- Bribe Fighter
- 10 years ago
- 3258 views
Here is a FHR (First Hand Report) from my recent unintended interaction with the Pune Traffic police.
Went to yesterday to GigaSpace IT park on Nagar road. As a matter of procedure I always check for any parking signs in the vicinity before parking.
Sure, enough there was one which said "No Parking 10 metres" or so I thought at the time. I would be proved wrong later.
I parked my car outside where I thought the 10 metre restriction ended. (Aside: Whats with the distance on parking signs. How am I supposed to measure 10 metres from the sign. Am I expected to haul a measuring tape with me?)
Re-emerged 2.5 hours later from my appointment and gasped in horror as I found my car missing. After evaluating several scenarios in a second, and discarding the very unlikely scenario of theft, the only logical explanation was it had been towed away. But why and most importantly, where?
Walked back to "No parking" sign bewildered. I was sure it said 10 metres and the car was parked way beyond the 10 metre zone.boundary. Re-checked and the sign now pronounced "100 metres". The sign is bent and from a certain angle it is not possible to see the last zero. Damm. There was no way I could fight this one. It was too thin an argument.
I mentally accept culpability and keeping my head together, I read "********** Nagar" written neatly in Marathi where I last saw my car. I assume it means I should go to the ********** Nagar police station (which is not very far).
I landed up at the ********** Nagar police station and headed straight for the main building. There was a havildar in Khakhi and a lady traffic cop in the verandah. The building was neat and both looked at me enquiringly and one said quite pleasantly "Bola saheb", that's "Yes, sir " in Marathi.
After hearing my purpose, they directed me to the rear portion of the campus. I trudged past plenty of vehicles in various states; from new to crumpled accident victims. Amongst them I spotted my little faithful ALTO, its right front wheel ********** locked.
The traffic unit building had 2 lady traffic cops and a gent who politely & pleasantly directed me to call a number that they said must be written on the my window glass.
I looked and there it was. I called and it was answered by a cheerful sounding person who, on hearing my purpose, asked me to wait near the vehicle for 5 minutes. I prepared myself and settled down for an infinite wait and painful ordeal.
In my mind I inventoried all the documents in my glove box. Yes, I think I have then all. Copies of rego, current insurance and an up to ********** PUC. Let him try me for anything other than parking and I will stand my ground I firmly resolve.
Second shock of the day: I am pleasantly horrified when the cop comes and meets me within 5 minutes (by the clock). He asks me to come into the building. Picks up a fat receipt book from the desk and very gently tells me I have to pay Rs. 350 for my infringement. Even gives me the break up (Rs. 100 RTO fine + Rs. 250 as charges for the private tow truck operator who is also present with his tow truck).
I am asked for my licence which is from Gujarat and in an licence book format. My licence number is duly recorded on the "pavati" (receipt).
I watch the placement of carbon paper in the RTO receipt book very carefully and ensure a copy is being created. It is. I hand over the money. The cop gives me the RTO receipt and the tow truck operator hands me his separately.
The cop smiles at me and says "gaadi gheun java saheb". (You ********** now go take your car & go sir).
Third shock: What? No checking of all my documents. I hurriedly walk back to my car before he changes his mind.
The tow truck operator is in the final stages of unchaining my car.
Fourth shock: He wipes absolutely clean the phone number written in chalk on my driver side window. This is getting weird, I think. This is attention to little detail which even my pretentious high flying bank does not give me!
I nervously check my glove box for the detachable stereo control panel. Its still there - unmolested.
I drive away. Its 2:00 PM, I am hungry and bewildered by the whole experience.I decide to have the great thali at Badshahi on ********** Road. I park close to the restaurant (mess actually) and retrieve my back pack from the car and then realise I am missing a bag. My precious priceless camera bag is gone. Its nowhere to be seen!
I feel sick, all over. I am so careful with it. This can't be happening to me and an inner voice tells me its true. What of all the photos? My beloved LX3, with a wide angle adapter and a proper external flash gun is gone. Loosing the camera and accessories is bad enough but its the loss of the photos which is irreconcilable.
I force my frantic brain to recompose itself and think clearly. My last re-collection is of leaving it at the bench at the police thana when I was producing my licence. This is bad. I start reconciling myself to never ever seeing the camera again.
Nervously, I call the cops mobile number and explain that I have left a camera there. He very patiently hears me out and then my heart sinks when he says, he does not re-collect any bag being left there but assures me he will check and I should call him in 10 minutes. The day is getting from bad to worse think. By now, I have lat all hope of every seeing my camera.
Fifth shock: The cop calls me within 5 minutes "Saheb, tumcha camera bag milala. Mi japun thevla, tumhi yeun ghuen ja. "Sir, I have found your camera bag, I have kept it carefully, please come and take it"
I am relieved beyond words. I thank him profusely. Not wanting to offer any money in gratitude, I buy half a kilo of fresh pedha's from a shop and head back to the police station. 45 minutes later, at the police station, I can't find him,
Surely, this can't be happening!Nervously, I call him. He answers the call! He is away on duty but has left instructions with his colleagues to give me the bag. I walk in again and a male traffic cop who has seen me earlier I presume preempts me by asking if I have come for my camera bag. I nod.
He reaches behind his desk and carefully picks up my camera bag from a cupboard and gingerly hands it to me with a smile. I open the bag and its all there inside. All Rs. 50k worth of equipment is right there.I am gobsmacked.
I gratefully offer him the box of pedha's. He refuses. (that's normal I think). I try again. He still refuses. I now insist, Its only a box of pedha's I assure him, nothing more.
6th shock: He rejects with an air of finality "kahi garaz nahi" (not at all necessary) and focuses his attention purposefully on the work on his desk, signalling he is done with me. I offer the most grateful "dhanyavad", walk back to my car and drive off home.
I can't take any more shocks in the day. I stay home.
3 cheers to Pune Traffic police.Well done.