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The soldier stuffs my clothes back into the main compartment and starts on the side pockets. Then I remember. I’d put it there a couple of weeks ago and forgotten about it. My stomach clenches.

“What’s this?”, he pulls the film canister from between the first aid pack and sewing kit. It was a bit suspicious. Me not having a camera and all. His eyes light up when he sees the tola of charas inside.

“You are a drug dealer. A smuggler. You brought this from Pakistan.” He flips through my passport looking for incriminating stamps. “Wait in this room. You are in trouble”.

So I wait. And wait.

He returns with two colleagues. He seems cheerful. “Come with me”.

The room is full of soldiers. Maybe ten of them. Several are sitting on the floor. They are very relaxed. The air is thick with smoke.

“I have decided to let you go. Don’t do it again”. He hands me my passport. Then he hands me the chillum.

At least I got some of it back.

From → autobiography

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