Fifteen years back, I was in London for a few days. We were on our way to Canada as part of the Indo-Canada Youth Exchange Program and en route our Air India flight developed a technical snag. Till another flight could be arranged, we were put up at Excelsior Hotel in Heathrow. This was almost 15 years back.
Today when I see the riots in England, my heart goes out to the Englishmen….due to the small connection I have with them. I mean, what wrong did they do besides marrying Indian women and creating a bunch of hard-partying Anglo-Indians? They don’t deserve this.
In order to try and stop the riots, I immediately booked my flight to London. Once in London, I realized it was crazy. My immediate reaction was ‘why would anybody do this to their own country?’ And then I answered my own question with another question – ‘who in London is from England? None!’
As I was waiting for my baggage to arrive, I saw on BBC channel that scared by the extensive London riots…the French had surrendered.
BBC also had a ticker running which said British Telecom’s stocks had gone up due to the high number of internet connection requests it had received in the last two days. Experts believe it might be from the looters, who ran away with the Laptops. At the same time, Dell’s call center has been inundated with calls asking how to switch on the laptops.
My baggage took a good 30 minutes to arrive. My immediate reaction was to blame the blacks in London, who were most likely to be the baggage handlers…and most likely to be on leave to make sure they don’t miss the rioting opportunity. But another Englishman who was returning from a business trip to Singapore corrected me. He said: “Placing a vacancy available board was a surefire way of scaring the black population away.”
I would have had a biased opinion, if I hadn’t watched the Live BBC Telecast of the riots that followed the news. It wasn’t just the blacks who were rioting….there were whites as well. I was most pissed about this white guy who also stolen BBC’s broadcast mike and was looking into the camera and saying stuff about the riots. What balls he had – he didn’t even wear a mask!
Finally, I got my baggage and exited the airport. Took a cab to my friend’s place in Tottenham. Scared of the riots, the Pakistani cab driver refused to drive me to my friend’s house….he asked me to walk the last one kilometer.
As I was nearing my friend’s house I saw two men wearing black uniforms carrying a television and moving towards a house. I couldn’t allow this to happen in a country I loved – it was looting in broad day light and I had to stop it at any cost. I immediately took a shovel which was lying nearby and hit both the men on their head and
knocked them unconscious. Surprises me to what extent these men go to loot white goods – they were wearing FedEx’s black uniform and had even arranged for the popular FedEx van. I then handed over the television to a black man in a neighboring house and asked him to call the cops and surrender the television.
Satisfied that I had at least saved one television from being looted, I finally reached my friend’s house. Satbir Singh had stayed in Southall for ten years and only recently moved to Tottenham.
“Welcome, my friend!” he said the moment he saw me. “Bad time to be in England,” he added.
I explained to him that I didn’t have any time for formalities and had to get down to stopping the riots immediately. He agreed. He was also very pissed with the way the riots had happen. He was even more pissed that they had to happen during his birthday week.
“Imagine my plight….celebrating my birthday inside the house….watching riots on TV,” he said.
“I can understand friend. That’s why we need to bring back England to its past glory. We need to stop these riots.” I am a determined guy when I am on a mission.
Satbir went on; “Had it not been for my uncle’s gift of a 54 inch Plasma TV, a pair of Reebok shoes and a toaster as gift…I would have really been devastated this birthday.”
“Wow. Your uncle must be rich?” I am always in awe of people who leave their country and end up becoming rich in their adopted country.
“No no…he isn’t rich. He lives on benefits but he really works hard and he said he saved on his benefits for the last three years to gift me the Plasma TV.”
I didn’t have the heart to break Satbir’s bubble, so didn’t tell him that his uncle was a rioter.
Not wanting to waste any time, I asked Satbir for the address of the nearest police station. I wanted to visit them and offer my services to help stop the riots. Satbir accompanied me.
I told the Policeman at the station: “Sir, I have come from India to help you stop the riots. We have riots almost everyday so I bring with me a lot of experience.”
“Please call me Jammy.”
“Mr Jammy…that’s nice of you to volunteer. Why don’t you choose a Police uniform that fits you from the cupboard over there and join us….we are short on hands.”
“Short on hands? Why?”
“Well, 40% of our force is black …and they didn’t want to lose the opportunity. If I were them…I also wouldn’t want to be the only black man in the locality without a 50 plus inch Plasma TV and a laptop at home.”
“I can understand, Police Officer. So do I get a gun and some bullets before I face the rioters?”
“Yes. We will give you five plastic bullets which you can fire on the crowd in emergencies.” I could see that the police officer himself wasn’t too happy with the plastic bullets.
As I accepted the plastic bullets, I couldn’t help but utter: “Wow, Europe is really in recession, huh?”
To which the police officer nodded and said: “Well, this is the increased quota due to the riots. Earlier, it used to be three plastic bullets.”
I had to find out the extent to which the riots had spread, so asked the Police Officer: “John, so have the riots spread to other places? What about Ireland?”
“Well…we have had some white riots in Manchester and Birmingham. You already know about the black riots in London.”
“What about Ireland? Has it spread there?” I insisted.
“Well, there have been two cases of attempted riot on ebay.com & amazon.com….but the police intervened before the rioters could save pictures of Plasma TVs on their desktops. Besides these two incidents, Ireland has been calm.”
After the discussions we headed for the streets. There were rioters all around….some hooded some not. Some strong, some weak. Some armed some unarmed. In short, it was a motley crowed and there was never going to be one single way of handling these rioters.
Looking at so many able-bodied men approaching me, I panicked and shot all my five plastic bullets into the crowd. None hit.
I turned towards my policeman friend John and confessed: “John, all my shots missed the mark.”
He quipped “Don’t worry. We are used to David Beckham doing that. Do what Beckham would have done – carry on as if nothing happened.”
With no bullets….I decided to leave the other policemen behind and advance into the rioting crowd. Outside an Apple store, I caught a teenager running away with a Macbook Air under his armpits.
“Rioting? Should I tell your parents that you stole from Steve Job’s Apple store?”
The teenager was really sacred. But I let him go after he volunteered to become the iWitness to Apple store thefts.
With nothing going our way….the policemen and I withdrew from the riot scene.
Not all is lost in England, though. Due all the shattering of glasses during the riots there is at least one beneficiary – the AutoGlass company. Their sales has increased & stock prices have gone up thro’ the sky.
When I came to know that the Prime Minister of England is still on vacation…I was hurt. This would never happen in India. When did you last hear PM Manmohan Singh go on a vacation? If the English aren’t worried about their riots why should I be? I am back on the next flight. To hell with England.
Note: Hard not to be inspired by all the jokes going around.