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How They Stole My Chocolate

December 7, 2010

Indian multiplexes have a weird obsession. Anyone who has attempted to watch a movie here knows what to carry better than knowing what to pack when flying. Actually, the list is quite similar.

Here are the list of things that are banned:
– Digital Cameras
– Laptops
– Helmets
– Any piece of technology that is not an iPod or cellphone
–  Food
– Chocolates
– Lunch boxes, even if it is empty
– Water Bottles
– Any other drink, alcoholic or non
– Cigarette Packs
– Lighters/matchboxes

Every time you enter a multiplex, particularly if it is PVR, you are frisked like you are entering the Air Force One.  I’ve asked them often about what exactly is the criteria for these items on the ‘banned’ list. True, once upon a time, people could (and perhaps did) shoot the movie on their digital cameras and upload them from home. But in the age of smartphones, I can shoot the entire thing and upload it even before leaving the movie hall.

But they still stick to that rule. The only time I saw them a little flummoxed was when I was carrying my SLR and refused to leave it at the gate no matter what. No battery, I claimed. Of course, they almost ripped my bag into pieces and nearly did a strip search of me. All the while, I was holding the battery in my hand, with my cellphone.

I was quite tempted to slap them silly right then but they finally admitted defeat and let us go.

When some of us went to a movie a few weeks ago, I had a bag of those Nutties in my bag. I generally have some form of chocolate in my  bag and it had never been a problem. But finding this in a box, the woman was outraged.

“This isn’t food. This is chocolate,” I tried to explain. But they promptly took it away and gave me a receipt instead.

And in the fuss, she ignored the rest of my bag, which had a pack of cigarettes and a lighter in it. Needless to say, I forgot my chocolates there after the movie.

It is little victories like these that make the whole point of the ‘security’ absolutely absurd. I could understand the no matchbox rule. But what is with the rest of the stuff? Helmets, laptops… lunch boxes. Particularly those empty ones.

Marketing and forced commercialization is such a fad in India. The food stalls know that eating popcorn during a movie is ingrained into our subconscious. And for half the people there, this is an outing and the others don’t care about shelling out 80 bucks for a 20 bucks bag of popcorn. The rest – they don’t matter.

But I still do protest. And I absolutely try sneaking in as many weird things as possible every time just for the heck of it.

The best one – when my friend stuffed a half eaten cookie in one of her pockets, went thru the patdown without a glitch and took it out and ate it up the minute she stepped out of the search.

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