The Notice Board
“Didn’t you read the board up there?” the police hawaldaar questioned as he pushed Ankur towards the police van. It was 2 ‘o clock in the morning.
Ankur and Venkat were drunk and were moving towards the sea. The shore was slippery so they stopped. Venkat spotted a police van patrolling near the shore. The van was far. ”Throw your bottle away!” Venkat, not in the best of his senses, alerted Ankur as he saw the van stop. Two police hawaldaars came out with torches in their hand. They were shouting something but nothing could be heard due the murmuring breeze on the shore. The two boys decided not to run and started walking towards the policemen.
“Let’s go to the police station friends, it’s time for inquiry.” a police hawaldaar held Ankur’s hand and grunted in his ears.
“Sir, please leave us. We have done nothing wrong.” Venkat interfered.
“It’s written that no one should enter the beach after 11 p.m. Are you illiterates?” the other hawaldaar shouted.
Ankur and Venkat went closer to see the timings. Below the logo of a telecom company, list of instructions were written in a small typeface. The entire arrangement looked like an advertisement more than a public notice. “He is right. We didn’t read this. This looks more like an advertisement with number portability rules. If this wouldn’t have looked like an advertisement, we would have read it in detail.” Venkat whispered with a wicked smile not realising the seriousness of the situation.
“Sorry sir we didn’t read this. We accept the mistake. It will not be repeated sir.” Ankur pleaded.
“Sir, that looks like an advertisement. We would have read otherwise.” Venkat said notoriously.
“Are you trying to act smart? What did you drink? Tell me, what did you drink?” the hawaldaar shouted with his big red eyes dumped into Venkat’s face.
“Shut up Venkat! I am talking to them. You please do not interfere.” Ankur yelled at Venkat and diverted the hawaldaar’s attention towards him.
“That guy there. Is he with you?” the hawaldaar asked pointing at Arun.
“No sir, he is not with us.”
“Where is Arun?” asked Venkat furiously as he was waiting from the past thirty minutes.
“He is on his way. Be patient.” Ankur replied.
Arun is a doctor and was running late because of an urgent case of chest pain at the hospital. Venkat and Ankur are engineers at a multinational company. Today is the day of their first salary and so they decided to party at a nearby pub.
The pub had a dark theme with ear shattering music playing continuously in the background. The chickens and the beers kept coming continuously. They sat there for three long hours and after a lot of thought, they decided to leave. There were no rickshaws outside the pub but as soon as they stepped out of the outer gate of the pub, a rickshaw came and stopped in front of them. The boys sat and said, “Chalo.”
“Kidhar chalu saab.” The auto driver said as he started the rickshaw. “Main to kehta hu aap samandar kinare chaliye. Police ka chakkar nai hain. Araam se raat kaat sakte hain.”
“Chal mere bhai wahi chal.” said Arun, while he patted on the driver’s shoulders with both hands.
“2 Engineer hain sir”, the policeman talked to somebody on his phone. “No Sir, No crime reported. Ok sir, I will bring them to the station.” and he hanged up.
The hawaldaars held both of them and pushed them into the van. The hawaldaars also boarded the van and closed the doors.
“Please leave us sir, we won’t come here again.”
“Shut up. Driver gaadi start karo!” one of the hawaldaars ordered the driver.
“Open the door sir”, someone knocked on the door.
“Kaun hain bey?” the hawaldaar shouted as he opened the back door of the van. It was Arun.
While Ankur and Venkat were going towards the sea, Arun felt too lazy and preferred to sit outside and enjoy his beer. He threw his bottle as soon as he saw the police. He tried to alert his friends but the crooning breeze ate up whatever he shouted.
“Sir, I want to talk to you.” said Arun, as he placed five thousand rupee notes in his hands. The hawaldaar agreed immediately to let them go.
“Guys let's go.” Arun called Venkat and Ankur to get down from the van.
“Nice name sir. Abhyang Patil. Very nice name sir.” Venkat said to the hawaldaar inside the van. Arun pulled him outside. “Even your name is nice sir. Abhyang Patil!” said Venkat as he looked the nameplate of the hawaldaar standing outside.
“Take the money back Arun. These are fake police with rented uniforms.” screamed Ankur. Venkat punched the hawaldaar near to him and Ankur slapped the other. Arun was about to take the money back when the van driver kicked him. The van driver was the same rickshaw driver who had bought them here. “Beat him, they are one gang.” yelled Venkat.
In the middle of the fight, another police van came to the spot. Ankur explained them the entire story. The policeman took the two fake hawaldaars and the driver with them. They tagged the other van behind their and drove away.
But Arun forgot to take his five thousand back. They ran behind the van shouting to stop but the van was too fast. Tired of the entire incident in the past thirty minutes, the three boys sat on the shore in silence. The breeze had calmed down. They spotted a police vehicle again at a distance. It was coming towards them but this time it was a jeep.
“Not again!” grumbled Arun.
Two hawaldaars stepped out. The guys stood up and furtively looked at their nameplates. They were different. Ankur explained the story again to these policemen.
“Where is the notice board?” asked one of the hawaldaars.
“Here it …” Venkat stopped in the middle of his sentence while he was pointing towards the sea. He looked over the entire stretch of the shore. There was no notice board!