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April 9, 2007

Our Date With A Traffic Police

On a scorching scratchy Saturday afternoon, around 2 pm, me and Muntu were on our way back from Inorbit mall, Mumbai, after some filthy shopping. We had spent about 4-5 hours in and around the mall drawing pleasure by moving up and down the escalators, restrained laughs whenever we see a scantily clad female, highly hopeful gazes at those high-heeled chicks, and giggling naughtily at each other whenever we see an explicitly romantic couple in action. Usually followed by unselective eating and general cribbing about company policies.

Our tummies were full and bloated with junk, wallets were roughly empty and hands busy clutching those plastic bags full of underwears, jeans, Ts and few other things which I tried hard to recollect while writing this, but gave up instantly. I have a valid all-india driving licence, but Muntu doesn’t. As it logically follows, I was the designated rider always and Muntu, the patient pillion, always reminds me to look straight whenever I get lost in the charm of some pretty girl or fancied by that woman passing by. He always guides me when to take a left turn and when not to take a right as I am topographically challenged.

After all that unproductive work at the mall, our energies drained and couldn’t wait more to reach our apt at the earliest. We couldn’t wait to relax on our respective asses. We were past Inorbit by appx 2 kms when we had to stop at a three-way traffic signal. We stopped at the extreme left of the road. I lifted off my discolored helmet and placed it on the petrol tank.

The signal countdown showed some 200-odd seconds. Having nothing better to do, I was looking at my blackened face in the rear-view mirror, adjusted my hair to cover the balding area and was smacking my dehydrated lips to give it a wet look. After a minute, I turned my head appx 90 degrees only to see a man wearing a navy-blue cap, a white full-sleeved shirt, and khaki trousers (loosely hanging to a reddish brown belt).

“This guy resembles a traffic police” I said to myself and resumed looking into the mirror smacking my lips.

“Chalo, ab gaadi baaju hataalo aur apney papers dikao”, he said to me with a constipated look, but a confident voice.

I was motionless for a few seconds. My ego signalled a bruise. “Muntu, please get off, let me show him the damn papers” I told Muntu staging a level of self-confidence he had never seen before. He obediently got off the vehicle, and I pulled the vehicle towards a no-man area.

I pulled out my laminated RC and the driving licence from my wallet. Handed them over to the cop and stood there at ease with hands folded, giving a heroic look at him. While he was carefully scanning them, Muntu was looking at me with a composed grin, standing a few feet away wearing his cherry-picked FastTrack sunglasses and a dark green hat with our Lehman logo.

“P.U.C dikhao”? came aloud from the cop’s mouth.

“P.U. Kya ? I said in my screwed-up voice, instantly pregnant with nervousness. After a couple of confused blinks, not knowing what to do, I signalled Muntu to come and take over.

Muntu removed his fast-track sun glasses, put it through the button hole and drew close to the cop with a stylish brisk walk.

“Saar, ek baar maaf kardo saar, next time P.U.C pakka dhikhayenge” Muntu chipped in.

“Arey mera time waste na karo, paisey bano aur gaadi le jaao” the cop insisted.

“Please saab, chod dho ek baar… Main dil pey haath rakhkar bol raha hoon saab, sirf ek baar apna walah samajkar maaf karo saab” came from a melodramatical Muntu

The pleased policeman looked at him, “Arey baba, atleast tu tho pada-likha lagta hai, traffic rools ka matlab jaantha hai na? Chalo, ab tere dost ko paise dene ko bolo”

(Amidst the issue, I was thinking “What? Only Muntu looks pada-likha? What about me then? Do I look like a barbarian?)

Many other sweetened Hyderabadi words by Muntu were being neatly trashed by the cop. But Muntu didn’t give up. I also heard him mentioning the cop’s name in one of his emotional pitches to the cop. Perhaps picked up from his name plate

“Ek Minute” the cop said, and moved across while stooping a little to examine the vehicle’s number plate. In perfect italics, the plate displayed AP 29D 0259.

“Kya hai ye? Andhra ki gaadi?!!!” the cop expressed. (we could sense his internal joy for a potentially significant cash flow now)

“.NO.C. …N.O.C nikaalo”

I turned around to draw out the ignition key and lifted my seat up. Took the NOC out from the polythene and showed it to the traffic cop. He scanned the dust-rich N.O.C paper twice, top to botton and left to right.

“Tu Mumbai kab aaya tha?” the cop asked me looking at me from top to bottom

“ Do teen mahiney saar” I said while scratching my butt, itchy due to the afternoon weather .
“Acha, ye batao ki tera number plate aisa kyu hai?

