A commissioner and a gentleman

Rahul da CunhaIt's been that kind of a fortnight in the city. Before the present state government moved in, I had no idea what a Maharashtra Chief Minister did. (I mean three of our ex-CMs were involved in the Adarsh scam, but beyond that, I had no clue). But, after recent developments, I’m now very well versed. Quite a varied job, I must admit. Building coastal roads that cost the state exchequer R12,000 crores, while cutting into our sea frontage, the banning of meat for four days and then having the judiciary overturn the decision, and playing with the careers of police commissioners. Tough job, no doubt.

illustrations / Uday Mohite
Illustrations/Uday Mohite

And then, there’s the Mumbai police commissioner. What it must take to be the top cop of our teeming metropolis, the mind boggles. What stand-out qualities do you need for both the police force to fear and the common man to respect. Julio Ribeiro was the template. Tough, tall, untaintable, a superb super-cop. Our CP between 1982 and 1985. Known for his no- nonsense, ‘bullet for bullet’ attititude, he was shipped out to Punjab to handle the Khalistanis. Am not sure what the other guys in between really did — Ronnie Mendonca, Satyapal Singh, Arvind Inamdar. I suppose because they ‘ruled’ in more peaceful times, maybe they weren’t media savvy, or their ‘chief ministers’ just stayed out of their way. Cut to 2014, the Shahenshah of super cops, Rakesh Maria strode into the hallowed position, with Mumbai at its lowest ebb on the moral degradation index. He’d done superbly, interrogations and investigations, were conducted with much flair. His knowledge of Urdu and Punjabi gave him vital inroads with Ajmal Kasab. And, during a crucial phase of the investigation in the Sheena Bora saga he was shunted out. I feel a gentle outrage. A genuine gentle outrage. Because his future is in the hands of the undeserved.

And I’m thinking, Rakesh, do you really need this aggravation in your life? You are khandaani, you are a true blue city boy, who has served both Bombay and Mumbai with distinction. In your own words, you played football on the streets of Bandra in your chappals. I sense you want to pick up those chappals and use them on a few people. I hope the home guards have given you a good home.

Yes, it’s been a fortnight and a half. In other news, Rakhi Sawant wants to play Indrani Mukerjea. Robert Vadra has an interesting relationship with the airport frisking system. I believe he’s acting in a remake of the Tom Hanks starrer, The Terminal.

And, I’m thinking, how much crazier can India get?

And then I think of Iraq, and the ISIS and Islamabad. And the fact that Donald Trump might actually lead the USA. And I say, India zindabad!

Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahuldacunha62@gmail.com

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