We squeezed into a buzzing corner of local police station at the dusk. This faintly lit tiny room with beige painted walls and disproportionately small windows accommodated one police officer and a young assistant. His appearance kept profession in disguise – at a glance he was simply middle-aged man wearing white cotton shirt. His short thick hair, accurate moustache line and sharp nose resembled Manoj Bajpayee in Gangs of Wasseypur, yet lively dark-brown eyes were showing kindness.
A bunch of small women in bright viscose sarees, lingering at his backlogged table, were haunted and outspoken, explaining something loudly in marathi and interrupting each other. I quietly sat at the edge of the bench peeping into the scene and clutching papers in plastic folder while waiting for my police verification. I could only see policeman nodding and wobbling his head in the middle of this bustling colourful circlet.
As Sudhir explained later, one twenty two years old girl from their community was recently married and in-laws do not let her visit own family again, nor speak to relatives in private. It turned out not what they agreed prior the wedding hence they demand police to retract the marriage and bring the girl back.
Assistant directed us outside – i was to meet senior police officer who’d sign my papers. We slouched against the wall in dim corridor awaiting my turn and observing the lame dog with wet ginger fur hobbling through wide-open doorway right into hideaway under black steel chair. India must be the only country where a stray dog can walk into the city police station just like that.
Finally we were called into the spacious cabin with few chairs in front of the officers’ desk. Grey-haired man in uniform with three “Stars of India” on shoulder straps merely glanced at me, and then at my papers, asking do i speak Hindi or English. “English with few words in Hindi”, i admitted. After confirming my name and purpose of stay in India, he signed the paper and we were back into the same corner room, now quiet after gang of complaining women was gone. While assistant filled my details into few registers, police officer was sealing police verification letter into the envelope:
“Love marriage”, – he asked my husband beaming.
“Kaise arrange kar sakte hai itni dur se? (How is it possible to arrange from so far?)”, Sudhir chuckled.
We all laughed.