Saturday, July 20, 2013

Unusual Occupations - Personal Bodyguard

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I hate writing for prompts. It does not appeal to the creative instincts in me.
 I feel it clips my wings of creativity.
But then I have been suffering from bloggers block for a while now.
I am thankful to blog where  I chanced upon this prompt on WOW ( Write over weekend) that inspired me to shake off my bloggers block and get more disciplined with blogging.

This is a long overdue post for my blog on ‘unusual occupations’.
Almost an year overdue.   
Regulars to this blog have been introduced to the mysterious data entry operator, coconut tree climber, Grocery shop owner and a casino hopping –games programmer in my previous features of Unusual occupations.

This time .. unusual occupations features a Personal Bodyguard. 
No, nothing like that Silly Sallu.
A real ‘Personal bodyguard’.

Derek,  the Top Boss of the top Multinational Corporation that I work for was visiting India. 
It was absolutely critical for us in India to plan his trip perfectly.
Among all the frantic planning and execution we reviewed and rehearsed some near to infinite versions of power point presentations before his visit. We got the finalized agenda a few days ahead of his visit. It was decided that  I was to take the entourage out for a Bangalore sight seeing and enlighten them with information on India, culture, cuisine, economy and history.
My job also included chaperoning the visitors for some souvenir shopping .

Receiving the entourage at the airport was not part of my assignment.
Derek and the rest of the entourage arrived around midnight and so I did not go to receive them.
I met them the next day to chaperone them around for a sight seeing cum shopping trip in the lobby at the hotel.

We met and exchanged hellos and Hi with each other.
Along with Derek, was this handsome hunk dressed in jeans and a linen shirt, who did not care to introduce himself.

I did not want to seem to be too forward and be the first one to initiate the conversation and introduce myself I am usually not the shy types when it comes to formal social occassions, but this handsome hunk rekindled in me my ‘mills and boons’ days and that explains why I was so tongue tied.

He came over and boarded the coach that was to drive us around the city.  I must confess, I could not take my eyes off him. Thankfully he never caught me staring. (Or atleast...I would like to believe so )  

Our Bangalore sight seeing trip went on well. The visitors were intrigued by everything.   
The slow moving traffic, the roads that are anything but perpendicular, the hawkers and their wares, the cows on the road jostling for space with autorickshaws and motorcycles, the onlookers gaping at the foreigners and all the hustle and bustle of commerical street on what is a quiet Sunday afternoon by Indian standards.

I answered their questions and interpsersed some little tit bits about culture, history, economy etc. with a practised fluency that I seemed to have acquired over the number of chaperoning and shopping assignments that I have been doing for visitors from abroad.
Earlier on, when the visitors went quiet and were not asking too many questions, I would attribute it to the jet lag. Over many such trips, I have learnt that it may not really be jet lag but the fact that India overwhelms its first time visitors from abroad with a visual, auditory and sensory overload that makes them unusually quiet.

I let the quiet moments pass so that they could soak it all in.

In this trip, everyone but the handsome hunk was unpertubed.
His eyes were restless all the time, but the cows on the road had no effect on him.   

Everywhere where Derek set his foot, he was a few feet ahead or behind.  If Derek was to cross the road, he would do the pilot.  His movements were quick and seamless. His eyes were sharp.

It took me a while before I realized he was the personal body guard for the Top Boss for this trip.  

Harish – the handsome hunk, who so intrigued me all this while, worked for an agency that supplies personal body guards when High profile and popular visitors visit Bangalore or any other part of India.
Through the course of the day I gathered that Harish worked for the Indo Tibetian Border security Force before he joined this private agency.
He has been personal bodyguard to many such high profile visitors that include Shah Rukh Khan and Bill Gates.     

Escorting celebrities from an unruly crowd without seeming rude and intrusive can be a very unnerving job. The job can sometimes be dangerous as well. You never know a fan who is hunting for an autograph from a mercenary or a sadist who can cause serious physical injury.

Harish recalled how challenging it was when he was the personal bodyguard for Bill Gates during his visit to Bangalore a few years ago. His eyes were sore at the end of the umpteen press conferences and meetings that he escorted Bill Gates to, because he is trained to keep his eyes on a constant vigil to spot a potential danger while scanning the crowd during public appearences.
Someone like Bill Gates could get photographed a thousand times during his visit and it would not have been an easy job to be on constant vigil keeping a sharp eye on the all the camera flashes to spot a potential danger in a micro second.  

The next day we headed out for lunch with Derek to a new mall that had come up round the corner. Derek was intrigued to see India change so rapidly since his last visit which was about 8 years ago. He wanted to go round the mall to see what American brands had camped out in India since he last visited. 

Harish was in the restaurant having his meal at a far away corner with a direct line of sight that  overlooked our table, but at a distance where we could not have been heard.
Derek had finished his meal while Harish had not.  As Derek got up to go around for his walk around the mall, a flustered Harish who was still having his meal at the faraway corner table left his meal and came running to chaperone his Master.

Such are the occupational hazards of this unusual occupation.

Harish seemed like a quiet guy who knew his job as a personal bodyguard. He was dressed in smart casuals and therefore a casual observer would never suspect his presence or his occupation.

I am told he is always armed with a small but powerful gun that is never visible to an onlooker. ( May be he tucks it in his Jeans pocket … ).  This fact about him made him a sort of ‘cool dude’ among my male colleagues that happen to be in awe of his job.  

Ah … boys and their toys.    

When he was around, I discovered that his presence had indeed caused a flutter amongst the girls as well.
( So .. I was not the only one). Not many knew who he was and what he was doing at our office. When they saw me talking to him, some of them came down to make enquiries.
I think I saw a tinge of jealousy in them. ;)

Ah…  girls will be girls …

Looks can be so deceptive.

He turned out to be a shy guy. I noticed that whenever Derek would try to strike casual conversations with him, he would give one word syllables for answers or sometimes just an incoherent smile. Maybe Derek's foreign accent was incomprehensible or maybe he was just genuinely lacking social skills.

By day three, Harish and I struck more conversation, this time in Hindi. I discovered he was more comfortable with Hindi than he was with English.

On the last day of Derek’s visit I asked Harish, if he would pose for a photograph with me.
From the looks of it he was genuinely surprised as to why someone would want a photograph with him.

I told him that I wanted to feature him in my ‘unusual occupations’ blog.

I do not think he understood what I said or the world that I inhabited.
I let it pass.

As I pulled up an onlooker to click the photograph on my iphone in the lobby at the Hotel, 
Harish, the tall and handsome hunk, surprised me.
He gave a mischevious smile, hugged me close and posed for the photograph.


 This post is a part of Write over the weekend ( WOW)  an initiative for Indian bloggers by                            
Write over the weekend 

P.S : Names have been changed inorder to protect the identity of the people mentioned in this blog.

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