“They’re just a bunch of over-smart wannabe activists and bored, directionless delinquents seeking attention,” Inspector Sharma instructed the police personnels tasked to monitor the crowd gathered at the Lydon Stadium. “If you see any unruly behaviour, just shout a warning and use your lathi to knock some sense into them.”
A few college students and NGOs had organised a protest against the unveiling of a recently constructed public edifice in the name of a controversial political figure. As a result, almost the entire force in the three district police stations had been deployed to venue.
Constable Nitin, just two months into the job, was tasked to check the locker rooms and some of the corridors for stragglers, couples making-out and other petty ‘nefarious activities’. Having completed his rounds, Nitin turned to go into the field to report to his commanding officer. But stopped short when he saw a masked figure standing in his way.
As the man took out an object from his pocket, Nitin gripped his lathi, ready to use it for the first time on duty. And then started a dance routine that Nitin had never seen before. Orange, white and green- the Indian tri-colour became the smoke that shrouded parts of his body as he flipped, stretched, jumped and twirled to the strains of invisible music.
There was no one around, other than a masked performer and his entranced viewer. Maybe it was 5 minutes, or 10; but it felt longer. And with a final twist, he faded behind the peach coloured smoke. The constable searched around, but it seemed the man had vanished into thin air.
Shaking his head at the bizarre yet remarkable incident, Nitin resumed his journey; debating whether to report this strange occurrence or not. After all, there was a chance that it would be dismissed as a newbie’s fantasy story. But it had been real to him, hadn’t it?
(Lathi- Police in India are issued sticks that can be used to control & disperse crowds. It’s called lathi-charge.)
Written for Nekneeraj’s Photo Challenge #327. Use above image as inspiration for a poem or short story.
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