Fight for Peace
“To destroy hatred, kill the hatred not the hater!!”
As an ordinary man living an ordinary life, I never visualized anything extra-ordinary about my future. An odd World War Two video game would have been the closest I had ever come to action in my real life. Nothing even remotely close to super-heroism ever dared infect my thoughts, even when at the wildest stretch of my weirdest imaginations. And then love happened!
A well meaning up-to-date citizen, abreast with times, I have read many a stories about fraud; online, inline, out-of-line, any and all kinds. And like any of you even I have occasionally put my grey matter at duress, trying to investigate the possible biographies of buffoons who get checkmated by such slimy eels. One year into love and walked straight into the trap like an innocent hare! Before I knew I was swept away like a fig on the rowdy waters of one violent river; no control of my destiny, no knowledge of my future, no awareness of my present. Was it sapping? Perhaps I’ve run out of right adjectives or maybe the Queen’s language calls for a new word because “Sapping” falls well short of the job it is intended to perform here.
But as the saying goes, “When the going gets tough, the insurers raise premiums.” Suddenly, and quite inexplicably, as if by the act of an unknown deity, I became a man of strength, as if made entirely of valour and nothing else; cut me and I won’t bleed, all you’ll get is streaks of blinding white light. I suddenly knew no fear; fear of future, fear of failure, fear of fate. Foolhardy, you might quip, but far from it, I was always aware of each and every pitfall and risk involved at every stage. I just didn’t care for it anymore as what had been taken from me was the only thing that was important for my existence; my dignity.
Over the last two years I’ve roared like a Lion, fought like Alexander, led like Hari Singh Nalwa, decided like Maharaja Ranjit Singh and rallied like Mahatma Gandhi. Standing in front of a mirror sometimes I found myself staring at Spiderman, at others superman, but mostly Batman. I no longer knew the guy who gazed back at me from behind the closed chilly confines of the mirror. That guy on the other side felt every bit a super-hero straight out of a comic book, a guy I had never known before. The ordinary boy from down the street had suddenly gone missing overnight, replaced by a hitherto unknown knight, “The White Warrior”, or so I refer to him.
On 7th February, 2012, a week before departing for Los Angeles, I wrote an email to the “Inspector General of Los Angeles Police Department”, informing him of my forthcoming visit and how I intend to initiate legal proceedings against six personal from LAPD, six men who are incapable of being entrusted the job of safe-keeping the interests of the society. A group of individuals who can harass an innocent man, a clear victim of online fraud, confine him illegally, deny him his rights under law and misuse the authority vested in their uniform, how can anyone expect them to be the safe keepers of the interests of the community?
If they wronged me because I was not an American, they have wronged every Aussie, Indian and anyone else who is not a US subject, and then no one from outside US is safe in US. If they wronged me because I was of different colour, then even the vast majority of US citizens and residents are not safe in US. And if they wronged me because I am not filthy rich, then 99% of US citizens and residents are not safe in their own country, what to talk about those who are just visitors. They didn’t just wrong me! They are the criminals of the entire society. Men (and women) like them cannot be entrusted the task of guarding the society. When a policeman assists a criminal in escape, when a policeman victimizes an innocent person and tries to create evidence to shut up the voice calling for justice, can anyone feel safe living in a society guarded by such a criminal in disguise?
Anyway, this knight in shining armour or a buffoon, whatever you prefer to address him as, was on his way on the due date and duly reached Los Angeles International Airport on 13th February, 2012. The expected happened!
As a passenger arriving early in the morning at 0948 hours on a United Airlines flight UA 840, I made up the muster for immigration clearance. This was my third trip to the US, the second after the initial incident which led to the situation I find myself in today. As was during the previous two trips, I had a confirmed ESTA status this time too. I made my way to the immigration clerks’ counter who checked my records and looked at me questioningly. I knew immediately what I expected all along is going to happen. He asked me if I had trouble during my previous visit. I explained it wasn’t in the previous visit but the one before where I had landed in trouble. However I explained to him that I am here not to cause any trouble as is evident from the uneventful second trip I made. But then the issue wasn’t whether I created trouble or not, whether there will be trouble or not, the issue was, what do the authorities want? Will they dare to do the right thing or will they stoop to the levels I expected them to? (And I expected them to go “Full Monty” as I will mention below.)
The officer asked me to follow him to a side which I duly did. We walked to a corridor on the side where he asked me to sit on a chair while he walked around the table and picked up the phone to make a call. I don’t remember much of the conversation but I remember following bits and pieces:
Officer (On the phone): “..I’ve marked it P/O. What? Make it T/M!? Alright I’ll send him.”
He marked my on arrival immigration check form with a red marker and asked me to collect my baggage and proceed to the next counter. So I dragged my check in baggage, laptop and DSLR case along as I trudged my way through the airport. By the time I reached the luggage collection point all the people from my flight had already collected their baggage and I couldn’t find mine on the conveyor belt. As I looked around confused, a man sitting at a counter on the side along with a woman walked up to me, but before he could ask me anything I asked him, “I don’t find my bag.” And I showed him the baggage receipt issued to me by the airlines.
Just to mention here, since I was travelling on Qantas for the Australian bit of my trip, that is between Adelaide and Sydney, and on United Airlines between Los Angeles and Sydney, my check in baggage had to swap carriers. But I was informed in Adelaide that my baggage would be forwarded to the next airline automatically and that I need not worry. Worry I did as I had a previous experience where the first flight I ever made, one on which I travelled from India to Australia via Kuala Lumpur, had left one of my bags behind and for my first three days in Australia I was in the same set of clothes. So luckily I checked it with the United Counter at Sydney, where I had gone to check in as I had exited the international terminal to keep my date with “Montreux Jazz Cafe” which is just outside the international terminal T1 at the Sydney airport. No surprises for guessing, my bag had gone missing, or so to speak literally. Actually the badge or receipt that I had been issued at the Adelaide airport was not working and the record for my bag wasn’t showing up on scanning it. The girl at the United Airlines counter had to make a call to physically confirm my bag was there. She issued me with a new receipt.
Just to mention, not just because she was a very beautiful girl with sexy eyes, but because she had helped me, and besides I wanted to use this opportunity as a promotional trip, I gave the damsel one of my promotional CDs. The girl was really impressed and asked me excitedly, “Oh my GOD! Are you a recording artist?”
“I am an upcoming producer,” I replied, “This is a demo CD of my debut album.”
