Friday, January 28, 2011

Blow Hot, Blow Cold – The funny ways a breath analyser can behave

Sometimes we are provided moments to laugh as a safety valve to deal with the pressure cooker called life. One such instance came last week; we (me and dad) were returning from a movie around midnight in Robert chettan's cab (dad has a list of cabbies whom he knows from his working days and he calls them in random order whenever we need to go out, and most of them know me since my short-pants days).

Coming back to the story; the police waved us to stop as we were getting down the Thoppumpady BOT Bridge and told us to park on the side. Police checking is a routine thing in the night but, that day I'd an intuition that something was amiss; maybe he has seen us overtaking (prohibited) a twenty feet container trailer on the bridge. The constable came towards us and asked where we were coming from. Robert said cinema and even mentioned film's name. The policeman peeped inside the car, saw me, saw dad and the wheelchair in the back (in Indica the wheelchair has to be put in passenger seat behind as it doesn't fit in the boot). 'Ok, blow into this”, was his next command putting the Breath Analyser in front of his mouth. It made a funny sound somewhat like the siren of an ambulance and red and green light blinked on it. My first thought was that the machine was activated for the test, but realised that some was wrong when the cabbie laughed nervously.

“Are you drunk?”

“No Sir. I told you I'd gone to a movie with them. I'm with them since 7:30 PM”.

“This thing wouldn't buzz if you weren't drunk”.

“I swear on my kids, I don't drink”.

The policeman went to his senior and said what was happening. He came back and sniffed the driver then signalled us to leave as he stopped the next car. Even his senior smiled and waved us good bye.

One good thing about the whole episode was that the policeman never became rude and had the smile intact on his face all the while.

“This is ridiculous Bhai, I haven't touched the stuff since '92”, Robert Chettan told dad.

“Have you had anything strong flavoured for lunch or dinner?” dad asked.

“No! Just simple rice and curry. And, yes the candy you gave me in the interval”.

“Don't tell me that it has alcohol, it is Paresh's favourite”, dad joked. “Anyway, you have got a nice incident to tell your wife about”.

I'd have teased and joked with him even more. But, he looked distraught about the whole thing. So, I kept quiet and told him to pray a little harder before going to bed as God had put him through a little test tonight.

PS: Robert Chettan is a performer of Chavittu Nadakam, a traditional dance-drama performed in church yards during festivals. This art form is on the verge of extinction because the new generation is reluctant to take it up and the public in general isn't interested in it. Now, only capsule version is performed once or twice annually for the foreign tourists.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bell Bajao

For the last few days news of domestic violence is clamouring of space along with humongous scams, illegal detention of a minor rape victim, sky rocketing prices of essentials commodities and numerous other worthy things in the media just because it happened in a foreign land and involves one of our high ranking Diplomats.

Normally domestic violence is just a topic of gossip among the neighbours; what I could make out was that she didn't allow him to sleep with her as he was stinkingly drunk or she didn't serve food for his ailing mother or the curry she made was not of his liking and accept fallen in the toilet as an excuse with a wry smile when we see a mutilated face. Even immediate family would wash off their hands saying it is a matter between the couple and we don't like to interfere in their private life.

How I wish there was a 911 kind of service to help not only women but kids too against such violence.

And, the law will remain useless if not impotent unless there is a change in attitude.

Sometime back there was high visibility campaign named Bell Bajao with TV commercials prompting people to non-intrusively halt acts of such violence just by ringing the doorbell. Wonder why they have stopped appearing.