On the eve of Diwali, amid a frantic crowd of shoppers at a north Delhi market that he is deputed to patrol, a constable is replying to his newly-wed wife’s text messages every now and then.
“She keeps adding to the list of things she needs for tomorrow’s puja,” he says.
“It’s our first Diwali together, so she doesn’t want to leave anything to chance.”
Six months into his marriage and the constable, who lives in Mayur Vihar but is deputed at a police station in northwest Delhi, and his wife have already had a bitter confrontation over the fact that he won’t be home for long on Sunday.
“It’s not her fault. I just stay too far away from where I am posted and won’t be able to shuttle between home and work in time,” he admits.
“The nature of my job is such. Yes, I now have a family and new responsibilities towards it — but I still have a job to do.”
On Sunday, when the lit-up market on his beat will remain closed for business and as the Capital shines with the colour of festivities — an opportunity rife for break-ins — the constable has been asked to be more vigilant by his seniors.
“I’ll be a little late for the puja, but my beat will receive my full attention till the end of my shift at least. So what if my celebration will need to be postponed a little — others’ will be safer because of me.”