“Aw! Thank you!” she was really impressed, “Are you an Indian?”
“Yep,” I replied.
“Like an Indian, Indian! I mean, you are not a Fiji Indian or something?” she asked excitedly.
I didn’t understand what she meant but I assured her I was a pure “Desi”. That seemed to have impressed her even better, and this little incident kick started my trip on a high, or so to speak.
But that wasn’t all the glamour on my way. As I walked through the customs and headed towards the gate I bumped into another gorgeous girl who was distributing fortune cookies for free. She halted me in my stride and insisted on me taking a couple. “They are free,” she impressed upon me. I still pulled out my wallet. “If you want to pay come again tomorrow and that’s when they will cost you a dollar,” she retorted, albeit a bit hurt at the way I had been warming up to her so far, “We know you are a winner anyway!”
I relented and took the cookies with explicit glee on my face. I headed to my gate. The cookies tasted great but someone who doesn’t believe in fortune and predictions anymore, I tossed the fortune slips in the closest bin without reading them. “The brave make their own destiny,” is the maxim for me now.
Anyway, getting back to what was going down in Los Angeles, as I showed the guy my receipt he walked back to his desk and checked his computer for the record and said, “Your baggage should be here!” Then pointing at a couple of bags lying to a side of another conveyor belt he said, “Have a look at those few bags lying over there.” Indeed that’s where my bag was. I thanked him, grabbed my bag and headed on towards the next set of desks.
Three people, one man on a small desk to the left, another man on a small desk towards the right but a bit further back, and a girl directly in front of him at the right of the walkway, all were busy re-checking the customs declarations of the arriving passengers. I waited in queue for my turn and headed to the girl. She saw the big T/M marked in red on my customs declaration and got out of her seat and walked up to the officer sitting behind her. He asked her to lead me to their senior. I followed her and we reached a room towards the further end of the corridor.
A few seats lined the wall in front of me and between two rooms, one to my right and one in the far left corner. An X-ray baggage scanner lay near the left hand side wall, and there were a couple of baggage scanner counters with conveyor belts in the middle of the corridor just behind where I was standing. The girl informed her senior who asked her to inspect my baggage while he rang someone on the phone. The girl started inspecting my baggage and asking me why I was there.
So we finally come to the point in this write-up where I confront the notion of revenge, and try to define what lasting peace is and how love overrides every other emotion.
At various points on this trip I was confronted with the question, “What is the purpose of your trip?” Invariably I had replied all along, “Business.” Whenever details were sought, which most of the time were, I explained that I was a music producer who was in US to contact a few label offices and try to share my debut sounds. On being pressed further I had also stated that I intend to seek legal advice regarding a case against an online defrauder and a handful of LAPD officers. Wherever was required, I mentioned the email I wrote to the Inspector General of Los Angeles Police. Isn’t all this enough to show clearly as to what I intended to achieve via this trip? Far from it, all these shenanigans were a mere masquerade of what I really intended to achieve. But it was important to do what I did and the way I did it all. Let me explain this bit in the detail it so deserves.
Revenge can never give me peace! Revenge can never give anyone peace!
Hatred can never be finished by killing the hater. You kill a hater and everyone who loves that hater starts hating you. The hatred multiplies!
To finish hatred you have to kill the hatred in the hearts of your haters. If you manage to do that not only your hater becomes your friend but everyone else associated with that hater becomes your friend too. Love, friendship and bonhomie multiply!
I wanted to use the auspicious occasion of “Saint Valentine’s Day” to forgive those who had wronged me because I love her so much, the thought of losing her is worse that the thought of living with my enemies alive, hale and hearty. I can live my life working hard, making a life for myself and trying to win her back, but I cannot live with hatred stifling my feelings and heart. Hatred is too much of a poison to carry in your heart!
Besides progress can only be achieved when your resources are completely available for an investment into future, and are not meant to be the cannon fodder for a battle.
But if peace was all that mattered to me, why did I have to sound the battle horns before making my trip, and even during the trip? Why did I have to sound so arrogant, adamant and often rude?
There are many facets to the answer but the one most important is the message I had for everyone, especially my enemies, the message of what inner peace is all about.
I could have forgiven everyone sitting here in Adelaide, behind a screen and inside the comforts of my home but the message would have been lost. Rather than understanding the depth of my message everybody would have thought that either I am a coward that got scared, or I have lost my will to fight, or I don’t have means to sustain the fight. People would have thought about everything else except the truth. That is why it was all the more important for me to first inform my enemies of my intentions, then travel to Los Angeles and then confirm my intentions before finally forgiving everyone at the right time. I knew I was putting my life and liberty at great risk by doing what I was, but then without love and peace in my life, I am worse than dead anyway. Besides as I always say, “Those who are scared should have stayed inside their mother’s womb as outside it, no place is safe on this earth.”
I put my life and liberty at risk for my love, for the values I believe in, for doing the right thing the right way.
Anyway, getting back to the trip, as the girl went through my luggage what caught her attention was three utensils, one my favourite steel glass (Yep, I love my steel!), one microwave safe plate and a spoon. She looked at me innocently.
“In case I feel hungry at night or at an odd time I will make myself a cup of tea (idea was to use hot water from tap, tea bags, sugar and long life milk) and bread-and-jam,” I tried to satisfy her curiosity.
“Oh I see,” she sounded impressed, “But where’s your towel?”
“It’s there,” I replied pointing to the hiding piece while I thanked heavens she didn’t ask about condoms.
“I must say, for a guy you are very well organized,” she added nodding in appreciation. I graciously accepted the complement.
She saw the papers I was carrying with me, the ones’ related to the case. She asked me what they were and I told her they were related to the case I intended to pursue.
“I’ll show them to my senior,” she said as she took them with her, “These might help him make a decision.”
Perhaps they wanted to know what exactly I had on me, but that we can only speculate. But I can assure you all, what I am going to do and what exactly the case is, it’s all entirely in my head. I can put it all down but I don’t want to help make the job of my enemies any easier.
Anyhow, she took the papers to her senior who was still on the phone talking to someone. When finally the conversation dropped he walked out of the room to talk to me. He said that two officers will question me a bit more and asked me to take a seat. He walked me to the seats by the wall and a few minutes later two officers came and asked me to accompany them into the room so that they can physically search me for the articles I had on me and also count my cash. Once inside the room one of the officers asked me to turn around and put my hands on the wall as he frisked me. He then asked me to take a seat and then asked me take off my shoes so that he could search them. He even frisked my sock covered feet.
