As soon as I took the left turn on Nagar Road I saw this.
Nagar Road is a very important road in Pune because this is the road which goes to Aurangabad, famous for Ajanta and Ellora caves. Now, of course it is even more important because it is also the road to Shirdi, famous for the Sai-Baba temple.
I saw a cop signaled a van driver to pull over. It was a van meant for carrying goods but his van was empty at that time.
Generally, in Pune, at every main cross road there will be three to four cops. Generally they stop trucks and few two wheelers; ask them to pull over; check the papers and while taking bribes they make sure two cops create some kind of physical obstruction to hide from others to see what is going on; they are afraid of being caught on camera.
But it so happened that on that day he was the only cop, who had no partner with him and no other cop could be seen in the vicinity. The van driver probably noticed that and therefore he simply ignored the traffic police and drove away very fast.
The cop immediately asked a two-wheeler driver, who was travelling in the same direction, to stop; jumped on the back and asked him to drive. The van had travelled quite far by then. The cop asked the two wheeler driver to drive faster. Soon they were able to overtake the van. The van driver had no choice but to pull over. The cop asked the two wheeler driver to leave, probably because he did not want any witness while earning illegal money. As for the young man who was driving the two-wheeler, it was also a bit of interesting for him, because he could drive at whatever speed he wanted without any fear of being caught.
I had a similar kind of experience. I was living in Elk Grove Village at that time. Elk Grove Village is a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. One day, at the onset of the fall I went into a local park with my camera. Maple trees and other deciduous trees (I think that is what they are called) become red just before shedding their leaves and it looks “so beautiful” that it should be seen to believe it. I took as many pictures as I could and decided to come back after the winter begins and take the pictures of the same trees after they had lost their leaves. The park had another attraction; it had a huge lake with few benches around it. The park also had a manual tube well, I tried, it worked, tasted the water, it was okay.
It was a Friday afternoon; I took my camera again and went into the park.
I was surprised to see how cruel the winter could be. All the beauty which I had witnessed some time back completely disappeared; I was seeing the winter sky straight through the leafless trees. I looked again and realized that it is still beautiful, but this beauty is of a different kind, quieter, more sober, and still worth watching. Leaves were lying on the ground and creating some sound for being moved by the undulating winter wind and that was the only sound audible in the entire area. Suddenly I heard some strange human sound coming from somewhere within the park. Since the entire place was very calm I could discern the direction from where the sound was coming. I went back into my car and drove towards that direction.
I drove for few minutes following the direction of the sound. I saw something in the lake and stopped the car. I saw a man shouting for help from the lake water. There was no other human being in the park at that time other than the two of us, one on the ground and the other in the water. He had come to the park with his dog, which was huge in size. His dog was also barking from the water. Both of them were not able to come out of the water. Probably they had slipped into the water because the ground was covered with slippery ice and probably he went to the edge and suddenly slipped and that because the lake was partly frozen, the ice sheet acted like a slide and dropped him into the water few meters away from the ground. When a lake freezes the freezing starts at the periphery and the center of the lake freezes last. The reason he was not able to break the ice and come out of it was probably because the edges of thin ice are very sharp like broken glass and it really hurts and the water being ice cold he was not able to move his hands freely; extreme cold temperature at which his body was exposed probably made the situation worse for him, sometimes people cannot think when they are exposed to such cold temperature. The condition of his dog was equally bad or could be worse. Because of the five Great Lakes, Chicago experiences unusually cold temperature, sometimes even before the winter season officially starts.
I immediately started my car, came out of the park and drove for a while, I saw a church, went inside and saw a pay phone, dialed 9-11. Before I could finish talking to the 9-11 operator, I saw few police cars waiting there with their lights on; I asked them to follow me; it was a 35 MPH speed limit road and I was driving at 80; with all the cop cars following my car with their lights on it was looking as if it were Diwali on the wheel. Later when I thought about it I felt so happy that nobody could give me a speeding ticket that day for violating the speed limit. Within few minutes time we reached the park and the man was rescued along with his dog and I still did not get the speeding ticket even though the cops noted down my personal details from my driving license.
(This is a true story)
Author: Mintu Ghoshal.
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