If you’re a young male in this country, you’re so screwed. Take my word for it. Being a young person sucks because everyone has power over you. Even the security guards who’re supposed to guard you.
It all started with my turn to spin the bottle.
All evening we’d been playing Jenga, bowling on the XBox and blabbering stupid tongue twisters to get each other to drink a bit more. A bunch of my friends had joined me at my place in Manipal to enjoy a chilled-out weekend indoors – the alternative was to get shit-faced at Deetee, the coolest, dimmest fucking bar known to mankind.
But here I was at home – a young guy, wild and free, and with the stupid bottle pointing towards me. I charged up to perform whatever dare was thrown my way.
It was decided that I would jump into my building’s gorgeously lit pool, which I hadn’t used once since I’d moved in eight months ago.
I have lots of professional swimmer friends but I can’t swim at all – I’m shit scared of the water. Two of my friends who knew this came down with me to the apartment’s pool. I decided there and then that it was my time to shine.
Off went shirt, trousers and my fear. And then came the run-up that ended with a power bomb jump and curl and a 4ft-high splash!
In my alcoholic state, I found myself believing that the water and I could be friends. I heard my friends faintly cheering up from the fifth floor balcony, and whistles blowing. Except the latter sound had come from the apartment’s security guards, who weren’t pleased with my performance.
I looked up again at my friends and saw that the building’s association president, who lived in the flat right above me, was by now in his balcony and trying to figure out what the commotion was about.
At this point, I (who although in my twenties, cannot swim) decided to get better acquainted with the pool, and began to do laps by trying to dog paddle across that lovely space. But when the whistles got louder, I knew it was time to get out. I bid the waves fond farewell and looked for my clothes, only to realise that they’d disappeared, and I was left standing naked, save for the wet boxers clinging to my body.
It took me a few seconds to realize that the two friends who’d accompanied me had scooted with my clothes.
So? Well, I began to run…past CCTV cameras, past apartment residents and past whistle-blowing guards.
I thought I’d cleared that set of hurdles until I came to the last one: a junior guard. He looked down in judgement at my boxers and said, “The pool shuts at 9pm, you’re not supposed to be here!”
I apologised and said I didn’t know, this was the first time that I had ever used the pool. (It was 9.30pm.)
I went back up to my flat to find the building president shooing my friends out. He started to yell at one of them who tried to argue back by saying, “You can talk to us like normal people and we’ll understand!” but this old dude was trying to be all authoritative and all.
Now, it didn’t take much for that man to hate me: I’d been accused in the past of causing his floor and furniture to vibrate simply by turning on my kitchen exhaust fan. But when I arrived and the president saw me in my clingy boxers, let’s just say he tried hard not to explode.
I was given a last warning for causing trouble. From these same people who are supposed to help you against the world, not police you and your friends.
But it wasn’t over. Next, a senior security guard came and for no reason that I can fathom, lost his temper, shoved me around, and dragged me to the CCTV room where I was made to watch a replay of my glorious laps of the pool, my friends running off with my clothes, and my final escape. He acted like we’d done something hugely criminal.
Then he dragged me back, barged into the apartment without my permission and began to search it. Most of my friends had gone, but we found Louis pretending to be a statue in the middle of the living room and Mia locked in the bathroom. My tipsy attempt to convince him that these were the only friends who stayed behind failed miserably when he pointed at the shoe cabinet. Right next to it were Manav and Gaggy, who were pretending to blend into it.
The pompous security guard was drunk on power, and he proceeded to evict the rest of my friends from my own house.
In the end, I found myself facing a fine and copious amounts of humiliation. I couldn’t believe it. It was only 9.30pm, and what we did wasn’t such a big deal. I mean, it was my apartment after all, you know?
Living like this felt like living in prison – with everyone’s eyes always on you. All us young inmates would look sympathetic-suspicious at each other. The trouble is, the authorities don’t feel authoritative until they exert some authority, and there was no way they were going to let this opportunity slip. Their sense of authority was threatened by our subsequent arguing – and that’s really what moral policing is about. That’s what really hit the assholes in the balls.
I soon moved into a new apartment that my father had invested in. Money is power, and power is money. I know that’s sad but it’s true. Now nobody has some silly authority over me – money has given me more independence to be who I am. And all the aspiring social police? They can go shove it!
By Sid Verma