A Curious Case of Corruption

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Yet another 'fictitious non-fiction'

Summers had just arrived. So Ketan and Sugandha packed their bags for a trip back home. Both, in their early twenties had been dating for about two years. However, staying in separate cities, they could meet only upon returning to their hometown.
Meeting Sugandha after half a year which seemed like centuries to him, Ketan could only wish to see her as often as possible. They had not broken the news as yet at their homes, so had to meet covertly at places where it was difficult for any near and dear ones to bump into them.
Today, Ketan was driving towards a secluded area to the north of the city. Holding Sugandha's hand in his left one, he was determined not to leave it and manage the steering wheel and the gear with his right hand only. Such a 'safe driving', as they had paradoxically codenamed it, was difficult but love has the power to make you do anything, how difficult or rather how stupid it might be.
Finally, he brought the car to a jerking halt in the parking area of an abandoned garden, thanks to a late transmission to the lower gear. But these jerks were nothing as compared to their thumping hearts.
In these early days of summer, emotions thawed quickly and bursted with full vigour like the just released waters through the floodgates of a large dam. Before they could realise it, their hand-to-hand contact had moved to the lips and they were lost in a heaven of their own. Even with their eyes shut during that intimate moment of love, passion, trust and belonging, they could just see each other.
They were so lost that they failed to hear a gentle knock on the window. But soon it turned into a thumping noise and they left each others embrace startled at this sudden intrusion. As Ketan looked out, he saw the heavy frame of a police constable, rubbing his pot belly with the right hand and maneuvering his stick with the other, directing Ketan to come out of the car.
As Ketan opened the latch of his door, he pressed Sugandha's trembling hand with his other hand reassuring her that everything will be fine. However, even as he stepped out, he could well imagine that how this excursion could land him in a very embarrassing position vis-a-vis his parents.
Ketan had always been honest with his mother but somehow had failed to disclose about his affair with Sugandha. Of all the ways, this was not the way he wanted to introduce Sugandha to his parents.
"Ae ladke, show me your license or an I.D." demanded the constable sternly.
Before Ketan could pull out his wallet, the constable added, "What are you two doing in this public place? You know it is illegal!"
"Yes, sir!" was all that Ketan could mutter in reply.
As Ketan searched his wallet for the license, the constable took his wireless set out of its holster clinging to the broad black belt that was keeping his khaki trousers from falling.
"Don't do it sir." Ketan pleaded while holding the constable's wireless set gently.
"Leave, the wireless," shot back the constable, "You are the one who shouldn't have done this in the first place."
"It was a mistake sir that wont be repeated." replied Ketan, keeping his tone polite to cool down the temper of the constable.
Meanwhile, sitting in the car, Sugandha was terrified. She could not imagine how she would face her parents if this incident blew out of proportions. She was just kissing the guy with whom she could happily spend the rest of her life. However, her parents won't see it in the same light. After all they had been betrayed. Despite all the faith they showed in her and the independence she enjoyed unlike most of her friends and cousins, she had failed to tell them about Ketan. She promised herself that if this ordeal ends here and now, she won't repeat it.
Meanwhile, somehow working his way through negotiations, Ketan finally asked the constable, "Can't we end it with some compromise?"
As he said this, his hand went inside his wallet and pulled out all the six, hundred rupees notes that were lying inside. The constable looked at the notes as Ketan handed them over to him. By now, his anger had subsided but he was still fuming a bit.
Ketan prayed for this episode to end with this final negotiation. The constable contemplated for a moment; then separating half the notes from the thin bundle, handed them back to Ketan and said sheepishly, "Arre Betaji! That money was just too much."
Ketan was puzzled but he graciously accepted the money back with a thanks.
"Listen Betaji, you both belong to good families and should not be doing all this. I am letting you both go for the sake of this girl's honour," the constable said in a more reserved tone. "However, you should be the one caring about her honour."
"Yes, sir." was all that Ketan could mutter again as the constable left asking him to vacate the place quickly.
As they drove back into the crowded part of the city, Sugandha declared, "We won't be repeating it," still feeling guilty for what had just happened. Ketan nodded a bit reluctantly. As they approached the shopping mall where Sugandha had parked her car, Ketan said thoughtfully, "I have a better idea yaar. We won't be going to that place again." Sugandha looked at him with raised brows. Just as Ketan was ready to give up, she gave a mischievous smile and pecked on his left cheek. "Okeh!" she said.