The other officer then asked me the details as to why I was there and what I do for a living. I told him I am a Music Producer with six singles released globally, a novelist with two novels available through Amazon Kindle, a DJ, a writer, a political activist, and that I was there to both promote my album as well as trying to contact a few productions houses with scripts for two TV serials. He asked me if I played any instruments to which I replied, “I can play drums, piano, guitar and Tumbi, a Punjabi folk instrument.”
“Can you show me how you play drums?” the officer asked.
“Sure,” I replied as I acted the basic beat in front of him.
“Why don’t I see your left foot moving,” he asked.
“Oh! You want to see open hi-hats as well,” I said as I added the left foot to the beat this time.
He asked me if I knew how to play “Tabla” to which I replied that I did try to learn the basics of Tabla by watching a few videos but I cannot play it as such and only use samples for my productions. By this time the other officer was ready with an inventory list showing all the money found on me and he asked me to sign it, which I did.
As we walked out of the room the officer who was asking me about music, and for the first time I noticed his name as shown on his chest badge was “Khan”, he tried to reason with me about the girl in question, “Why are you doing this? Are you sick? Why are you following her? Do you know what they call such people here? They call them stalkers!”
“I don’t care if she exists. She’s ruined my life and I am here only to get justice,” I replied.
“No, you still love her,” he insisted, “I can see!”
There was this man who wanted me to believe what he wanted to believe about the matters of my heart. I looked at him squarely and replied, “She ruined my life man. I don’t care!”
“Do you know Punjabi?” he asked to which I nodded in affirmative. He continued in Punjabi, “What are you doing? Do you know who these people are? They will screw you!”
I calmly replied, “I am the president of Always Shine Australia Party. I have written three letters to President Obama on various issues concerning ordinary people. Before coming over I wrote a letter to the Inspector General of Los Angeles that I am coming to sue six Los Angeles Police Department Officers and two doctors from LAC-USC Hospital.” And he immediately knew I was there for the business end of things. At that point of time his colleague thrust the inventory of items he had prepared under his nose and asked him to sign it.
“Do I need to sign it?” Officer Khan asked.
“Oh yes you do,” his colleague replied.
This would be the first of the two instances when officers were reluctant to put in their signatures. The reason Khan was being asked to sign was due to the fact that I had earlier alleged racism against LAPD officers when the original incident happened in February 2010.
They said they are taking me to their office. Two officers accompanied me and lead me to a waiting van. I put my bags in the back of the van, whilst I sat in the middle part of the van. The air conditioning was chilling and the fact that I was wearing only a T-shirt in Los Angeles winter/autumn didn’t help much either.
The van went around a block and the two officers led me along with my luggage into a department which was still within the airport. I later realized it was the section where they detain illegal entrants. There an officer was entrusted the task of determining whether or not to let me enter. The officer asked me to follow him as he took me around to a spot where he asked me to leave my baggage, which was literally outside the confines of his office and in open public space in the airport. It was just an open space lined by a police tape and some other items of luggage were lying at the spot. He then asked me to follow him back inside.
In a room he scrutinized my documents and also confirmed the inventory list I mentioned above. He then asked me to hand him my wallet and went on to empty all the contents of my wallet and scrutinize each and every piece of paper or card in it, which included every business card I had. Perhaps he wanted to know all the people I knew.
“Theatre?” one of the business cards surprised him, “What have you got to do with theatre?”
“I have performed as a theatre artist too,” I replied. I had already told him about my musical endeavours and one copy of my demo CD was already lying with him. The officer went on to ask me the intentions behind my visit and I detailed everything including the CD promotion, TV serial script presentation and legal aspects of the trip. He asked me to follow him so that we bring my baggage back inside so he could inspect it. The thought that my baggage might have been tempered with as it was left in open did cross my mind but I didn’t let it affect my grace. We grabbed my baggage and returned to his room and he inspected all the stuff over again. He then asked me to follow him into another room.
We walked down a corridor and reached a hall which had one room to the immediate left as we entered it, thus creating a small corridor with the wall of another room on the right. Immediately inside the main area there was one cabin made up of cardboard and glass walls right in front and one locked room to its’ right. This room had a glass wall that gave a clear view from the cabin. The cabin was the place from where the activities inside the locked room could be monitored. The locked room had a few lines of chairs, two cots lining the rear wall, all perpendicularly to the cabin. There was a TV inside the room to keep the guests entertained. I personally spent much of my time after that in this room watching “Bonanza”, “M.A.S.H”, “Everybody loves Raymond”, “King of Queens” and another show I don’t recall the name now.
Anyway, getting back to the hall description, there were two more cabins towards the far left corner of the room, perhaps three, who cares? Then there were two rooms towards the rear left corner. There was a big exit from the hall on the opposite side and between the two cabins on the left and the cabin in front. This exit, as I subsequently learnt, led you back into the Los Angeles Airport. The officer asked me to leave my baggage facing the exit but by the side of the cabin in front. The officer then opened the lock to the room and asked me to wait inside the room until called by one of the officers. The officer asked me if I needed anything to eat. I just asked for water. I had eaten enough on the plane already and my stomach was in no mood to be obliged anymore. I also asked the officer to let me take a leak. The officer led me out of the hall and a few steps down the corridor by the hall, to the first open door on the left. There was a hall with two toilets towards its’ farther side. I relieved my bladders and returned to the hall where the officer left me locked with other celebrities of the night.
There was a guy of Asian descent, the officer asked him if he needed anything and he asked for food. During my stay in the room I met four people, two men and two girls. While both the men made themselves at home and the officers their bitches, the girls were quiet, and perhaps perturbed. The first guy helped himself to two good meals and even burped on appetising them. The other guy, I don’t remember him entering the room, perhaps he made his way when I was with one of the officers, but he stretched himself on one of the cots in the back. The first time I noticed his presence was when he started snoring as if he had no care in the world where he was. I wouldn’t touch their blankets with a pair of tongs for who knows how many a fleece inhabited them, but this guy was breaking the sound barrier.
Then there was this Armenian chic, short and petite. She had some issues with her green card. She couldn’t either explain much or perhaps didn’t want to, but I remember the black jumper and track pants she was wearing. While her jumper had the word “Famous” written in bold shining fonts, her track pants had the word “P!NK” printed in similar fashion on her back.
