On Tuesday eve, I paid a visit to my family doctor, down with the same ol’ ailment – sever cold and cough. Thankfully, there were just two other patients. a sight to behold. All you are thinking now is just bear the sickness for 15-20 minutes more and the good doctor will provide your pop-a -pill.
Whilst I awaited my turn at the doc’s clinic, a police van parked in front of the clinic. Out walked a senior officer, he didn’t look sick, but his presence made us uneasy as we feared the cops would jump ahead of us. At first, I’d thought that he’s probably brought his kin to the doctor, but a good ten minutes passed by but no one stepped out from the vehicle. This delay was caused due to the absence of the compounder, who probably must have gone for a toilet break.
It was a forgone conclusion that the policeman would jump queue. The compounder’s absence all the more added to our agony. When he finally came, he quickly told the policeman that he can walk in next. The policeman then headed to the van and opened the door. Stepping out was no family but two young officers, both wearing head scarfs. One of them sat to my left, whilst the other to my right. As it is, it was frustrating enough to know I’ve now been pushed back in the queue, but to have them perched on your either side, was like my ego being sandwiched between the two.
There was nothing that I could do. For a second, I did ponder that the journalist in me should rise and remind the officers that this is a private clinic and unless, there’s an emergency, every patient should patiently await their turn. However, this feeling soon evaporated as reality dawned upon me.
Yes, in all likelihood these cops would avail the medical service free of cost, but what cannot be discounted is that they are extremely sick and in need of urgent medical attention. The cop on my right was shivering like a baby, with the frequent moans ‘oh hooo hoo” and ‘uffffff’. The one on the left wasn’t so sick, but he too was feeling the chill in the air. I gently asked him, “You guys look really sick, why didn’t you’ll take an off?”
He shuddered, “No, we have no offs. We had to report to duty even in this condition”
Stunned! all my angst vanished and it struck me that what a tough profession these men have. Imagine, if you and I felt sick, there’s no way that we could have afforded to go to work. We’d check straight into hospital. But here these poor young men are forced to report to duty, which throws light on the fact there indeed is a great shortage of personnel in the police force. Yes, the police force doesn’t enjoy great goodwill amongst most citizen, for we usually stereotype them as haughty, corrupt, incompetent and every ready for freebies. That is a stark reality but let’s not lose sight of the fact that most men in khaki are humans too. Like us too, they too fall sick, they too feel pain, they too shiver like us.
Their turn came after 15 minutes, and a good 15 minutes later, both men stepped out. I heard the cop, who was sitting to my right, say that he’s probably having malaria and will need to carry out blood tests . I wished them speedy recovery, and hopefully they must have got the next few days off. And oh, like us, they pay their bills. The two cops each shelled out Rs.200 from their wallet. Who says all cops like freebies?