I park my motorcycle outside and enter the Yeswantpur Police Station. I walk to the Inspector’s room and rap on the open door. The inspector doesn’t look at me, but grunts, ‘Come in.’
I stride in, salute him with a click of my heels and hand him my appointment letter. He gives it a cursory glance, and nods with a languid shake of his head.
His question stumps me.
He looks at me for the first time, ‘There are three reasons why someone joins Police. I want to know yours. Why?’
I stare at him dumbfounded. I mean, I know that I’ve always wanted to be a Policeman. I’d never bothered to think why.
I decide to be honest with him, ‘I never thought about it, Sir.’
He considers my answer and nods once, ‘A person joins the force because, 1. He desires to help others 2. He needs a job and 3. He likes to exert his dominance over others. Now, tell me, which category do you fall in?’
‘Definitely, not the third category, Sir.’
He nods once again, hands me back my appointment letter, and directs me to the writer to complete the joining formalities.
Ramanna, the writer, is a mean bastard. He is as old as the furniture in the station, and makes sure to use his seniority to lord over the constables. As I’m a SI, he reports to me, but that fact hasn’t stopped him from making snide comments and passing veiled jibes towards me. The inspector doesn’t care about such trivial issues, but I have decided to do something about this guy’s tyranny.
‘Arun!’ the Inspector stops in front of my table, ‘What do you think about violence?’
He keeps asking me such questions. I look at him and say, ‘Violence is overrated, Sir.’
A grin dances around his lips, ‘Yet, you are part of an organization where violence is part of our daily lives.’
I say nothing. He takes a step closer. I can smell the pungent odour of cigarette smoke emanating from him.
‘Have you hit anyone?’ He asks.
‘No, Sir! I’ve never felt the urge to raise my hand against anyone.’
‘Been beat up?’ I can see Ramanna sniggering in the background. I’m sure he’s enjoying this.
‘In school, yes, Sir!’
‘You didn’t hit them back?’
I gaze into his eyes, and say, ‘No, Sir. I complained about them to the staff, I followed the rules.’
The Inspector gives me a look that is half exasperation and half pity. ‘I assume that you haven’t witnessed any murders as well. Ramanna, give him the CDs which have CCTV footages of various murders. Let’s break him in slowly, eh?’
Ramanna titters and mouths ‘Virgin!’ before heading to the records room.
These movies about Police are all crap! I have always known that movies like Dabangg, Rowdy Rathore, and Kempegouda are exercises in hero-worship, but I half expected movies like Ardh Satya and Drohkaal to be close to reality. Nope, real life policemen are nothing like the ones depicted in these movies.
So are real life crimes and criminals.
There are no slo-mo shots or catchy angles in real life. The videos of the murders shook me to the core. The grainy images of the CCTV footages did nothing to assuage the unease I felt when I watched them. Why do people want to visit violence on one another?
The criminals who trudge into the Police Station daily make me uncomfortable. Depravity surrounds them like a bilious aura and makes me want to throw up. There was this guy, a rowdy-sheeter, who was hauled in yesterday in connection to the murder of another rowdy. I saw the Inspector and other constables thrashing him within an inch of his life last night. Yet he sits inside the cell today, smoking a cigarette provided by Ramanna, chatting with him like a long-lost friend.
I’m at the scene of my first murder case. A local businessman has been murdered by his own teenage daughter and her boyfriend. I see the girl standing in a corner of the room, not ten feet away from her father’s mutilated corpse. There’s not a single emotion on her visage. Her mother, restrained by the WPCs in the adjacent room, is wailing, and hurling abuses at her own daughter. Basavesh, my fellow SI, questions the boyfriend and the fellow cracks under promise of a thrashing. He accepts his role in the murder, but accuses the girl of orchestrating the whole thing.
Half an hour later, there’s nothing left in the crime scene. Everything that could be used as evidence has been stripped, bagged and tagged. The corpse has been moved to the GH for the autopsy.
Few hours back, a family lived in this house. Now, all that remains are broken relationships and a chalked outline on the floor.
I have settled into my life without much issues. Yes, I’m still concerned by the amount of violence unleashed by both the criminals and the Police. The Inspector is still an enigma, he keeps asking me the oddest questions.
I mean, I have no answers to most of his questions. Ramanna is still being a pain in all the wrong places, but he’s started respecting me. Yes, I don’t beat up people, but I do solve cases and that has earned me his respect.
The station is abuzz with commotion as I return from lunch. There is a mob comprised of at least fifty people, both men and women, that has congregated in front of the station. Slogans against Police brutality are being chanted. The PCs notice me and clear a path through the mob so that I could get into the station.
The inside is as chaotic as the outside. The Inspector is barking out commands, and the phones – both landline and mobiles are ringing non-stop making a cacophony of noises. Ramanna whispers that a suspect brought in for eve-teasing his colleague had fainted during “questioning.”
Somehow, someone had captured a video of the unconscious guy being stretchered out of the station. Basavesh lets me know that there was blood, in the wrong places, on the sheet with which the suspect was covered.
The mob’s chanting reaches a fever pitch and that means only one thing – bad news from the hospital. Perplexed, we look at each other. Ramanna goes to the window to assess the situation and immediately falls down holding his head and howls in pain. Blood is gushing from the open wound caused by a stone that was hurled towards him. I direct the one of the PCs to attend to Ramanna and run to appraise the Inspector. He is on the phone, having a terse conversation with someone higher up the ladder. The stone-pelting is in full swing by the time he finishes the call. The inspector ends the call and mutters two words.
The media shitstorm has abated, but not without causing some serious damage. The Inspector was made a scapegoat by his superiors, and has been transferred to some remote place near Badami. I enter the Venus bar located near the station to meet him. He’s seated in the smoking section with a cigarette perched on his lips. A glass of whiskey is on the table. He nods at me and points to the chair opposite to him.
I nod and say, ‘Why?’
He shrugs and says, ‘One of those days.’
‘Why was the boy thrashed so bad, Sir? There was no proof of his guilt.’
‘There was no proof of his innocence either.’
I knead my temples with my knuckles. ‘Do we need to resort to such unmitigated violence always?’
He blows out the smoke and takes a sip of his whiskey. ‘There’s no right answer, Arun. What if the fellow had gone on to cause some harm to the girl? We, human beings, are innately violent in nature. No one is immune from this ailment. Few give in too much and get lost in their violence.’
He shoots me a look of utter disgust, ‘It doesn’t matter what you think about me. Go to the station and pull the file about the officers who were martyred in the line of duty. Chandrappa, constable, 37, stabbed to death while he tried to question a local rowdy. Alwin George, 25, SI, ran over by the lorry he was chasing. There are a lot more names, all consigned to the annals of neglect. We have a responsibility towards the greater good. Abhor violence all you want, but it is inevitable. The sooner you realise the fact, the longer you’ll live.’
The man sits on his haunches, his face shrivelled with fear. He was the one who had flung the stone that had hurt Ramanna. I stride towards him and kick him in his face.
SI – Sub Inspector
PC – Police Constable
WPC – Woman Police Constable
Rowdy-sheeter – A person with a criminal record
Photo By: Pixabay
This is an entry for Greenhorns-3, #Metamorphosis, an Exclusive Writing event for the Feathers club members of room8 by ArtoonsInn.
Check the event guidelines here: https://artoonsinn.com/metamorphosis-greenhorns-3-writing-event/
Don’t forget to rate the story out of 10 and leave a review.