Inspector Satish Dhamle lifted his tired legs onto his untidy desk, took his cap off and ran his fingers through his freshly dyed hair. He had just pulled off his third rave party bust in two weeks. “What these silly children are doing,” he thought to himself. He could not understand his Mumbai anymore. Six young girls, their faces covered with their expensive handbags, simpering, asking for their parents. Each handbag, four times the price of his monthly salary.
He had always wanted to be in serious police work. Stop criminals, put terrorists behind bars — instead he was deputed to go to these ‘dark dark parties’ and stop these DJ persons from playing this Western pop mujeek. All this ‘rubbish things’ that are against the Indian culture. “What this city has become,” he thought — these girls from good families, wearing these short skirts, smoking, drinking sharaab, talking so close close to these men. Why they were doing all these private things in public,” he asked himself.
He had been introduced to his wife Bhakti through a photograph. They were not even allowed to meet till marriage. “Teek hai, times have changed,” he tried to rationalise. His own daughter demanded that she be allowed to meet Uday, her husband-to-be. Get to know him little bit, after all marriage was a lifetime commitment. “But what what I saw at these parties. How can their parents allow such things. Do it in US or in these foreign countries,” he fumed to himself.
Many people had criticised the police force. Media was asking, why were they picking on innocent party-goers, instead of real criminals, terrorists, corrupt politicians. This made him angry — “Do you think I enjoy spoiling my Sunday, when I can go for picnic with my wife? I am just doing my job, how dare they call me moral police?” He couldn’t understand why there was such an outcry. Weren’t parents worried about their kids? “Mumbai phar asurakshit zali ahe,” even Bhakti had said.
In 1972 he had taken an oath to protect the city. “These type parties are potential for crime. Drugs, rape, anything is possible in these times. Women are unsafe,” he justified. Yes, he had done the right thing. He had fulfilled the oath he had taken 40 years ago. He had promised to serve his beloved Mumbai, and protect Mumbaiites and he had done that every single day of his working life. Every morning as Bhakti gave him his small tiffin box, she would look proudly into his eyes, after all he was going for his ‘duty’. She would tell him to take care and put tikka on his forehead.
Today was her birthday. He would buy her a sari, maybe they could watch a film also. Inspector Satish Dhamle headed off to VT Station, to catch his 5 am local back to Bhandup. Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper