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I don’t know why people have this inherent need to modernise everything. It seemed like a good idea at first. I wouldn’t have to carry that large bunch of keys with me every time. Biometric access is a godsend for people with tiny pockets, is what I used to think.
But, my present predicament, I blame on one of the inherent features of any electronic device. No, I am not talking about reliability. I am talking about the fact that, the more you buy, the cheaper the price per unit goes. All the salesman had to do was to show the graph of reducing cost per unit to my managers and they decided to install the biometric lock in every single door they could find in our office. When they finally ran out of doors and couldn’t find any more, that smart ass Ashok who wanted a promotion gave this bright idea. The idea was accepted and now, I find myself standing, at 11 pm in my office, staring at a biometric access panel, outside the toilet. Biometric access is not a godsend for people with tiny bladders.
My thoughts of smashing the panel were interrupted when the call finally went through to the helpline and a polite voice that seemed to be in absolutely no hurry said, “Welcome to Ultra Tight Security Solutions Pvt Ltd. How may I help you today sir?”
I replied in an equally tight voice, “Our customer ID is SUSU7436. I am unable to open one of the locks. I think it is not recognising my fingerprint. Can you kindly let me know the password that can override this so that I can open the door?”
“I am sorry sir, we cannot tell the password to you directly unless it is a life threatening emergency. We first have to explore all other options of opening the door. Are you sure you have been holding your finger on the scanner for a sufficiently long time sir?”
“Yes I have been keeping my finger on the scanner for the past 15 minutes, which is how long it took to connect the call to you.”
“I am sorry for the wait sir. Are you sure your finger was flat and steady on the scanner for at least 10 seconds sir?”
I pressed my finger on the scanner with the maximum strength I could muster in this precarious position. I managed to hold the fingertip steady while the rest of me swayed and oscillated in an attempt to ensure that the lock opened before my bladder.
“It is still not opening. Can you just tell me the password? I am not trying to break into anything, I am just trying to open the washroom door.”
“Are you stuck inside the washroom or outside it sir?”
“How the hell does it matter? I am outside the washroom, trying to get inside.” “I am sorry sir, we have a list of emergency situations where we are allowed to reveal the override password. Stuck inside the washroom is one of the emergency situations. But if you are outside the washroom then we are allowed to reveal the password only if you are more than 75 metres away from an emergency exit and the building is on fire.”
The building was not on fire but something else was and I didn’t want any emergency exits over there.
“Why is stuck inside the washroom an emergency whereas stuck outside not an emergency” Which one do you think is a greater need?”
“I am sorry sir if you are not satisfied with our rules. You can visit our website and leave a comment in the feedback section. We take the opinions of our valuable customers very seriously. We will get back to you within two working days sir.”
I flung the phone at the access panel and hopped around a bit. Not entirely due to anger. The battery fell out of my cell phone and gave rise to a desperate plan in my head.
I rushed past the corridor towards the back of the building. As I reached my destination, I exerted great effort and self control, stretched and stood on my toes to reach up towards the fuse box. The power went off as I pulled out the fuse. I had 60 seconds before the backup power would take over. I rushed back as I couldn’t afford to spill over this short window of opportunity.
The above short story was written as a part of a session at Write Club on 5th September, 2015. It was hosted by Sharath Komarraju, author, founder and prime driving force behind Write Club. He is very soon going to launch his latest book ” The Rise of Hastinapur” which is a sequel to his earlier book “The Winds of Hastinapur“. Definitely a must read if you like mythology and enjoy reading about some lesser known stories behind the Mahabharata.
Speaking of publishing, there is another group of writers who have published a collection of short stories titled “The Ghost Walk and Tales of Terror”. I am a fan of the writing of the authors involved in this work and if you enjoy short stories, I would recommend that you give this one a read. They also have a Facebook page which they update regularly (more regularly than my blog!).
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