Ab pata chala police streeling kyun hai!
Gurpal's humor has never amused me much, but this statement has been playing itself on loop ever since I heard him on Tedhi Baat. Not because it was funny, or oh-so-clever, but because every time I see the police women in Bombay, my mind goes in fifth gear and begins to wonder what they are like.
The ladies in uniform that I so often come across, are mostly young. Below, say, 30. Surprisingly, they draw a very different picture of the profession. They too huddle in groups, stomping, wearing trinkets, worried about how their superior will bajao their band.
I've seen them sitting together at security posts at Kemps Corner, travelling in uniforms as well as in plain clothes in local trains, at the railway station of course, and sometimes more unexpected locations like a departmental store. They're the same as us ordinary girls- giggly, chirpy (the word is chanchal, my Hindi teacher's memory tells me), and have little or no more exposure to the world of spineless scheming politically motivated superiors than 16 year old girls right out of high school.
They talk to their boyfriends (or at least boys/men they fancy) on their new flip cellphones, or to their mothers, declining marriage for now, putting it off a few months- years- lives. "I don't want to marry," they say, "I want to take care of you two, aai-baba." "Woh mere ko kaam karne dega kya?" The questions remain the same.
So what's the hype surrounding the stature of the police services? These girls bring it all down to the level of human basics. There is no higher motive/ purpose/ stature of these guys. All of a sudden, I've begun to perceive them less as a scared member (me) of the society, and more like a fellow contemporary- more or less competent and at par when it comes to reacting to everyday situations.
Nothing sets them apart. Nothing about them is different. Nothing is so dangerous about them. They all depend on other men to do their bidding. To protect them. Thank you girls, for bringing them Potbelly Pandus down to ground zero.