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Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Some things never change!

The Hindu Caught in the act. Photo: C.H.. Vijaya Bhaskar Recently I read an article about how the State government has implemented an e-challan system for traffic offences and instances of corruption has become strikingly low. There was also a note that the government has approximately earned Rs. 7 crore in income in two months from driving offences. I was impressed and pleased that something good is happening.


We tend to roam around with friends hitching rides with them on their motorbikes simply because we can't afford to use another two-wheeler thanks to the rising fuel prices. It so happened one day that two of my friends and I were travelling on one bike and were caught by the traffic police. He came to us, calmly took away the bike keys and said, “Park the bike at the side of the road and come with your license.” I told my friend to take out his license, to which he shockingly replied, “I was going to apply for my LLR (Learner's Licence Rule) only tomorrow.”

We approached the police with the most innocent look on our faces. He looked pleased that we didn't have a license and used his most practised verse: “Your vehicle has been seized. Pay a fine of Rs.1500 in court and get it back.” Then commenced an hour of pleading with usual “Sorry, sir”, “We're local students”, “Please excuse us this one time” and so on... But he was unmoved.

No different

My friend suggested that we try bribing the officer. I laughed off the idea and told him that traffic police are not how they used to be and enlightened him about the new system. We tried telling the police that we're engineering students from a decent family but nothing worked. After another hour of standing helplessly looking at him, we finally resolved to call our dads. That's when the officer suddenly threw the key at us and said with irritation, “Decent family? Don't you even have 20 rupees?”

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