Thursday, August 18, 2011

A visit to the police station and a "bribe"

Yesterday on the eve of the agitation of Anna Hazare against curruption in India, I visited the local police station for address verification for passport renewal. Everything in the process ran with utmost smoothness and efficiency. In the morning I submitted some ID proofs and in the evening I was asked to come and see the inspector for final approval. As I walked into the station office in the evening, I had decided firmly that I am not paying bribe to these guys under any circumstances. And then came my little interview with the inspector. No one asked for a bribe, and I was out in 5 minutes. And then came the fun part. As I walked out after the last formality of signing on a paper, a constable collecting the papers, comes and says to me, "Your work is done here without any bribes. But we do a lot of work on these papers. If you feel satisfied with how we served you today, you can please give us some money and the amount can be what ever you wish. No force on you. Even if you do not pay me, your work will be done".
I (and a person behind me in line) almost burst out laughing and controlled ourselves. I had never expected this statement from a policeman. He was not asking me for a bribe, he was requesting me for a little reward! I lost my resolve.
I paid him Rs.100 and smiled all the way home. I still am smiling at the incident.