There are three sets of people in Mumbai that I am still scared of despite so many years in the city: short-distance auto drivers, real estate brokers and most of all, the Mumbai Police. They are powerful and they are dangerous; almost dangerously powerful, because they know how important they are to the common man, and they are not shy of abusing their power for that extra buck or that extra bit of sadistic pleasure in harassing helpless people.
One of the main reasons I moved to my new place was because it allowed me to do away with two of these three sets of people, viz. the broker and the auto driver. But still, the local policeman had to be dealt with, and I was postponing the inevitable, because every time I thought of walking inside the Powai Police Station by myself and cajoling a slimy policeman to do HIS JOB, I chickened out. Usually administrative hassles like police verification for moving into a new house are handled by the broker, thus creating this broker-policeman nexus which is more complicated than calculus. However, since this time I had taken it upon myself to NOT avail of a broker’s services, the dirty work had to be done by me. To make things worse, our lease agreement wasn’t registered, which would give the policeman enough reasons to harass me. But, yesterday, when the society in-charge told me to get my police verification done immediately, I knew I had to get it over with.
After a night of worrying and tossing and turning, I got up in the morning as if I was about to appear for an interview in my dream company, armed myself with all the documents, practised the excuse for not having a registered agreement for the 100th time, dressed conservatively in a salwar suit and off I went for my first tryst with the Mumbai police. So far, my criminal activities have been limited to a legal suit by a certain telecom company and underage drinking.
I saw a couple of familiar brokers who went in before me, exchanged pleasantries with the police officer on duty and got his valuable signature under 30 seconds. But before I could break into my Aishwariya Rai-like giggle, it was my turn. I sat down nervously, and though I was trembling inside, I tried to maintain my composure. He addressed me in Marathi, I listened hard, nodded and smiled brightly, though I had no idea what he said. I handed him the papers, hoping he wouldn’t notice the unregistered agreement. But of course, he could smell a chance to make money like an I-banker can smell an opportunity of an unethical way to increase his bonus. I argued, I made a few calls to my landlord and most importantly, I persisted. After an hour and a half, he gave in, and finally I got what I was waiting for: the precious signature!
Now you know why women take so long to climax… the men just refuse to do the right things upfront.
More importantly, I DID NOT PAY HIM A SINGLE PENNY.