“Number plate aur RC ka number 'same-same' hai na saab?” Muntu queried

“Lekin yeh tera number ishtyle se likha hua hai. Aisa style-wyle Maharastra mein nahin chalega. kum se kum dhed-sov rupye bharna padega. P.U.C ka sav, aur is number ka pachaas” he said pulling out his greasy challan book.

“Saab, hamarey paas uthney paisey nahin hain saab, saarey paisey ghar key saaman par karch ho gaye” Muntu said with the most pitiful look ever, showing up those filthy shopping bags to the cop.

“Chalo phir, tum shaam mey paise laa dena, aur RC, licence ley jaana. Main yehi police station mey dhikoonga” he said waving the RC and Licence together, pointing his hand towards the police control room on the left.

By this time, my eye was on the RC. I slowly placed my fingers over the RC and said to him “Saab, yeh RC tho de do, licence rakh lo. Hum abhi ATM sey paisey le aayenge. Paise milne ke baad licence vaapas kijiye”

“Teek hai” said the cop and loosened his fingers over the RC. I calmly drew that out and put it back into my wallet. Sigh!

“Shukriya saab, bas thode der mein paise layenge” Muntu confirmed.

Kick-started my bike and rode off as if we were being chased by a mob of police. Just after the first left turn past the traffic signal, I told Muntu “Babaai, the licence I left with him is worth 30/- only“

“What?” he uttered loudly

“Yes, that’s just a laminated photocopy of the original. I never carry my original” I told him with a CEO-like smile.

“Kya bol raha hai tu?”

“Haan baabai, I do have the original at home HA HA HA HA" I said with a devil-like laugh

We were laughing out loud along our way, non-stop for 10 mins, mocking the policeman’s questions, till a male chorus interrupted our jubilation.

“Oye.………Arey Oye..…..gaadi roko….bahenchod…..gaadi roko...” we heard a shout.
“Rok bhey saaley..rok” said another voice.

Both of us gave a 90-degree turn. This time, we see two men wearing navy blue caps, full-sleeved white shirts riding on a white hero-honda to our right. One of them resembled a familiar face.

“Babai! He looks like the same maamu we spoke to a few minutes ago” I said to Muntu.

“haan baabai..he is the same guy. Gaadi rok lo…apne lene wale hai woh log abhi” nervous Muntu said.

We were really helpless by then. We pulled over towards the shoulder. The cops stopped too and approached us. They looked at us bottom to top atleast twice.

“Kya bey saale, pulis ko ullu banathe kya? Dublikate licence dhikhakar bhagneki khoshish karthe..saale…” the cop said. The other cop kept looking at us alternately, expecting a reaction from either of us.

We didn’t speak a word. Muntu and I stood there handsfolded, heads down. All the passing vehicles were slowing down to took a careful look at our faces.

Within a few seconds, Muntu put up an incredibly innocent expression on his face.

“Actually saab, hum ATM ki taraf hi jaa rahe they. Mmmmain dil pey haath--- “
“Arey chuppp. Kya main ullu diktha hoon kya bey? Huh?” the cop yelled at him looking impatient. “bas, chup kar. Ek shabd bhi nikalna nahi”

He then said something in marathi to his constable.

The second cop sat on the pillion seat of my bike. The first cop had muntu seated on his.
“Chal, woh gaadi ko follow karo’ my new pillion said.

All other riders on the busy road were looking at us. Muntu was sitting behind the cop like a new bride. And I was riding my bike blushing as if a celebrity is seated behind me. On our way to the control room, I visualised Muntu and I being hung naked upside down - as in movies, in a dark room with a huge tungsten bulb swinging around. I also foresaw awkward youtube clips of some gay cops exploiting us. These perceived visuals and clips induced incredible panick in me and I royally bumped into a slow-moving maruthi 800.

“Abey HOWLAY, kya marayega mujhe, haan?” my new pillion screamed. And he apologized to the maruthi’s owner as we moved along.

We reached the control room. After many tactical negotiations, melodramatic stunts, "Dil pe haaths", fabricated stories about our ‘poor and dependant’ families back home, we finally managed to get out of that by paying 300/-.

We withdrew the money from the nearby UTI ATM while we were being escorted by the constable.


sudhir said...

Looks really interesting ..really well written..

Is that a real story ? or your imagination...

Anyway good one..

srijith said...

Good one, 300 for the Bail was a bit cheap though..

srijith said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
magiceye said...

lol! that was hilarious!!

Vishnu said...

Neat job..Well presented Boss...More than the story the way it is written deserves a big pat..keep up the good job.. :)

Victor Guerra said...

Magic eye & Vishnu - Thank you.