America is officially NUTS! (You listening, NSA?)

That’s right, NUTS.

So, I’m riding peacefully along the Gemini flyover.  Those familiar with Chennai would know that the American consulate sits right under the flyover.  Now, the Chennai consulate is what launched my own immigration to America over thirty years ago by issuing me a student visa, and as such, it is of interest to me.  I look over the side of the flyover, and I see a long line of people winding its way by the wall, on the Mount Road side of the consulate. Clearly aspirants to visas to the US.  I identify with them: I stood in such a line thirty-two years ago myself (thirty-two is a power of 2, but I digress). So with a warm fellow feeling, I stop pedaling, and start to take some pictures of the line and the consulate behind.  Suddenly, a private security dude starts to wave me away excitedly.  Clearly, he doesn’t want me to take pictures of the situation. I am several feet over the line of aspirants, and several feet away, on the flyover.  Hardly in any position to harm anyone.  Besides, the flyover is a public place, chock-a-block with traffic.  I ignore the fellow, and continue with my camera.  I discover that I have accidentally put it into video mode, and therefore, I end up taking a video of the situation.  I decide to swing the camera around, and take a video of the traffic on the flyover.  But the security dude, excited kid, continues to wave at me and shoo me away.  I’m very far from him, up on the flyover, so I kinda ignore him, but he gets insistent.  Soon, he calls over some cops and they look up at the flyover and motion me to come down.  This is India—you don’t want to take cops too seriously, they will always try to pull their weight in that childish, decidedly unprofessional manner of all officials in India.  And besides, I was far from them on the flyover and they were on foot. So, I didn’t take the cops too seriously—I just waved at them and made some vague gestures that could have suggested that I’m moving forward.  But that said, I decided I would not ignore them either—who knows, perhaps they had a direct line to the consular officer inside, who perhaps had a direct line to Kerry, who might have sent a drone over to check me out, which perhaps would have shot a missile at me, which might have incinerated me but almost certainly would have incinerated those seventy-three people on the bus next to me, none of whom were armed with cameras and none of whom therefore were enemy combatants.  So I stopped my movie-making and pedaled away along the flyover.

How ridiculous can America get? At some small outpost consulate somewhere halfway around the world, a guy riding a bicycle on a flyover over which maybe a quarter-million people might pass on a given day stops to take some pictures, and security guards and police get all excited and try to shoo him away?  And what good will that do anyway? There must be a dozen satellites in the sky taking pictures of the consulate anyway, and most of those pictures will be in the public domain. One attack twelve years ago, and America has become a miserable frightened nation, descended mightily from its former glory. No beacon of freedom this, no shining city on the hill, just one giant whimpering wuss. What a shame.

(You listening, NSA?)

I share with you that video.  The joker in the hoodie at the right is the said security guard. At t=27, or thereabouts depending on youtube’s mood,  you may hear me try to brush him off, not that he could hear me of course.  Check out the traffic on the flyover—believe me, by Chennai standards it is light.


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