The other girl was from Peru, who had a three month visa and was coming to be with her husband who was a migrant. She was pregnant and expecting her first baby in June. She reckoned the immigration officers were concerned that she had come with an intention to have her baby in US thus making the child a US Citizen. I asked her, “Is your husband bringing a lawyer?”
“Why? Do you think I’ll need one?” she almost cried as she asked me.
“Perhaps not,” I replied realizing I have made her concerned. So I tried to calm her, “I am sure you will be alright.”
However, much before this conversation and after my initial entry into the room, a lot had transpired including an earlier conversation with this girl. So let me build up to this conversation.
After my initial admittance into the room, an officer took me out to take my fingerprints to match it to the database, something they had already done at the airport itself. In fact, I have had my fingerprints taken thrice in US now, once for each time I had flown in. This made it four. Radius to Ulna, that’s how you roll the wrist when you take fingerprints, something I remember from my post-grad days. I went through the motions.
“Did they take your picture when they arrested you,” the officer taking prints asked me.
“I’ve never been arrested officer,” I calmly replied.
“I mean when they detained you at that girl’s house,” the officer finally used the right phrase.
“Nope officer,” I replied, still calmly. I was calm because till that time (and subsequently all through this trip) nothing had gone against what I had expected. The officer took my images so as to compare them with my passport image. I returned to my room after taking another leak in the toilet and asking for another water bottle. The problem was the Los Angeles winter plus the air-conditioning made the room cold while I only had a T-shirt on. I was in fact shivering in the room. The fact that my stomach was stiff due to all the feast I’ve had on the plane forced me to drink water bottle after water bottle and that tested the make and model of my bladder even more. One thing kept leading to the other and I made as many pit stops as I needed.
After waiting for a few minutes the officer who was earlier checking through my wallet called me out again, this time for an interview. Once again I had to relive the hurtful memories full of betrayal of trust.
“So what happened that this girl had to take out a restraining order against you?” the officer asked.
“Well officer, my version of the story is that it was a case of online fraud,” I replied and gave him a brief description of the events that led to the situation. I explained how I was trying to tie-up with Adelaide based Rock band “Monkey Box” for my debut single and wasn’t even interested in visiting US in the first place, so on so forth.
Finally after a few minutes the officer said, “Now I am going to ask you some questions and I will type in your answers into the system. This is to determine whether or not to let you in.”
Thus the eye-wash began. The officer asked me many questions and I replied to each one of them honestly. Finally the officer asked me if I had anything to say which I thought might help in making a determination as to my admissibility in the US. I asked the officer if he had got all that he needed to which he read out a few of my replies and asked me again if that was all I needed. I thought for a moment and then finally said, “Officer, I would like to add, the purpose of my trip is purely business and I am not interested in seeing Marie Digby or anyone else associated with this case. If they want to contact me for a compromise or anything it is not my problem.”
The officer then asked me to return to the locked room.
A couple of episodes later (that is, the episodes of various TV serials running on the TV) I was called out again. This time the officer asked me, “When did you last see her in concert?”
“In Japan in 2009,” I replied.
“What were you doing in Philippines?” the officer asked, “Your passport shows you were in the Philippines at the same time as she was having a concert.”
The first thing that came to my mind was, “How does this man know that we were in Philippines at the same time and that she was having a show there at that time, a show she had announced after I had made my Philippines trip bookings and notified everyone via my twitter account?” However, I kept my suspicions to myself and coolly replied, “I was there to talk to various TV channels regarding the two TV serial scripts and my own personal story. I never saw her there!”
I don’t remember what the officer said next but I remember making my point clear, “Officer, this is the evidence that I didn’t cause trouble even when we were in the same country at the same time. And just to mention, this is my second trip to US after the incident. I had come to US earlier as well and after the incident in question, and even then I didn’t cause any trouble.”
The officer was left with no questions to ask so he asked me to return to the room again. A few episodes later he called me out again. This time he confronted me with her filthy lies again. But first he asked, “During the search of the documents on you we found an information broacher on depression. Are you suffering from depression?”
Well friends, you all know if anything I am hyper-optimistic but the question had to be faced and answered. “No officer! This broacher was given to me when I visited the hospital in Adelaide to follow up with what had been written by the doctors from LAC-USC,” I replied.
“So did they give you any medication?” the officer asked.
“No officer! In fact they found nothing wrong with me. If anything it goes on to show the professional malpractice on the part of the LAC-USC doctors,” I replied.
“Have you got any medical report from Adelaide to prove that you are fit?” the officer asked me.
Perhaps you can already understand now why the LAPD officers and doctors of LAC-USC misused their authority in the first instance. Look at how much trouble their actions are causing me. In fact, this whole drama was meant to create a piece of evidence that could be used to both discredit me as well as halt me in case I tried to speak out. This filthy lie of mental sickness was misused by Teachers’ Registration Board employees as they tried to stop me at any cost. People used to do things knowingly to instigate me. But my problem was, if I were to get instigated they would have claimed that I am mentally sick, and if I had tried to tell everyone what is being done they would have claimed me to be delusional. The only option left here for me was to keep quiet and forget about justice. That is what the crux of this case and reason for all my sufferings is. All this finally led to the ruining of my teaching career, although temporarily, for I will get them now. This is exactly the reason why I fight. That is why I had to go to such lengthy extent to collect the relevant evidence. I had to walk a very tight rope!
Anyway, I replied, “No officer! I was never admitted or treated in Adelaide and hence I never got any report. If you look carefully you will also find a paper from the doctor at LAC-USC which clearly states that the issue was resolved, that too within 16 hours of admitting me for a 72 hour check-up.” The officer turned the page over and saw the line that I referred to but kept mum.
Anyway, when nothing seemed to work the officer finally retorted to the last trick he had in his bag for the day, the filthy lies alleged against me. It is another fact, that day I didn’t let him get away with that one either.
“Among the papers that were found in your possession is a statement by the girl which reads as follows,” the officer went on to read the first few lines of the filthy rotten lies this girl had written against me, and then finally concluded, “Is this true?”
Now this was a trick question! The paper was there in my luggage as it was important part of legal proceedings that I was claiming to be going to initiate. But the question wasn’t, “Is it true that we found a statement written by the girl in your possession?” or something on similar lines. Rather the question effectively was, “We found a paper which says this and this about you, is this statement true?”
