Sirji bas English me baat karna zaruri hai kya, wo thulla thulla bolte hai hame aur batamezze karte hai. (They speak in English and treat us disrespectfully).

Early morning I was at Ber Sarai sipping tea and eating bun-omelet after a night out; sleep and hunger were killing me.

Mukesh Yadav was sipping tea next to me, In his early 30’s, a tall man with a movie star-like physique. Mukesh had finished his night shift at beat near the Priya complex.

He mentioned heading back to Palwal, his hometown and, a few Haryanvi greetings prompted him to open up.

Mukesh told me about the night brawl. It was a fight between two drunk youngsters and when he went to calm them, they misbehaved and told him to stay out of it. (Thulla, nikal yahan se). Mukesh called others from beat and tried to take them to a nearby station and, they hit him and disappeared into the darkness.

I could see a mix of tears and blabber from Mukesh. He was saying how rich he is and about lands he owns and farming. I realized he must have had a bad last night. I don’t know why he opened up to me. Are we all alone and need someone to listen to us? For a change, I was the listener.

It was Mukesh’s dream to do something for the country, could not qualify for the army so joined the police and the job is so thankless

Kuch bhi na rakha is naukari me. Ek thulla mare, koi farak na pade desh ne, Ek politician mare, desh ki chutti.

It’s a thankless job no one gives a dam about policeman’s death, life goes on, unlike a politician, the entire country gets a holiday.

I silently watched and listened to him and asked if he would care for a bidi which he accepted. We exchanged greetings and, I headed back home to Munirka.

Sir aur kuch padhaun ya nai, bacho ne angerji zarur sikhana hai. (I will ensure my kids learn English)

I heard him shouting and giving a broad smile and, I smiled back.