This is an adapted version of an incident that actually happened with one of my friend recently. I have changed the names for the sake of privacy. This is indeed a curious case of corruption. It is such an incident which lies at a thin line between right and wrong. Who is right and who is wrong is difficult to judge.
At the face value, I might say both Ketan and the constable were wrong. Ketan for bringing his bedroom out in the public place (though it was not the case here, but the kiss could be a part of the foreplay in such a secluded, nonetheless public place) and offering the money to the constable to prevent him from doing his duty and the latter for accepting this money and not following the proper course of action.
But was Ketan really wrong? Wasn't the poor guy just at the wrong place at the wrong time? He was an adult, just kissing his girl friend. What is the fuss about it? Are we still living in paleolithic ages? Did he have any other option than to offer the money to prevent the situation going out of his hands?
On the other hand was the constable really wrong? He was doing his duty, stopping the love birds from littering a public place, though a secluded one. He was offered 600 bucks but kept only 300. Wasn't that an 'honest' gesture from this pitiably payed public employee? Moreover, wasn't a little bit of fine important to act as a deterrent for future excursions of Ketan and Sugandha? When, he could not reprimand them through official channel to safeguard the 'honour' of Sugandha as he asserted (though could be an excuse to justify his act), he had to take this line.
I have written on virtues and vices in my other posts, but this particular incident is incomprehensible to me. While, I feel the blame lies somewhere, I find it difficult to put it on anyone. Your reflections on this curious case of corruption will help indeed.

Update (July 3, 2009)
This is what the 'real' Sugandha messaged me after reading this post:
hi vipul.....
read ur blog wich u wrote on d incidnc hapnd wid 'ketan' n me.....well first of all thankz a lot....itz beautifully writn....i was telng it to 'ketan' as well, dat u cud easily say wat he was feelng at dat tym cz he narrated u abt it....bt u wrote abt my viewz and thoughtz so perfctly....itz amazng...
i was felng nostalgic...dat too on d day he was leavng....thx dear....
god bless......tk cr

Even the 'real' Ketan called me up after reading the post and claimed that I've got a new fan.

My reply to both of them was simple, "
Guys keep giving me such 'inspirational' stuff to write about whenever you meet in future!"

Note:
If you liked this, you might also like my BlogAdda's Tangy Tuesday Pick, Arjun and my previous fictitious non-fiction, The Three Risk-tak(e)ers.

Image Courtesy:
http://mikeely.files.wordpress.com (edited)

Dear reader, I have been diagnosed with ACDS or Acute Comments Deficiency Syndrome. My condition is critical and deteriorating day by day. The Doctor has recommended me a high dosage of comments to stay alive. So, if you took out time to read this post, be kind enough to take out some more time to leave a comment. Your few more moments may add few more moments to my life. May God bless you and your blog.

13 doses of compassionate comments received.:

Nicky said...

I think our police should be more worried about criminals, thieves, pick pockets, eve teasers, rapists etc...

Btw, PDA (public display of affection) is not prohibited by law. Though obscenity is, for which there needs to be someone who says that the act was obscene. Don't know if a police man can testify for this.

Ask your friends to go do the same in underground parking lots of malls/ theaters - much safer there :P .

Personally speaking, I never did need to face such problems with policemen, but yea everyone needs to look out for approaching vehicles/people. :P

Vipul Grover said...

