It was 9pm on a Sunday. Its not that I like murders – or any form for crime for that matter – just to set the record straight, but when you come to know about a crime just when you are about to leave for the day; your wrath for the criminal grows many times over.
I was just about to leave office when news started floating that a man had been murdered at Dharavi. I was agitated for a moment, but then my industrious self got the better of me and I quickly called up the Dharavi police station to confirm the news. It has been more than a month, but the call bemuses me till now.
I did not want to directly call up the senior inspector or other senior officers as it was 9pm on a Sunday, and apparently people who are supposed to ‘have a life’ are assumed to be doing something out-of-this- world at that time of that day, and by extension are not be disturbed unless its something urgent. I was not sure a murder classified as something urgent for police officers after a few years in service or for us journalists after a few years into the profession.
So I tried the police station landline number which on most occasions turns out to be worthless. That bored guy- always the one who will answer your call at a police station landline will make one of the few excuses: I have just come for shift now and don’t know what crap you’re talking about or murder here: you must be kidding me or yes there is a murder but I cannot give you information, please call the senior (if I had to call him, I would not have ‘bothered’ you duh)or yes a murder has taken place and I have the information, but please come to the police station personally and get it.
Reporter: Sir my office is at (name the farthest place from the police station, if it is Colaba police station you say your office is at Borivali and vice versa). Bored Cop: So send someone from your office. By now pissed reporter: wants to say yes I am sending this pigeon from my office that has the paper logo embedded on its right wing, to help you identify which paper it is. Just fold the FIR copy to bits and tie it around its neck but says: OK Fine. Since it is late and by the time I would reach there the police station, edition would go to bed, so I thought what the hell lets give the landline a chance.
To my surprise the guy who picked up; I don’t remember the name now; but you can call him PSI Waghmare, More, Patil whatever makes him look like a gentle and helpful cop, because he turned out to be one. Errr.. for the innumerable Waghmare’s who have been helpful to be lets call him PSI Waghmare.
So PSI Waghmare has some excitement stored for me on a late idle Sunday night. This is how the conversation goes
Waghmare: Yes, a murder has been reported here. Take down the details.
Me: When where how what …etc (and get most of the information. One youngster has stabbed another one). Things go fine till I ask him WHY?
Me: (surprised at the amusement)..yes. Why did he stab him?
Waghmare: (husky voice tone matching Al Pacino is a Son-I’ll-tell-you-it’s-a-tough-world-out-there) what is your name you said. (Mohamed). Aadnav (surname) ? (Mohamed Thaver), Thaver saab I have been working at Dharavi police station for the past three years. During the first year, whenever a murder took place, I would be keen to find out the motive. Why was he murdered? But now experience has taught me, (and then came pure gold) that here in Dharavi saab people don’t need a motive to kill other people. It has been a while now, and I have stopped asking for motives in murders. Some guy who is high on drugs is nudged by someone else, gets into an argument, someone fishes out a chopper and before you know it there is blood on the ground.
Me: Still I mean err…what led to the fight?
Waghmare: Don’t know son. It will be clear sometime later. And like I said it is not something that interests me. (Just when I am about to judge him) Poverty makes people do all sorts of things saab. I sometimes feel bad for people here but then this is how it is. Chalo saab I have to complete the panchnama (making a list of the things found on the murder spot in presence of five witnesses).
After he hangs up I am dazed for a minute for two. I write the copy. A part of it reads: The Dharavi police are now investigating what led to the fight, as currently the provocation is not clear. Not sure Waghmare would approve.