In Oklahoma my suspicion became a certainty, because I landed in the middle of the night at a silent airport, and the US Marshal himself was there to take charge of me. He himself was driving the car, I was sitting behind him. The man who was giving the charge to him whispered in his ear – which I could hear without any effort, I was just behind him. He said, “This guy is world-famous and all the world news media is focused on him, so don’t do anything directly. Be very careful.”
I started thinking, What is their intention? What do they want to do indirectly? And as I reached the jail their intention became very clear to me.
The US Marshal asked me not to fill in the form with my own name. I should write instead, “David Washington” as my name. I said, “According to what law or constitution are you asking me to do such a stupid thing? I simply refuse, because I am not David Washington.”
He insisted, and he said, “If you don’t sign the name `Washington’ you will have to sit in this cold night on this hard steel bench.”
I asked him, “You are a reasonable man, well educated; can’t you see that it is a stupid thing you are asking me to do?”
He said, “I cannot answer anything. I’m simply fulfilling the orders from above.” And `above’ certainly means Washington, the White House, Ronald Reagan. Seeing the situation – I was tired – I told him, “Let us compromise. You fill in the form, you write whatever name you want to write. I will sign it.”
He filled in the form. David Washington was my name, and I signed my own signature in Hindi. He asked me, “What have you signed?”
I said, “It must be David Washington.” I said, “This will be a reminder to you that anything that you want to do – directly or indirectly – you will be caught. It is with your handwriting that you have written David Washington and it is my signature, which is world-famous and can be recognized without any difficulty. Your whole conspiracy has failed. I can see it clearly in your eyes, in your nervousness, in your trembling hands.”
The idea was that if I write David Washington and sign David Washington, I can be killed, poisoned, shot and there will be no proof that I ever entered the jail. I was brought from the back door of the airport, I entered the jail also from the back door, in the middle of the night so that nobody can be ever aware – and only the US Marshal was present in the office, nobody else.
He took me to the cell and told me to take one of the mattresses, utterly dirty, full of cockroaches. I said to him, “I am not a prisoner. You should behave a little more humanly. And I will need a blanket and a pillow.”
And he simply refused: “No blanket, no pillow. This is all you will get.” And he locked the door of that small, dirty cabin.
Strangely enough, in the early morning at five o’clock he opened the door and he was a completely changed man. I could not believe my eyes, because he had brought a new mattress, a blanket, a pillow. I said, “But in the night you were behaving in such a primitive way. Suddenly you have become so civilized.”
And he offered me breakfast early in the morning – five o’clock. In no other jail I was offered breakfast before nine o’clock. I said, “It is too early – and why are you paying so much attention?”