If you ever wanted to park your car in a long line of already parked cars, don’t look for parking signs because you will find none.
Leave something in the car; a number on the windshield, a business card, an infant. Something. Anything, really: preferably alive. Because no parking, or no no-parking signs will ever tell you where you are, and aren’t supposed to park.
If you have come this far, this is probably relevant to you.
It is 5 p.m. and I am at the PCR, the one opposite to Mughal Darbar, the pride of the blue men in uniform, the final resting place of all unclaimed cars, the nemesis of the felons, the beacon of lawfulness.
Along with the able bodied me, are the impertinent few who have the audacity to ever want their car with a meagre Chaalaan. Nothing urgent. These people can wait. Broken backs.Amputated legs.Pregnant women.Arched old men.And the distant residents of villages. Laws concerning parked cars overlook all, and oversee none. Once the talons of a Srinagar traffic hawk-crane are embedded in the bottom of your unfortunate car, there is no un-embedding.
It is very important to prosecute thoroughly the violators, those violators of law, the quirk in the peace in the valley, the ever violating barbarians, reasons for the conflict in this valley of an otherwise-peaceful history: the men (and women) who park their cars in the never-demarcated no-parking zones in the valley. You wont know it is a no-parking zone, because no sign will tell you so, but you aren’t supposed to park there anyway
Yes, this is personal. As personal as traffic violations are to a random traffic police officer.
“Motherf**** how dare you park the car like this?”, “How dare you over-speed?”, “How dare you exist?”.
What he doesn’t say is: “the law doesn’t give me the right or the authority to rain profanities on a citizen, but I am going to do it anyway because you don’t know your rights and nobody will give a damn even if you do.”
God smite me if I am ever anti-state. Anti-state is worse than anti-god. Even in a god fearing state like ours.
That’s the problem with the law enforcing bodies here (or not?). Everything is too personal (or not?).
Doesn’t have a driving license? Better grab his collar! Jumped the light? Better show him the lathi? Threw a stone? Better make him chant the nationalist slogan, with a state issued boot on his face. This sense of entitlement percolates from the rule book, through the khakis, the newspapers and into the minds of an already patriarchal people whose idea of accomplishment comes from punishment (or not?).
Because money is to be made off punishment, and not correction.Wrong parking is to be punished. Wrong parking, not right corruption.
Mentioned above are the symptoms of a healthy, functioning judiciary.
The system which chains your car to a monstrous crane and drags it all the way to the car mortuary seems to be the only functioning wheel of the car that is the traffic system.
The other three wheels
1. the system that sets up no parking signs,
2. the system that sets up parking lots,
3.the system that believes in warnings, are flat out deflated, far beyond the point of resuscitation.
Three’s a crowd, anyway. Or four, in this case.
I am glad we keep reminding ourselves that law is meant to correct the system, minimise the damage, and not amplify it.
This government is obsessed with punishments, not corrections.
The entire legal procedure at the high court starts from the bottom up, just like the necessary money-making there.
A few lines in writing cost you a few hundred bucks. This price has been decided by the long line of “government servants” at the court. What better place to extract “chai” at, than the high court itself.
If anything, you walk out of the high court at least a thousand rupees lighter. Wouldn’t know what to do with that money anyway. Good old state empathy.
The work is done, though. No complaints there. The best/worst thing about corruption is that : well, it works so well.
5 kilometres away is the district court or the lower court: the lower court of the lower people. Your set of documents are further processed here. Processed, like the cows in a meat processing plant. Just as bad. Just as good. Maybe worse. Maybe better.
If cows wore better, they’d be treated better. If men wore better….
And for the last ritual, as if I had not harmed the state quite enough, I was carrying the scanned copy of my RC.
Stone me, judiciary, for I have sinned.
“Where is the RC?” asked a clerk.
“Here is the RC.” I said.
“Hell, this is not original,” he said, his nostrils flaring, and threw it at me.
With much skill, I grabbed it before it hit the floor.
“This, indeed, is not original. It’s a scanned copy,” I said, guilty as charged, hovering the counterfeit document somewhere at a safe distance between the both of us.
At supersonic speed, with the reflexes of a stray cat, and with the utmost decency and grace, the clerk at the office snatched it and threw it in my face.
He was getting really good at this. Realising what he had done, he caught it again before it fell on the ground, extended his arm while his clerk-associate passed a paper cutter, looked for the sharp end, and sliced it in half. No warnings.
Takes out a cutter and slices it in half. My scanned copy of my RC of the car I paid for. A clerk. Slice. Half. RC.
Having saved the state from counterfeit RCs, probably for the tenth time that day, he gave his vigilante-paper-cutter-supplier a very generous Hi-five, followed by a boisterous applause.
Ali Mohammed to the rescue.
Ali Mohd, the respectful vigilante.
Ali Mohd, and his cutter buddy.
Ali Mohd and his paper cutting adventures.
Ali Mohd, the pride of the district court.
Capitalising on the lack of human rights? Never.
Conveniently using the lack of the knowledge of human rights in the masses? Never. Not here. Not in the presence of Ali Mohd, the wise. Clerks must enforce law, sometimes with the necessary disrespect.
Word has it that the new SSP, in the name of punishment, keeps the car impounded even after a release order issued from the court.
Is this lawful? Who am I to judge! Must wrong-parkers be given a tour of the high court? I don’t know.
In the wise words of a text I got later that night, “High court for wrong parking? Who made this law?”
Serves them right; these violators.