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Monday, February 15, 2021

GULLIVER'S TRAVELS III His Encounter With Police

Police is a very powerful but unpredictable deity in the pantheon of such beings of the natives of Atlantis, who are too ready to worship anyone who even wields a semblance of authority. It is Janus faced - one of its faces has a fawning look of idiot amiability and abject servility while the other is cold, indifferent, even abusive, forbidding, angry. As the occasion and circumstances present, the viewer may view one or the other or both of them in quick succession.
The seat of this mighty deity was a large rambling place with debris of vehicles and other bric-a-brac strewn all over the compound. It was a perfect picture of disorder as indeed in this land of contradictions the agency responsible for maintaining order should appear to be. My escort tried to catch the attention of the man who was sitting on a chair. A thick ruler was placed on the table, in front of him, with which he kept tapping the table intermittently, with his left hand. His right hand was dedicated to the task of twirling his moustache. There were many people on the verandah outside; I particularly noticed a child who would intermittently howl and lisp as if he was also trying to catch the attention of the same worthy. My escort again ventured to engage the man seated on the chair and briefly caught his eye. He motioned him to wait, suggesting that there were others waiting in the queue. A lowly functionary informed us that the motley crowd was in fact the queue and since it would take some time for their turns to come they were sauntering around. They were all carrying a number which designated their place in the queue. The sharp piercing howl of the child provoked my curiosity no end and being by now slightly conversant with the local language I demanded to know who the child was and what on earth could he have come to complain about. A chirpy old man who appeared to be very knowledgeable upon matters related to Police and their activities looked at me with quizzing eyes and realizing that I was new to this land offered to explain to me. It seems that the child was standing at the head of the queue in place of his mother, who died some time ago. The mother of the child had been forcibly initiated into woman hood by his employer. When she arrived here to file a complaint , unfortunately for her, the Police was in a state of red alert and hence they were unable to attend to their duties. The woman died in childbirth and her child was thus the natural inheritor of her place at the head of the queue. Seeing me evince a lot of curiosity he was prepared to instruct me further but not before I had pandered to his vanity and offered fulsome praise to his land and its institutions. While we were thus engaged in conversation, a man stormed into the room and headed straight to the worthy personage who was still rhythmically tapping his table with the ruler, and enjoying the sound as if it was a percussion instrument. He looked up, only mildly interested, demanding to know the reason for such importunity. The intruder mentioned some occurrence upon which the Police straight-away dismissed him saying 'Oh, that does not fall within my jurisdiction' and returned to his musical occupation. But it appears that the intruder was a man of some substance for he would not immediately leave as others did at the mere hint of having been dismissed. Whereupon a map of some sort was fished out and spread upon the table. Still more haggling took place but to no avail and the intruder finally departed. My new found guide observed that the Police sets a very high store by the limits of their jurisdictions and they never-but never, even as peer at the territory of their neighbours. I wondered aloud that would it not be a comprehensive solution of the problems of Atlantis to post all such conscientious men to its international borders. These people seem to understand the meaning of sovereignty and non-interference and were they in charge all incidents of cross border firing, violation of international border would stop. Violent debates in the international forum will cease and the countries can take care of their more urgent problems.
Meanwhile, I found some people hopping up and down, up and down rather in the manner of spot running. My guide proudly commented that you are uncommonly lucky to witness the state of red alert. In such a situation they can take no other action but remain alert and hyperactive . It has been found that the vibrations caused by the rhythmic stamping of the foot soothed the frayed nerves of the people. My guide would have commented some more when from behind the half closed door was sighted a man sans his cap and his belt reclining on a chair. His legs were on the table and his chin was resting on his chest. He appeared to be in deep thought or was perhaps half asleep. Before I could query my guide, he read my thoughts and explained to me that the fellow had gone into the state of amber ambivalence which means he had retired into this state unofficially and challenged to prove, otherwise he will attain the state of red alertness. My guide took me to the back verandah where many people were reclining or half standing with their muskets in various degrees of inclination. I particularly noticed that moss, lichen and other vegetation were growing out of the various orifices of some of these men even as they appeared to be in a state of deep slumber. My guide promptly diagnosed this state as that of green inertia. Some of these poor souls could not handle the frequent call to red alert and their internal circuitry had got burnt and they had lapsed into this state. All these people with such symptoms are either swept under the carpet or relegated to the backyard.
