Cops ‘N Robbers

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It was while I was somewhere between the grocery and junk food section in the supermarket, musing over random imponderables, when it came to my attention that despite being the most influential blogger within a radius of 10-20 meters, I’ve never raised a finger for improving the legal framework of our country. (Most friends tell me that the finger I raised at the meanie traffic cop doesn’t count)

After careful consideration, I move for capital punishment. And not just for the seriously violent criminals, but others as well… In particular, I want to pass a resolution that promotes medieval torture before execution for burglars. And at this point, I want to assure my readers that this has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the fact that my house got burgled.

“Good. For a moment there, I thought you were being vindictive”

Well, o.k., maybe it’s got a little something to do with it. My house was recently the victim of a cowardly and sinister attack of the burglary kind. They attacked while my roommates and I were out of at work – like honest, hardworking citizens who save up on their salaries to afford things like laptops, backup hard disks, cameras, mobile phones and currency. These unidentified sinister fiends sneaked up during the daytime, when everyone in my building was off at work, and used an iron crowbar to break open our doors and lunge on my worldly possessions… which included my laptop, a backup hard disk, a camera, a mobile phone, and currency to the tune of 370 British Pounds; a total financial loss of around Rs.1,30,000, a serious rip in the metaphorical pocket of a humble market researcher and an even humbler blogger; but that is NOT why I propose an amendment to legalize boiling burglars in Castor oil.

No, the real loss was not monetary – It wasn’t the money or the laptops or the hard disk drives.. but what was IN the laptops and hard disk drives. Photographs, family videos, work files, design works-in-progress, and my own completed and unfinished songs. These crucial items were irreplaceable, and I had kept a backup from my laptop on the external hard disk… and the cretins from hell had taken both of those when they cleaned up my place… which is why I want to propose the very conservative suggestion of having burglars drawn and quartered by rabid wolves after stringing them up by their thumbs.

After getting over the initial shock, which was a process involving a lot of gaping, swearing, and wall-bashing, I decided to do what any red blooded citizen of this country would do – I went to the cops.

The cops sent over a small squad of constables to go through our house and note the state of the place; to ask questions and comb for clues. The cops, in an enthusiastic bid to show their collective efficiency and understanding of their turf – within mere MINUTES – pocketed four hundred bucks in bribe… from us, the victims. After swiping the cash with extreme prejudice and without any record or receipt of any kind, they walked away, whistling some vague Kannada song, presumably to steal some kid’s lunch money after he’s harassed by local bullies. It’s yet another reason why today’s kids don’t play cops and robbers anymore… They get really confused about who the good guys are…

It took me four hours of waiting at the police station just to get my F.I.R. (First Information Report) filed. I had heard of the procedures before… For those of you who have been lucky enough to never have had to go through the process in a Bangalore police station, the actual process goes something like this –

Step 1. You wait

Step 2. You talk to the cop at the front desk about the theft

Step 3. The constable pretends to be deaf.

Step 4. You wait

Step 5. You talk again… slowly

Step 6. The cop suddenly recovers from what seemed to be chronic deafness, but despite the fact that he’s reading an English novel, he can only understand Kannada

Step 7. You tell him you don’t understand the language

Step 8. He blabbers in Kannada

Step 9. You try to talk in the kneeling position with your hands folded together

Step 10. He yawns in Kannada

Step 11. You start using hand gestures; an improvised game of charades to try and ask the cop for help

Step 12. He laughs in Kannnada

In the interest of brevity, I’ll skip to the end

Step 2,345. You write down your report, still astonished at the cop’s sudden grasp of the English language, particularly the less gentlemanly side of the vocabulary

It doesn’t really matter that the cops are actually well versed in English, and completely capable of understanding you. If you need to save around 6-9 hours of unnecessary and unpleasant drama at the police station, viz. an official enactment of the comedy drama “How We Don’t Talk To People Who Don’t Talk To Us In Kannada“, I suggest you grab your closest Kannada-speaking friend, preferably a localite, when you go to the station.

