Recently, I was doing a photo- shoot on the rocks at Carter Road. It was close to sunset. The photographer wanted to shoot in a certain kind of light. So there we were, in the midst of a garbage dump and many couples, obviously seeking their own private space in this crowded city.
That someone has to find romance in little nooks and corners, amidst rocks and a terrible dumping ground, was tragic. But then, does this city really spare a thought for romance?
As I looked around, trying really hard to not disturb the couples, I could only sympathise with them. It wasn’t just the terrible odour surrounding them but also a few people answering nature’s call.. and of course a ruthless shooting crew, which cared two hoots about giving the couples any privacy. And then the predictable happened. A cop appeared out of nowhere. After casting all kinds of aspersions on them, he extracted his share of money and scooted. Nothing has changed.
My mind flashed back to the time when I was a part of this circus, as a helpless, tormented victim by cops, who pretended that they were teaching me values.
In my college days, when I had just learnt to drive, I took my girlfriend out for a drive. We parked in one of the quiet back lanes of Lokhandwala. Then, Lokahndwala was really quiet. Minutes after we had parked, a police van showed up and started banging on my door.
When I told them that there was no signboard showing, ‘No parking’, they were furious. They told me exactly what they thought about Romeos like me. Followed a moral science class. I used to have long hair then.
One of the cops even wanted to give me a haircut. According to him, boys with long hair meant trouble. Boy, was I scared! That was an uncomfortable situation to deal with. My girlfriend was in tears. The fun drive had turned into a nightmare.
We were marched into the closest police station and threatened with dire consequences, one of them being that they would inform our parents and our college authorities.
That was one of the worst moments of my life. No amount of coaxing to let us off worked. Ultimately, I had to call a friend to come over to the cop station with some money.
Finally, we were off the hook. The cop who wanted to give me a haircut was still at it. It was as if a change of hairstyle signified a change of values. As I looked at those helpless couples on those rocks, I felt as if nothing had changed, except the faces.