Last fortnight witnessed saw the bomb explosion at the Central Station that sadly took a life, following which we have had the usual noises about enhanced security at the station. The Man from Madras Musings, who has to travel often was at the terminal rather recently and was able to feel the full effect of the ‘beefed up’ (why not porked up?) security at the place following the attack.
There is no denying that the Central was designed for an era when light and air were the principal requirements, apart from easy entry and egress from the place. But now, all entry points but two have been cordoned off. A set of policemen guide passengers, senders off, hangers on and others to a single entrance. Here a couple of metal detectors looking rather worse for the wear need to be passed through. Given the crowds at station, these structures are always on duty and keep beeping endlessly, sounding rather hoarse and tired with the strain.
Thereafter is a baggage scanner. This not being an airport where there is a distinction between hand and checked-in baggage, everything, from laptop bags to large trunks have to be placed on the conveyor belt leading to the scanner. For some reason, this belt is at a height of three feet, needing enormous effort in lifting and placing the luggage on it. And once again, given our crowds, the scanner is on perpetual duty. Imagine just one scanner for the whole of Central Station! As to who actually checks what the scanner shows is a matter for conjecture. When MMM watched the process, the policeman on duty had a bored look and did not appear to care as to what was being packed in by our passengers. Which is all to the good for our travellers can pack strange things indeed. A doctor uncle of MMM’s once travelled with a human skull, which he was using for an anatomy lecture.
MMM did not have much time for standing and musing on uncles with skulls or policemen with bored looks. For his bags were fast emerging on to the other side of the scanner where there was no gentle slope to place the emerging luggage on the floor. A sheer drop of three feet had most of the boxes crashing down and MMM wanted to be on the spot to catch his ere they fell and kiss the place to make it well as the poem goes.
After this check, life pretty much goes on as usual at the station. So much for our security system.