Tuesday, 2 August 2016

YOU ARE WHAT YOU THINK YOU ARE


    As he entered the extremely small lane, he stumbled. A bit giddy from an overdose of the alcoholic beverage he had consumed, he placed a hand on the neighbouring wall for support. Inspector Raj Mehta walked further to the entrance of his ancient building. As he climbed the five floors of his building, he thought about the day's incidents. Thoughts rushed through his mind. Inspector Mehta, improve yourself... Inspector Mehta, stop drinking... Inspector Mehta... Inspector Mehta this and Inspector Mehta that, he savagely thought. That rascal can't handle his own finances, and he's the boss. Deep down, though, he knew that the Chief Inspector was right... Drinking had effects on him... And they were not positive ones. He looked at his large belly, which his buttons were straining to hold in place. It was humiliating as a policeman, and often he'd hear people whispering, "THAT'S a police officer? No wonder Mumbai isn't safe..."
    Discarding his thoughts, he proceeded to his apartment and slammed the door shut so hard that his parents' picture frame almost fell from the wall. He immediately straightened it and sat on the bed, gazing at himself in the mirror. I'm a loser, he thought. A hopeless wimp. He was due to be fired tomorrow for lack of conduct. He used to be the star of the Mumbai police... feared by all outlaws. But a failure in nabbing a corrupt pharmacist changed that. He immediately lost all hope and failed in the rest of his assignments. He saw his parents' picture's reflection. I'm sorry, baba...
    His moustache quivered slightly as he thought of the days when he was the pride of the police force. He saw his father's photograph reflected in the mirror. Mehta Senior's eyes seemed to bore into his drunken son's. He heard his father's trademark words: You are what you think you are... He pondered over them. He tried to use his father's method of boosting self confidence. He stood up, faced his shadow and thought of it as his enemy. Then he started shadow-boxing while muttering simultaneously, "I'm the best... I'm the best..." But the only thing that happened was that his beer-belly too bobbed up and down to signify its existence, thus dejecting him even more.
   Frustrated, he sat back on the bed, only to get up again for a stroll. Dressed plainly, he casually walked the lanes of Mumbai. Maybe I should become a tour operator after getting fired... Suddenly, he heard someone say his name.
    "What if Inspector Mehta uncovers our plan?"
    The voices were coming from a cafe which was undergoing renovation.
    "That drunkard? He can't even walk properly now-a-days..."
    His blood boiled. Me... a drunkard?
    "But still, I don't want to take any chances. I think we should get the drugs out of Raghu tonight itself."
    "Alright, we will, at one in the morning... now stop irritating me. I'll never understand how you always get your way..."
    Mehta had heard enough. He immediately turned about and went to the police station.
    Inspector Ramesh Khanna was busy with his paperwork when the door opened. Bewildered, he looked up. First a pot-belly came, followed by a six foot tall man. When he finally figured out that it was Mehta in plainclothes, he saluted him, and was replied by a salute.
    "Khanna, do we have a warrant for raiding Raghu Club?"
    "Yes, Mehta, but why?"
    "Report to the Chief Inspector- or no... I'll do it.Tell the others that we are raiding them today at-"
    "TODAY? I thought tom-"
    "Yes, today, at midnight. I want everyone ready by 11:45 pm. And make it quick."
    Without waiting for Khanna's reply, he picked up the phone and dialed CI Rahul Bhosale's number.  He picked it up at the first ring. "Sir, we are..." and he explained the situation to Bhosale, who rose up to the situation, reporting at the station with 15 other armed policemen. Together the 45 policemen raided the club they had been monitoring.
    The next day, Mehta saw an uncharacteristically grave expression. "Well, Raj, you helped us a lot yesterday." They had wrested large amounts of narcotics and cash from the smugglers.
    "Are you sure you want to resign since the decision to fire you has been withdrawn?"
    "Yes, sir... some other youngsters deserve a chance."
    "But what will you do now?"
    "Tour operator, sir."
    "Really?"
    "Yes, sir. My own company, sir."
    "Well, at least people will feel safe travelling through your company."
    "I doubt so, sir... I'm a known drunkard."
    They laughed loudly. Mehta submitted his resignation form and Bhosale accepted his resignstion. "Do keep in touch, though."
    "Of course, Rahul."
    The CI glared. "How dare you... oh, yeah, I'm no longer your boss."
    They laughed again.
    As he bade farewell and wished every police officer all the best, he spoke to his father. You know what, baba? You were right. You are what you think you are.