Chandigarh has one of the best traffic policing in this part of the country. Yes, you have to wear your seat belts, be careful not to exceed the speed limit and adhere to a number of rules that make life easier and cut down the risk of unruly drivers.
The smartly attired traffic cops are largely incorruptible, especially in a city where everyone is related to someone influential what with it being the seat of power of Punjab and Haryana with Himachal Pradesh in the vicinity. Don't we all love to name drop and try to muscle our way through a traffic challan?
Chandigarh also has traffic cops hiding behind trees, which were planted so lovingly some 50 years ago by the city's founders who wanted to make it an urbane, green French city. Who would have imagined the tree cover would go on to become the perfect rendezvous for lovers or a spot for men to do their business or a camouflage for traffic cops to keep an eye and pounce on unsuspecting drivers who step on the accelerator, giving in to the temptation of a cruise on the wide, empty stretches in this lovely weather.
Now here is a tale of two sisters, who are alike yet different. Incidentally, they had an encounter with the same traffic cop on the same day outside the Chandigarh Golf Club but on separate occasions.
My older sister was in a hurry and we do not argue with her, particularly when she is driving. So when the policemen stopped her and asked her to pull over that day, she knew she was speeding and was going to be slapped with a fine. Her sweet smile and looks helped to the extent that the cop heard her out patiently till she said, "I'm in a hurry, please excuse me this one time. I'll never speed again." The cop didn't relent so she offered him Rs. 500. The moment he pocketed it, she said she had intended to pay only Rs. 100 and he should hand her back the balance. The cop was taken back and returned her Rs. 400 promptly!
A short while later, my second sister was speeding and was stopped by the same cop. He didn't know what was coming. So when my sister looked at him blankly, he said, "Madam, you were speeding." Imagine his plight as my sister burst out crying. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I didn't know. I'll just get you the money, please don't fine me," she sobbed. Taken aback, the cop started consoling her, "Don't worry madam, it's a simple fine." But my sister sped off, promising to be back in five minutes.
She went back home and returned to pay the cop Rs. 1,500! What do you think? The cop stood stunned for a while. Now every time she passes by, she gets a salute and a smile.
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