The first time I walked into a police station..

by Action hero citizen Lijya

I decided to go visit and hang out at a Police Station in Yelahanka, where I am staying at the moment. I did this for several reasons amongst which the foremost was to know my police personnel better, know what a day in their life looks like and know about the process of filing a First Information Report(FIR). My attempt is at being an aware citizen. To know better and be empowered by knowing.

I went into the Yelahanka Police station (near the NES Bus stop), greeted the police personnel who were hanging out outside, introduced myself briefly and told them that I was interested to do volunteer work with them. They were amused. Faces smiled at each other, some amusing remarks were exchanged between them in Kannada and they led me onto the police people at the reception desk. When I told him the same spiel, he was amused too, had an expression that said “Hmn.. This is the first case of such a sort and I don’t know how to deal with this” and led me to go on and speak to the sub-inspector in the thana. The Subinspector asked me what my purpose was. I told him my purpose was to know better, know how a day in the life of a police inspector looks like. And he asked, again- “But, what’s your purpose? Like a study or some such?” Somehow my purpose was not good enough. Or rather it was hard to explain. I smiled. And nodded and repeated myself this time trying to be more coherent. He told me to wait and speak to the Inspector (Station House Officer) and I said that I’ll be happy to hang around.

So I sat near the reception and the police station guard. I had my notepad with me and I was scribbling in it intermittently. I looked around, observed keenly- their ways, movements, reaction and actions but was cautious not to be intrusive. The Police inspectors passing by looked at me and I at them. I smiled. They found it strange. They smiled back and asked the other police man about me. They heard my story, looked back at me with a smile and walked on. Half an hour went by and they still saw me sitting there. A Crime branch inspector called me. I went into his cabin and we chatted. He asked me questions about what sort of a project I was doing, why and how I wanted to volunteer at the Police station. He asked about university, the course I am studying. He asked where I’m from. Somehow, I’ve noticed that whenever I say that Kerala is my hometown there’s an instant smile on the enquirer’s face- such was the case too with the crime branch officer. His face lit up and we talked a little about the natural beauty that is my hometown-Kerala. The officer sitting next to the crime branch officer said that he likes people from Kerala. And I sat there feeling amused and smiled at him. It amazes me how Kerala works in my favour every time and how my religion plays against me at other times. The fascinated station writer called me next and he wanted to see my ID card. I showed him my college one and it carried my full name with my middle name “Joseph”. I don’t like how it gives away the fact that I’m catholic. Or at least supposed to be one. What interests me is how dynamics change instantly by descriptions like where you come from, which religion you follow or don’t follow and the language that you speak.