If you don’t have a Kannada speaking friend, get one. Right away. I suggest you get goons to push a localite into oncoming traffic, and stage a hero’s entrance by saving the localite  from the oncoming traffic, thereby indebting him/ her to accompany you in times of crises, like when you need to file an F.I.R. Alternatively, you can hit the closest localite you can find on the head, and then sprinkle water to revive him, thus indebting the sucker. (Tip: Make sure you strike from behind. The scheme fails miserably when the said localite is able to identify his assailant) The good thing about localites is their plenitude, and if you somehow feel that a particular scheme isn’t working, you can always start over with another fresh localite.

In my own case, I didn’t have to pursue schemes like these. I already have a couple of good Kannada speaking friends at my disposal… Perez and Sherry, some of the more fruitful side-effects of my incarceration in MBA. Even with their concentrated help, it took me over four hours to get the F.I.R. lodged. I was about to put in my suggestion that burglars should be tarred and feathered before being nailed to electric posts, but I figured that would take another fifteen hours of red herrings and possibly another round of bribes… on me.

In many cases, there are so few clues available to track down the culprits, but in our case, we DID have some solid leads. If the cops made some sort of an effort – even a lame one, there was hope to crack this case open. We had clues – suspicious individuals lurking around the house, IMEI number of the mobile phone, description of the bag they stole from us which they were likely carrying around on their back, a detailed understanding of their M.O…. Things that could have possibly helped the smart, prudent investigator. Unfortunately, the closest we got to a smart, prudent investigator was a cop who buttons up most of his shirt… and I’m told that we were lucky to get that.

Now that I think about it, maybe my ‘medieval torture plans for burglars‘ plan may not be the wisest course of action to suggest. It somehow doesn’t seem to be in line with today’s day and age… I think I’ll revise my position… if the burglars are ever caught and convicted, they should ALL be FORCED to file an F.I.R. at the police station.

Addendum: The ever delectable Silverine had written an excellent piece of hard core police efficiency around the city of Bangalore some while back. She’s been kind enough to direct me to the article, and it’d be particularly remiss of me if I’m not kind enough to direct you guys there as well… 🙂 – Cops in hand with robbers.

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5 Responses

  1. mathew says:

    oops…i think losing my laptop and camera would be the hardest thing to lose for me..I have been a victim myself..and luckily it was my work laptop….and being in Germany..i had wished for CSI style helicopters..sniffer dogs….hot german policewoman….and all i gotta do was sign a paper 8 hrs after the robbery….:(

  2. AP says:

    The blood boils when I read this. All that the cops do is register the F.I.R so that you can claim insurance. There is no effort to trace the culprits or investigate. Cop stations have become mere rubbing stamping stations now.

  3. Someone says:

    … if the burglars are ever caught and convicted, they should ALL be FORCED to file an F.I.R. at the police station.

    You are a fair and just man, Mr Joy. The punishment is indeed commensurate with the crime. Commendable. 😀

  4. hammy says:

    @mathew
    I guess work laptop won’t cause as much distress… unless it has sensitive content you are in charge of… or you sneak in personal files along with the rest… The loss of data is just staggering. I had some 100 GBs at least of data that I cannot get from anywhere else… It’s gone forever. The whole experience was terrible. Not one positive thing to take out of it. Maybe I can put in a special request for a hot German policewoman to assist… and maybe she can help out with the case too.

    @ap
    I suspect very strongly that the cops here are quite used to boiling blood and how to ignore them effectively. The cops do NOT have an open mind, but they seem to have extremely large and open pockets. And they might as well put in neon signs that point to the pocket, saying “Deposit money here” – They are NOT inefficient. They’re just efficient about the wrong things.

    @someone
    Of course, Someone. I’ve always been fair and just in my dealings with people. Just so there is no confusion on the matter, let me just point out that after they’re done filing the F.I.R, I still want them boiled in oil before being crucified on an electrified post.

  5. me says:

    No comments about the content.. I agree completely with the FIR followed by the rest, or maybe even simultaneously.

    On the fun side.. great snaps in this post :).

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