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Locked out


There is an interesting article at Wired about the art(!) of lock-picking.

A few weeks ago, we had been to New York. On our return, we reached home at midnight to realize that I'd left my keys behind. Lavanya never carries her keys around on trips such as these (her cute key chain weighs close to a pound), so mom, dad, she and I were stranded outside our house.

A locksmith responded to our call in about an hour. After a little bit of haggling over the price, he started walking towards the door.

“How long do you think it's gonna take?”, I asked him. “Oh, about two minutes, perhaps less,” he responded nonchalantly. Impressed, the four of us gathered around to watch him at work. He reached into his bag, and pulled out a long, threaded metal contraption that looked suspiciously like a drill bit to me.

“Is that a drill bit?,” I whispered into Lavanya's ear. She shut me up with a cold glance, and turned back to watch him at work. He peered into the lock for a minute, then turned to me and said, “This is easy!” Then he got out what looked like a 50cordlessdrill,butforfearofanothercoldglanceIdidntcomment.Thenhebeganarapidsequenceofmovements,whichculminatedinhimdrillingalargeholeinthemiddleofthelock.Andhehadthegalltoturnbackandsmileproudlyatus,likehehadjustwonthe[DutchOpen](,andearnedacool50 cordless drill, but for fear of another cold glance I didn't comment. Then he began a rapid sequence of movements, which culminated in him drilling a large hole in the middle of the lock. And he had the gall to turn back and smile proudly at us, like he had just won the [Dutch Open]( The moron had just bored a hole in our lock, *and* earned a cool 100 in the process.

We slept fitfully that night – you can't expect to sleep well when all that is stands between you and a potential serial killer were two chairs stacked up against the door. We needn't have worried though – with locks like this, a chair will possibly offer more protection.

PS : The next day, we asked Geetha and Raja, our friends who had hosted us at New York to check with Enterprise if I had left my keys in the rental car. Raja called me back to say they had our keys. Small consolation. A week later, the keys arrived by mail – they were someone else's. A fitting dénouement.