I brought my concerns to the officer’s notice and explained to him that if the question is what I mentioned above in first instance then it is true, but if it is about the statement, the statement is all lies. At this point the officer became non-cooperative and adamant. The officer wanted me to say either yes or no to the way he was framing this question. I was not happy with the syntax and gave my conditional reply. The officer then asked me to return to the room again.
A few episodes later the officer called me out again and told me, “It has been decided to not let you in this time. You will have to return to Australia and come back on a visa. You can no longer travel to US on a visa-waiver program.” The officer then produced a copy of question and answers that he had asked me for the determination and asked me to sign them. I picked them up and read them through and through. It all boiled down to the same trick question again.
Even though I had clearly stated that if the question is “Whether such paper has been found”, then the answer is “Yes”, but if the question is “Whether the statement is true”, than the answer is “No”. The officer had instead marked the answer as “Yes it is true.”
I asked the officer to change the answer to reflect my point of view which he refused saying he is not going through all that has been discussed again. I then asked him if I could make a correction myself and then initial it, which again he refused. Rather than being helpful the officer instead started acting a schmuck. He used a threatening tone, “Are you going to sign it or not.”
“In its’ current form I cannot sign it,” I replied. When the officer didn’t buzz from his attitude I told him, “Officer, you are only complicating the issue further. This is not going to help the situation. The reason this issue is there in the first place is because no one is ready to do the right thing. All I want is people to do the right thing.”
I was always mentally prepared for this situation to happen. In fact I was mentally prepared for much worse. The officer on his part looked like he was doing this under some pressure as I could see it in his eyes that he knew what the truth and the right thing was but had no option. So I finally asked him, “I don’t know what’s happening, officer. I want to know what will happen if I don’t sign these papers.”
“Nothing, I will give you a copy of the papers for you record and keep a copy for mine which will say that you refused to sign it,” the officer’s tone took no time to change colour.
“Ok then! I refuse to sign it,” I replied.
He then handed me another paper which was permission from someone detained or arrested for his embassy to be informed. Since the embassy can provide one legal aid, I signed it giving them the permission. It wasn’t however unexpected that no one from the embassy ever came. However, the real truth of the situation came out a minute or two later.
As the officer led me back towards the locked room one of his seniors showed up. The senior tried hard to sound genuine as he informed me that his department has decided to send me back. I reminded him how this wasn’t my first trip after the initial incident and also how his officer was well aware of the fact that both me and Marie were in Philippines at the same time but nothing untoward had happened.
The senior however expressed helplessness, “We don’t have any problems with you. It’s just that the higher-ups don’t want you here.” The senior didn’t realize he had just given the cattle away to the Lion.
“You can come back next week if you want to, but you will need a visa,” the officer continued. They are perhaps counting on the fact that visa won’t be granted to me as they can hide behind the reason, “due to your financial situation,” so on so forth. What they don’t realize is, situations change, sometimes dramatically.
“You are lucky you are not spending the night in the lock-up,” the senior tried to scare me as if I was really worried. I was there on a valid “Travel authorization” and I had a copy of it on me. If they had put me in the lock up they would have been in a lot of trouble for it. Besides court was the place they didn’t want me to get to. But I hid my smirk and kept quiet. The trip had already served an important purpose for me. I now have the time plus corroborative evidence. The man who went to US the first time was a lover; the man who went to US the second time was an innocent ordinary man; the man who went to US this time was a lawyer. The man that stares them in their faces now is a politician.
The senior tried to over emphasize his point by mentioning as to how one of the person in the room that night, which I later found out was the guy snoring in the back, was going downtown, that is lock-up. The senior even put in, “A lot of people will come and go in this room tonight, and some of them will be criminals. We are sorry for the inconvenience it is going to cause you but you don’t need to be worried. We are sending you back on a flight tonight.”
“That’s fine officer,” I replied, “But what about my passport?”
“Your passport will be handed over to the flight staff who will return it to you once the plane is airborne,” the senior replied.
I nodded with a smile, asked for another water bottle and took my seat in the room.
This is when I introduced myself to the two girls in the room and the first conversation between me and the Peruvian girl happened. I had just started to tell her how I wrote an email to the Inspector General of Los Angeles Police that I am coming to Los Angeles to initiate legal proceedings against six LAPD officers and two LAC-USC doctors, when an officer who was sitting in the monitoring cabin on the side of the room quickly rushed to the door of the room, opened it and said straight to me, “You! Get up and sit on that chair in the corner.”
I couldn’t control my smirk but I got up and sat in the corner. The first thought that came to my mind was, “I don’t care for a thing about myself but if I don’t follow his directions, these two girls might land in trouble for no fault of theirs.” So with these thoughts in my mind I kept quiet until many-many-many episodes later when I finally had the conversation with the girls that I mentioned earlier.
In between all this, after I had been told that I will be returning to Australia, I told the officers on many occasions that I need a shower facility and a place to change. While the shower facility wasn’t available, the officers said they will give me plenty of time to change. Did they keep their word is for any nursery kid to guess!
The due time arrived and two officers opened the door and asked me to come out and collect my bags. I asked them for time to change but they refused. Perhaps they intentionally wanted me to look dis-shelved so that it increases the impact on the on-lookers who would think, “Oh! This guy is dangerous!”
The officer who had rushed from the monitoring cabin earlier was still there at the desk and told me, “There is no time, just pick up your stuff and get going.”
One of the two constables who were accompanying me added for the effect, “You are nothing here!”
“I am the President of Always Shine Australia Party,” I replied, “And I’ve written three letters to your President and also to your Inspector General before coming over here.”
“Just pick up your stuff and get moving, or I will have to handcuff you,” the officer in the cabin said.
“I am sorry officer but I need to make sure all the stuff that I need is there,” I said as I pulled out the polythene which housed all the case material and manually searched and re-arranged the now mixed up documents.
“What are you doing? There is no time for this,” the officer was nearly shouting.
“These papers are important officer. I need to make sure everything is there,” I calmly replied as I continued fixing up my papers.
“But why would any of them not be there? What do we need from your papers?” the officer retorted.
