One day, while resting in the garden, I noticed a car stop in front of my house. A man stepped out with a black suitcase, placed it on the ground and stood there for a while. It looked suspicious. Suddenly he left the suitcase there and rode off in the car.

I didn’t know what to do. But, instead of panicking, I decided to get rid of it. There was a label on the suitcase: ‘Fragile’. I ignored it. The suitcase was locked, but I got a hacksaw to cut through the inferior-quality lock.

I opened it to hear the distinctive sound of a digital timer. A stopwatch was inside wired through a circuit to a plastic jar filled with some coarse, grey powder and a sharp protruding thing wired outside the jar.

I was familiar with circuit designs and found the stopwatch to be a trigger — when it was triggered, electric pulses would be sent to the timer, which activates a 10-minute countdown. At the end of the countdown, an operational amplifier would amplify these pulses through the ‘protruding thing’ with a built-in battery like the ones found in cigarette lighters. It would ignite the powder, which I identified as military grade gunpowder. I cut the connection to the op-amp and removed the lighter from the jar. I had defused the bomb.

I heaved a sigh of relief and looked around. The entire neighbourhood was watching me in silence. I became an instant hero. I was appreciated and rewarded by the authorities. The man was later identified as Osama bin Laden. But I still don’t understand why bin Laden wanted to blow up a hole in front of my house.

Shreyas R., X, Paavai Vidhyashram School, Namakkal