Policing it out

Policing it out

I was 10-years-old when I received my most cherished gift — a police kit. My grandma, who had just come back from Singapore, had very thoughtfully picked up this kit after she was witness to a ‘police-robber’ game we revelled in as kids. A pair of shiny grey handcuffs with a key, a whistle and a hat stared back along with a manual. Gosh, it was thrilling! I couldn’t wait to put to use these new toys.

The life of a police officer was very interesting to a bunch of us friends, two of whose fathers were top rank officers themselves. Constables coming home with “the accused” was another occasion in itself. Since my father was a judge, we had innumerable occasions like these too.

These cops worked round the clock. Be it patrol duty or otherwise. What draws me most, even to this day, is when traffic police have both women and men on duty. Rain or shine, controlling heavy unruly traffic is no child’s play. We take for granted these cops directing traffic and easing our way but what a life it is for them, standing for more than 12 hours a day desperately trying to regulate traffic.

Once, a school bus broke the red light and continued to drive through the traffic. The cop whistled and waved but the driver was oblivious to all that was happening around him. The cop, instead of raging and ranting, patiently got him to stop and sent the onlookers into peals of laughter when he asked the driver if he had not learnt his colours in school.

Another incident occurred when new traffic lights were set up in an area that we very rarely drove through. As we were unaware of this development, we sped right past it and had hardly crossed the mark when we realised the red light was on. We immediately apologised to the cop in charge who sweetly assured us, “At least you stopped”. These little nuggets of humour and assurance make life so much easier. Maybe, it would even add a few more days to our lifespan.

This one time, two college students racing down Light House Hill Road on their bike were stopped by a livid cop and booked for overspeeding and driving without helmets. “You youngsters have no value for life,” he thundered. “Sir,” pleaded one boy, “we are on our way to donate blood to an accident victim.” The boys were sent off at once and while they were waiting their turn to donate blood, the cop walked in to do his bit as well. Yes, they do have compassionate hearts.

These are our unsung heroes who quietly do their bit, cheerful and helpful. Following rules when driving on the road is the least we can do to make life easy for them and others.  

Setting our timers at home 10 minutes early would be of help, too, because most times, isn’t it “race against time”?