Last night the auto rickshaw I was returning home in jumped a red light. A prompt traffic policeman stopped us and demanded for the papers. When the driver began to plead, he referred the case to his superior, standing some distance away. Amidst the din of the passing traffic and the darkness after dusk all that I could make out that some negotiation was on. After a few minutes of haggling, the driver returned with a satisfactory grin on his face. “How much?” I enquired. “Rs. 10,” he replied. The driver sensed my surprise and gave an elaborate lecture on how to handle cops at the least possible cost. “Never argue with the police,” he suggested. “Oops!” Only a few days ago I gave a man in uniform a sermon, when he tried to prevent me from clicking photographs. “Thank god, that particular policewallah was oblivious of this commandment,” I thought.

But Rs. 10! Isn’t that unbefitting of the status of a head constable/assistant sub-inspector (couldn’t differentiate the stars from the stripes in the dark). But on analysing that if an MP can charge Rs. 10,000 for doing something which is in his job description, why can’t a lower rung policewallah stoop to Rs. 10 for not doing his job. Rs. 10 gets 10 packets of gutkha (provided they pay the poor panwallah); better than Rs. 100 added to the government’s coffers. The last time I knew someone paying a baksheesh-type bribe was when a master haggler of a friend got his police verification (for his passport) for only Rs. 5. The officer-in-charge of the local police station had demanded Rs. 500.

Next time you’re caught violating the law, keep some small change handy.

Categories: Uncategorized
  • Accidental Fame Junkie

    This reminds me what AquaM told me. She said that if it’s the end of the month, such harassment increases. Yeah, Rs. 10 is what her brother once paid (in Chennai) to get a cop off his back. Of course, after a lot of hagling. But first you need to prove that you have no money at hand preferably by showing them the empty wallet.

  • asabnis

    ppl are earning more in an honest way – its called ‘wage inflation’ I think, what would you call this? 🙂

  • R

    Same thing happened with me.. that time the autorickshaw guy gave a 100 bucks. Imagine!

  • Abaniko

    Maybe, Rs. 10 is the minimum and if you consider the number of violations per day, the total money may be substantial enough.

  • AquaM

    Hey Soumya,Ahhh, AFJ beat me to it.Its quite pathetic even here in good old chennai. While I escaped with a big smile, much to my brother’s frustration who ended up coughinhg up chillar on similar occasions.I mean, it is bloody ridiculous and very sad. Veteran cops start at 200 rupees and finally close the bargain at 10 rupees. State of affairs really stinks!Oh bfore I forget, it was nice to hear from you on my latest post. You are a sweetheart. All the very best to you too.

  • Gypsy

    i agree with atul on this…but i also saw reduced level of curruption wen i was in india a few days back….here in US, wen someone gets caught for breaking traffic laws, they just make a big hoopla by flashing lights n sirens all over….so poor cops might not b getting a chance to get bribed at all 🙂 not that they r born honest (lol)

  • Sofi

    thats disgusting. im not sure what else to say and im sorry for being judgemental..or offending anyone.

  • educatedunemployed

    Jesus Christ!!!I must have made some 1000 trips to the police station for verification of my passport not realising that all they wanted was 50 bucks.It just didn’t occur to me in the begining and when it did I refused to give into the bribery game.It was a lesson well learnt.

  • Admin

    it was an useful lesson you learnt..I have never been able to haggle with Policemen, but i once pulled a nice on an a bangalore police.He asked for hundred, i came upto 40, but he won’t budge from 100 but agreed to 80 when i told him i only had that much.. but when i took i my wallet, he told me with shock to do it secretly, so i secretly slipped 3 10 ruppe notes well crumpled anf folded onto his hand which he pocketed. i ran .

  • Bionic 1

    Hey buddy, hope you’ve been staying clear of those Islamic lunatics that are buring everything down because of that stupid Danish cartoon.THE WORLD’S GONE CRAZY!