Dear Mr Dhoble of the SS...
Mumbai suffered another devastating terror attack last week, when men burst into a party filled with unsuspecting people and terrorized them for an entire evening. The attackers were so diabolical and well prepared that they didn’t even need to use a karaoke machine to do it. The only difference this time was that the attackers in question were members of the Mumbai Police.
What happened was simple. A hotel in Juhu threw a party. Apparently people quite enjoy this sort of thing (parties, not Juhu), and so they attended said party. A few hours into the party, a posse of cops showed up, took stock of the situation, and declared the party ‘immoral’, which is cop-speak for “These people look like they’re having fun, and we should put a swift end to this.”
Upon searching people and the premises (who needs warrants when you have handlebar moustaches?) the cops found a cache of drugs, including cocaine and MDMA, which as everyone knows, are illegal, and the cornerstone of Fardeen Khan’s detox program. As a result, everyone present was declared to be evil, immoral, and “possessing the same moral values as Kim Jong-Il on uppers.” I may be paraphrasing on that last one, but you get the point.
I’m not condoning drug-abuse here, but the truth of it is that out of a 100 people at a party, there’s maybe two people doing drugs. Percentage-wise, that’s roughly 9.387 per cent (I double-checked) of your crowd. To terrorize an entire party as a result isn’t just wrong, it’s unproductive. I worry about the day our police find a cockroach under their desk. They’ll probably use a thermonuclear weapon to kill it. More worrying still is the fact that the raid seems to be part of a larger, more sinister campaign against partying by forces who don’t understand it.
Ringleader in this case is ACP Vasant Dhoble of the Social Service branch, which abbreviates to “the SS.” Wasn’t there another police force by that name once? I’m pretty sure there was. I recall reading something about them not being nice guys, but I’m not a history student. Vasant Dhoble is an excellent cop, with a storied and accomplished career. His many glittering accomplishments include beating the staff of a restaurant with a hockey stick (I’m guessing he’s not a good tipper), being suspended for having a suspect die in his custody, and (my personal favourite) losing important files in a case against Dawood Ibrahim. Let’s go over that last one again. He LOST files on Dawood Ibrahim. Lost them. Like they were a pair of glasses, or virginity. Except these glasses offer a clearer picture of only the most dangerous thing to have happened to India since children’s dance reality shows.
What’s frightening about these raids isn’t just the dismantling of the city’s nightlife. That’s collateral damage. More frightening is the idea that there’s a growing gulf in understanding between us, the people who want to have fun, and those in charge of regulating it. There’s a dangerous sense that those in charge are trying to regulate things without attempting to fully understand what’s going on. The simplest evidence of that is the labeling of the Juhu party as a ‘rave’. When I party, I do it to hang out. I think what Mr Dhoble sees in his head when he thinks of me partying is me snorting cocaine off a prostitute’s stomach while drinking a cocktail made of black money and one of the Dawood files he lost.
This is not me just taking empty swings at the Mumbai Police. I love our police force, or well, I try to love them, we all do. I salute every cop that’s taken a bullet for us, every cop that’s dropped dead of the sheer pressure of the job, every cop that’s ever seen and done horrifying things just so we don’t have to. There isn’t one of us that hasn’t saluted them for every time they keep this city safe from the five billion things that threaten it. But that’s also my point. There’s five billion real problems to tackle in this city Mr Dhoble. A bunch of people at a party isn’t one of them. You, on the other hand, are.
Rohan Joshi is a writer and stand-up comedian who likes reading, films and people who do not use the SMS lingo. You can also contact him on www.facebook.com/therohanjoshi