July 6, 2008

By Jove!

Most of us who have driven a vehicle any time in India have a cop story or two to share. Most of us beguile others with the tale of interaction with the law where we’ve usually been on the ‘wrong’ side the law. I had some experiences with the upholders of law but nothing can ever top what happened a couple of days ago.

I was zooming by on a new by-pass road from Gurgaon to Delhi. I had my ipod connected and was trying (miserably) to sing along AR Rahman’s Tamil version of Humma from Bombay. My phone was resting next to me and I swear I wasn’t making use of the hands free device. A cop pulled me over. Gurgaon's finest was convinced that I had been talking on the phone. I tried telling him that for once I wasn’t yakking with anyone. He wasn’t buying any of it. He was demanding my license. Whenever a cop asks for a license try to avoid handing it over for a while. This makes me ask for other documents and finally when the trade takes place the act of handing over the license is enough to calm them down.

Back to the tale...I told him that I wasn’t talking on the phone. ‘You mean I’m lying?’, is what he said in his defense. I conveyed to him that I had no idea if that were the case but he was surely mistaken about me talking on the phone. He adamantly demanded the license now and asked me a couple of times if in fact I had one. I handed over my drivers license to him.

I decided to give him a brief introduction of my upright character. I pointed out the marks made by a government stapler when I was pulled up the last time for over speeding; the need speed limit in Delhi is 50 kph while I was hauled up for doing 57! I told him that I never argued for I was wrong and duly complied. He congratulated me and told me that I could visit the courts once again. I now decided to use an emotional carrot.

‘I swear by you that I wasn’t talking on the phone....I was just singing at the top of my lung capacity.’

The cop looked at me as if I had wronged an entire race. He told me why the hell was I swearing by him. A little note on then importance of swearing by something in India.
The argument enters a new domain depending on what you swear by. Everyone, at some point in time, swears by something or someone in India to put an end to cross questioning. The bigger the entity, the greater the conviction, hence easier to go up a notch or two.

The cop looked at me and told me to swear by god. Or my mother. Or my father and spare him. I took a deep breath and did it. I told him that I swear by my mother that I wasn’t talking on phone.

That did it.

He just threw my license back at me and asked me to go on!

By Jove...how am I ever going to top this one off!

1 Responses to “By Jove!”

  • gautam, I do Hope you were telling him the truth! I fell ill on july 6- mummy
  • Post a Comment