I stepped into a police station, a couple of days back, after several years. And I did not fight the sense of deja vu that crept up, after all, I had been visiting police stations, from practically the toddler stage, nearly half a century ago.

Though not exactly an Oliver enticed by a Fagin into the dark world, but rather, with a father who was for a brief time,  with his first job as a cop, in the British administration in an undivided India, and whose career in that august force had summarily ended when he took a sudden pot shot at the Commissioner of Police, Sir Charles Tegart; it is oft said that the hangover of the first job sticks, so it did for my father anyway, as his relationship with various levels of cadre in the police force, in different thanas, notwithstanding his being unfrocked of the uniform of the law-keeper, latterly.

So indeed, while I was educated in an institution ( St, Xavier’s, Calcutta ) that ranked among the best in my country, and if I began to drop names, big, at that, of those who came out of its hallowed portals, would exhaust the patience of the reader.before I could possibly complete the exercise, the parental advise that there was more to be learnt about life, from one full day at a police station (thana, rather) – whoever spoke first of the University or even School, of Hard Knocks – as compared to one full year at any educational institution, however exalted, made me not just veer left of centre in a Bengal that has been traditionally known for this leaning more than any other place on our planet, but to respect the profession of a policeman as perhaps more noble than that of a teacher in academia, and did indeed warm the cockles of my heart equally with the memory of Lal Bazaar, as that of  my Alma Mater !

Young Indians, reacting vociferously in protest to the recent physical violation of the person of a young lady, in a bus in Delhi, by a few inebriated men who rightly were called an insult to the bipeds of the species – after all, even if they were not bipeds, may have provided more interesting company to the quadrupeds that occupied cages in the Delhi zoo, and would this transpire, not only draw enormous crowds to the zoo that is not currently known for anything, but would well save considerable taxpayers’ money in their incarceration and trial at governmental ( read, taxpayers’)  expense.

The same young Indians would also do well, to read the autobiography of the Father of my Nation, pictorially represented on all the currency notes that we carry, ( and I had exhorted several seniors should be on the face of all credit cards too that are issued in India), which when I was their age, felt was rather pompously called Experiments with Truth, has the Mahatma recounting an incident where in his teens, he was “influenced” by a friend, and accompanied him to a house of lesser virtue, and was left alone with a lady who had already been prepaid for her physical services. The teenage Mahatma sat in a corner of the four-post, listening to the fierce barrage of foul invective, before being escorted out, after a half-hour. Love’s Labour Lost !

Now let’s have a small snippet on Law and Order, a la the former Head of the IMF

Coming to the police department once again, here is the scene, most will recognise the lead, husband of current Member of Parliament, who rued what transpired in the capital scarce a week ago:

The Member of Parliament referred to, may just about recall one remarkable scene in a Manoj Kumar film, the 70s hit “Shor”, where she enacts the role of “Raat ki Rani” ( queen of the night), where she accosts unwary men on the street, staggering their way home after a hard days labour, and asks them to part with whatever valuables in cash or kind that they had on their person, else she would yell blue murder and red rape, and the victim would, terrorised by the possibility of a legal system that would book him on such charges without a trial or even a fair hearing, hand it over without a whimper.  She bites off more than she can chew, when she tries this trick on the character played by Manoj Kumar, who shrieks back at her, that she can shout blue and red rape for all  she wants, for as the Bob Dylan song goes, “When you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose”; and this movie remains the most watchable of the movies made by the producer/actor, not just because one song in it has stood the test of time in popularity. That retired actor, counting his days like so many of his contemporaries, may have wondered about this, just as he may have wondered how several-times-blessed Navy Seals, had tracked down a most-wanted-personage, from the hill-station of his birth (Abbotabad), in what is termed as the Land-of-the-Pure, today.

And how does a young man get into crime in modern-day India ? Here’s how a Mother’s efforts to give her kid a regular education, goes awry and ends up in the School of Hard Knocks. Hats off to Madhur Bhandarkar and Tabu for this:

But I ramble. The death in Delhi of a police constable, Subash Chand, in his line of duty and attempts to keep the peace, will hopefully signal an end to the whole charade of the past week. And the asinine and puerile call by a section of women who should know better, for an “Aurat Bandh” tomorrow, will blow off as hot air. It’s Christmas Day, and the Good Lord too advised that those without sin only should muster toughness enough to cast stones, and He Himself set an example by having about Him what the worldly-wise would surmise as women who have sold their bodies.   Let me try and dig out the prescient Pakistani film Aurat Raj which tackled this very subject as far back as 1979, and wonder maybe if the Aurat Bandh planned by some deviants for tomorrow refuses to take off, the Aurat Raj party may actually come into being ?

And postpone my mourning for the late Constable Subash Chand till January 23, being the birth anniversary of the eponymous leader to whom my country owes a considerable lot for the freedoms that we enjoy and take for granted today.

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