Blame it to the Brown skin or the black long kurta that I wore during my travel from India to Europe but I had to go through an Explosive Test at the Berlin Airport.
So, On our way to Paris, we had a plane change at Berlin. After an 8+ hour flight, we were exhausted but had to rush as there was another flight to catch in 1.5 hours. This was our flight to Paris.
If you ask me, Berlin Airport is VERY confusing when compared to Delhi’s. There are no proper series like A,B,C….just random Gates like H, K, M…..All in all, it was a pain to find our way to the gate. The custom police was decent. Took a long time to stamp our passports but that’s expected when you are Brown 😉 & in Europe.
Finally, we found the gate & our bag & us had to be scanned before entering it. Cool as cucumber, we entered the metal detector machine & guess what, it beeped.. it is bound to beep because we as Indians love our metal. The lady officer asks me to step aside. Following her instructions, I calmly let her frisk me, thinking that it will come to end.
The lady officer then asks me to sit down on a chair & let her frisk shoes which was fine too UNTIL she announced that they have to run another test on me. This totally got me worried, anxious & shocked. On asking about the test they intend to run on me, she calmly says “TEST FOR EXPLOSIVES”. My first reaction was “WHAT” I mean, I wasn’t a solo traveler, I was a regular woman travelling with her little family.
On hearing this, my mind runs an image of needles, empty room, more drama & tears BUT instead she took a tiny white strip of paper, touched it all over my kurta & entered that strip in the machine. While all this was happening, my heart was racing & was wondering what possible chemicals could have fucked up & turned into a possible explosive while I was sitting on an airplane seat. I also thought of a possible Bollywood scene where a random gangster leaves stuff in others bags so avoid trouble for himself. While I was busy imagining situations, possibilities & cursing the police, the system for being so Racist. The machine eventually beeps Red & I was free to leave the horrid situation. There was other fellow brown travelers which exchanged glances with me & seemed apologetic for my situation.
During these couple of minutes, I experienced a huge turmoil of emotions. I felt disgusted on choosing a kurta to be worn during the travel & totally questioned my own appearance & way of dressing. I felt anger against them for being so racist & not stopping any whites. I felt very sad to see my little kids feel anxious while this whole drama was happening.
No matter, how the series of events appear funny to us now, there a lot of stories & experiences that have left an impact on our hearts & neither me nor my kids have desire to go to Europe any time soon. I mean what’s the point of spending SO much & end up feeling inferior & helpless in situation like these.
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Also, have you ever been stuck in ugly situations like these? Please do share them.