Stuck in a massive traffic jam, Sunil Kshirsagar had given up hope of driving his son to his exam centre on time; but the timely intervention of Constable Sandip Patil turned things around
In a city where law enforcers are not known to inspire much faith, an anxious father’s fortuitous encounter with a helpful traffic policeman not only changed his attitude towards the guardians of the city streets, but also inspired him to pen a grateful letter, sharing this fresh perspective with others.
In his moving tribute to traffic police in the city, addressed to the Joint Commissioner of Traffic Police, Mumbai, Andheri resident Sunil Kshirsagar says, “Police and its traffic wing are often the target of public wrath and anger, for no fault, in many cases, of these authorities. The traffic jam, in particular, is a result of bad road conditions, increasing four- and two-wheelers, and non-observance of traffic rules by the public. I had a pleasant experience of active cooperation from the traffic department on April 2’.
Good cop: The constable said he was moved to help young Shivang (inset) as the student looked extremely anxious that morning. PICs/PRADEEP DHIVAR
The events of that day are etched in Kshirsagar’s memory. Around 9.30 am, Kshirsagar and his son Shivang left from their Andheri (East) home for the latter’s exam centre at N M College in Vile Parle. Before long, their car was caught in one of those dreaded jams that so frequently bring traffic to a standstill on suburban roads.
“We had left home for the centre around 9.30 am, so that we would reach in time even if we got stuck in traffic. But
we hadn’t even covered half the distance to the centre when we got caught in a terrible traffic jam,” he said, speaking to mid-day.
In the letter, he recounts, “There was a huge traffic jam at Chakala signal near Hotel Sai Palace. My vehicle was caught in the jam and I could not move my car till 10.45 a.m. We were supposed to reach the examination centre before 11 am.”
Panic mounted as father and son realised that they would never make it on time to the exam centre. “We were desperate. I spoke to the traffic policeman I saw standing nearby,” said Kshirsagar. The man identified himself as Sandip Vishwasrao Patil. What unfolded in the next half hour permanently changed the anxious father’s opinion of traffic cops in the city.
“As we were running dangerously late, I requested him to lend me his bike so I could drop my son to the exam centre. But he explained that since the bike was the property of the government, he could not hand it to me,” recalled Kshirsagar.
Even as a crestfallen Kshirsagar was devising feverish new plans for a speedy commute, Patil came up with the perfect solution. “He said that if my son knew the route to the centre, he would be willing to drop him there. Even though he was on duty, he helped us on humanitarian grounds and took my son to the exam centre on his bike.
I feel proud and happy to have met a person whose first impulse is to help someone in need,” added the
Shivang, who is a Third Year BCom student in Mithibai College, managed to appear for the paper only because of Patil’s timely intervention. “The traffic cop helped me willingly and even wished me luck for the exam. He was like an angel for me. Bhagwan kisi bhi roop me madad karte hai (God takes different forms to help people). I reached the centre a little late. But if he had not helped me, I would not have reached at all, and missed a whole year,” said Shivang, promising to pay it forward and help others in need in the future.
For traffic constable Patil (31), who has been serving the traffic department for the past 5 years, good deeds are a way of life. “That day, I felt like helping the student as he was really worried. It was difficult for me to help him and I was on duty, but thankfully, there were two other cops at the junction. So I asked them to cover for me and dropped the boy to his centre,” said Patil.
Speaking to mid-day, Kshirsagar said, “I urge people to respect these cops, as they stand at traffic junctions for nearly 12 hours on duty.” His letter echoes this sentiment, where he signs off saying, ‘I take this opportunity to profusely thank and express my deep sense of gratitude towards the traffic branch and in particular Mr Sandip Patil.This reminds me that minor mistakes of traffic police are often magnified, while good work done by them is seldom appreciated’.
Dr BK Upadhyay, Joint CP of traffic, to whom the congratulatory letter was addressed, said, “He (Patil) has done a wonderful job and it is highly appreciated.