Yup, you put the legal aspect spot on. Someone reporting an obscene act can lead to legal trouble though PDA is legal.
However, the point is if caught u shud b confidnt 2 defend urslf. Its sum kind of guilt tht makes u offer a bribe.
Secondly, the 'curious' aspect in this post is that why did that constable return 300 bucks? Now thats beyond my comprehension.
And yeah, aftr this incident i did give him sum nice suggestions too though parking lots sound good :D

BK Chowla said...

Vipul,I am not aware of the legal position.Obscenity,surely is not acceptable.Beyond this it should be left to the couple.As for Sakaram is cncerned..there is a saying...my sins and my virtues are with me and your sins and your virtues are with you.
It only proves...choron ki hi(bhi nahin ) asool hote hain.He refunded the excess payment.

Bharathi said...

Well narrated incident. Great style of writing.

I was eagerly waiting for the end of the post to know what judgement you would pass on this. But you only passed on the ball to us.

What is right and what is wrong is very subjective and requires one long post to justify. But if we need to avoid suffering, we should abstain from doing things that we can not admit in public. If we are in a society, we are bound to certain laws of it (kissing in public is not seen good in Indian society). Going against such laws can not be termed criminal but if we do so, we should be brave enough to face the consequences. In this incident, you pals don’t want to face the consequences.
I woudnt term, returning part of the bribe back, as an honest gesture as he only wants to reduce his guilty feeling. And also we dont have to bring in law here. Even if it was a goon, your pal would have given some money. The police just wanted to take advantage of their fear rather than enforcing law. This is one of the poor attitudes of our people. They take advantage of other person's misery.

By the way what do you think on this.

Vipul Grover said...

@chowlaji.. choron(aka policewalo) k bhi asool hote hain.. i think with tht u give an apt Moral of the Story :)

@Bharathi.. i intentionally kept it open-ended 2 let my readers give a verdict.. nd um glad 2 read ur reply. as it is u again turn out 2 b my alter ego. wat u'v said is exactly wat i feel:)

Anjan said...

I think that this conclusion is better off loose ended. There's always an appropriate place to perform such acts...Just as suggested by Nicky. On the other hand bribing the Police was unlawful (by constitution), but again that's how the expansion of a popular syllable goes "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge" :P

Vipul Grover said...

right anjan. ur comment is also 'loose' ended :D

Anonymous said...

ha ha,it reminded me of a similar situation my husband and I were stuck in barely one month before our wedding when we stopped by for a quick peck while he was teaching me driving on some newly made roads.But thankfully, we were left off by paying 50 bucks 10 years back,I showed the presence of mind and boldly faced the policewallah and negotiated from 500 to 50(guess the fact we were bethroed to get married gave the strength )!!!

Shanks said...

Vipul

Its great the way you've put across this incident, examining both sides of the coin - though I dont think you looked at it that way when you narrated your incident to me. At that time you and Ravneet both were glad to be let off by the policeman for just 300 bucks. But here in the blog you've actually been able to not only give the 2 chars different names, but also able to judge it like a 3rd person, Keep it up

Vipul Grover said...

haha! shashaank dear.. go nd cncntrate on ur startup!
atleast should hav chosen a better name for my fictitios G.F. u just made up right now.
We both know whose story this actually is.
Well to clarify to my readers, it is neither mine nor shanks' but sum other frnd of ours.


@anonymous.. indian women r gr8 at bargaining:)

Shankar said...

wow..great one...vipul to say the truth I wont mostly read such a long one.. but this one was very interesting..i read the whole one....
I have tagged you in my latest post...check out my blog please..

Vipul Grover said...

hey thnx shankar.. was jus trying 2 diversify my writing style.
nd yeah will try 2 tak up ur tag asap:)

RSV said...

With utmost satisfaction, i would like to inform you that this post of yours has been selected as a suiting piece to honor my newly installed wall of fame.
So, I would like you to take out some of your precious time and gimme a small writeup introducing this post in about 40-50 words to mail address:rahul938@gmail.com
I would also appreciate it if you could nominate some more posts(including yours) which can be pinned up on my wall.

yours truly
RSV

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