And as the country sadly remembers the month of November last year, when the terrorists struck Mumbai, here’s a story to warm your hearts: Constable Bala Bhatkar lay on his tummy in front of the burning Taj.
He watched smoke coming out of the turrets. He heard the sound of gunfire from inside, and return fire from the forces who had stormed into the heritage building, then felt a shadow next to him and a girl’s voice ask, “Constable would you like a cup of tea?” Bala did not look up, his eyes did not leave the old building he had been told to watch, “Shoot if you see a suspicious movement!” his superior had instructed, and his keen eyes followed even the shadow of the smoke reflected against the walls.
“No!” he said without looking up and heard a voice snigger, “There are security inside wiping out the terrorists, who does this policeman think he is, trying to act so big!”
He wasn’t trying to act big, he was just doing his duty, “But those words brought memories back to him, thoughts of home, “Bala wants to be a policeman!”“Policeman?” his friends had asked, “Why? To act like a big shot? To make money?” “No,” said Bala again as he sat with his friends outside their school in Ratnagiri, “To guard people, to care for the old, to prevent helpless women and children from bullies and other law breakers!”
His father had laughed at him, “Bala stop dreaming!” “I’m not dreaming I want to be a policeman!” “You’ll become corrupt and crooked!” “Oh no!” said Bala his eyes flashing, “I won’t, I’ll be an honest cop!”“An honest cop!” shouted his father and all his friends in the room laughed with him. It had been tough; being selected, then going through training school and being posted in the big city. The gunshot sounded loud and clear and he felt the bullet near him, then a movement at the window, a flash of light; he fired and fired again, and from the old building heard a scream. “He’s shot him!” shouted the girl who’d offered him the cup of tea. “He’s shot him!”“You’re a hero!” shouted the reporters and TV crew who were all over, “You’ve helped in injuring a terrorist! What’s your name?” “Constable Bala Bhatkar!” In the town of Ratnagiri, a stunned father looked at his son on TV, “He’s a hero!” he whispered, “My son’s a hero!” “Dad!” said his son, when they met later, “If I had lifted my eyes from the Taj to drink that cup of tea, I would never have got that shot!”
“Have you lifted your eyes from your dream of being an honest cop?” asked one of the town elders. “And miss becoming the inspector general of police?” laughed Bala as everybody laughed with him, “No I will not lift my eyes from my goal!” This time nobody laughed.
Courtesy: Pakistan Observer;