“These papers are very important officer,” I replied, still calmly fixing my papers, “And I don’t trust the people of Los Angeles! I am sorry officer for saying that but unfortunately my previous experiences haven’t been good.” Now before my friends from Los Angeles get mad at me, I seek your forgiveness and I assure you, these words were not meant to be a statement about the people of Los Angeles, but rather a statement to make the officers seethe with rage. I can assure you friends, I respect the people of Los Angeles as my own. I can never forget that junior girl doctor, the ward boy and a senior nurse who stood by me. I can never forget Jim Luccit who is a gem of a person. I can never forget those many other un-named faces of good people that I’ve met on my previous trips to Los Angeles. I know everybody is not bad! I know everybody can never be bad! And I humbly seek your forgiveness if my words offended anyone of you. But I wanted to leave the officers with minds clouded with negativity, that’s why used the harsh words. It was a psychological trick and nothing more. When in the middle of a battle, there are no half measures!
“We don’t trust you!” the officer was taken aback by my directness, “That’s why we are sending you back.” The two constables who were supposed to accompany me echoed something similar in his support.
“I don’t care officer,” I coolly replied as I fixed all my papers back in the bag and started to re-arrange stuff like belt, wallet, mobile, keys and the small comb I was carrying with me for the trip, thanks to my “It’s a boy” style bangs that I was supporting.
“What’s that?” the officer was literally looking for anything to take a shot at me, “What’s that sharp thing you just put in your pocket?”
“That’s just my comb,” I replied pulling out the offending piece from my pocket and flashing it in his face. “I don’t carry weapons officer. I am a peace loving man. I am a Gandhian!” I added.
“We don’t care!” the officer replied, “Just go now or I will have to arrest you.”
“I don’t care officer! I came here mentally prepared for anything including fake cases,” my reply quietened him.
I picked up my luggage and motioned the two constables to lead me. I followed them out of the room and we made our way to a massive hall inside the airport where there were a lot of shops, counters and everything expected inside an airport. One of the two constables motioned to the other, “We need to get to the other terminal. The United Airlines counter is there.” They motioned me to follow them.
As we walked up a ramp, a big full size bag with all my winter clothes and jackets in one hand and a check-in bag supporting my laptop bag and DSLR in my other, we came across a girl who appeared to be a worker at the airport.
One of the constables asked, “Angel! Is everything finished?”
“Almost,” the girl replied with a smile as she noticed me with a passing glance.
As we walked out of the building, right in front of us was a big black four wheel drive, engine running and all doors open. The two constables looked at each other and then glanced at me. When they saw me looking at their faces they turned their faces away. I smiled and kept walking behind them.
It was a long walk to gate number “6” of the terminal but it felt even longer with the entire luggage I was carrying. But I trudged along. When we finally made our way to the United Airlines counter I was glad to be relieved of one big bag atleast.
Once the constables got my ticket I followed them through to the security check in, only this time I didn’t have to go through the line as we made our way through a security gate reserved for employees. As we approached a desk maintained by few officers overseeing the screening process, one officer came forward to meet the two constables who explained the situation to him. The constable wanted to skip the screening process to save time as the boarding was about to start. Besides my baggage and myself had already been searched through and through on more occasions than one. The officer on duty was more than happy to oblige but he wanted them to sign some papers.
“Do I really have to sign?” this was the second time on this trip an officer was reluctant to sign the legal documents. The officer on duty insisted and the two went on to present their hushed reasons. In fact at one point the constable suggested that I should be asked to sign the papers instead and the officer on duty almost agreed, as if I had the legal authority to do so. Sensing their dilemma and being a good Samaritan, I volunteered to go through the screening if they wanted me to.
“Oh no, we are going to screen you anyway,” the officer on duty replied, though the glint in his eyes betrayed his words. I gave him a big smile and thanked him before submitting myself to the whims of his colleague. Let me put it this way, “Any girl interested in my vital stats knows whom to contact now!” And perhaps gays too! Although being stuffed in my tummy I couldn’t present the dude my hard rock abs, and my chest and muscles were slack by the time, due to lack of carbohydrates supply for more than 12 hours (Remember my flight landed at 9:48 am and it was around 10:00 pm at that time).
Anyway, my man to man molestation ended and we made our way inside.
“I need to buy some mints,” I hadn’t brushed in nearly 36 hours now.
“Be quick! We don’t have time! The boarding is about to commence in a couple of minutes,” the constable said.
I nodded and walked into a small candy shop at the airport and picked up “Altoids Peppermints”, and I can assure you they taste and work way better than most of the mints I’ve tried till date. With my “Confidence to Kiss” back, we rolled on.
We finally made our way to the gate where everyone was visibly taken aback by their company to be. It was a moment good for a typical “twist your moustache and glare deep” move, if only I had one.
“You can sit down here,” the constable said pointing to the last row of seats, “You will board last.”
“Yeah, no worries,” I wonder if he expected me to do a haka in elation.
I sat down while the two constables talked each other’s head off. I pulled out my mobile phone, opened it up and took out my “3 Mobile” sim and pulled out an “AT&T” sim from my wallet. Replaced the sim and turned my mobile on. Those who read my tweets on my “PeaceLoveAdvice” twitter page would remember how I tweeted about my being sent back from the Sydney Airport. Well actually, I wanted to tweet the situation from the Los Angeles Airport itself. However for that I needed to recharge my prepaid “AT&T” sim card. Unfortunately the sim had no number in its’ memory, and I tried virtually every number combination I could think off to try and get to the “AT&T” recharge centre.
When the number combinations didn’t work the only option left for me was to either ask the two constables or one of the co-passengers for the number. But the real question here was, “How ugly did I want the situation to get over there for me?” I was leaving with an advantage, was it worth discrediting my efforts for a few tweets? I decided to wait.
The boarding time came and everybody boarded the flight. I was the last one and the two constables accompanied me to the plane door where they handed the envelope containing my passport to the flight staff after I boarded the plane. My seat was the last one on the plane. It was an aisle seat and the best part about it being the last seat was; I could stretch it back all through the flight without bothering to pull it up for take-off or landing. Thanks to my aura for the night, even the flight attendants didn’t bother to correct me. I stretched myself!
Ok! I exaggerated this last bit and I did follow the flight crew’s directions. But who cares?
Anyway, as soon as I fixed my luggage in the overhead locker and slipped into my seat, I looked at the gentleman sitting on the aisle seat at the other end, the two seats between the two of us being un-occupied. “Excuse me,” I tried to get his attention, “Would you by any chance know the AT&T recharge number?”
Poor chap, looked at me with eyes wide open and mouth dropping, perhaps wondering who am I going to ring and what for? It took him a few seconds to say, “Sorry! What was it again?”
