It was a brisk Sunday evening in Hyderabad, and my father and I were headed to the Rajiv Gandhi International airport en route back home to Dallas, TX. After arriving and going through the usual process of checking in luggage and acquiring boarding passes, we headed to our gate. As the call for boarding ensued, we made our way to the gate entrance to show our boarding passes. The attendant at the front desk pulled up our information and indicated to us that we were to be taken aside for further checking by customs. Neither my father nor I were surprised by this, and were in fact expecting to be pulled aside, as we were carrying a large amount of luggage back with us. We were quickly taken down to the airport underworld where select luggage pieces where being brought for further inspection.
My initial thoughts as I made my way down to the lower area was that the layout of the place resembled a mix between a factory warehouse and a subway station. After reaching the section where our luggage pieces were kept, we were asked to describe to the best of our knowledge the contents of each luggage piece. I could see that the airport officials had written something down as being “flagged.” What were the items in question you ask? Well, much to our surprise, the culpable items were in fact coconuts, which were promptly removed from our luggage (and likely thrown away). When we asked the reason as to why they were being removed, we were told that coconuts were considered to be “inflammatory objects” and thus, a flight risk. We managed to make it to our seats with about 5 minutes to spare before take-off, all the while still a bit perplexed at the ordeal. In summation, I suppose the lesson learned from this may be this: Humans may benefit health-wise and get along very well with coconuts. But if you are planning to take them with you on a plane, be prepared to deal with the woes of separation and loss, for they will almost assuredly be taken away from you forever..
By Pavan Puttaparthi