The Potbelly

Posted on December 10, 2009 in Society

Preetika Rana:

“Do I seem obese? Well at least I qualify as a policeman if nothing else!” This was my 18 year old brother’s easiest way to tackle a conflict regarding his intake of junk food. Being a young girl of 10, I gaped in disapproval at the disrespectful and rather harsh statement. After all, a policeman is one who safeguards our right to safety-strong, athletic, fearless…a specimen of perfect law and order. Well, that’s what they taught us at school. Textbooks can’t be wrong, Can they?

As an adult, today as I look back and reminisce, I am not amused at what the world teaches you so fast-Never mix theory with practicality. My imagination of a powerful, strong, idealistic law and order guardian was lost somewhere down the streets of Chandini Chowk.

A rather short, stout, plump fellow, this man seemed to have found an inner peace relishing the sun burnt, deep fried jalebis. How many he seemed to eat, challenged my numerical ability. His worn out uniform struggled to hold the title of “being one piece” intact. Adjusting his thick black belt every 15 seconds, this man seemed to be unperturbed by the traffic jam, abusive, infuriated words of frustrated car drivers and even unaware of signal skippers. It was as though he had attained nirvana of his own kind. Standing at a distance of barely 100 meters my grandmother suddenly let out an anguished cry- “My purse! Thief! Help…!”

At first I was unsure if the panic and chaos would be enough to ring a bell with Mr. Potbelly. However, miracles do happen and somehow he seemed to move from his ‘Bodh Tree’. With one hand placed on his belly he made a feeble attempt to run. It seemed as though he had just exhausted all the force and energy the mouth watering jalebi’s had provided to him. What came next was one of the most terrifying sight’s I was about to witness. The policeman’s shirt gave way and parted into two. There it stood-The bowed potbelly-weighted heavy and repugnant.

Incidents like these will always make me notice our so called ‘guardians’ at traffic signals, police booths, local Thana’s etc. What happens to millions spent on our state machinery? Why are there no regular Zonal checkpoints for policemen? Why no review committee’s or regular training programs? Why no registered RTI act’s? Why thousands killed, robbed, looted and raped everyday? Questions will seem to haunt us perhaps till the day when another 26/11 will be staring into our faces.

In the end I’d just like to leave you with the image your younger sister still holds as unchallenged in her mind-The picture of a proud, athletic, respectable, powerful and strong law and order keeper. The choice will always be your own: Is it time you break her bubble and expose her to the harsh reality of life or time you stood up, raised your voice and moved an inch only to foster a better tomorrow for your loved ones and many such generations to come.

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