Ezhunthru Ya! Orama Niruthu!
For a minute, I didn’t know what I had done wrong. Then I realised I was wearing no helmet. By that time the cop, dark and fat, had my keys.
I stared back at him. I was the press, after all. I knew what would happen. I had been through this charade a thousand times.
Why are you talking on the cell phone? But, I am parked, I lied. Orama Po! Onna Ellaaam…
My friend had just arrived at the airport and was calling me. I had to pick up and had been driving for the last two minutes till the signal with the phone in my hand. Neenga keeya appadi edukka mudiyathu. I am in the press. Please give the key back, I said.
For a minute, we matched stares. I backed off but so did the cop. He opened his palm and stretched out his hand. I took my keys.
Then he realised he could not possibly let me go. He had gone too far and had been defeated. So he make me walk with the vehicle until we met with the SI.
There was a gang of three. Eager eyes, I thought.
Enna Pressu? I named my newspaper. Ennathu? I repeated the name. Sir pressam. He is been on the phone for 15 minutes, said the cop. Id cardu irukka? I took it out and gave it to him. He inspected it gravely.
Oru carda vachukkuttu enna vena panratha? Athallam romba thappu, sir. Would I finally pay my first fine in Chennai?
By this time, a cop on a bike arrived. For 15 minutes he was on the phone, he began. Sir, pressam, this one whispered.
Pressunna vidu pa. Poi tholaiyattum. The last was a murmur.
Then the dark cop pointed out the board. Don’t talk on you mobile when you drive, it said. Or something close. I don’t remember.
The warning lasted whole of 2 minutes. As I left the fuming gang of cops, my friend at the airport called again. Before I knew what I had done, I picked up the mobile. But this time I parked after dropping the mobile into my pocket.
On the drive to the office, I was wondering why the cops never fined journalists or take them to court. I even thought it was be right to be fined for speaking on the mobile and not even wearing the helmet, which the cop pointed out as I was leaving.
Is the police too lame to take on the journalists? Do they have too many skeletons up their closets? What pleasure can they possibly take in being so rude?
Either ways, I guess I have to leave my phone alone while driving.