The munshi at the police post pretended to be busy with the daily diary register for five minutes, and then scanned me from head to toe through his thick glasses. I politely said, "Inspector sahab, my motorcycle was stolen from my premises despite the gate and the vehicle being locked. Kindly write my FIR"
"You mean a DDR," he tried to correct me.
" No janab! An FIR," I reiterated.
Offended, he said angrily, "People like you think the police is free to remain busy with such petty thefts? And thieves have no other business but to steal your bike? Has this city fallen short of luxury cars? Anyway, how old was it?"
"Five," I said, scratching my head. He wondered sarcastically whether I expected a bike to stay with me for a lifetime. "These days, manufacturers make it with light material. It hardly runs for one year. And you are not satisfied even after five years. The public even changes the government before that, and you…you…"
I objected to his language and gave an IPS officer's reference. "Usne kya meri promotion kar deni hai agar main FIR likhta hoon?" the munshi retorted. "I have lot of work. First search for it yourself. If you still don't find it, go to some junk dealer because that's the place for it. Don't test my patience. Come next week. If you find it, inform me. We will show its 'baramadgi' (receipt) and lodge an FIR. If you fail to find it, be sure you have its original bill, RC and insurance papers when you come here again."
I pleaded," Inspector sahab, all the documents were in the vehicle." He shot back at me, slapping his forehead, "You bloody cannot keep the documents and vehicle properly and expect us to guard your assets. Anyway, come next week."
Next time I greeted the munshi, "Ram Ram, Chaudhary sahab. Motorcycle to mila nahin, par ye computer se report likh kar laya hoon."
He lost control sensing this addition to his burden. "Had computers known how to write a report, we would not have been here. Have you brought three plain papers, carbon papers…?"
Feeling apologetic, I pleaded again, "Inspector sahab, "Please write my DDR or FIR, whatever you like, but do record my statement. Whenever some gang is busted, I may get my vehicle back. I daily see your photos in newspaper with thieves and their pride possessions displayed like showroom items."
He laughed, "So far 900 luxury cars are untraceable, and you think the thief will be frightened and keep your vehicle back from where he had stolen it as soon as we file a report."
I again implored," Any way, please write my report. Hawa Singh ji ne bhi aap se baat ki hogi." Going soft, he fired an option, "Do you want me to file a report or do you need a motorcycle?" "Definitely mo…mo…motor…cy…cycle," I said.
He asked me to follow him. Soon we were in an open junkyard where all sorts of vehicles were piled up. Showing courtesy, the munshi said, "Hawaldar Hawa Singh mere hi gaon ka hai. Usne teri sifarish ki hai. Now select any motorcycle from here. It will cost only Rs 10,000. Spend some bucks on repair, and it will be road-worthy."
"But if its owner recognises it and catches me," I raised my doubt." "Hand it over to him and get another from here. Tera kaam bhi chalta rahega aur yahan jagah bhi khali hoti rahegi."
A few months later, I saw in the newspaper the photo of the munshi being honoured on the Independence Day for his meritorious services.