My self- appointed guide was in an expansive mood. He began to dilate on the name and nature of Police. Presently he motioned to a man who was supported by a young boy. This man was number 2 in the queue. Some years ago he had come to report the abduction of his wife. By the time he could up move up the queue his abductors taking advantage of his absence and abducted his daughter as well. Now the son had come with a fresh complaint about his sisters abduction; since earlier complaint had been registered the authorities with great compassion had given him the number 2.5.
Meanwhile, the Police was ready to look into the case of the raped woman who had died in child birth and was now face to face with the deity. The Police took out fat, musty, old books on forensic science, jurisprudence, criminal procedure, penal codes and even poetry from the shelf, leafed through half a dozen registers, spoke to his superiors and berated his juniors, drank endless cups of tea and smoked cigarette, regaled himself by playing the table as a percussion instrument and finally ruled that there was no need to proceed in the matter. The woman was into dangerous and subversive reading and had willingly forsaken her virginity under the evil, occidental influence of the poem "To His Coy Mistress” which urged nubile young women to make a gift of their bodies to whoever coveted them because in the end all of them are dead. In her diary the Police actually found the lines in hr won hand and heavily underlined,
“Thy beauty shall no more be found;
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long-preserved virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust;
The grave is a fine and a private place.
But none I think do there embrace."
The child could not hold it back any more and he started wailing at the top of his voice. But the plaintive cry of the child was drowned in a great din and commotion. An important looking personage, followed by half a dozen flunkies, was the cause of all this perturbation. There was a great deal of activity and many more people emerged from the various nooks and niches of the same building. The child was quickly bundled up with the file in a red cloth with the inscription CASE CLOSED and sent to the record room.
The man with the ruler as well as half a dozen others of his kind collapsed on the floor-or so I thought. Actually they had fallen on the feet of the mighty personage in order to lick his boots. A tall well-built man bet everyone to it and was able to licked the boots with great relish and licked it clean and shining. The VIP mildly reprimanded him for soiling his cherry blossomed boots and asked him to do his duty. Meanwhile, the man at no. 2, who as I noticed, had already gone white with fear. The half a dozen worthies promptly gave number 1 to the newly arrived VIP and added + 1 to every one standing in the queue. The VIP was now in front and lodged his complaint. The gist of his complaint was that the old man and his son were ungrateful blackmailers. The fact of the matter was that VIP had summoned the daughter in order to give her mother company who was feeling lonely. He wondered why instead of feeling grateful he was being reviled in public, and as he had learnt only now. Being a conscientious citizen he had come to report to the Police. He saw a sinister foreign hand behind all this activity. The complaint was investigated impromptu and the father and the son (no. 2 and 2.5 in the line) were arrested and confined to a cage like room as lock up. My guide gave a triumphant smile and dared me to find parallels to this efficiency and wisdom in my own country. He also added for good measure that this was the state of ultraviolet activity - a rare sight as it was beyond the pale of visible of their duties spectrum, and I was fortunate to have witnessed it, in presence of VIP sometime leads to such a state.
Meanwhile the knowledgeable person advised my escort that either he should he patient and await his turn, or approach someone who could command the obedience of Police. The Police are like a vault - unless you have the secret code, (and only the rich and powerful have it ) you can’t' open it. He gave me the necessary information and bade me goodbye. I said to myself that having come this far I might as well go through the whole. I prepared to seek an appointment with the holders of the secret code

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