The Joy of Giving Week is celebrated between October 2 and 8 that marks Gandhi Jayanti in India and brings together Indians from different walks of life for a cause. Every year, several people, including celebrities, CEOs and home makers come together to celebrate the festival of Joy of Giving where they participate in events of their choice. The common man can give to society in any way they wish, whether it is donating money, books, old handsets or few words of encouragement. I choose to celebrate the Joy of Giving Week by expressing my gratitude to members of the Mumbai Police who shared their lunch me in 2008. The action of the members of Mumbai Police brought warmth and happiness to my heart.
We have often criticized the police, right or wrongly, on account of their insensitivity, zealous approach in tackling crimes, laxity and also, on allegations of corruption and bribe. However, we often forget that the cops are also human beings who work under difficult conditions, earn a meager salary and are often de-motivated due to bad policies.
It was a Saturday morning in 2008 where heavy rains lashed in the city and I was sitting outside the iconic library at Rajabhai Tower, University of Mumbai at Fort, reading newspapers, Hindustan Times and Mid-Day. At that moment, a police van drove inside the campus and parked in front of the library. There were five to six cops who got off the van and few of them walked towards me. Naturally, I was taken aback and wondering what I have done as I thought perhaps they will ask me to vacate the campus. At that time, I was nursing a break-up and choose not to stay in the hostel room since to avoid being depressed.
Two cops asked me why I was sitting alone on the floor, reading the newspapers and why I am not hanging around with my friends. One of them asked me in Hindi whether had your lunch and also asked if I speak in Marathi. I told them ki I will have my lunch baad mein (later). They convinced me in a cops fashion to join them. They were having a big treat with rotis, chicken masala and sabzi as they told me that they bought lotsa food to fill their empty bellies. They forced me to have more food with them as they put sabzi and Naan in my plate. They also told me, “See, it’s raining and we don’t even have a proper place to eat.” They brought down chairs and a table from the police van and shared with me, “Public keep criticizing us and politicians don’t even care for our well-being and that of our children. On top of that, we receive peanuts as salary. Tell your friends we care for the city.” On a lighter mood, one cop told me, “Tell people you know that we, men in Khaki, care for the city and the well-being of the people. Let people know that the cops are good people.” I said thank you to them for the sumptuous lunch and for serving the city, despite the fact that they work in difficult situation.
I couldn’t help my stars for meeting the cops and realized that they are human beings with a heart. So much has been said against police and I know that there are black sheep within the force but not all of them are brutal and heartless beings. During the Joy of Giving Week, I am paying a tribute to those cops whom perhaps I will never meet again but who shared their food with me. I salute the cops who are making a difference to the city and the unsung heroes in uniform through India and the world. I often think about the cops who shared their lunch with a student sitting alone inside Mumbai University at Fort on a rainy Saturday,
With Love and Good Night