I got a traffic challan last month. Awrite, technically it was my mistake. But actually I had been led up the wrong ‘path’, literally.
Imagine you are taking some friends from ‘vilayat’ out for dinner. You zero in on an ostensible parking lot by the road. The ‘parking lot attendant’ directs you to a comfortable slot. You have a wonderful evening out and when you get back into your car you see this on your windscreen.
At first I thought it was some pamphlet, the kind that lazy direct-marketers leave on the wind screens of cars in parking lots. So I tried to brush it off, but it was stuck to the windscreen. So I came out of the car, and this is how the ‘pamphlet’ looked like from the outside.
Grrrrr! Insult to injury…
Of course the ‘parking lot attendant’ was nowhere to be seen.
After I had mentally resigned myself to paying up the fine I thought about the various ways in which people get penalized for wrong parking.
1. On the spot challan
The easiest and smoothest. You come back from whatever errand you’d set out for, and a traffic cop awaits you by your car. You pay him Rs.100. He issues you a receipt. End of matter. No corruption, instant gratification!
2. Wheel clamp
You come back from whatever errand you’d set out for, and discover a metal clamp jutting out of your front wheel, immobilizing your car. Since the clamp is an asset for the cop — he can’t be far away, and would surface soon. However, this is a ‘long-term remedy’ method that penalizes the driver (in the hope that s/he won’t repeat the same mistake) but does not remove the wrongly parked vehicle from the spot of potential chaos!
3. Postal challan
You come back from whatever errand you’d set out for, and drive-on in life. A few days later you receive a challan by post. Most of the times you don’t agree that you have been deservingly penalized. You then have two options — to either contest your case to prove that you are innocent, or pay up Rs.100. Not surprisingly, most people prefer the second option!
4. Sticker challan
The above-discussed scenario. But what if someone were to rip off the sticker from the car parked next. The driver/owner of the car parked next would never know s/he had been challaned and would end up getting court summons!
You come back from whatever errand you’d set out for, and your car is nowhere to be found. With mounting palpitation you wonder if your car has been stolen. Sometimes, little mercies occur in the form of eye-witnesses who tell you your car has been towed away. The mercies end when you need to first find out the police station where such cars are taken and then gauging the physical damage to your car!
Oh, by the way, I paid up my fine at the required police-station where the queue for my-kind-of-challan was the shortest! Some mercy!