Ganpat had already put in his 12 hours of duty and was about to leave for home, when his officer called out to him and other constables and informed them of the gang-war going on in the city. The result – a curfew is enforced, and he had to put in more hours, all the constables would be stationed at major points through the city for the night. To say he was indignant would be an understatement. And the mosquitoes and insects had timed their arrivals with the rains to add to the misery of being the sole awake soul in the whole area. Only one emotion made it to the surface, “Damn!”
The Ford Fiesta was scorching the road, granted it was 4 a.m. and the road was deserted, but still it was a deserted road in the middle of a metro – not a sane and safe place for fast driving. The revving engine breaks Ganpat’s reverie, and dutifully he flags down the car. The engine is killed, lights switched off and the car idles to a stop near him.
With a hand on his rifle, Ganpat saunters over to the driver’s side and gestures the driver to come out. There is no reaction – no window is rolled down and nobody emerges from the car. Ganpat again asks the driver to come out, and he is greeted with the same response – nothing. He heaves the rifle to his shoulder, takes aim at the window and repeats himself. This time the passenger door clicks and a burly man in a suit steps out. Ganpat, “First of all you are out in a curfew, and you are speeding, and you came out only when I threatened to shoot. I think I have enough reasons to believe you are involved in the gang wars. Now put up your hands, ask your driver to step out and open the boot for a search”.
Before Ganpat could realize what is happening, there is a bright flash, and the guy who had stepped out from the passenger side starts talking at a feverish pitch, “Hi, I am Aman from the AM News Services. We are doing a report on the gang-wars that are going on, and how the cops are tackling the issue. Unluckily all the cops seem to have disappeared, you are the only cop in miles who is awake, and at duty. I would like an interview with you and photographs from some more angles too. I would like to know your full name, your designation, the station you are posted at, and all details about you. Tomorrow morning your photograph would adorn the front page of all newspapers, as the only earnest cop in the city”. Many more flashes as a flustered Ganpat tries to come to terms with the fast paced one-sided conversation the burly man keeps up, and stammers his responses while the man keeps tapping the stylus on his cell phone screen noting all his responses. Two more minutes, some more stylus tapping, and many more flashes later the burly man sidles into the car, thanks Ganpat profusely for his valuable time and takes off.
“Well the day was not all bad”, Ganpat reflects.
In the car, the driver – “That was some fast thinking”. The burly man retorts, “We were lucky he did not insist on searching the boot. That spontaneous charade I put up overwhelmed him. Had he found the corpse in the boot, right now we would be on our way to jail. Now keep to the back-alleys”.