Disclaimer: This blog is meant to share the fun and laughter we experienced during the course of the day with our traffic police officers. They are as human as us! : )
This in no way suggests, complains, or criticises anyone’s role mentioned in the story
- Simran Gill with Pramjeet - 'Delhi, I Love You' movement
A dusty, broken road led me to an office with numerous cars parked in a haphazard manner. A dilapidated wooden bench was mounted on a worn out cement floor. I was awestruck as to where I had come. You might be wondering what fascinated me so much about a place I describe in such a nondescript manner.
When I woke up at 7 in the morning to pack my bag with files containing permission letters, not once did I think it would end up as the most interesting day I have had lately. Paramjeet, our official driver and DJ who aspires to be like Virat Kohli, at least in appearance, drove me all the way to ISBT traffic police office on a cold winter afternoon. The peppy Punjabi songs made us forget the strenuous task at hand. (getting permission for painting on public walls).
Two hefty cops walked out of a narrow gate into which we were trying to get our ECO van to enter. Param at once lifted his hands and shouted, “Simran where are you taking me? You know I am not wearing my uniform. It’s like “Khud hi saanmp ke mooh mein ghusna.”(I am digging my own grave).
“Don’t worry they wont say anything to you today, you are with me.” I said with over confidence. Soon we saw the traffic inspector coming our way, his physique and features made me feel as if I was looking at a Bollywood character like our “Sallu Bhai in Dabang.” Param began to hide in the car to save himself from the glare of this inspector. He was about to reprimand Param and he saw me whisk right in front. His stare shifted from Param towards me and his demeanor appeared slightly easier now. "Yes! Madam of what help can this traffic inspector be to you?" I could sense the sarcasm in his tone.
With various noises and sounds juxtaposing each other in the walkie-talkie lying on the inspector’s table, I was about to start my conversation with this friendly man when a call from the Lieutenant governor’s entourage made him jump from his seat. The official had decided to change his route last minute. At once he put up his hat, grabbed the walkie-talkie and shouted, “Get my gypsy in 30 seconds.” He was gone in 30 seconds….
While we waited for him to return, I went and sat next to a junior constable whose job was to sit on that broken bench all day and arrange every confiscated car that comes in. All of a sudden we saw a crane bringing a sexy black SUV into the station. This same man who gave an impression of being meek and lazy jumped up as if some VIP had arrived. “Tu pagal hai kya, itni mehngi gaadi kyun lekar aya hai? beep, beep, beep. Ab lene ke dene padh jayengen."(Have you gone made, why did you confiscate such an expensive car, we will have to give much more than what we fine them for). The crane driver a bit bewildered at the constable’s reaction replied, “Saab, galat jagah parked thi, sadak ki ulti taraf." (It was parked at the wrong side of the road and I couldn’t ignore).
This time with more authority in his voice, the junior constable yelled, " Bh*****d, beep beep... Ja wapis aur yeh gaadi ko wahi chodh de. Ek choti gaadi uthaakar lekar aaja. Yeh badi gaadiyon ko ek sacratch bhi padh gaya na, toh hum joh 400 rupee lene wale the, woh humse 4000 lekar chale jayengen." (Go and leave it, get a small car and come, any small car will do. Don’t get these big fancy cars, we will charge them a fine of 400 rupees and they will seek compensation worth 4000 rupees for just a scratch the car may get because of your action).
Both Param and I burst out laughing, “Param, you are driving the wrong car, go get a big fancy car to avoid any fine.” I suggested.
Before we could regain ourselves from the choking laughter, another traffic constable came saying that he is falling short of 200 rupees to make up for the day’s collection target. The constable shouted in a nonchalant manner, “It’s so simple yaar, just go the nearby market and confiscate a scooter. It will make up for the 200 rupees you are falling short of.” By now we felt we are watching an open air screening of a comedy film and we were still not done with our dose of entertainment. The traffic inspector called out to me and said, “let’s take your car for a round and see what my officers are up to.” We set out driving on the busiest road of Delhi in Param’s ECO Van.
Param and his Eco Van never felt this powerful while driving through ISBT. The road was choc-o-bloc with buses, cars and rickshaws, all trying to cut through the others’ way. A meter away from this chaos, we saw two traffic police officers standing in a corner in their bright white shirts and blue caps, sipping on tea. The inspector dialled their phone number….tring, tring, tring, 4th bell and if they had not answered he would have flown right out of the window of the car and jumped on them.
"Hello, Sir-Ji, hum ISBT flyover ki taraf hain." (Hello Sir, we are here at ISBT flyover), a meek voice replied from the other side. The inspector replied furiously, "Sir-Ji....Main batata hoon woh kya hota hai....ch****ye, beep, beep, beep." (Sir, I will tell you what is that) “Sirji...? And within seconds the officers were on the road clearing the traffic. The fastest we could have ever crossed from that area. Param and I laughed chokingly, without a sound. We were scared that the inspector may just fling us out of our own car…
He looked at me and said, "you wait I will show you how I catch the next lot on the other side.” We turned around and as expected three officers were huddled in a corner and chatting away while the traffic was left to find its own way out. Inspector called, "Hello, tum bh*****d kya baatein kar rahe ho, mujhe bhi sunoa, main aajon wahan par. " (Hello! What are you guys talking about? I would also like to hear, should I come join you?) The officers were left bewildered, wondering where is this sound coming from? Where is the boss? Soon they dispersed and in their disoriented manner started managing the traffic.
This time we could not control ourselves and both Param and I burst into a fit of laughter. The inspector had achieved his moment of glory. He looked at me and said, “They all want me transferred because I make them be on their toes all day long.” I prayed, hoping that it would not happen until my letter was signed.
We reached the station and within 10 minutes I got the letter signed from the DCP Traffic North Region, a man deeply respected by his people. He encouraged me by saying “Things which beautify our city should never face any hassles.”
[click] Message sent to DILY whatsapp group: “We have been allowed to paint DILY’s #MyDilliStory Paintings at ISBT flyover.” I felt a strong sense of achievement.
The inspector offered me a McDonalds burger and a pizza. While the offer seemed tempting, I was done with my doze of being amongst traffic that day. I decided to leave. As I said my goodbye to the inspector and other officers who I had befriended, the inspector called out to me. “Like I said, just got a phone call, I am transferred.” I shouted back, “ Sir, I will now see you in ***** Delhi, very soon.” And we drove away, laughing at the day gone by…
Photo Credits: https://www.flickr.com/photos/francoisdecaillet/8686196275/