Wokay guys, I am back in Mumbai from Peshwaland. I have good news and bad news. Let me guess - you want the bad first, right? Human nature. Bad news makes better copy as well. So, here goes. I had a nasty run-in with the Pune cops - and I wasn't even directly involved. One of my oldest girlfriends now lives in Pune. We were meeting after a longish time. She lost her way to Oakwood Premier ( more on that later) where I was staying. And while trying to locate the address on a dimly-lit road, she drove up the wrong gate. As she executed a neat U-Turn, a casual labourer from a nearby building site , travelling with his wife, an infant and toddler on a scooter, lost control of his two wheeler and crashed into a wall ten feet from her car. There was no physical contact with my friend's vehicle ...and there wasn't a scratch on either him or his family. But the minute he noticed she was a single woman at the wheel, he kicked up a huge hungama, pulled her out of the car, manhandled her and yelled for reinforcements. Soon, she was gheraoed by 60 slumwallas baying for her blood. The cops arrived soon after, and she thought that was the end of her problem considering she was not at fault in the first place! Hell, no! Her problems had just started! Now, this one being a real lady ( royalty, at that), phoned me to say she was running a little late!! It was only when I prodded that she explained why! I immediately rushed to the spot ... by then there were more than a hundred people, including half-a-dozen cops talking animatedly on walkie-talkies. They glared at me and resumed shouting. When I pointed out that nobody was hurt, a cop taunted, " How do you know that.... are you a doctor?'' I said let's go find a doctor in that case. That apparently was the wrong response. The mob started to scream, " Take them to the best hospital for x-rays. The woman's back is broken." It was no use telling this lot that had her back really been broken, she would not be able to sit up straight, much less walk!! By then , we were joined by another girlfriend. The sight of three calm women drove the crowd mad with rage . A fourth woman arrived on the scene - a senior cop!! We thought at least she would get it! Not a chance. She told us to follow her to the cop station. Not the nearest one, but some distant thana miles away from the 'accident' spot! This was getting us nowhere. But we were determined not to do a deal or pay anybody off. We told the lady officer exactly that. There was talk of filing an F.I.R etc. We said, go right ahead. And we'll file ours for assault ( the man had broken my friends pearl choker during the scuffle. It was close to 11p.m. by now - there goes our dinner, we said, but the hunger to see this drama through to the bitter end was far stronger. After endless attempts to bulldoze us into shelling out big bucks, the cops said, " Are you willing to pay for a doctor?" My friend replied, "Yes.On humanitarian grounds - I am not obliged to do so, since I am not involved in the first place." The cops smirked and left with those guys 'to see a doctor'. I'm guessing they went around the corner to figure out the next move. Ten minutes later, we received a call to say, "The doctor wants 3,500 rupees - for x-rays and other tests." We paid it. Suckers. No receipt was given.
This was the bad news. For the good stuff, thodasa intezaar. Tomorrow's post. Promise. Am still reeling from this nasty brush with the 'authorities'. And I am convinced it has to do with us being women. I bet some of you want to know why we didn't make those usual calls to our friends in high places and save ourselves the trouble?? Because we are like that only!! That's why we are friends... samjhey?