4 min read

ion and the police

Note: I no longer work with IonLab since Nov 12 of 2009.

This incident happened about three weeks ago when the preparations for ion were
in full swing, and Vikram and myself worked all day long to create the posters
for ion as well as the website itself. At one
point, we realized that we were spending most of our time in choosing just
the color and placement of text, and we spent some 20+ min just to decide
the font of the apostrophe in “plug ‘n play”!

At around 6 o’ clock, we were dead tired (at least I was, Vikram said he had
never seen so lazy before) and decided to go get the posters printed but I
didn’t want to, so he suggested instead to go for the new place that he went for
cycling to recently. We went by bike through a zig-zag maze of roads and after
3-4 km, suddenly ended up in a place which seemed to be deserted! It was a new
layout being formed by destroying the hill and the greenery, the signs of
urbanization marked by destruction, the green being replaced by the grey

We climbed up the rocks, just sat down there in the darkness and we had a long
discussion about random things and sometimes deep things. Then, we noticed there
was a huge reddish moon in the sky. Simply beautiful. I was taking photographs.

on the hill at night
on the hill at night

Then, we discovered the ‘frames’ option in my phone which adds frames around a
person’s head and we have varieties of options to choose. It was fun.

on the hill at night

Then, we heard a shout from below “yaaradu, keLagade banni.” It was cops. I had
the light of the mobile phone switched on to take photographs and that light had
attracted them. Uh oh. Vikram said we’re gonna have a little trouble but said
nothing to be afraid about since we haven’t done anything illegal or wrong. The
cop who talking to us was drunk and was smoking a cigarette. The other cop was
on the bike and was silent.

The first cop started abusing us on why we have parked the bike here and settled
on top of a hill. Vikram said sir please look there. The cop thought something
serious and started looking around. Again, same thing. Third time, Vikram said
“chandra noDi saar.” I was thinking “Dude, you’re asking a drunk furious cop to
‘see the moon’!”

The cop got enraged and shouted why we can’t watch it from our homes instead.
Vikram said that we’re tired from working all day and we wanted to get some
fresh air, so we came here. Cop said go to parks. Inspired by Vikram, I said
“saar, all benches are full, so many people, that’s why we came here.” Following
his cue, I was also laughing and smiling, so the cops didn’t think we were
pulling their legs but simply that’s how we were. Vikram said he was ready to go
to the police station because we’ve done nothing wrong. The second cop realized
that we meant no harm and when he asked not to come this side again and stay
here after 6.30 pm, we said we didn’t know it was such an unsafe area, so agreed
to not come this side again except for mornings.

The first cop was not satisfied, and wrote down my bike’s number. He asked
Vikram for his mobile number and home number and he gave completely false
numbers. Later, he said that you should never give your correct details to such
drunk cops, if we were at the police station, then give correct details but not
in other situations, you never know what these drunk cops would do. He went on
to explain that you should never be afraid of cops, that is a wrong notion that
we have. He said the cop was right in what he was doing because if there were
actual thugs in the hill, then such way of addressing will push them to reveal
what they were actually doing or at least shake them. He said that it is wrong
for us to teach kids to stay away from cops because in a real emergency, they’ll
hesitate to approach the cops whereas they shouldn’t.

At any point, we meant no disrespect to the cop, he was just doing his job and
rightly so, it’s just that we had to show that we meant no harm.

Then the first cop asked Vikram to call up his home to talk to his dad, the cop
told his dad that we’re on top of a hill and in an area where there is no
civilization for 2 km around, and his dad said that he’s always on top of hills,
the cop advised not to come by again and said there have been murders in this
area before.

Finally, the cop let us go. We had a long laugh on the way back.