September 27, 2010

I dissed a Policeman

They are just trying to do their jobs, and yet getting stick
 for it. (Photo:
I dissed a policeman a couple of days ago. I dissed him because he was doing his job. I dissed him because by doing his job, he was inconveniencing me. I know he was doing his job. I knew there was nothing he could do about it and even then I dissed him. I dissed him for being a petty traffic policeman. And you know what he did? He just stood and stared, with an unfathomable expression on his face. He knew that he was being forced to do a job which is simply impossible to do. He knew that when he’s in uniform, he’s the punching bag of everyone.

I haven’t been able to sleep that well knowing what I had done. Who am I to treat a police officer with such disdain? Who am I to look at him arrogantly, and then tell him he doesn’t even know how to do his job? Do I think I know it better than him? Or by humiliating him with utter contempt I thought I had achieved something? Yeah, I think that would be it. Because ever since I’ve been born, the environment around has me taught me to diss rules and cops, and every form of authority. It gives us a kind of morbid pleasure to not let the very people, who we claim do not do their jobs, not do their jobs. Does that make the traffic police pathetic? Or does that make me pathetic? The educated, burger kid who cannot even think in Urdu properly? Yeah, I know it’s me who’s pathetic.

But so is it you. You know how you always get late from work when the traffic’s bad? It’s because some idiot did not follow the lane markings, made an extra lane, and then jammed the whole traffic. And you know sometime’s it’s you (I’ve done it on several occasions). And you also know that when some policeman walks up to your window and asks you to show him your license and car registration, you whip out your phone, tell the helpless soul he doesn’t know who he’s dealing with, and then call your dad. Or your uncle. Or your friend who’s father is a general. How many of us ever have the decency to admit what we did was wrong, and the police officer who spends his entire day wilting under the sun is right? Very few of us. We take a pleasure in bragging in our social circles about how we ‘fixed’ the ‘pulsia’ who was trying to act like a ‘hot-shot’. We take pride in reminding him of his place in this society.

You know how the traffic on our roads will never get better? It’s because we won’t let it get better. Because we cannot be belittled at the hands of a lowly policeman wearing a reflective jersey who’s trying to regulate the very traffic that we curse day in and day out. And this phenomenon straddles all affairs of our daily life. Only two days ago, a friend of mine bragged to me about how he had reminded a security guard at his housing complex about his status in the social chain when he stopped the car for checking, because he was irritated that the guard had stopped him. How dare he stop me he said? What my friend failed to recognize was that the guard was only doing his job, not belittling his precious heaven, or even encroaching upon it some way. It makes me sad to think there are people like these prevalent in majority in Pakistan and it makes me sick to know that I’m one of them.

As for me, I went back to find that policeman and to apologize to him. I said sorry. I was sorry. I am sorry. How can I possibly have thought that I was somehow greater than the man who takes abuse 10 straight hours every day of his life? I’m trying to change myself. I’m trying to respect the people around me regardless of their social status because I am not worthy of judging someone simply by the job that he or she does. It is unacceptable to me. And so it should be to you.