Better safe than sorry

For decades, readers are treated to anecdotes that are uniquely Bikram Vohra.

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Published: Fri 27 Jan 2012, 6:09 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 2:53 PM

While most are amusing, some should be taken seriously — like his piece on Flying into danger (Jan 20). In this day and age, it pays to be vigilant when travelling. It also helps to pay attention to security related questions during check-in and boarding. Aside from being an unwitting victim in a contraband scam, it is also important to be aware of odd or suspicious activity when travelling — a suitcase with no owner in sight, a passenger with excessive warm clothing, a disgruntled or heavily intoxicated passenger, to mention a few.

These days everyone has a role in maintaining vigilance, especially when society’s greatest enemies are negligence and ignorance. If safety begins at home, then so should security. Knowing the difference makes all the difference.

Lloyd Bayer, Dubai

The Best Letter competition will be back shortly.

Safety first

Flying into danger by Bikram Vohra is an eye opener for many innocent flyers who agree to carry parcels given by known people or strangers without checking the contents of the parcel (Jan 20). Trusting neighbours, relatives and friends is important, but when it comes to jeopardising your whole life, it would be wiser to ensure what you carry is safe. Many will agree with me that we have carried many unknown items given to us to be delivered whenever we travel by air. Now, when I think of the plight of the young boy who got trapped unknowingly by some wily smugglers, it sends shivers down my spine with the question: what if it was me? It is a pity that the best years of his life were spoiled in jail only because he took his neighbours at their word and turned a blind eye to what could have been inside the parcel. From this moment, I know I need to check every item given to me to courier when I travel by air — just to make sure I don’t rot in prison for the blind trust I may have.

Ahsan Ghori, by email

Forgotten stars

In every sphere of life, the saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is applicable and the glam world of Bollywood is no exception (Relegated to the shadows, Jan 20). The celluloid world adores youth and beauty and worships the rising sun. It keeps the stars on the pedestal as long as they fit the bill. But once the youth starts fading and the stars start ailing, they are either left in the lurch or totally forgotten. Madhubala was ‘picture perfect’ with amazing acting ability; so were Divya Bharti and Parveen Babi. Even the much sought-after tragedy queen Meena Kumari died in penury and the ailing Achala Sachdev, one of the favourite screen mothers, is being ignored. Some of the old-timers who set the screen with their powerhouse performances and regaled moviegoers are now wallowing in loneliness. This is a ruthless world indeed where humanity and gratitude have absolutely no place.

Ashish Kulkarni, Melbourne

Woman of substance

The engaging feature on Hollywood femme fatale Angelina Jolie by Cindy Pearlman made my day (Jan 20). Jolie’s metamorphosis from a wild, confused youngster to a matured woman who has donned varied roles is truly amazing. What makes her stand apart from the galaxy of Hollywood stars is her selfless humanitarian work. Her visits to the different parts of the globe (especially the war-torn areas), her concern for people in distress and her crusade to dispel suffering and sorrow and bring sunshine and smiles into people’s lives is the testimony of her magnanimity. By donning the role of scriptwriter and director, she has added a few more feathers to her cap. She is sure to make a positive difference in many a people’s lives with compassion, commitment and courage of conviction.

Jayashree Kulkarni, Abu Dhabi

Climbing high

I have had the privilege of personally meeting Tenzing Sherpa on the day in March 1953, when the British Expedition returned to Kathmandu after their historic conquest of Everest. I was perhaps the first to get Sherpa’s autograph, as he did not even know how to hold an autograph book — he held it with the hard cover up and the pages hanging down — and scribbled Tenzing when asked to give his ‘dastkhat’ in Nepali. Thousands of people had gathered, of which I was one, at Bhatgaon (Bhaktapur) 11 miles up from Kathmandu, where the descent ends and the valley begins, to welcome the conquerors — led by Col. Hunt. Rest of the story another time, but I was prompted to write when I read how Atte Miettinen is planning to climb the Everest after his successful attempts of five of the seven tallest peaks in the world (Peaks of ambition, Jan 13). One has to appreciate this working man’s spirit — training in a high-rise Dubai building with a 25kg backpack, setting targets one at a time... Atte has the advantage of advanced technological gadgets today, which the British Expedition lacked 60 years ago. But the challenges of difficult terrain, unpredictable landslides and bad weather remain. Life itself is an adventure and one has to have a spirit of adventure to get the joy of living and conquering odds that may come on the way. Risks have to be taken but calculated risks as far as possible, without which there is no life worth living!

PK Madan, Bombay

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