It has been a very long time since I wrote something, which people laugh over. So here it goes. Six instances in my life when the Police taught me a lesson!
1. The chain snatchers
The first instance has to be the most funny one, but till today, I remember the incident quite vividly. I was in my 6th semester, or 3rd year of my engineering studies. I lived with three of the most versatile, quirky, extremely intelligent and friendly roommates I will ever have.
I was also very close friends with one of my friends, who later moved inn with my roommates, lets call him Shashi! So, back to story, it was one of those random nights, were we all wanted to eat out. We wanted to eat at a south Indian restaurant near bell road. Before we left, one of my roommates drank a glass of wine or two, lets call him Abhi (by the way the names are real!). According to him, he was not tipsy (which none of us believed later that night).
We reached the restaurant, had a wonderful dinner and I do remember over eating that night. As we came out of the restaurant, we realized that we had two vehicles and 5 people, a Hero-Honda Splender and a Honda Deo. Needless to say, as a student riding triples (3 people on one motorcycle) was second nature! So, Jess and Shashi took off on the Deo and Krish, Abhi, and I chose to ride on the Splender.
This is where the fun started. Krish and I realized that Abhi seemed to be suddenly full of energy and we kind of started thinking that it should be the wine in him. We ignored the signs, so as we were getting ready to ride the bike, Krish and I thought it would be safer to sandwich Abhi between us on the bike.
As we started moving, we reached a long inner road, usually only frequented by students from the hostels nearby. Krish was known to ride the bike recklessly (although very precise). On the way home, Abhi suddenly started to wave his hands out like he was flying. At the same time, Krish could not negotiate a pot-hole, as we hit the pot-hole, we hopped up not too violently.
That sudden jerk, made Abhi shout out loud while still waving his hands like a bird. There I was, at the back trying to control an overly excited roommate and a roommate keen on riding his bike fast! I suddenly noticed two police officers going the opposite way. I did not think much about them, as it was late night. I thought the Police had better things to do than trouble three college students (Technically, two students, Krish was working for a software company).
Along the way, after about half a kilometer, someone grabs my orange shirt from behind. Mind you, we were still on a moving bike, at an intersection (near MSRIT boys hostel). I asked Krish to slow down the bike, which he did.
To our surprise it was those two police constables we saw passing us some 2 or 3 minutes ago. We were sure that they wanted a bribe or that they will fine us for riding the bike with an extra pillion rider. Again, none of us was worried. But then came a shocking reason for the abrupt stop.
The two constables shouted, “HEY CHAIN SNATCHERS” with an aggressive tone. We did not understand what they meant. We told them that we were on our way back from dinner.
They did not believe us. Meanwhile, Shashi and Jess met us at the intersection. The constables asked us to get down, and use the other vehicle to follow them. Jess went back home, Shashi came with us on the Deo. The constables split up into two groups, I was asked to sit on the police bike. We were taken to this place where a woman was robbed earlier that night. Someone had stolen her gold necklace. This is what the constable told me on our way to the woman place. As we reached, we were asked to line up! The three of us stood there waiting for the woman to identify us.
Out comes the woman and after taking a look at us said “ No, these are not the robbers, they were fatter and older. They also were on a bigger bike.. It was a Pulsar” and returned back to her house. We thought that the constables had no illegal right to keep us in custody and should allow us to go back home. Only traffic police can fine us for traffic offenses in India, at-least that is what we thought!
I think the constables were agitated for not finding the real robbers, the constables wanted to hustle us. They said, “You now have to come to the police station”. At that moment, we thought it is just a wise decision to not question their authority and followed them to the station.
We asked Shashi to stay outside, since he was not on the bike when we were stopped. Krish, Abhi, and I went into the station. It was a small police station, but had many officers on duty. We were nervous because the whole station looked dark and dirty, possibly because of the power-cut.
So we were asked to wait for the circle inspector (the head of the police station) to finish his work, who was sitting next door. As we were three young men standing in a police station, we attracted attention from other police officers, who asked what did we do to be there. For a while, they seemed to understand that it’s a case of mistaken identity. But then, there was this very tall police officer, in my estimate about 6 feet 6 inches.
He seemed a little irritated with us being there. So he asked us where we are originally from, we said Mangalore. Then something snapped, the police officers asked us “why get in trouble like this and waste parents money by traveling to Bangalore for studies?” We did not respond. This went on for a minute or two. Abhi, the excited one among us, by mistake said “Sorry Sir”. One thing you never do in a Karnataka State Police Station is to speak in English with a hasty tone. It is just a cultural divide and no more. The officers did not like being said sorry to in English.
Nevertheless, when Abhi said “Sorry Sir”, the 6 feet 6 inch behemoth of a Police Officer, seemed to taken offense. Suddenly, about 10 police officers surrounded us, correction, hounded us! They started to verbally abuse us with whatever curses they could think of in Kannada (local language). Imagine this happening to you. 10 people cursing you at a same time and all of them are Police Officers.
Abhi got a little annoyed, and Krish and I knew he has a short temper when people push him. We kept telling him to keep his cool. When he again said Sorry, the monster slapped Abhis back. I thought, this is not good. Things are getting bad to worse. But thankfully, things started to get to better
Remember the power cut? Turns out that saved us. How you ask?
Earlier, as we entered the police station, we had observed a scrawny looking man who was under police custody sitting on the floor. While the officers were at it cursing us and the monster giving us his attention, the thief thought of making a run into the dark. One of the police officers saw him escaping. All their attention went to catching the thief and bashing him while we were stood there hoping they don’t return their attention to us.
Meanwhile, the circle inspector asked us to come to his office and threatened us that he would file a case and inform the college Principal, if we did not pay him. At this moment, we were tired of all the harassment we received for the last 1.5 hours. We apologized and said we will not repeat our mistakes and that we will pay the fine.
