Saturday, June 02, 2007

Pilot, armed and dangerous

I have always found the idea of "gated communities", in Bangalore, Delhi, and elsewhere, repugnant. These are mini-townships, large complexes of housing, basic stores and other necessities, into which entry is regulated so that the riff-raff are kept out. They haven't yet made their appearance here in Chennai (though there are advertisements in the paper for "Chennai's first", opening shortly).

Nevertheless, it may be a good idea for certain people. The gates would serve a dual purpose: it would keep these people out of regular society.

Visiting relatives today, we found the street outside their house filled with policemen and crowds of local people. From what we could make out, from the scene and from a report that just showed up on Jaya TV, this is what had happened: a boy (the TV said 15 years old, but he looked much younger) was playing with marbles; it went into the garden (or the gated-community-of-one) of a pilot of Indian Airlines; the boy tried to scale the gate to retrieve it; a dog inside barked; and the pilot emerged from his house and shot the boy.

It seems to have been a non-lethal pellet gun, but sufficient to leave the boy in hospital with a bloody and bandaged chest.

True, the boy was trespassing; and perhaps there were provocations that we aren't aware of. But I'd have thought a pilot, in today's world, would be the last person to resort to guns for an answer, especially in a country where gun crime is thankfully rather rare.

I hope he finds himself in a gated community of a quite different kind.

UPDATE: The "official" story is different. Here is The Hindu's version.

At least one detail in The Hindu is verifiably wrong: the man ("Captain" Elias) is not an "Army Captain" but a civilian pilot. One wonders about the other details, almost every one of which contradicts both the local version and the TV report.


Anant said...

Hi Rahul,

Er...but your first 2 sentences if taken as a definition of a gated community would apply to the great temples of learning such as IISc?


Rahul Siddharthan said...

Hi Anant,
If you're talking about on-campus housing: yes.

(Possibly apocryphal quote about TIFR, Bombay, by a well-known American physicist: "It's a marvellous place. India is just a short walk away.)

km said...

Sounds like it was the pilot, not the boy, who lost his marbles.

Rahul Siddharthan said...

km - lost his marbles, and let loose his "golis"?