Vantage point

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

"I'm The Milk"

Here's another anecdote that just came back to me in a flash of recollection. It happened earlier this year at the San Diego airport. I had taken the boarding pass for my flight to Minneapolis, and was waiting for security check in a queue.

There were four security check counters. Three were identical, and one was slightly different. It was apparently for "thorough" security check, for which certain passengers were chosen by the security personnel. I was obviously one of them, on account of my brown skin. Now I have no problems with that. America suffered a massive terrorist attack at the hands of 19 air-travellers, with skin similar to mine. I can understand if they feel a bit worried about letting me get on a plane without a thorough security check. And hey, it's their country, so I'll play by their rules. After all, don't the tourists pay the "white-skin-tax" at every stage in India?

I stood in the "thorough" queue, and looked at others standing in the queue. Most of the folks were either black or brown, but there were one or two white men as well. One such white man was standing behind me. He probably noticed me observing the composition fo the queue and said to me,

"I'm the milk."

"Beg your pardon?", I said, not sure if I heard him right. Did he just say he was the milk?

"I'm the milk" he said and seeing the puzzled expression on my face, went on "The milk added to make sure this coffee doesn't seem too dark."

The "thorough" checking, by the way, was not as thorough as I feared. Clearly I look less terrorist-like than George Fernandes. I was not strip-searched or anything. My hand-luggage and laptop were carefully examined, and I was made to walk through an arch where half a dozen tiny tubes pumped air at me(!!). Besides that it was no different from a normal security check.