It was a hot, humid night.
The railway platform was crowded-people talking, yelling, eating, laughing, crying.
The man walked briskly…clearly in a hurry. He was tall and sturdily built. Wearing a pair of faded dark blue jeans and large brown boots, he looked tough. A thick steel chain hung between his belt and the left pocket of his jeans. It clanged against the metal belt buckle with every step. He walked erect…the black denim jacket augmenting his broad shoulders. At about 6’4″, he stood taller than almost everyone on the platform.
Stopping briefly after a few steps, he would check the small digital boards overhead which showed the position of the bogeys of the train arriving next. Finding the one he wanted, he stopped and put down his luggage-a small heavy red duffel bag. Just then there was an announcement-the train would arrive in ten minutes.
He looked around-the platform was crowded as expected. All the walking had him perspiring, but even now wasn’t calm. He had a mission to complete now.
He checked the watch. A few more minutes and the train would be here. He started fidgeting…pacing around. Every few minutes he took a few steps toward the platform exit, but changed his mind and came back. He looked at the people around him…they didn’t seem to pay any attention. He looked at the bag and pushed it slowly near the luggage of a family standing close by.
Looking at his watch again, he thought “Nobody would notice if I leave the bag here and get out”.
He took a few steps towards the exit, but stopped again. He was in a conflict. “Let the train arrive, then do it” said one voice….”Do it now!” said the other.
He couldn’t make up his mind. He would pace around, stop, look at the bag thinking something and start pacing again. He just couldn’t stand still.
From a little distance away, a policeman watched intently. He had been watching the man since he had walked in on the platform with the bag. From the way the man carried the bag, it was clear to the policeman it was heavy. He was a new officer, but his eyes were trained to pick out suspicious behaviour. Looking at the man and the way he handled the bag, the policeman immediately suspected the worst-a bomb. Although he had read that terrorists were as calm an composed as they can be before an attack, he did not want to take any chances. He could tell one thing-the man was trying to leave the bag and go-and that was enough.
The loudspeaker came to life again-five minutes to arrival.
The policeman quickly got into action. The railway police alerted the station master. The train was wired to stop where it was. A bomb disposal squad was called for, and a cache of police officers was readied to nail the suspect.
The officers spread themselves in the crowd. Taking care not to let the suspect know what was going on, the officers asked the people to get away from the platform. Slowly, the officers closed in on him, mingling with the departing crowds. The stationmaster made an announcement regarding the delay in the arrival time. He was expressly told not to mention the man or the bag.
The man, on hearing the announcement, made up his mind. Taking a deep breath, he lunged toward the exit. The officers were ready. Swiftly, two policemen burst out of the crowd and tackled him to the ground. The man was dumbstruck, but he had no time to think. “Noo!” he yelled and tore away from the officers.”Stop or I’ll shoot!” shouted a policeman…but the man was already near the exit. Out of nowhere, three policemen appeared between the man and the exit door. They pushed him to the ground and handcuffed him.
“No…please…God…no…its too late…its too late…” The man had turned pale.
The officer holding him by the waist suddenly cringed and let him go.
A dark wet patch was spreading around the crotch of the man.
“I was just going for a leak!” the man broke down.
The bomb squad had meanwhile got to work on the bag and had quickly discovered two steel containers full of laddoos…