India That Is Bharat
Satiricus seems to have a criminal bent of mind. At least that is the consensus among his friends and wellwishers ( or unwellwishers). Why is that so? Because, they say, he writes much more often about thieves than about policemen. In defence Satiricus may plead that he finds breaking the law an interesting activity but guarding the law a dull duty. Fortunately, however, things seem to be brightening up. Specifically speaking, these days these guardians of law and order have to guard not only law but also their clothes and their lunch-boxes. Take, for instance, what happened the other day in a small British town. Theives broke into a police station in this town and stole—what? Police uniforms. The newspaper report did not say why, but Satiricus thinks the thieves probably wanted a dress rehearsal before joining the police force. And in another instance, in another British town, a thief broke into a police station in the middle of the night, put on a police uniform he found there—then sat down to eat porridge and drink coffee. Satiricus is sure that for the real policeman who came there on duty the scene must have provided both food and drink for thought.
Anyway, if basically a policeman’s job is to catch a thief, he may at times have to choose between a thief who eats on the job and a thief who sleeps on the job. For instance, when the police in New Jersey, USA, recently responded to a burglar alarm and went to investigate, they not only found a burglar, they actually heard him—he was snoring loudly where he was hiding. See? As it is, sleeping on the job is bad for anybody, especially for thieves, but snoring on the job is simply unforgivable. Satiricus would not be surprised if this thief’s arrest was a wake-up call for him, as well as a warning that sound sleep was good for health but the sound of the sleep must not be an arresting feature of his good health.
Digging a little deeper into the duty of a custodian of law and order, Satiricus found that a policeman actually has twin jobs, upholding the law and maintaining the order, and the second part may be no less sticky—especially when it requires determining the legally right length of a finger-nail. Take, for instance, this lady in the state of Florida in the US of A who called the police department as many as four times from a beautician’s saloon to complain that she wasn’t satisfied with the length of her nails. In fact, she actually got into a fight with the “nail technician” in the shop. Well, now, wasn’t that a nail-biting crisis? The poor policeman could think of no other way to maintain order but to arrest the disorderly woman. Now, whether or not the training of American policemen includes a crash course in manicure is not known, but Satiricus suspects such abstruse subjects as the right length of a lady’s finger-nail, the exact colour of her lipstick, and the precise shade of her eye-shadow may be too tough of the mere males for any police force.
All this goes to show that a policeman’s job is no child’s play—especially when he has to deal with a child complainant. Take, for instance, this 11-year-old German boy who called the police station to lodge a complaint . “Hello”, he said, “my mother is putting me into forced labour in my school vacation”. An astonished policeman who took the call asked,” What do you have to do ?” The boy replied, “I’ve to clean up the terrace. I’ve to work the whole day.” Then the mother took the phone and explained : “Actually he plays the whole day, but when I ask him to tidy up, he thinks it’s forced labour. And he has been threatening for weeks to report me to the police, so I thought just let him try.” Well, now, what can the policeman do to keep the peace between mom and kid when the kid thinks his autocratic mom is infringing on his democratic right to play all day? He did the only thing he could do—he closed the case.
All in all, a policeman has to uphold the law in all sorts of trying circumstances—especially when the law he is required to uphold is an ass. For example, when a man in London jokingly threw a snowball at a policeman, what did the policeman do? He arrested the man for “assault”. When , during a stage-snow in New York, a sword-swallower showed his skill, what happened? He was arrested by the police for “brandishing a sword in public”. In short, when the law is an ass, the policeman is an ass’s assistant.