India’s campaign at the London Olympics seems to have received a boost. In a rare meeting of minds, Hockey India and the Indian Hockey Federation have jointly announced that Assistant Commissioner Vasant Dhoble, of the Mumbai Police’s Social Services branch, will assist Michael Nobbs at the event.
“I wish I could wield a hockey stick like him.” sighed Hockey India secretary general Narinder Batra enviously. “Such dexterity and control is exactly what our boys need to display. Michael Nobbs is a good man, but I’m sure he will also benefit from Dhoble’s expertise.” he claimed.
IHF president KPS Gill was even more effusive. “Show me a man with more dedication than Dhoble.” he gushed “He even sleeps with his hockey stick, which is more than any of my boys can claim.” Playing down Dhoble’s rumoured tendency towards violence, Gill said that, as a former cop himself, he understands Dhoble’s motivation. “Just because he practices with juice shop owners instead of a white ball doesn’t mean that Dhoble doesn’t have a keen grasp of the game. Remember also that he is a firm believer in making people get a good night’s sleep, which is always a plus for a sportsman.” said the retired Punjab Police chief. “People are spreading false allegations about Dhoble, just like they did with me. I have only done India a favour by making a few misguided sardars disappear for good, and he has unmasked a few housewives moonlighting as hookers. Aren’t I an able administrator? Dhoble, likewise, will make an excellent coach.”
While Nobbs was unavailable for comment, members of the Indian team have mixed feelings. “It’s going to add to off-field pressures.” lamented defender Ignace Tirkey. “We were so looking forward to seeing a bit of London, but the presence of this wet blanket is sure to take all the fun away.” Vice-captain Sardar Singh voiced other apprehensions. “Being sportspersons, many establishments give us free entry. But, in this guy’s book, this may be interpreted that we are persons of loose morals. The last thing we need now is a manufactured scandal. Besides, though Michael has been doing a superb job, we’re pretty sure that Dhoble will look at him with suspicion. After all, he firmly believes that foreigners are the root cause of immorality spreading amongst Indian youth.”
Dhoble’s appointment, though, has support from an unexpected quarter – large sections of Mumbai’s youth. “What an idea, sirji,” exclaimed a teenager sipping a cappuccino at Theobroma in Bandra “while the prick’s away, I can dump this crappy coffee and get thoroughly plastered at Bonobo!” Members of Facebook groups SOS: Mumbai’s Nightlife and Mumbai Unite expressed similar feelings. “I’m happy for Dhoble, but would be thrilled if they appointed him for the long term. I feel sad for the team, but it’s better that 20 guys suffer him rather than 200,000.” went one post.
Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik, however, dispelled any such notion. “Dhoble is an integral part of Mumbai Police’s drive to make this a decent, livable city.” he said. “Mumbai can spare him for a few weeks in the national interest, but we would like him back at the earliest. There are, after all, thousands of young people here who will benefit from his guidance.”
Meanwhile, pubs and bars across Mumbai have announced extended happy hours during every match the team plays. “We’d like to cheer our team on.” said Srila Chatterjee, co-owner of popular lounge Blue Frog “In fact, we’d like to just say ‘cheers’ for a few days without getting busted.” she grinned, clearly thrilled on hearing the news.
A habitual offender has approached the Maharashtra Human Rights Commission, accusing the Ghatkopar police of using third-degree methods on him. Jayant Narvekar, 32, was picked up by beat police for questioning regarding a series of burglaries in the area. While this was nothing new for him, what followed was.
“Their methods have become worse” said Narvekar. “Instead of thrashing me as usual, they put me in a cell that had a TV, handcuffed me tightly to the bars and started playing that Ram Gopal Varma film, ‘Department’, with the sound turned right up. After ten minutes, I could take it no more. But, every time I closed my eyes, a constable jabbed me in the kidneys with his lathi,” said the out-of-work painter.
“It was like an endless nightmare though I realized later that it lasted less than a couple of hours. I offered to confess to anything they wanted to charge me with, but they just laughed at my plight. The film’s numerous purposeless camera angles – [referenced from Anna M.M. Vetticad’s review] shots of a character taken from below another’s armpit, Vijay Raaz as seen from below a lady’s thigh, a dancer’s right thigh placed over the left while the camera teases us in the direction of her crotch, Amitabh Bachchan as seen from above, an elongated Raaz as seen from below – were worse than electric shocks or the ‘aeroplane treatment’. At least with those, you pass out quickly,” he sniffed.
Denying the accusation, Ghatkopar Police Inspector CV Zendekar admitted to screening the movie, but claimed that Narvekar was not forced to watch it. “We simply felt that ‘Department’ portrayed the difficult conditions that the Mumbai Police operate under. Hence, we rented a TV to screen it for visitors to appreciate the good work that we do.” He however admitted to not having watched the movie himself. “Some of our men saw it and recommended that we use it for publicity purposes. Narvekar was free to tell us to turn the TV off. We did not force him to watch the film.”
Ghatkopar Assistant Police Inspector Jayant Patil added that the decision to screen the movie for PR purposes was made after a lot of consideration. “RGV sucks. When he wants to glorify the underworld, he makes a masterpiece like Satya but to highlight the achievements of Mumbai police, he makes such crap. But what to do, something is better than nothing,” he sighed.
Mumbai Police Commissioner, Arup Patnaik, refused to comment. “I have ordered Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone VII), Sanjay Shintre, to look into the matter. Disciplinary action will be taken, if the charges are proved to be true,” he said.
The Maharashtra Humans Rights Commission has taken cognizance of the complaint. “Prima facie, forcing a detainee to watch a movie like ‘Department’ constitutes a violation of his right to dignity, life and liberty. We have asked the Mumbai Police Commissioner to furnish a detailed report of this disturbing incident,” said Commission Chairman, Shri Satyavart Pal.