Or at least hope you don’t hear in a Police Station.
Few years ago, my passport came up for renewal. But since my old passport was made when I was still a minor, I had to undergo police verification before they issue me the new passport. (rules have changed now, and don’t ask me the questions, I don’t know the new rules)
The verification was done in two parts. First part was where I had to go with documentary proofs that I exist, along with a neighbour who would be a witness of knowing me. Second part required me to meet the Police Inspector, who would look at my photographs I had provided and look at me and make sure that both the people are same the same evening.
And everyone knows no one looks like their passport photo anyway. Oh, wait, I mean, no one looks like their Facebook photo.
So, I went with the documents and neighbour and mother to the police station and after the witness had signed papers, she went out with my mom, who was waiting for me to finish off the documentation. So, I was with the verification officer and I submitted my photographs and other documents and then the conversation with the verification officer went something like this:
Officer: और जो भी कुछ देना है वोह दे दिजिये.
Me: और कोई डाक्यूमेंट्स बाकी है?
Officer: नहीं, और कुछ देना हो तो दे दिजिये.
It took me a few minutes (considering I’m not too bright in taking subtle hints) to figure out he was asking for a bribe.
I said, नहीं और कुछ नहीं देना है and left the place. I came back in the evening with my dad where I told him my act of bravery. He didn’t react to that much. Though he did ask me if I wanted to see where judicial custody of people under arrest is held. And he pointed to the picture of a wanted criminal on the soft board and told me he looked like me.
Anyway, so later in the evening, no one asked for any money, and the PI cleared my form without any questions.
That was a few years ago. And that was the last time I visited the police station.
I visited the police station again today. This time I was the witness for my neighbour who got her passport renewed.
When I went to sign as witness to the verification officer, he looked at me for good 10 seconds and asked, ‘आप पेहले भी इधर आ चुके है ना?’ I said, yes, for my own passport verification. He beamed. ‘देखा, कैसे पहचान गया!’ I laughed awkwardly and left the place.
Came back home and narrated the story to the parents.
The father reacts, “so now he remembers you as the only girl who refused to pay the bribe – if you ever get arrested, I’m not bailing you out”.
I am starting a “Anticipatory Bail Fund for Nirwa” YOUGAIZ, kindly donate generously.