Sridhar Venkatasubramanian

Thriller Others


Sridhar Venkatasubramanian

Thriller Others



4 mins

OUR SOUTH INDIA TOUR IN 1975 (Episode 14 of 20)


Witnessed the Railway Police Force conducting a search operation and other stories


From Tirunelveli, we proceeded towards Tenkasi.


Trivia about Tenkasi


Tenkasi is the place where you get to enjoy the Kutralam Falls. It is not only a beautiful sight but also a great place to enjoy a bath under the cascade of water. I was eagerly looking forward to my maiden experience of taking a bath in a waterfall.


But as luck would have it when we reached the falls, we found there was hardly a trickle of water falling. It must be due to the extremely hot and dry summer that year, I thought in disappointment. However, we proceeded further to try our luck at another nearby waterfalls known as Aintharuvi (Five Falls). During the rainy season, the water cascade in this particular waterfall is sometimes so powerful that the administration prohibits people from taking baths there. But when we reached there, we found the cascade very gentle. So, we could enjoy our maiden experience of bathing in a waterfall to our heart's content.


Railway Police Force and the Search operation


From Tenkasi, we boarded an overnight train to Trivandrum. We were sleeping soundly when suddenly we were awakened by a commotion in our coach. I was sleeping on the lower berth and got up to find out what was going on. About a dozen RPF personnel were waking up the sleeping passengers and asking them to open their luggage. I could gather it was a search operation, but what they were searching for I couldn’t understand. They came to our section. Our trunk and hold-all were tucked under the space beneath the lower berth I was sleeping on. The police asked me about it. He was talking in Malayalam, but I got the gist and responded in Tamil that both of them were ours. By that time, my father, who was sleeping on the middle berth, was also awake, and he nodded at the police in affirmation of my statement. The policeman didn’t ask us to open it but went on to search under the berth opposite to mine. Some cloth bundles were lying there. When he pulled it out, I could see a couple of big sacks. The policeman called others, and together, they pulled both the sacks out. One of them stuck a knife, and I could see grains of rice. All this time, the decently dressed person who was lying on the opposite lower berth was watching the operation coolly without blinking. When the policemen asked him about the sacks that were beneath his berth, he simply shrugged his shoulders. Then, when the constable asked him to open the small suitcase that he was using to rest his head on, he started shouting at the policeman. I could understand the conversation because they were now talking in Tamil. The man was saying that he was a respectable businessman and not treated like a common rice smuggler. Further, he would not allow anybody to search his belongings without a proper warrant. By the time the leader of the police team came to the spot. He said to him that this is a special search operation, and if he doesn’t cooperate, it will be treated as obstruction of police work. Then they will be forced to de-board him and take him for questioning. The man reluctantly opened his suitcase. Inside were a couple of sacks, which I think contained rice. The police then asked the man to get down from the train.


Meanwhile, the search was continuing, and I was watching it with great interest. More than a dozen big sacks were recovered from our coach alone. Then came the noise of something being broken. I peeped down the aisle and saw a policeman using his rifle butt to loosen the panel above the wash basin and toilets. Now the police had hit the jackpot. There were many more sacks stashed in that space. 


After about a couple of hours, the train started moving. It was like great drama that you get to see only in movies. I wondered why the policeman didn’t check our luggage. My father told me that they are so well-experienced that they know where to look and whom to question. Also, they must have had some tip-off about the identity of smugglers and their movements. 


In the next episode, I will share the episode of a funny incident at a restaurant in Kerala.

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