About ten odd minutes past in a "No Parking" zone, there's suddenly this far off din wallowing it's way up to my ears from some where way down the street. Traffic congestion takes a turn for the worse as an exponential factor as the gongs, symbols, chimes and other dB hiking instruments grow louder.
All this while, I'm parked in the "No Parking" "Tow-Away" Zone and as the traffic builds to an impregnable crescendo, I find myself in a position where I can't get my sorry little ass out of the Tow zone....
The Traffic Police finally must have woken from their slumber for the sudden influx of about forty or fifty white-robed cops (corpse! *ha-ha*) began slowly disorganizing the jammed ruckus of vehicular debris. A good hour and a half later, the traffic was somewhat restored to something way short of it's earlier fluidity and relative magnificence, a miserable trickle now of vehicles slowly nudging themselves forward. At this point, what seems like years into this melodramatic ordeal, I find myself surrounded by an eight strong battalion of Traffic Cops. Two (too?) well fed, obviously, senior versions of the same, round at the edges and carrying typical 'Incorruptible Indian-Cop' style pot bellies, scuttle in my direction at the impending chance to impound my vehicle, and, if all goes well, get me, the unsuspecting (?) citizen to bribe them for a favour.
I'm eventually approached by one of the Biggie Cops. That's immediately after a few angry contorts and snappish dialogues with one of the many observing junior cop-flunkies.
The Cop gets straight down to business as usual;
"Do you have a license?"
I go; "I've got a car, and yes, I've got a license."
"Show me. You look too young to drive!"
"You can't snap a ticket on me! Here's the license."
". . . . . . . ." scrutiny is performed upon the license just handed to him.
"License is okay.... Car Registration?"
"Here.... What more?"
"Hmmm, Delhi Registration.... You're in the wrong town beta...."
(for the non Hindi speakers, Beta, pronounced 'Bay-ta' means "Son" in the afore mentioned Indian vernacular)
"No, I'm not, I intended to be here, thank you."
"Well I'll have to impound the vehicle and you'll get it back after a fine of Rs. 20,000/- and a jail term of 12 months - Rigorous Imprisonment!!"
"Oh really? Do you have a superior by any chance who I could perhaps clear this out with?"</font>
To this note, the second Biggie Fatty Cop takes the cue and waddles his way toward us and the car.
"What's the problem here?" I notice here that the Gruff Tuff voice was a carefully engineered one.... :oP
"Your colleague here does'nt seem to realize perhaps that the impound costs Rs.623/- to be released, he says Rs.20,000/-. There's no Jail-Term associated with a case such as this one and he says there's 12 months rigorous! I'm sorry, but I'll have to write a report and a letter to your commanding officer regarding this matter. He'll lose his Job I'm sure, and he'll be doing Jail-term to the effect of 18 months for intentional disinformation while on duty. Quote: 32A, III'rd amendment, 1996." -- (Nothing of the sort exists by the way. I checked when I got back. :oP)
That was my lucky card and I played it.... I still had one trump and I was keen on taking my own sweet time to slap it to the win! :o) It worked like a charm! :o) The guy just stared at me for a moment, perhaps in shock, from which, I guess he'll never recover completely. :o)
I took my chance and added;
"I'm quite sure you'll understand this issue, it's not half as small as your colleagues brain seems to be, and I'm sure you'd be a bit more understanding and professional about this...."
Recovering briskly from the initial impact of the shock,
"Sir, you look like a decent young man, I'm sure you are a law abiding citizen, and your vehicle will have to be impounded. I realize that that's a major pain and It's also a pain for me. Suppose we come to an agreement about this, both you and I can forget about the small matter of your car being parked in a 'No-Parking' Zone"
I knew he was expecting a bribe here, but being the 'honest' (?) citizen that I was supposed to be, I refused to think in terms of a bribe. :-D Instead, I decided I'd waited long enough and it was time for my trump card. :o)
"You shall not have to worry about it, I'm actually quite shocked that you and your people never cared to notice that my vehicle is immune from such troubles as "No-Parking" Zones!"
"I'm sorry Sir, that cannot be, it says right there on the sign behind that tree that this is a "No Parking" Zone."
To this, I suppressed a smile and threw the deck of cards at him;
"Well, just come around to the front of the car and I'll show you something."
He follows me around to the front of the car and then gasping for a moment, he calls his flunkies off and they scuttle away,
"I'm sorry Sir, but you could have told us earlier!"
"You're Cops, you have a duty to the country to be observant and to notice everything, all the attributes you obviously missed!"
This time, I actually did smile....
"Good day to you, and don't worry, I won't deny your colleague of a job. Thank you"
I turned and stepped back into my car powering the windows back into their niches and reveling in air conditioned, head banging music.
That was my day two days ago. And I smiled as I saw what unofficial power the quite unobtrusive yet common word "PRESS" contains! That's about the only reason why I keep my job. of course, the fact that I get paychecks from them is a consolation, but the price of power is hard to dignify. :oP
Before I finish this, some of you might yet have not forgotten the mention of the gongs and whiz-bang dB hiking celebration I'd mentioned at the beginning of this little write-up. Well, here's it is. It's what made my day, really! :o)
Apparently, in the days when the Nizam of Hyderabad still was the 'Nizam' (apply emphasis here!), during the period of Ganesh Chaturti (Festival in praise of the Elephant headed God of the Hindu 'reality') You see, the Nizam was a devout follower of the Islamic word, yes, I think you would.... But the question that must be plaguing you right now would be why a Muslim 'virtual' king have anything to do with the Hindu community.... Well, Hyderabad is world famous for it's strange percentage share of Hindu-Muslim communities. Apparently, the Muslims and the Hindus in this town are roughly equal in their numbers. And yet, it's the most peaceful city of such a constitution. Even the Babri Masjid clashes that wracked India's very bone structure, hardly ruffled the tail feathers of this peace-loving city where Hindus and Muslims live in harmony.
Coming back to my story, The Nizam would follow the Idol of Lord Ganesha through the city as his jolly citizens and his land's people would dance ahead of the procession. The Nizam would smile at his loving citizens and re-assure them of his presence.
The procession which I witnessed the other day was a re-enactment of that very tradition of the Nizam's following of the Idol through the city. The Acting Nizam was a poorly made-up Individual with perhaps no likeness to the then Nizam, But the spirit I believe is what counts.... The Entire procession through the city was a long string of acting Nizam and people acting the part of his family in ancient museum quality vintage cars and riding on decked up horses and chariots. it was a pleasing thought. It must have been fun for the people who were re-enacting this tradition perhaps, but to the people watching the procession go by, it surely must have meant more than just a long line of actors and actresses passing through on a pointless agenda....