Monday, January 28, 2008

Safety and security

We have a very active security team at work, headed by a retired major. Our defenses are tighter than that of our country. You think thats an exaggeration, don't you? Allow me to prove that it is not. An army of security guards patrol the basement and the reception. There is an access controlled room in which a smaller army (an armylet?) stares fixedly at a bank of screens to catch any suspicious activities in the corridors. This team of diligent soldiers also monitors potential dangerous situations outside our office. When a bandh is called in West Bengal, an email alert is sent to all employees within minutes. If an army of militant Bengalis should show up in Bangalore in a bad mood, they're going to be in for a surprise, I promise you that. There is one security personnel for every 20 company employees. The Indian army doesn't stand a chance. We even have a hotline number that we can call to report security violations. So there. The other day we received an email from the sterling leader of this team informing us that a pair of cigarette butts had been found near a door next to one of the balconies. The email had attached a picture of the offending stubs and a lecture on how closely we had escaped being charred to death. I felt so cared for. Working here is akin to being cocooned in your mother's womb. Every vehicle has a company sticker 'to be prominently displayed' on it. God forbid if you should try to enter the parking lot without one. Of course, these stickers must have all the protection built into the Indian currency to prevent a terrorist with a bomb from just printing one out at his local printing press. Goes without saying.
Then one day, a scooter went missing from our parking lot. A scooter belonging to an employee. One minute it was there, the next it was not. No email was sent out about this shocking incident of course. One would not want to turn us into a panicked, frightenend mob. The word spread nevertheless. Insidious rumours did the rounds. It was like finding out that Santa Claus is your father all over again. We clustered together like spooked sheep. What was left to believe in in this world, if one could not believe in the shiny moustaches of our major and his efficient team. It was a dark day. And then we figured it out. This had nothing to do with our pet army. That scooter was clearly related to Houdini and had given us all the slip. Applause all around. I hear the clomping boots in the corridor and heave a sigh of relief. And look, there's a mail coming in about the mosquito menace in Bangalore and bird flu in Bangladesh.