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Deepa Swaminathan


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The traffic cop

By: deepa.s Posted Mar 13, 2013 General 1486 Views
(Updated Mar 13, 2013 10:37 AM)

It was a late chilly Sunday winter evening. Varun, who was driving his new Scorpio LX on a crowded street in Pune, remarked “Hell, this traffic. I wanted to grab a bite at the new restaurant in Eqsuare before the movie. But now we seem to be late for the movie as well.” Sonia replied, “There, the glutton speaks. We still can be on time. Dare you miss Ranbir Kapoor’s entry in the movie!” Varun guffawed, “That I can’t promise you, but for now, you can watch our very own Salman who is sitting calmly next to you while these useless traffic cops delay us more. Since 5 minutes, we haven’t moved an inch.”

Salman smiled and peeked out. The cross road was immensely crowded with vehicles-heavy and light. His brown eyes caught the usual traffic cop on duty wearing a khaki cap and a big frown battling with the blaring horns and maddening traffic. The traffic lights had gone out suddenly and the chaos had started. Not giving another moment of thought, he briefly said, “I’ll meet you guys after the crossroad.” and hopped out.

“Hey, where are you going?” yelled his friends to no avail.

The 25 year old IT professional stepped out of the car and paced ahead. He joined the cop and started redirecting a couple of cars and requested a couple more to move back clearing the way a bit. Within 10 minutes of patience-testing yet dedicated activity, vehicles started inching forward. The traffic situation came slowly under control as though water trickling from a stream after weeds were pulled out!

Salman hopped back into the car when their Scorpio caught up with him after the signal and his friends cheered, “That was amazing! You are the hero for today!” Salman replied, “Oh come on, not such a big deal. Anything for Katrina Kaif, need to catch her entry as well, right?”

“Ha ha” laughed his friends.

As they sped, Salman peeped behind to catch a glimpse of the traffic cop but he was already out of sight. The rest of the evening was thoroughly enjoyable catching the movie on time and heading for dinner at the posh and inviting ‘Little Italy’ restaurant.

Although Salman, being a Bolly buff, usually thought of the nuances, sequences, dialogs and direction in movies after watching one, tonight, his mind was clouded with other thoughts. The cogs of his mind churned with the thoughts of the cop. He was thinking about how an average traffic cop’s day would usually be.

“Would a traffic cop’s salary be around Rs.15000 to 20000? They need to toil day and night, on festivals, political rallies and marriages, in chilly as well as sweating days with no appreciation most of the times. What’s more, they are constantly on the spotlight for wrong reasons like taking bribe and not able to control traffic better. Surprisingly, no one seems to blame the reckless riders for breaking traffic rules, driving on footpaths, stopping over the zebra crossings, trying to insensitively get ahead from the other side of the divider. This could be because riders/drivers are just too many to blame, but the cop can be an easy target to push all the accusations.”

The next evening, Salman was on his way to his favourite library to exchange books after he came back from work. It was then that he caught a glimpse of the same traffic cop at the same signal. The cop was supervising around, whereas the signals were playing their part well. The cop too, caught Salman’s gaze and smiled at him. Salman walked up to him and noted his name- Eknath Shinde.

“Hello there!” said Salman.

Eknath spoke, “Hello! Thank you for yesterday. It would have taken a lot more time had you not lent a hand.”

Salman replied, “Oh, no problem. I was glad I could help.”

Eknath, while throwing a glance at the traffic periodically, asked, “What is your name, brother?”


“You don’t know the magnitude of your help yesterday. It was my son’s birthday. I wanted to complete my shift and reach home as soon as possible just to be at home with him. Since it was the last shift for us, I could never have left the mess yesterday and reached home at a respectable time. The little one would have been lulled off to sleep by his mother, had I been very late. Three of us then celebrated……… oh, oh. There, this biker has toppled over the pedestrian. I need to go. See you around.”

“Oh bye,” said Salman and stopped short of saying “Have a nice evening.” With a smile on his face, feeling better than the previous day for all the happenings, he proceeded towards the library. Stepping in, plunged in thoughts, he just picked up a book on quotes. Opening a random page, he read,

*“Even the smallest act of caring for another person is like a drop of water -it will make ripples throughout the entire pond.” ? Jessy and Bryan Matteo*

*~~Stray thoughts - My first attempt at fiction.*

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