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Close-shaving kit

Whether you are a Nusli Wadia, or a Prasad Bidappa, you just cannot trust people to pack the right kind of shaving kit when you are catching a flight to Dubai.

india Updated: Jan 22, 2007 00:27 IST

Whatever happened to the discreet domestic help who shielded his impetuous master from the wrong kind of publicity? Whether you are a Nusli Wadia, or a Prasad Bidappa, you just cannot trust people to pack the right kind of shaving kit when you are catching a flight to Dubai. Either it’s a revolver and 30 bullets, or some marijuana that other people left behind in your chest of drawers. Really. Very soon the shopping bags will carry a new legend — ‘Fly. By. Dubai’ — so you know you should give the place a wide berth. We Indians live in a secular nation where the law applies equally to everybody, whether you are driving a BMW in Delhi that is not a car but a truck, or mowing down a row of the sleeping homeless on a Mumbai sidewalk, or grieving a recent death in the family with champagne and cocaine. Don’t believe everything they say about money and fame getting you a ‘fair’ shake in our legal and policing systems. We really have one yardstick for everybody, small or big, poor or rich, average or celebrity.

Mr Wadia apparently called the Prime Minister’s Office when the X-ray machine beeped in Dubai. Before you get all sarcastic, those machines do work in Mumbai. Ask the Antiguan Prime Minister, who arrived at Sahar airport on Wednesday with a firearm in his baggage. Cynics may say that the X-ray machine did not know the Antiguan leader from Adam, but Nusli Wadia is what the airlines call a Commercially Important Person. CIP. VIP. RIP. You get the message. The next time you pass through the tender, loving care of our immigration officers, ask to see the (very long) list of politicians, bureaucrats and judges permitted access to the Reserved Lounge at any airport. At the list’s bottom you will see ‘All former Civil Aviation Ministers’. Now that ought to explain, but only partially, why CM Ibrahim thought he could carry a pistol and bullets on a flight last August.

And don’t get carried away by the Jessica Lall and Priyadarshini Mattoo homicide verdicts. If you are a victim, you have to enjoy a certain cachet if you want the public to take you seriously. The next time somebody is trying to insert a sharp blade between your ribs, make sure your attacker has previewed the Who’s Who before his prestidigitation. It’s no use wasting a good bit of steel on a non-entity.