index finger. The difference between writer and the gamer, I guess. 

I will be always taking flights without videos and TV screen as this provides me time to have a power nap and a time to write such rubbishes.