Many of you may recall the claims of our Police Commissioners, made repeatedly, that the Mumbai Police is the best in the world. Sometimes in a moment of weakness, or perhaps, when being less delusional, the Commissioners claim it is the second best in the world, after the Scotland Yard. The Police department’s motto is quite a mouthful - "Sadrakṣaṇāya Khalanigrahaṇāya" (Sanskrit: "To protect the good and to punish the evil").
A couple of days ago I was evil, very evil. I had a spot of work at Worli in a building on Dr. Annie Besant Road. So I parked my car on the wide road which is still known as “Prabhadevi New Road”. This is a road leading from Worli Sea Face to Dr. Annie Besant Road, opposite the old Passport Office. I nipped in to get my work done and came out only to find that my car had been clamped by Mumbai’s finest. I had parked in a no parking zone, a most heinous crime. Now starts the fun.
The clamp had some sort of prong, and on that prong was a note asking me to either go to the Police Chowki - which I am happy to tell you has been defined in the Oxford Dictionary as a police station or jail – or make a telephone call to the number noted on the paper. I made the call and the receiver of the call told me he would be there in 10 minutes to remove my clamp. I was quite pleased at hearing this, a 10 minute wait was reasonable, I had committed a crime, the trees under which I had parked provided enough shade and a delightful sea breeze was blowing.
10 minutes passed fast enough and soon a tow truck turned up with a policeman sitting alongside the driver. The policeman looked; I kid you not, like a cross between Rajnikanth in Sivaji and George Clooney, complete with a pair of Ray Bans. Now anyone who expects a policeman to be honest should be carried away by the men in white coats.
I produced my license and was offered a choice by the cop, pay a fine at once or deposit my license with him and go to the Chowki later and pay the fine to get it released. I chose the first option, coughed up Rs 200 – less than USD 4 at today’s exchange rate – and got the clamp released. I, being evil, was punished. I got a receipt for the payment of Rs 200/-. Do have a look at the receipt. It’s a receipt for payment of a towing charge.
Here is my point:
1. I had parked in a no parking zone. Thus, I should have been fined for that. Apparently I have not been fined.
2. My car was never towed. It was clamped. So why did I pay a towing charge?
3. Where has my Rs 200 gone, probably for a new pair of Ray Bans?
4. Is it a bribe, no I have a receipt. Is it an offence, no I don’t have a receipt.
I am sure with the Lok Pal Act in place all this will magically stop. But why should it stop, what is the offence.
I am so confused.
I hope you now know why Mumbai Police are the finest. Amazing motto too. Remember the word "Jugaad"?