The Terrorist's Trunk




Tick. Tick. Tick. This was not the sound of my heart, for I didn’t possess one. I was only a steel trunk, seated on the bench of a crowded railway platform. Sadly, I knew what others didn’t; housed within me was something that could reduce the entire station to smithereens. A little boy sauntered up to me, his eyes twinkling with mischief. Hundreds of people thronged the platform. The lives of many innocents hung in delicate balance. Along with them, I too would be reduced to rubble. How did I get here? I was born in a factory and sent to Papaji’s Bag Depot, where I earned a spot on the front display. Papaji stroked my shiny surface fondly. “You are born to be a star.” Gradually, my space was usurped by the sophisticated VIP suitcases. I was banished to the back, where I resigned myself to an indefinite wait. Imagine my elation when two weeks ago, a customer chose me! Not the high-end bags, but plain, old-fashioned me. Papaji bid me a fond adieu. My joy of a fresh start was short-lived. My saviour transformed into scourge the instant he placed a bomb inside me and abandoned me at the station. Why me? A constable with a paunch sauntered by. Would he be able to defuse the situation? He just yawned and headed in the direction of the tea stall. Rome burned, yet Nero fiddled away. Tick. Tick. Tick. My prayers were answered when sniffer dogs appeared. Behind them was a Policeman, tall and athletic. I named him ‘Boss-man’. One dog sniffed at me, his hot breath misting on my lid. He began barking like there was no tomorrow. “Bomb squad!” Boss-man yelled. Seconds later, the bomb squad materialized, and their beeping detectors confirmed the presence of the explosive. “Sir, only ten minutes left to detonation. The next local will arrive in five. We don’t have time to defuse or evacuate.” Boss-man made up his mind. He grabbed me in his strong arms and made a mad dash to the exit, jumping over discarded objects, and curious passers-by. He descended a hundred steps to the exit, huffing, and puffing. We reached his jeep. He tossed me into the seat and slammed his foot on the accelerator, barely closing the door. He drove us at lightning speed towards an abandoned warehouse. The suspense was killing me. Would we make it? Or would I take this brave man along with me to the heavens? The warehouse was visible in the distance. With great force, Boss-man hurled me into the air. I did a double somersault and landed without a dent. Top-quality steel, you see.  This was it. The end. 3, 2, 1. Eh? No big bang? “Cut!” A cameraman walked up to Boss-man. “What a shot! This film will be a blockbuster.” Disbelief. Relief. Elation.  This was just a film shoot. Phew! Papaji would be so proud to see me now. He was right. I was born to be a star.

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