Sunday, January 12, 2014

Of Beginnings and Endings

Thought of giving this post a Shit Happens title but decided to go with the above heading..

2013 in January I had two friends P and T travel over to write some songs... by December I hoped that we'd have at least a couple of tunes worth recording in a studio. Didn't happen... instead of a studio, on the 27th of December 2013 I was in a station in Kolkata.. a police station with the same two friends - P and T. Arrested. Reason? 'Manhandling a taxi driver'... or in the words of the officer, "Taking the law into your own hands"

That morning, a crow had pooped on P's shoulder. I told him it's considered good luck..... Or was it bad luck? That night it just so happened that the bada saab of Park Street police station saw my friend talking to the taxi driver who'd refused to take us to our destination. The officer was in plain clothes, his ride was just behind the taxi that my friend P was having a chat with..

Never thought that the situation would escalate to the level that it did. T and I were just watching... initially amused at the scene unfolding before us..

( note: 'stock' photo - a Kolkata cab driver from my personal library. The one on the night was 25 years old and looked a bit like the evil Vaas from Far Cry 3 )

For the record, voices were raised, shirt sleeves rolled up and collars pulled but no punches were thrown (yet) between P and the taxi driver... but the bada saab from Park Street police station was all charged up.. Afterall it was Park Street.. a crowd was gathering.. and he was there to ensure law and order prevailed.... "Do you know who I am?", he thundered as P tried to explain the situation...(un)lucky taxi driver was the fifth or sixth who'd refused to take us for a reasonable fare to our desired destination..

Or maybe it was good luck in the end...the crow shit bit. ..long story short, bada saab (OC of Park Street police station) called his people and we were all driver included..taken to the station..our id's noted...questioned...given a speech.... and then released... of course... a little cash was involved.. demanded by one of the cops who was finally in charge of getting us to sign a paper... by then we were in no mood to protest...FIR? not tonight sir.. I've got a train to catch tomorrow...

On hindsight, wish I had the presence of mind to record all that happened using my phone camera.... 
Our dinner before the whole incident did involve some alcohol...but the fact is that none of us were drunk..and taxi drivers refusing passengers is a prevalent problem in Kolkata...and the cops know it..otherwise things could have been really ugly for all involved... 

The money demanding cop in uniform himself was unable to flag down a cab for us once we left the station! He was successful only after standing in the middle of the road... As we learnt later, taxi drivers do have a right to refuse passengers at night... But asking for way more than double the normal fare is out of order..It seems city traffic police have/had formed a Taxi Refusal Squad during puja season.. well they were not present on Park Street by year end...

Onto other matters...while I've been through the 'I do's' and done with mine, earlier in December 2013, I flew up to the hills to ensure that my brother's marriage went smoothly... 

I was in-charge of alcohol, flowers and security.

For those who can't read Mizo the sign says "*Mizo people should strictly strictly get married in traditional Mizo dress" ... My brother was in Western clothing. Had he been an actual Westerner it would've been OK..Thankfully, nothing untoward happened...and the marriage ceremony went peacefully.

Mizo youth are highly influenced by Western, Korean and Japanese fashion these days which is affecting the local fashion market. I've been told even the chief minister of Mizoram has been criticized for wearing clothes and suits created by designers from mainland India.. 

Anyway, as they say... all's well that ends well. I do miss the hills and hope to complete my house up there soon... but right now the hills in Far Cry 3 are calling me...Didn't really like the ending(s) but gonna playthrough again.... Maybe setting the difficulty level at the highest will result in being satisfied with the ending..

*Disclaimer: This an unofficial translation and may not be accurate.