Arts Humour

The Vodka and Tonic Tales

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Soumya recounts an interesting tale about how a corrupt cop was paid back in his own coins, by a vodka and tonic man. A Different Truths exclusive.

The discussion at the bar was about the police, violation of traffic rules, and general corruption.  In a free willing chat so common in that convivial atmosphere when the spirits are flowing and the wit is at its sharpest, many stories were exchanged. The one that stuck in my mind was about paying a crooked cop back in his coin.

The storyteller was a vodka and tonic man and I will relate his story in the first person.

The Vodka and Tonic’s Story.

I was a young man in Pune in those days and drove a bike.  Helmet was something we avoided in the Pune heat and usually had a handkerchief tied over the face to avoid the dust and dark glasses to shield the eyes.  We also tended to drive too fast to prove our machismo, and the lack of helmet too was part of this. I shuddered to think how idiotic and irresponsible we were and how lucky we are to have survived into middle age despite such lunacy.

The people, who were supposed to keep us from the suicidal tendencies were the traffic police, and they did do their jobs, but we looked at them as the enemy party and tried our best to outwit them.

On the occasions when we did get caught, we avoided our due punishment by utilising the poverty and greed of the cops and the general prevalent corruption in society by getting away with small bribes. But in those impecunious days, these little penalties too would be a major irritant.  Finally, one day I had my revenge.

I was stopped by the policeman at a busy crossing for jumping the light at high speed and without a helmet. I was thus liable for three penalties and could get my license suspended.  However, after the usual pleadings, arguments and negotiations, the deal was made for Rs.50/- a princely sum in those days. The modus operandi was going across to the paan wala and depositing the money there so that there was no chance of the vice squad catching the traffic cop.  I accordingly went across worrying about how my budget will be affected by this. Then a brilliant idea struck me.

I confidently went across to the paan wala and said that the constable had asked him to give me Rs.500/-.  The paan wala merely looked up at the constable, while I also looked at him and shown my palm with five fingers open and pointed at the paan wala.  The cop just nodded assuming that I was confirming the amount to be paid.  The cop’s cashier without murmur handed me five hundred-rupee notes from the cop’s daily collection and I confidently walked to my bike and drove off, richer by more than my monthly allowance with the additional satisfaction of having depleted my enemies ill-gotten gains.

I avoided that crossing thereafter.

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