Published in One India One People magazine, June 2016
POLICE. The very word evokes terror in the hearts of people all over the world- next only to Trump! Be it international or national, this is one force that is insurmountable. Being a policeman is of course not by chance or by luck. It needs sheer hard work and determination. You need 56” chest (the most famous one, by now!), biceps and triceps Arnold would die for and despite sporting all these, they make us sit in the hot sun and write a godforsaken exam.
The day we pass out…oops…it is the day on which we encounter our Passing out Parade, the whole wide world welcomes us with stretched arms and toothy grins. We learn the caverns and crevices of a city, analyze the who is who and the list of do’s and don’ts. This study is albeit more important than worrying about our waistline that starts to bulge. The list of do’s definitely includes shining shoes for the boss, buying vegetables for the Mem Saab and ferrying their kids to and fro from school as our own children take the city bus to school clueless, packed and stuffed.
The list of don’ts is longer than the “guide to read a woman’s mind- Volume 1” and includes impervious rules. Don’t use Police jeep for personal errands (of course the Saab’s story is different), don’t have multiple pockets in your uniform (then how to carry every day’s hard earned money, gentlemen?), don’t be afraid of politicians (who is afraid- they carry berettas and can gun down an overtaking driver and we the police are provided crude guns that were gifts of Hyder Ali to Tipu). Our guns are probably museum pieces and always fail at the right moment to fire at the opponent. But boy they do have clinical precision and fire promptly, whenever we clean them.
Police Act, 1861. This is what governs the Police of our ‘free’ nation. There are all our woes, embedded in the difference of two centuries. Obviously, now we know why Policemen wear the dull khakhis, because khakhis were the ‘in’ thing of late 18th century. Reforms must start right from the uniform. In some Union Territories, say for instance Puducherry, the uniform is a half slack trouser, a red fan cap and a lathi. Ram Ram! Half trousers…so indecent for the police to wear. I am wondering why the moral police brigade is skirting the issue. Oops…it should be ‘panting’ on the issue.
Our cops need uniforms designed by Ritu Beri, like Railwaymen. The vests that are going to be ‘bullet-proof’, I wonder they ought to be named ‘bullet-spoof’ as they let the bullets pass so easily as sand through the sieve. Leave alone the vests and uniforms, the wireless and communication devices supplied to us are probably from Chor Bazar. They can be effectively used by NASA to track aliens from space and negotiate terms with them as only we the force have the bandwidth and wireless that can reach space!
The average Indian is too scared to deal with us, for we are the maa of all goondas. You may be a thief, you may be a dacoit or you may be a bootlegger. To us, everyone has a price. When someone says ‘mere jeb mein police hai’, understand that he has currency stuffed in all his pockets, left, right and center. Every check post, we stand day and night sifting for goods, taking the ‘golden handshake’. Do you know that the ‘revenue’ earned is neatly divided and subdivided? For all those sweaty hours, all we get is a paltry sum. So why do we do it? Because dear people, if we don’t collect the ‘police tax’, you can’t watch ‘singham’, ‘gayal’ or ‘shootout at Wadala’. All Bolly, Molly, Tolly and Kolly woods will dry out of juiciest of the juicy police stories.
Not every cop is lucky to sit in an air-conditioned cabin and relax in the revolving chair, drinking ‘free’ chaai. Ghorewali bride-to-bes sprint faster than Usain Bolt hearing they’re to be married to a traffic sergeant. We would prefer burkhas to the khakhis. Atleast they keep us fair and lovely. The money spent on ‘whitening creams’…we wish they provide us with a whitening cream allowance. All said and done, reforms are imperative to keep the police force ticking, for we have to time travel to future, where you people are living and reading this.
A desperate policeman.