I repeated my question but he said he didn’t know. I think he also mentioned that he was actually from Canada or coming from there. I am sure he had no reason not to trust me and lie. Don’t you people think so?
Besides the problem wasn’t just the fact that the sim was out of the prepaid credit, but the number hadn’t been in use for nearly two years. The last time the sim had been used was in March 2010. I don’t reckon the sim would have worked even if I had known the number. So I resigned to the situation, switched of the mobile as I tried to conserve its’ battery, swapped the sim cards again to set it up for a quick start at Sydney airport, and put it back in my pocket. One thing well and truly clear to me was, “If I fail to update my twitter page before getting off the plane, I don’t know where the situation will head to. I have to make my situation public as soon as practicable, without breaking rules.”
Remember friends, the catch phrase is, “Without breaking rules.” It has got nothing to do with bending them!
Anyway, I stretched my seat and took a long nap. The flight crew didn’t even bother to wake me up for the first meal. I probably slept for about 4-5 hours before I woke up and took my first leak of the flight. If there’s anything I remember bringing back from this flight, it would have to be the nasty cough and cold I caught from this flight. It so happened that when I went into the toilet and took a leak, I decided to gargle my mouth to make it wet and also to get rid of a bit of a stink, while the peppermints were expected to take care of the rest. The moment I put the first sip of water in my mouth (and in case it makes any difference, after washing my hands properly), I immediately got a feeling as if my entire throat had become sore. It was as if it wasn’t water that I took in my mouth but rather a colony of bacteria or flu-virus. It’s been 18 days since and I am finally feeling relief today as I write this piece.
Anyway, I returned to my seat to find two bread sandwiches lying there for me, as the crew had been serving snacks just I had woken up. I checked one of them and realized the piece filling the sandwich looked like meat. I waited for the attendant to arrive and asked him if it was beef or meat sandwich. The attendant confirmed it for me and offered to bring me salad and cheese sandwich instead. I requested for the change and the attended gladly helped.
Once finished with my snacks and tea I finally asked the attendant, “My passport is with the crew, can you get it for me? I need it to fill my customs declaration form.” Now that was an excuse as I remember my passport details by heart. But still!
The flight attended expressed ignorance but assured me to look into it. So he went to have a word with his senior and finally returned to inform me that it will be handed to me by the Captain after we land at Sydney airport and as I will be leaving the plane.
I said to him, “I guess this had to happen this way. You know, before travelling to Los Angeles I wrote an email to the Inspector General of Los Angeles Police that I am coming to sue six of his men for illegal confinement and harassment.”
“Oh you did?” the attendant was surprised to hear my side of the story. I gave him a few bits and pieces before he excused himself to attend to his work.
So I reclined in my seat and enjoyed the movie that was playing on the common screen. A couple of hours from the airport I decided it was time to get chic. I didn’t want to disembark with a beard and looking dejected. I had to get my chin up for I knew I was returning with an advantage. So I took out my bag and pulled out my razor. I went into the toilet, moistened my face and mercilessly shaved my face clean without a cream. I wetted my hair and combed it. Got out of the toilet, put the razor back in the bag and bag back in the overhead locker. Then I took off my jacket that I had put on towards the latter part of my stay in the confinement room and stretched myself. I finally flexed my biceps and behold, there were two hot chics that either hadn’t noticed me so far, or were vary of me, who gaped at me this time. I noticed a glint in their eyes and I immediately knew, “I have nailed it!” I just didn’t wink.
A few minutes later the gentleman sitting on the other side of the seats asked me, “Excuse me mate, can I borrow your pen?”
“Sure,” I smiled as I shared my jewel of the moment with him. Things change, don’t they?
As the plane approached Sydney Airport I remembered my mobile was still set to AT&T settings which I did at the LA airport. I knew I won’t have enough time once the plane lands. From the moment the pilot will say you can switch on your mobiles to the time it takes to taxi the plane, I will get barely enough to tweet two or three tweets. But I needed to say a lot more before I disembarked and walked to the immigration check counter. Time was a commodity bound in miserly constraints. I switched on my mobile, which was in flight mode and hence in no way an obstruction to the plane or any of its’ devices. I changed the mobile to “3 Mobile” settings and turned it off until the plane was about to land. I still didn’t turn on its’ communication and waited patiently for the plane to land and either wait for taxi or make its’ way to the gate, when Captain would allow everyone to switch on their mobiles. I was ready with my hand on communication settings.
The plane landed but the pilot never talked about switching on the mobile. From my experience I know when the seat belt sign is off after landing, you are clear to switch on your device. When the pilot didn’t say a word about mobiles, the moment the seat belt sign turned off I switched on my mobile’s communications. As the people pulled their baggage from overhead lockers and got ready to disembark, I tweeted my first few words in nearly three days. As I was typing my third tweet I received a blank message from my mother. It happens a lot as my mom is not as adapt to technology as my father is, and my name happens to be the first one in her mobile, both alphabetically and because she loves me to pieces.
But this message alerted the senior air hostess who was just standing behind me. She immediately picked up the intercom set and started speaking something on the lines, “Calling security!”
I smirked and continued with my job at hand, tweeting hard and fast. When the person at the other end asked the air hostess as to what the issue was, with nothing happening, she meekly replied something on the lines, “Routine Check!” I smiled and tweeted how my passport is with the flight staff and needs to collect it before I leave the plane.
As everybody moved out of the plane, I pulled out my baggage from overhead locker, turned around and said to the air hostess, “You know, I told the Inspector General of LAPD, a week before travelling that I am coming to Los Angeles to sue six cops for racial discrimination, illegal confinement and harassment. I’ve written three letters to President Obama on various issues that affect ordinary people and I am the President of Always Shine Australia Party. Two weeks ago I made a half hour youtube video in which I explained how 911 was an inside job and how people like George Bush and Dick Cheney are the cold blooded murderers of those who died in those attacks and the 1 million Iraqis that are dead since.”
“You know, even I think 911 was an inside job,” she replied as she tried to hide her surprise that I clearly noticed on her face.
I smiled and walked towards the front exit of the plane where the Captain handed me my passport. I asked him if he had been handed any other papers to which he answered me in the negative and handed me the envelope in which my passport was handed to him. I briefly explained the purpose of my trip and everything else that I had just told the air hostess. I then pulled out a demo CD of my album and gave it to him. He was surprised at how things had turned out and graciously accepted my gift.
