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   When I reached the Colaba police station... (March 16, 1990)

When I reached the Colaba police station this morning for my milk, there was a large crowd. I told a constable who are standing at the entrance: "I want milk."

The constable took out his paan dabbi, spread out a paan, but a supari on it, after blowing several times through the supari, then applied chuna, wiped his fingers on the wall, floded the paan, put it in his mouth, chewed, spat, then said: "I am not on duty."

"Well, is there anybody else on duty?" I asked. "I have come to buy milk. One-and-a-half litre."

The costable said: "See the duty officer."

As I was going in to find the duty officer, a man in a black coat stopped me: "You want to file a complaint, you want to stand surely for somebody? I am a lawyer, I will handle your problem, just sign this vakalatnama."

"I want milk," I said.

"Sign the vakalatnama," the lawyer said, "I will get you the milk. And please give Rs. 20, for stamp fee only."

I brushed past him, as I do past lawyers at Esplanade Court when I go there, and went inside. A policeman stopped me: "Oi, oi, where do you think you are going?"

"I really do not know," said. "I want to buy mild, one-and-a-half litre. You know, what with the strike and all that, the wife told me to come to the police station. Then I was told I must meet the duty officer."

"You can't just walk in and see the duty officer," the policeman said. "There are procedures. The duty officer is still sleeping and I can't wake him up like that. Meanwhile, we can have some chai-pani."

"What chai-pani!" I said. "My wife children are waiting at home for me to bring back the milk so that they can have tea, and you want chai-pani. I will complain to the police commisioner, I know him."

An accused in the lock-up, shouted: "Quiet."

A sub-inspector, looking like Mr. Sushilkumar Shinde, come out: "What's all the noise about. Lock him up."

"Please," I said, "I have come here only to buy milk, one-and-a-half litre. It was in the papers that I could buy it here."

"The papers are all the time writing against the police," the sub-inspector said. "You have got a complaint against your milkman, you come later in the day and report it. Not so early in the morning.

So I returned home without the milk, and told the wife" Tomorrow, I will go to the Immamwada fire-brigade, that may be better."

 
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