Tag Archives: police

Constant Vigilance.

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Cobra. Bodyguard. Impower. Bullet. What are these, you wonder? Brand names of pepper spray. Why do I know, you ask? Because New Years’ Eve happened.

Unlike so many others in Bangalore, I wrapped up work at 5 PM on NYE to head home! Yes, I wanted to stay indoors while the rest of city revelled out in ten degrees of chill. If finding commute on regular days is a pain, that evening was exceptionally terrible. It took me ten minutes of futile attempts at booking an Uber and three refusals, before an auto driver agreed to drop me home, by the meter. Anyone who’s travelled in Bangalore knows ‘by the meter’ is a blessing. But was I to know what would follow? In the guise of a request for smaller notes to buy gasoline, he borrowed 2000 bucks from me, skipped the gas stations and took a wrong turn. On my insistence to return the money back, he stopped at the beginning of a flyover, turned around to scare me with stories of a fresh murder he’d committed and threatened to put a knife through me. I, obviously, didn’t want to see him brandish a knife, so a couple of futile attempts later I got off the auto, lest he drive away with me. Oh, he wasn’t crazy; he was crazy drunk. I saw him speed away with my money, but more importantly, my composure and the peace of my family and friends. At the end of three hours, I’d found my strength again, a helpful auto driver and with my friends in tow, filed a complaint with the police.

They say PTSD is diagnosed after a month of the symptoms, which generally show up around 3 months after the tragedy. But what is the diagnosis for the deviant thoughts that strike me every time I step into an auto now? What about the anxiety that rushes through me when the auto driver takes a shorter, new route? What about my friends now who keep asking me if I’ve reached home, while I am still stuck in Bangalore traffic? What would I have done if the man had taken out a knife? You’d say ‘don’t overthink’. I try not to. But when I look out of the auto to distract myself, I catch myself reading auto license plate numbers, searching for the one I’d unfortunately ridden in. When I look inside the auto, I furtively glance at the driver in the rear view mirror. When they argue about the fare now, I prefer to get down midway. When I give them a bigger note, I worry if they’ll return the change. This happened in broad daylight – would I have survived an attempt at night? I have seldom felt more vulnerable in Bangalore but that day in the usually crowded metropolis I found no person to walk up to. There were barely any cars on the roads, people were scattered around on a five-point crossing and there was no traffic police guard. Post my written complaint, I expected the police to immediately start a search to nab a drunk driver – after all, I did have his license plate details on camera. But I can’t tell them how to do their job, right? Would the driver have done this if a man sat in the back seat? Would a pepper spray have helped me? Could I have punched him in the face and gotten my money back? What if the driver hadn’t stopped the auto at my insistence? Should I have sat there and argued or cowered at his macho attempts to scare me?

I am not maligning all auto drivers. But nor do I plan to forgive and forget what happened. What I wonder is what had I done wrong? How do I ensure that I don’t get into another such situation? How do you ensure constant vigilance?

Oh, also. Happy New Year! ❤

Graciously Yours!

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Sacrifice.

In the One Word – Many Moments Flash Fiction series,

Previous Word : Rain.

Brother Sister

She was bawling! He tried asking her what happened. Their mother shushed him.

“This is for you, Mary. You only get to play with this,” the mother said to her crying child.

“What happened, Mom?”

“She wants the train your Daddy bought for you.”

“Oh! I’ll get it for her. Wait.”

“No. She’ll play with her doll. Or else she’ll break both toys by tomorrow!”

“But she’s crying!”

“Let her cry. I’ll get her milk. You go and play with your train. Your friend is waiting for you,” the mother walked away, patting the boy on the head.

Quietly, he went into his room, picked up the train much to his friend’s surprise, and went and gave it to his step-sister.

“There you go!” he said, placing a peck on the three year old’s cheek, who miraculously stopped crying immediately!

***

Police

“This time we’ll go to the fair together!” he told his son, placing him on his shoulder and walking around in the house looking for his wife.

“Maa! Maa! Papa’s back!” the child shouted excitedly.

“What happened?” asked the mother as she came out hurrying from the bathroom, soap suds on arms and a semi-washed towel in hand!

“We are going to the fair together this time! I got my leave from office,” a smiling husband told his wife.

The next morning, the little kid heard his parents talking. The police force required more personnel. The father’s leave had been cancelled. They didn’t know how to break it to the son.

“Papa, we’ll meet you at the fair. And then you can buy me an ice cream,” the kid said, boldly walking in to the room.

Tears welled up in two pairs of eyes.

***

Dogs

Finally, a customer entered. She greeted the person with a bright smile!

“Would you by any chance have change worth Rs. 500?” he asked, extending a note of the same denomination.

Her face fell! She barely had 250 bucks in her cash counter! Her shop was running at a pace slower than a snail’s. She politely turned down his request. Murmuring not so kind words, he left the shop.

Soon enough she heard the dog whimper outside. Taking that as cue for her lunch hour, like everyday she divided her lunch into two equal halves. Keeping her part aside, she went and served the rest to the old street dog lying on her spare ‘WELCOME’ door mat by the side of the shop.

Graciously Yours!

P.S. : The sacrifices made silently are the ones most worthy of applause, because they are least driven by it!

Contrasting Worlds! (For better or for worse?)

Last morning in a deliberate (and desperate!) attempt to set ourselves free from the shackles of our hectic schedules, a few of us went out on an early Sunday morning drive to the not-so-well-frequented places of Calcutta.

Sincere advice — Next time you’re freewheeling around like me, just observe what’s around you.

One of our stops was a road-side eatery in the city. (For Calcuttans, we were near the Calcutta Stock Exchange!). While we sat, waiting to greet steaming cups of tea and hot buttered toasts, under a gray clad morning sky, I looked around me. The waiters were rushing around with plates to be served, waiting on the incoming cars, greeting regular customers with smiles and ‘How do you do?’s, the man at the stove cheerfully doling out order after order, other early risers sitting around in clumps sharing a laugh or two (rather loud ones at that!). It was a quiet, serene and fresh way to start a Sunday! The delicateness and intricacies of the surroundings made you forget all the worries and just wanted to make you sit there all day long, staring at happy faces.

And then i happened to glance behind me. Just a meter away from where we were sitting, stood clusters of police patrol vans. Reason being that the local police headquarters and the State Government;s office was nearby. There were proper police sand bunkers laid out, with somber- faced, rifle-clad policemen in them. Noticing my gaze, my Dad simply pointed out, “They always have to be on the alert, lest an attack take place.”

Enough to shatter my illusion of the peace and quiet.

Contrasting worlds, ain’t it?!

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P.S: To all the men on duty, I salute you for the dedication and devotion you display. At all times. We, civilians, tend to get away from work with small excuses like sickness, birthdays, anniversaries. But for you, life seems work and work seems life. Sans complaints! Immense respect for you!