MAY THY TRIBE INCREASE

30 April, 2005 – the day I retired from my active job. Obviously, the day was important for me and my family. After all, I had completed thirty seven glorious years  of my service and now I was going to have the much-needed and well-earned and well-deserved rest from the hectic routine.

The very thought was making me  happy. My husband, who was otherwise very ‘protective’ about his new car, had happily let my driver take me to my workplace in that car. The college from where I was retiring as a Principal was at a distance of twenty five kilometers and generally my driver took the shorter route of passing through villages to reach there. That day, my husband gave clear-cut instructions to go straight from the highway so that his car does not get damaged on the rough roads of villages. Hence we took the straight path.The driver was also feeling somewhat excited – the new car being the reason. In all the excitement, he did not notice the ‘speed limit’ area. Enjoying the drive on the smooth road, he was suddenly signaled to stop by a traffic policeman. I was also rudely shaken out of my reverie!

The driver had  crossed the speed-limit and now the policeman was going to give us a ‘challan’ slip. For a moment, I was upset — I had wanted this day to be full of undiluted bliss. I came out of the car. The  policeman in a very stern voice told me about the negligence on the part of the driver. I agreed with him fully. I do not know what made me tell him in a very polite way how the very important day of my life was getting spoilt due to the small ‘lapse’ on the part of my driver and now it will remain a sad reminder throughout the rest of my life. Surprisingly, he listened very patiently and relented also saying he did not want to play ‘spoilsport’ on my big day. 

Thanking him profusely, as I was getting into my car, he asked me to wait for a while. He ran towards the flowery bushes growing on the divider of the road and came back with some fresh flowers. Offering the flowers, he wished me good luck and a “happy retired life.” I was simply overwhelmed by the gesture. Before I could say thanks, he had gone back to his duty. Instead of playing spoilsport, he had actually added to my happiness that day. 

The incident is etched in my memory reminding me forever that beneath  the hard and harsh exterior, policemen also have a soft heart.

THANK YOU….the unknown face, the unknown name. MAY THY TRIBE INCREASE!!!!

AVINASH GUJRAL

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