Wednesday, March 10, 2004


At the risk of turning into a traffic blog, I shall relate two cop stories. The first one goes as follows: I had parked my bike in a place where I wasn’t supposed to. There was no sign to indicate this but that’s neither here nor there. We'd gone to see a movie (Cold Mountain- the book was better :) and when I came out the bike was still there and so were the other bikes, and I felt comfortable enough to go grab a quick coffee. Of course, these are the times when disaster strikes, and so when I returned the bike was gone. I spoke to a nearby policeman and found that it had been towed away for parking in an illegal area. So I went to the police station. When I reached there, I met this policeman who seemed to be in a tearing hurry to get away. he told me that I will have to pay around 200 rupees for the fine. But since he had only one receipt book (one fine for illegal parking, another for towing), I could either pay him now and come back for the receipt later or wait till he got back and then I could be the proud owner of both receipts. I instantly suspected that I was being ripped off. I mean, every cop expects to make money out of people like me, right? So I decided that I would wait instead. And I waited. Apparently the cop had been called to some particular road where some VIP was expected to pass by, and he was supposed to clear the traffic for the VIP. Finally the cop returned, and since his superior officer was there, he took his time by filling out the receipt laboriously and obsequiously. But alas, I was wrong. The fine came up to 200 rupees. I was crushed. What kind of city has Bangalore become, when a cop doesn’t even try to cheat you. Terrible.

Some days later, I got caught again, but this time by a non-traffic cop, whom I will call Khaki cop (for the colour of their uniform). I was heading the wrong way in a one way zone. So this cop forced me to stop and started escorting me to the traffic cop who apparently hung around at some junction. All through the walk, he kept trying to get me to bribe him, by mentioning the fine amount (100 rupees) several times but I mostly ignored him. I don’t mind paying the fine, but I really hate bribing policemen. It drives me nuts but there it is. Finally we landed up at the junction, and I was feeling relieved that I didn’t have to pay the Khaki cop. The traffic cop asked me to pay a fine of 200 rupees. I said- that’s a bit too much, could he reduce it,- feeling very much like a tourist out to get a bargain. He said- how much do you want to pay. Left with no choice, I said-100 rupees. The guy said- fine, no problem. And then he asked me to hand over the money to the Khaki cop who was hovering around for this very moment. This incident completely restored my faith in cops.