Recognise the uniform at the corner of the picture? Yes, it is the traffic police official posted in front of SBI Ponda. Notice the double parked scooters? Yes, that is what he is supposed to prevent. But he appeared to be least bothered. We usually ignore both. Today I decided to question him about it.
“Sir, do you see those two wheelers which are wrongly parked?”
“Then, what are you doing about it?”
“They have just gone to the ATM”
“But going to the ATM is not an excuse to double park their vehicles and you are here to prevent that and take action. Not to justify wrong parking.”
“What to do? Eevery thing has become haphazard” (“Kite karpache? Sagle andhaa-dhundhi zaale”)
“My dear sir, I am supposed to say that. Not you. Things are ‘andhaa-dhundhi’ (haphazard) because YOU don’t care. Do you understand that?”
He was not interested in continuing the conversation with an old idiot who did not have anything better to do other than pointing out silly things. He looked at me with pity (as we usually look at mentally unsound people), smiled and walked away. I took his full picture and also his name and buckle number. My first thought was to write a complaint to his superiors. (Not that they would do anything about it). But then I thought about it and felt that he is not the only one to be blamed. I made a list of those whom I would like to blame.
1. We, the citizens - who consider these matters as silly things not worth bothering about and accept them because that is how things are in our country. We consider these uncivilized actions to be an aspect of our ‘Indianness,’ many of which we see everyday everywhere and are actually proud of it rather than being ashamed. We have grown with it and we bring up our children in the same way. Have any one of us questioned such things any time even though we notice them everywhere?
2. His ultimate superiors - Our ‘Netas’. Who have many weighty things to bother about and who have themselves set examples by being lawbreakers a number of times. Here is a small example of their attitude related to traffic. Few months back, five of the Hon. MLAs of the Goa legislative assembly, rode on their two wheelers - Enfield, Harley Davidson, Yamaha and such other glittering things - instead of their cars, on a fancy. Nothing wrong with that. But, none of them wore a helmet, an offence for which hundreds of citizens get ‘challaned’ every day. The police at the gate saluted them smartly and let them in. But some media fellow, who did not have any thing better to do, took their pictures, questioned their action and demanded that they be punished. It took three days for our MLAs to accept that they did something wrong and say that they would pay a fine. But I don’t think any of them did. At least I have not read anything about it in the papers. This is a trivial issue (as many may say) but with 'law makers' like these, what else can we expect?
3. His immediate superiors - who have failed to instill a bit of pride in him about his job and also have not drilled into his head the necessity to take his job seriously. Probably they themselves just say “sagle andhaa-dhundhi zaale” and close their eyes, an action which their underling follows.
4. This constable is the last to be blamed.
Whenever we from POP (Our group, People Of Ponda) have talked to the traffic cell about haphazard traffic in our city, the usual response is that the PWD has not installed enough sign boards or that they (traffic police) do not have enough staff. I understand that, right now there is an exercise going on to redefine parking areas, one ways, no parking zones etc etc in our city. I would like to point out to the people in charge of traffic cell that they are wasting their time redrawing traffic arrangements if they are going to be as indifferent to the new system as they are to the present system. What we need are not new/more rules/arrangements but only effective implementation of what we already have. All they have to do is come out of their indifference. Nothing else.
(I also noticed the same situation in front of Padmavi hotel and in front of Canara bank where there were not one but two police officials in each place, including one having Two stripes on his sleeves.
POP has intentions of talking to the top cops in traffic about traffic management in Ponda city and I intend mentioning this to the higher ups in the police force if and when we get to meet them. Hope we find a receptive ear and not an indifferent one)
I wrote this piece and tried to think why did I write? Is it just to have something posted on the Facebook page? I don’t think so. I feel strongly about these matters and want to do whatever I can, to bring about a change. Making others aware is one of the ways. Some say that I am just banging my head against a rock. A rock called our ‘collective attitude or the system.’ May be. But I hope that if everyone of us bang their heads - lightly, not very hard - it may cause a small dent on the rock one day or the other. Like drops of water falling over the ages. I do not hope to live to see the day but may be, my great, great grand children (if and when they are born) will be part of a civilized society.