The Flight From Casablanca

The flight from Casablanca arrived Jeddah in the wee hours of Thursday, July 3, 1997. After getting through immigration, I picked up my luggage and stood in the long queue of customs clearance.

This part of the trip used to be the most painful. I usually felt butterflies looking at those clod-blooded customs agents looking inside people’s stuff. I used to pay extra care to wash my underwear.

I had a good reason to feel the fear as I was going to smuggle something prohibited into the holy land of Saudi Arabia. It was wrapped in a black plastic in my suitcase.

I opened my suitcase, took out the bag and went to the toilets. I felt as if someone was watching me but I proceeded anyway. A title of a book had inspired me. It was FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY.

I never read that book but its title had inspired me anyway.

I put that plastic with its dangerous contents in the large pockets of my baggy tourist trousers. I had noticed Saudi custom officials rarely made personal checks.

But when my turn came, the officer never looked into my luggage. He simply asked me to step into the booth for personal check!

The uniformed officer was very nice with me. He asked me to empty my pockets on the table.

He made me a very lucrative offer. He told me if I honestly told him about the contents of the black plastic, he was going to confiscate it but let me go free.

A voice warned me from accepting his Satanic offer. I said “these are computer reels containing my business data.” “We got a media office that can put these reels back in a VHS case”, he informed me.

But I insisted there was nothing wrong with those reels. One of them was the movie Fright Night. The second was a collection of Michael Jackson’s video songs.

But the rest of the six reels were 15-minute “lectures” by experts in Sinclair Institute claiming to teach sex techniques guaranteed to enhance the intimacy between the couples.

I had read their ad in Popular Mechanics. They claimed sex therapists and other educational institutes had them in their libraries but they won’t send them to a Saudi address.

I had also seen an ad of The Mail Post, a mail forwarding agency and an ad of a spray can that was 2.5″ large. I made the orders sent to The Mail Post.

The girl there charged me $50 for screw drivers to open the VHS tapes and try to hide them in those spray bottles with a false base like the one I had seen in Jurrasic Park.

But the reels proved too large to fit in the cans. I asked Sue to leave everything in my mail box and wait for further instructions. I was a good client of hers and she was a good, customer-oriented girl.

In 1983, before the start of class XI, I once went upstairs where I used to read my father’s collection of books. He had an excellent collection. One booklet was about the amazing story of Gautama Buddha. Others were about other saints who had found God and still others who conquered the world or made new discoveries and inventions. I wanted to discover something good, if anything was left to be discovered or invented.

That day I picked the thick book with blue hard cover. Its title was EXPLORATIONS. Yummy title, I thought.

I opened the book and on the cover title was a photo of some students attending a chemistry lab. There was that brunette that looked a little like Judy Foster.

This story continues here .

The Flight From Casablanca

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