Post our eventful first day in the US, (read “Here to Go” @ https://arindamunplugged.wordpress.com/2011/09/23/here-to-go/“), Rohit and I settled in well. 2 months had passed – Rohit had bought a second hand 1998 model blue Toyota Corolla, and we were well engrossed in our work. We were in the same project – and travelled from the IT offices to the user’s office for the meetings 3 days a week. The drive, 25 minutes or so, past the picturesque countryside – was indeed something that we looked forward to.
We looked forward to be at the user’s office for another reason as well – the lunch at the users offices was FAB – chicken, lamb, prawns, salmon, tuna, burgers, cheese – you name it!! We ensured our “meetings” either ended just before or started just after lunch – so we can gulp happily – at least once a day.
“Gluttonous buffoons, both of you” – you may be thinking.
Come on guys!! You are a 23 yr old carnivorous DESI traumatized with sambhar & kazhumbu every evening (Read “Kazhumbued in Cupertino” @ https://arindamunplugged.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/mishti-doi-2-kazumbued-in-cupertino/) and you discover UNLIMITED chicken, lamb and prawns for lunch FREE!!! Wow!! That’s as good as discovering KRYPTONITE!! Don’t you think? The only flip side – My cycle tires had become truck tires. I was always a BIG guy – 6′ 1″ is fairly tall, by Indian standards, and now with added FAB food, I had developed what Rohit said – a 4 month pregnant woman’s belly. But hey, who cares – the foodie that I am – I was TRULY enjoying the food!!
One Friday afternoon, after the “customary” heavy lunch, we were driving back to the IT offices. Rohit was at the wheel, humming “It’s my life” – his favorite Bon Jovi song – as I looked out of the window at the beautiful countryside.
Few more minutes to office – then a quick pack up, and we head out to Los Angeles for the long weekend. It was to be our first trip outside Cupertino.. Whoa!!!! I was super excited…..
Little did I know what lay ahead……
We were approaching one of the traffic signals – the light was green. Rohit was driving at 50 miles/hr, well under the speed limit of 55. As we were few yards from the crossing, I saw the light turn yellow. Rohit’s DESI instincts took over – he pressed the accelerator – and the car rocked forward, suddenly picking up speed.
I glanced at the traffic signal moments before we crossed over – it was RED.
“Rohit – you should have stopped” – I exclaimed. “Take a CHILL PILL, we were fine” – Rohit said and continued to hum…“Its my life, its now or never.. “
I think it would have been about 10-15 seconds that we had crossed the signal – that we heard the siren of a COP car behind. “Screwed now” – I thought, and looked at Rohit – wanting him to pull over immediately. “It’s my life, it’s now or never”… Rohit continued… and gave me the “Chill, man – don’t worry” look!
A minute or so passed. The cop car was now alongside us and the officer gestured us to pull over. Rohit nodded, but continued to drive on…
“What the hell are you doing? We gotta stop” – I exclaimed… I certainly did not need any trouble with cops. “Stay calm, buddy!! I will pull over at the next turn over there” – he said pointing ahead…
It took us about a minute and a half to reach the next turn, the cop car right behind us at our heels. Rohit turned right, went into the parking area, and stopped the car.
I looked around – and my heart skipped a beat. We were surrounded – yes, there were 4 COP CARS SURROUNDING US. The cop car following us must have alerted the others, and Rohit’s STUPID act of driving for a minute after being asked to pull over had raised AN ALARM!!
The officer following us came towards our car and said, pointing at Rohit – “Sir, I want you to step out of the vehicle very slowly. Keep your hands where I can see them at all times” – the officer remarked. Rohit opened the car door, and obeyed the instructions. The officer came closer, and requested for our ID’s – we obliged.
“I told him not to jump the signal – you silly dumb fool.. Look at what we have got into now” – coming to US, the land of my dreams, and spending night in prison for jumping a red light – the long weekend trip to LA seemed very distant now…
My thoughts were interrupted by a tap on the car window. Another officer had come over to my side – “Sir, can you step out, please?”
I stepped out, adjusted my jacket, and put my hands in the pocket as I faced the officer.
It must have happened in a split second.. The officer took a step back, pulled out his gun, pointed it at me – the officer interrogating Rohit went “Down, down, down…” and ducked behind the other side of the car pulling Rohit along… and the other officers (I can’t remember how many), all braced up – I heard a few clicks – the guns were loaded and ready! My action of putting my hands in my pockets didn’t go down well with the officers!!
“Petrified” – I had experienced this earlier (Read Bhag DK Bose @ https://arindamunplugged.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/mishti-doi-3-bhaaag-dk-bose-bhaaag/), but this was far beyond – I couldn’t move even if I wanted to, my lips went dry, and my stomach churned… all at the same time as I looked at the officer with the gun with “Please don’t shoot at me” look!!
“Sir, you must take your hands out slowly and keep them where I can see them” – the officer shouted out. By now, he was joined by two other officers – three guns at me!!
I would have dropped my pants and kept my ass where he can see them too… forget the hands!!
“Sure, sure… pls don’t shoot…” -I blurted out, and obeyed!!
“Sir, we would need to do a detailed search of the car and your belongings” – the officer said and came forward. I stood there with my arms and legs spread wide, while the officer frisked me.
I looked around for Rohit – He had been taken over to another police car, where he was showing the car’s documents.. “SILLY FOOL, ALL BECAUSE OF YOU DUMB ROHIT!!!” – I cursed…
“Get Bob out” – the officer said & gestured a junior officer… who the hell is Bob now? – I thought.
“Check him out Bob” – ordered the officer.. At 23, I fantasized of being checked out by the pretty girls.. Being checked out by a dog was certainly not my fantasy of choice!!!!
Bob sniffed around my boots – then went behind me, still sniffing. It’s bad enough standing with arms and legs spread wide in a parking lot – worse still, is to stand with legs wide and have a dog sniffing up your ass!!
“God, please end this, end this, please”– I prayed…
Bob had lost interest in my ass – came over to the front, and started sniffing up my legs. His nose now was a centimeter or so away from….well.. ‘you know where’.
I looked straight ahead too terrified to look down – it wouldn’t have mattered – my huge belly would have obstructed the view anyway – Perspiration dripped down my forehead as I stood there, hoping for the ordeal to end.
I was getting balled over by Bob… and to my dismay, everyone seemed to be JUST standing there looking – waiting for Bob to finish his “thorough check”.
“Bob, get over here” – the officer said, to my relief.. Bob lost interest suddenly and trodded off towards the car – which he examined with equal zeal and enthusiasm – to find NOTHING. Finally, Rohit was done with whatever he was doing, he had got 2 tickets – one for overspeeding and one for jumping the traffic signal.
“Sorry for the trouble sir, had to do the check since you did not pull over. It looked suspicious…” – the officer said, smiling.
I managed a weak smile, and got into the car… amidst all the hoopla of jumping the signal, I had been “Balled Over by Bob” – and it sure wasn’t my choice of fantasy!