Friday, April 5, 2013

Holy Intoxication

Holi arrived in  late March  in the middle of the week  and was almost overlooked by the pleasant  weather which showed little signs of  allowing the hot season to take over. Mornings remain cool and nippy even a week after and late night weather continues to remains pleasant.  The change in climatic conditions in the last few years has resulted in everyone relying entirely on the moon based Indian calendar  to quickly tabulate the specific day for revelry. Oddly, as we grow older, festivals usher in nuances that we never attributed to them  at a callow age. This year, a friend's father who  had been admitted to the ICU, passed away on  the morning of Holi. This was a festival he loved  and he had lived a glorious life, both private and public and was dearly loved, valued, revered and mourned. We  went to pay our respects, driving through the still sleepy streets of  New Delhi in the direction of the ridge.

There wasn't much traffic and we paused at the  check posts put in place by the Delhi Police who peered alertly  into car windows which slowed down,  checking for possible  criminals.  This is a drill we are familiar with and in recent times, apologies  printed on the yellow barriers assuage  the less patient among us by explaining that although these metal barriers slow us down they are for our  general safety.
 In the week preceding Diwali, we had been flagged down by the  cops while returning home late in the night. One cop on duty  asked  for the driver's window to be lowered down. The spouse did the needful and the cop  put in his head, moving his face so close to the spouse's mouth, that all of us constrainedly speculated  as to whether the cop had designs upon him. Fortunately, that was not the case. Sniffing pointedly, the cop drew back his head from the car window and  waved us away. Relieved, the spouse exclaimed that he had aced the breathalyzer test and  been certified  as NDUI ( not driving under intoxication)

So this time when the cops flagged down the car in front of us, smiling warmly at us as we waited in the wings, we thought we knew what was in store. However, we had  underestimated the improvisational  skills that our cops multi-task with, in lieu of material resources.
 This cop  thrust his cupped left palm  in front of the mouth of the man in the driving seat and asked him to breathe into it. The man, perhaps another veteran, complied. The cop withdrew his hand, now  a portable  fist, brought it towards his nose and  inhaled deeply of the trapped air.  The breathalyzer check had been completed, the driver was NDUI and therefore dismissed. Grinning at us, who  were witness to  this first sighting, he proceeded to wave us away cheerily without subjecting us to this novel technique of assessment. Possibly our incredulous expression confirmed to him that we were definitively  NDUI !

1 comment:

  1. Haha! What I would give to have been a witness to this! Reminds me of Mr Bean!