The Chandigarh Police should be toasted and complimented for their successful drive against drunken driving.
Many incorrigible drunks are on the run. Thanks to the strict enforcement, post sunset and especially on weekends there is less madness and mayhem on the roads notwithstanding the fact that the breathalyzer test is unfair. You cannot judge recruits and battle-hardened veterans by the same yardstick. We were baptised by fire. It used to be said ‘never trust a man who does not drink’ and, we made the transition from gawky novices to trustworthy gentlemen in a state of delirium induced by ‘Old Monk’, ‘ Hercules’ and ‘Sea Pirate’ rum. What is sauce for the goose is not necessarily sauce for the gander.
Thanks to the strict enforcement, post sunset and especially on weekends there is less madness and mayhem on the roads notwithstanding the fact that the breathalyzer test is unfair.
It was early days in the Army and a few of us youngsters were tippling in the unit Officers Mess bar. The CO, a chronic bachelor, walked in unexpectedly. The kind of wit, humor and repartee that generation had is now extinct. After a few quick ones and a great deal of bonhomie he took leave but not before imparting some valuable ‘gyaan’. “Remember chaps! Always hold a bottle of whisky by the neck and a woman by the waist and never the other way round.”
Drunken driving nakas have hilarious stories woven around them. ‘Bewadas’ who can afford to, hire the services of drivers when they go out and party. Others are driven by their wives on the way back from a party. The police on seeing a lady behind the wheel let the the car pass. It would be interesting if both husband and wife are put through the breathalyzer test. The results could be quite revealing.
Two interesting incidents at nakas come to mind. My nephew who had recently relocated to India after living a lifetime abroad was smelling like a brewery when stopped at a naka. He expressed his reservations about the hygiene of the breathalyzer equipment. The duty conscious cop respected his concern and shoved his nose inside my nephew’s mouth to determine the alcohol content!
It was our course get together and as it happens on such occasions, everybody had had one too many. Ever since the police started putting up nakas, my wife does the driving back. When excessive liquor goes in, strange things come out. I refused to be the co-driver. “Know your place lady! You know who has been in the driver’s seat all these years,” I rasped and took the wheel. I was safely motoring home, when on an impulse I turned towards Mohali to meet a friend who had been missing from the party. Upon entering Mohali we ran into a naka. Nobody stopped me and my wife said you are lucky to have escaped their notice. Charlie Chaplin once said ‘a man’s true character comes out when he is drunk’. “You think I am scared of these guys,” I said and reversed to accost a cop who was himself on a high. He asked, “Aapne sharaab pi hai?” “Khoob,” I answered. “Chupke se nikal jaao sahib,” he said. There is a code of honour among the fraternity, you know.
Deeply mysterious is the genie in the bottle. So here’s a toast to your health, wealth and happiness!
The writer is a Chandigarh-based retired army officer