Efficiency is said to be a capitalistic concept. But, I intuit that the Indian police is slowly coming to grips with many such antisocial concepts. This has not always been the case. I had sought their services before, and I was often terribly disappointed with their “way of doing things”.
I remember the day I shifted my “home” to Malviya Nagar. Some boys in the neighborhood threw water balloons on me, and I saw their stupid mother standing on the balcony, watching this with glee. I walked straight to the police station and registered a complaint. After calling the boys, the police said, “Beta, this is a festival called Holi. These are children, and they were playing.” It appears that the people in this country do not understand the concept of private property.
What happened next was this. One night, my internet connection suddenly went off when I was struggling to finish off an assignment. When I called the internet guy, he yelled: “Today is my birthday. I am celebrating, Yaar.” But, he was not happy when he got the phone call from the police station, asking: “He does not even know our language. Why are you doing this to him?” Even the most dishonest men I have known understood that it would be better if they shape up after I hinted that the police uncle is lurking somewhere around the corner. I am often surprised when I see that with all its flaws, the police deters the average Joe from going too far in the pursuit of dishonesty.
I remembered the police again when I joined Business Standard. I wanted my payment slips and “Acceptance of resignation” letter from the Magazine I had worked with (Careers360). When I called up the accountant, he hung up my call. When I emailed him, marking the editor, Mr. Marx, the accountant sent me an SMS saying that his father died. And I am not supposed to put him through “strain” at this phase. But, then I noticed that the call I had made to him was a local call.
I went to the police station to register a complaint against my Magazine, and editors like Manu Joseph who play intra-office politics by leaking drafts and cutting my favorite passages. In the police station, there was this young lady who enjoyed the sight of me asking her “favour”. The police inspector said that he was surprised that there are people who do not know Hindi. A lady who came to seek their “services” said that I am a South Indian and that South Indians do not speak Hindi. The Inspector said, “But, South Indians know Hindi. I know South Indians. They speak Hindi”. And then he redirected me to a labor court. I went to some place called Karkadooma courts. I felt that what I saw there was worse than any of Mr. Marx’s “Yes, Boss” meetings.
I decided to handle them myself.
There was a little girl called Baby Priyanka in my Magazine office. When I used to ask her, “Does Baby Priyanka press the finger print reading machine whenever she enters the office?”, she would reply, “Yes, but sometimes I forget.” When I once asked, “Does Baby Priyanka read books?”, she said, ” I tried many times, but when I read, I feel so sleepy.” and then she asked, “What did all your reading get you in any case?” This is what I like about these people. They sit in a corner. They are silent, and they look like kittens. But, the substance of them is their resentment towards someone who is better than them. I have always paid attention to that.
I told Baby Priyanka that if I do not get the documents now, I will soon be mailing everyone in the office, marking the publishers wife, Lakshmi Peri. She said this to Miss Handicrafts, and Miss Handicrafts said this to Mr. Marx. A few minutes later, the editor Mr. Marx mailed me saying that he was “entering the discussion” and that I can collect the documents from the office. Mr. Marx started implicitly begging, saying: “But, why did not you tell this to me? I am so surprised to hear this.” I also got a mail from the accountant saying, “Shanu, I am astonished about your IQ”.
Almost everyone in the Magazine had such experiences. I heard from an ex-colleague that in three years, Mr. Marx had usurped 24 bylines of his. When he left, on the top of all that, he was cheated of his money by Maheshwer Peri.
When I went to the office, I noticed that the publisher’s wife had taken much of my tax money. They had written a small amount in the name of the Government Uncle. Mr. Marx had also written a small cheque in my name.When I started questioning Mr. Marx, he started threatening my present job. I said: “But, this would not have happened if Mr. Brilliant knew how to swallow the mortification and change the wrong pictures he had chosen for my article.” Then he looked at the screen, with a shudder running through his face. I threatened to sue them.
When I went to the HR department of the Business Standard the next day, they had removed the “payment slips” from the list of documents that they need, without any explanation. When I asked why, the HR person said without looking at my face, “We do not need it.”
When I told my mother what happened, she said, “Do not say such things to their face, my son”. I never understood this hypocrisy. When I was a child, she wanted me to tell the truth as it is. Truths like: “I did not go to school today. I was sitting in the public library because listening to stupid people for eight hours a day is so boring. I am sorry.”
Mr. Marx later sent me that small cheque when I fell ill. I know why. But, I will get into that later.
What happened today was this: My landlord insisted that I should move to the second floor. He wanted to bring in a new guy to “occupy” my room. When he started making noise, I dialed 100 and told the police that my land lord is bullying me. The police soon came, and the cook did not open the door for the policeman to enter our apartment. When I told the policeman that cook has held me as hostage, the policeman said that he will soon come with a constable.
When the jeep came whistling, the cook opened the door. The landlord soon came outside, and said that he has no issues with me. The policemen knew only Hindi. The landlord said that there was no water supply in my room. He asked me to shift to the second floor only because he wanted to fix the “infrastructural issues”. When I told the police that the landlord was lying, the landlord asked me, ” You do not know Hindi. So, how do you even know that this is a lie?”, and I said, “I can understand what you are saying, and I know that you are lying about this.” I pointed out the cook to the policemen and said, “And this guy is so noisy. He knocks on my door much of the time.” The cook stared at the police with a frightened expression on his face.
I finally decided to not register a complaint on the condition that I will be leaving soon, and that if they annoy me again, I will be calling the police again.
There are many such people who should know that there is someone called the Police Uncle and that he carries a big stick with him—Like the “attitudent” women who take delight in scolding me. I should make them say: “I am sorry, Shanu. I will never repeat this—-ever—-again.” 😛
PS: People often ask me what it means, but it was the twelve-year-old Krishnapriya who coined the word “Attitudent”.
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