As I stepped out of the plane and on to the tarmac, just around the bend where the gate connected the plane to the building, the United Airlines flight crew was all waiting by a side, perhaps to be the first ones’ to have a glimpse of the “Legend” to be.
“So how was the flight?” one of them asked, perhaps to relish the movement which rarely comes in the life of many a aircraft staff, where a man has been put in their custody, supposedly.
“Oh yeah, it was great. Thanks!” I replied as a gracious guest.
“Oh he wouldn’t complain now, especially when we are all standing here,” one of the staff joked.
At this point I gave them a brief detail of why I went to Los Angeles and why I wasn’t allowed in. “Now I have no option but to take the matter to the International Court of Justice,” I finished.
After a brief pause, when they perhaps searched for the right words to say, one of them wished me luck and I gave them all a big smile back and walked on. That’s what champions do! They don’t stop or rest! They just keep walking, keep going.
I picked up my luggage and went through the automatic check-in point where I was greeted by a concerned looking immigration official.
“What happened? What did you do?” he asked me the moment he saw me.
“Nothing, I was denied visa on arrival,” I replied as I tried to control my agitation at the fact that none of the Aussie officials ever tried to help me neither when the incident happened in February 2010, nor when I went there to defend myself in March 2010 with no money to afford a lawyer, and nor when I was detained this time.
“Why did they refuse you a visa?” the officer asked me.
“I’ve got a restraining order against my name,” I replied, “So they didn’t let me in.”
“Oh! So you were detained at the airport itself,” perhaps the officer was under the impression that I did something in US for which I had been returned.
“I actually told the Inspector General of Los Angeles Police that I am coming to sue six of his officers for illegal confinement,” I told the officer.
“What’s that?” the officer asked me as if he didn’t know the meaning of the words, which I wouldn’t believe.
“It means false imprisonment,” I answered his query, “It is a tort.”
“How did that happen?” the officer asked me surprised.
“Well officer, my side of story is that I was a victim of online fraud by a girl and the LAPD officers, rather than helping me, tried to cover up the crime,” I replied, “In fact, no one is ready to do the right thing, and more the number of people who try to stop me, the worst it is going to get for them. If I haven’t stopped fighting for justice in two years, what makes them think I will do so now?”
The rest of the conversation was immaterial. The officer said he needed to check something on my passport and went on to make a call to someone. A few minutes later he got a message on his radio, “Negative!” The officer told me I was free to go.
I pulled out a demo CD of my album and gave it to the officer, “This is a copy of my album which I had gone to promote alongside.”
“Oh thanks!” the officer replied, “But I am sorry I cannot accept it. It will appear I am taking a bribe. There are so many cameras around.”
I understood the officer’s limitations, took my album back, thanked him, and marched on.
Once outside the terminal the first thing I did was to walk into a toilet to change my clothes. Changing my T-shirt was alright but when it came down to change my jeans I was caught in the dilemma of whether to do it openly or walk into a toilet cabin to change it. I didn’t want to offend anyone by stripping down to my underwear in public. So I walked into a cabin. But the space inside wasn’t enough to put all my stuff inside and change as well. So I had to keep the door open with my baggage lying right in front as I took my jeans off and put on an anti-fit, crew trousers. An old Asian guy, who had been waiting for a cabin to get vacant, saw me changing and said, “Oh! You forgot to close the door!”
“Nah, I am just changing my trousers,” I smiled and replied as the poor chap hurried away.
As I was doing all this in the toilet a man walked in with balloons and a heart saying, “Welcome home!” I smiled.
I took a deodorant shower, washed my face and wetted my hair, combed my locks, and after tidying myself, moved on.
I made my way to the Virgin counter and asked them for a ticket to Adelaide. They informed me that I have to go to the domestic terminal where I can buy a ticket to Adelaide. They gave me a coupon for transit bus which was already waiting outside. I made my way to the Virgin counter at domestic terminal and bought my ticket. The girl at the counter was extremely nice and gave me a discount, so I gave her my demo CD as a gift. We both smiled and I am sure she would have noticed the glint in my eyes as well, just like hers’. She was a beautiful girl!
I grabbed a Ginger-Lemongrass tea, tweeted a few times and finally entered the terminal. I was once again feeling hungry and the sight of various food joints across the food court didn’t help either. There were McDonalds, Subway, Hungry-Jacks (Burger King), and a few others. I decided, “If I am going to spend money, I may as well support a small business.” I walked straight to a shop named “Sahara” and bought their vegetarian meal. It was not only fulfilling but tasted amazing. I was glad at my money well spent.
I finally made my way to the gate, boarded the flight and off I was for Adelaide.
Perhaps it would all be uneventful for the rest of it, or so one would imagine. Alas friends, there is nothing un-eventful about my life.
Well friends, the fact that I paid nine dollars and watched “Puss in Boots” is not the event I am referring to here. I am referring to the weird company I had.
I was in aisle seat, thanks to the gorgeous girl at Virgin counter, and the middle seat was empty. But sitting in window seat was a lady that looked like an internationally known political leader, only a bit older. Everything else was alright about her except for the red handkerchief she was holding in her hand that was bent at the elbow, resting on the window edge, inside wrist facing me, and the kerchief placed precariously close to her lips.
Now friends, I carry a black handkerchief which represents a “Kafan” or the cloth in which dead bodies are wrapped. It means that I carry my death with me. But what does red signify? Hidden sexual desires?
And then to my right side and on the aisle seat of the opposite side, one row behind me was a beautiful girl who reminded me of a gorgeous girl I would refer only to as “Sexy 13” here. She had earlier made her presence felt when she made the old fellow sitting in the aisle seat switch places as she was a bad flier and didn’t want to sit next to the window. Yours truly had actually offered to swap places with her. I would have loved to travel with the elderly couple who reminded me of my own grandparents.
Anyway, that is not the event that I am so excited to share about. Actually, the real show stealer was the man who was sitting right behind me. For the entire flight he kept rubbing my leg with his foot. In fact a few times I wondered if there was a cat or a mongoose on the plane. Yikes! Thank goodness planes don’t fly through tunnels or I might even have had to survive an attempt to rape.
Even more grateful I am to the fact, the rest of the journey ended peacefully and uneventfully.
By the way, the rest of it that I am referring to here is my cab ride from the airport to my home, which was five minutes long.
So much for a non-stop trip to and fro from Los Angeles!
Fatal Urge Carefree Kissing,
Amanpreet Singh Rai