If it was only us (Abhi and I), it would have been a lot difficult to get out that night. Since Krish worked for a software-company the officers were quite liberal to let us go if we paid.
We returned home that night filled with discussions on what could have been if we were still stuck in the Police Station. I remember going to sleep early morning at 4 am the next day thanking my stars.
Till today, when we talk about that night we share a laugh. I am sure my roommates will laugh their hearts out when they read this post.
Mistaken identity is a terrifying experience.
2. Not a lounge
In India, when you have to order a Passport, there is a process called Police Verification. This process is to ensure that the person applying for a passport can be vetted by a Police Officers review of his/her background.
When I had my Passport Verification the Police Officer came to my house and cross checked the details I listed in my application. However, to finish the process, one needs to visit the Police Station in charge of the application and sign their initials.
The day I went to get my clearance, as a 22-year-old, I was naive about etiquette required in an Indian Police Station. As I was waiting for my turn to sign, I sat on the chair provided but crossed my legs. That was a mistake.
Two officers did not like the way I sat and shouted at me for crossing my legs in a government office. Needless to say, I was scared that a simple thing of crossing you legs can make Police Officers mad. They however did not trouble me more, I said “Sorry” in Kannada and everything went as planned.
Pro tip: Do not cross your legs in an Indian Government Office!
3. You are transferred
This happened on my second trip to India from Norway. As a fairly less traveled person, I was unaware of some flying etiquette.
The Lufthansa route I was traveling had one stoppage at Frankfurt. As the flight landed in Frankfurt the shuttle bus dropped at the arrival gate. I made my way to the arrival corridor and saw the transfers gate is to the right some 200 meters far. Since I had a long wait for the next departure, I thought I can just sit in the seats at the corridor.
Two Police Officers came to me and asked me what I was doing. They did not seem to like where I was sitting, but were quite calm about it. They first asked me where I was traveling and from where. They then asked me for my passport and boarding passes.
They said, you have to move from here. This area is not for the transfer and you cannot sit here. In hindsight, I understand why they said so. It is just a security protocol to keep people in their intended regions.
So next time.. you land in an airport, continue walking to the transfers area.
4. The 07:00 am drug dealer
So in 2014, I was moving back to Trondheim after my stay at Kongsberg. To shift my belongings, I had planned to make two trips to Trondheim. On my second trip, I had with me, one suitcase and two rucksack. I boarded a late night train from Oslo to Trondheim. So, the next morning, the train reached the Trondheim station at around 6:45 am. As I was trying to haul my bags, it took me some time. At the underpass of the railway tracks, there was a slim looking person, who gave me a strong stare.
I don’t trust people in a public place, so I ignored him at first. As I approached towards the exit of the underpass, his stare grew a tad stronger. With a flick of his head, he asked me to come over to him. I shrugged my shoulders and tried to avoid going towards him. Now as every person in the world does, I started to stereotype him as a someone shady person. He had Addidas tracks on him and watching his move, I assumed he must be one of those drug dealers I heard exist in Trondheim.
Then he tried to show me a badge, I was not sure, I still hesitated. He insisted, and asked me to step aside. He then showed his badge clearly. On it, was the bold text which read “POLITI”.
Ouch!!! I told myself I am stopped by a Police Officer once again. Turns out, he was an undercover Police Officer. He started getting my general details, why I was traveling?, from where was I traveling?, what work will I be doing in Trondheim?… so on and so forth.
I complied. He then said, “You can go now”. So next time someone wearing a week old beard and pair of lousy sports trainers stops you in Norway, it may well be an undercover cop!
Not every person is a slim shady!
5. The local goon
So about 1.5 years ago, I used to stay near a place called Solsiden in Trondheim. Quiet a happening place. Ok, I am drifting out of topic. One evening, as I was engrossed watching Netflix, someone knocks on the door, real hard.
Such knocks seldom occur in Trondheim/Norway so my anxiety shot up. I rushed to the door, and I see three well-built vikings AKA Police Officers. Even the woman officer was above 6 feet. An intimidating site for anyone. They spoke to me in Norwegian with a rather intimidating tone.
I was scared, but knew I had not done anything illegal. The officer asked me my details, what my name was?, what I was doing in Trondheim?, was I alone in the house?
I kept answering all his questions. After about what seemed like 10 minutes of interrogation, the officer in the front asked my name again. So, turns out they were looking for someone else who has been booked before for some violence. That person used to stay in the same apartment block.
“Ufff. That was a close call, again”, I said.
6. Lost and found
This last encounter was more of a coincidence than anything else. So in Norway there is this noble routine people do called gis bort (give away). These are items and things, which people give away for various reasons, for free. As I was moving to a new place, I was in need for some furniture and getting some things for free is never a bad deal!
During one of these pick-ups, I noticed a key bunch beside the parking spot. The key bunch had a dog-tag attached to it with a message, which read “if found, please hand it over to the Police”. It also had a serial number through, which I guess the police can get in touch with the real owners.
All this happened late in the evening, and I knew the police station is closed. Yes, there are working hours for Police Stations in Norway. So, I was wondering what to do. As I turned to my right, I saw another person getting out of his car.
I ran to him, he looked Norwegian, so I asked him, “what do I do when I get a key-bunch like this and the police station may be closed?” He looked at me and said, give it to me. I am a off-duty Police Officer!
Mamma mia! what are the chances to come across a police officer getting out of his car?, with what looked like his trip back from the gym carrying a duffel bag! Anyway, I hope the key found its right owner in the end. I would not know if it did, ask the Police!
A quote to end this post:
“Do not judge people by what they are wearing, saying, looking, feeling, or doing. Let them surprise you, which they will.”