As I was returning home this evening, disappointed that an interview with a politician was cancelled in the last-minute, I was stopped by a traffic policeman on Nandidurga Road. I thanked my stars as I knew I had all my documents in place in my two-wheeler. He very politely asked me to show my insurance papers and emission test, which I did. He saw my insurance papers and said they were going to expire by the end of this month. "Get it done", he said like a reminder. I told him I had already renewed it and the papers were ready, at home. He then asked to see my driving license, which I again obliged to. As I put everything back in place and got ready to leave, the cop said, "Last year I saw my insurance papers and it had been about a month since it had expired. I had completely forgotten. I immediately went and got it done".
My mind slowly relaxed, letting go of the disappointment.
We continued our conversation in Kannada. I asked him who checks documents and licenses for traffic policemen. Murugesha (from the name on his badge) said nobody checks for them. "It is not about checking. You need to do for yourselves. You wear a helmet to protect yourself, not because we will check. You get your bike insured, so that it helps you and your family later". Murugesha told me it’s wrong that people do these things only for the sake of being checked by traffic policemen, instead of doing it for themselves.
I told him I was a journalist, handed him my card and a copy of Citizen Matters, got back on my bike and left, with a smile.
Murugesha made a simple, but valid point. We always do things because there are rules that say you have to do them. Something as simple as wearing a helmet should be done to protect your head, not to escape paying a fine to a cop.
I don’t know why, but my day was made, all thanks to the cop who stopped me.
If all the cops in Bangalore had that attitude and disseminated it to public may be public attitude in bangalore will cnage. Bangalore need to own up to its own responsibility as citizens. It is easy to complain but when did Bangalororian go a public hospital and formed a voluntary group to clean up the hospital on weekends or help the patients with a cheery word? This happens in every western country where its citizens help the government whihc inturn keeps it accountable. It is high time Bangalorians started to help the government in keeping roads clean by picking up garbage on weekends, help in hospitals, help slum children to read and write. Have voluntary groups in each suburb and get it done. Dont just complian.
Thats nice, normally they are impolite fellows and I don’t blame them as they really have a hard and thankless job amidst the pollution.
i’ve had such an expirience and it made my day too, we just dont expect nice things to happen to us in this city anymore…
Nice one! You have brought out a striking truth from a simple encounter with a cop. People need to start thinking. Things change when you start thinking.
Very nice story. Perhaps it’s because of the “tyranny of low expectations” that your day was made. We’re always on guard, expecting the worst from everyone, and when we encounter even the slightest of decency, it blows our mind.