Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Close-up Confidence

If from speed you get your thrill,
Take precaution, make your will.
Drive like hell, and you will get there.

When I see traffic police at work in Bombay, I always remember these lines from Salman Rushdie's ageless Haroun and the Sea of Stories and usually utter them as well, under my breath of course, don't need to give people more ammunition on that malfunctioning brain do I?

There's been a step-up in the checks on irresponsible driving in the city lately. The cops are most active on weekends, stopping cars and checking you for drunk driving. Unfortunately, the poor things are not suitably equipped with breathalysers, or maybe they prefer to do the first check the old-fashioned way.

So there we were on Sunday night, Anando and I, returning from a perfectly innocent dinner that had consisted of sizzlers and colas. And a weary cop stopped us. His nose looked a little wrinkly, probably all the wear and tear, I tell myself now. The man asked for Anando's license. While Anando fished for it in his pocket without removing the seat-belt, the man bent down to Anando's level and began to sort of peer into the car. Now, we had had the radio on loud, and I started to turn it down, only to realise in the increasing silence that the guy was actually sniffing around!

Anando's conscience was clear and alcohol-free, so he asked merrily, "daaru ke liye dekh rahein hain?" The hound replied "haan". So of course, Anando opened his mouth and sweetly volunteered "haaaah haaaah haaaaah". The guy straightened up and gave us the all-clear.

I remembered later that Anando's dinner order had been chicken sizzler with garlic sauce. Poor, poor traffic policeman.


Diligent Candy said...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha....

Suki said...


BTW in Kolkata, they have "Drive like hell, and you will get there" on some signboards near the notorious Ultadanga crossing. Didn't know those people read Rushdie! :P