Maxwell Pereira, the former traffic police chief of Delhi, wanted to become a member of the Bangalore Club. He needed one member to propose his name and six more to second. Since each member could introduce only one applicant per year, Pereira started calling up the Delhi-based members. He would introduce himself, inquire if the member was still “free to sign” and whether he would do so for him.
It was the tenth call when he got the right member. The man on the other end, Subash Thadani, said he would gladly do so for Pereira. Barely 30 minutes later, four constables reached Thadani’s house. “Mr Thadani?” asked one. The second saluted smartly, the third held the form and the fourth produced a pen for the autograph. Signatures done, all of them saluted, scrambled down the stairs and were gone in a flash.
Twenty years later, Pereira and Thadani met at a common friend’s party but none caught each other’s name. Anyway, as it happens in parties, they started chatting. This is how the conversation went:
Thadani: “I came across a crazy cop 20 years ago. He phoned me to ask for my reference for the Bangalore Club membership. No one wants to displease a cop, so I agreed. Within no time, there was a platoon at my house: four goons carrying a single sheet of paper. The jokers created a scene, scrambling up and down the stairs, red light on the car flashing all the time. We had a tough time convincing the neighbours that I was clean and the cops had come only to get my signature.”
Pereira: “That’s silly. But did the buffoon call to thank you?”
Thadani: “He did. But I don’t know if he ever got the membership.”
Pereira: “Well, he did and, may I thank you personally now?”
Thadani perhaps did not hear the last bit. But when someone called out for Pereira, it dawned on Thadani why this stranger was thanking him.
With a couple of stiff pegs of whisky down his gullet, he didn’t remember what all had he said “in praise of” policemen.