Don’t panic, the sky is not falling.
Though I am no James Bond, I was handed over the license to kill. Not that I wanted it. I was forced to accept it. I had no choice. It happened last week.
I am a social drinker. I have no qualms in admitting that I gulp down a maximum of two pegs (30, 45 or 65 ML is another story) when I have to. But, after traffic police had launched MAPASE phenomenon with stern vigor, I had avoided clinking the glasses during social gatherings.
Yet, I succumbed to the temptation of Vat 69 at the party thrown by Bookworms to commemorate Ncell Literature Festival's success. Not that I am a whisky lover or it was my favorite brand. There was another reason. The venue was at Jhamsikhel and I thought I knew the area like the back of my hands. I was confident about sub lanes to avoid for falling prey to the cops.
Well, I was clearly overestimating myself. The realization came little late when three traffic cops appeared like ghosts, silently; out of nowhere at a dark deserted nook. I had consumed just a peg. They made me blow on the breathalyzer and booked me. Fair deal; I asked for it- I got it. However, it was surprising that they let me scoot free after handing me a chit which said I was to be fined a thousand rupee.
Let me go back to the reason behind this strict implementation of rules against drink and drive. The traffic police had emphasized driving after consuming alcohol can be fatal for the driver and the possible victims. If this is the reason and they are concerned about the safety of other people, why let the driver wander free after handing him a chit penalizing him with thousand bucks. Does it mean they care a two penny if the driver brings a pole down, smash some walls or indulges in hit and run after that? The license to kill for a paltry sum of a thousand rupees is very cheap isn’t it?
If a person is not in a condition to drive after consuming a mere peg, should he be let free with the license to kill? If the level of alcohol in breath is such that they see no danger in him driving further, why book and fine him? We know that they are cops but for a change can't we expect some logic in their saying and deeds?
It makes one wonder if they just care about the handsome amount of revenue generated by the fine against such drivers? A rising tower in the chart of the action and revenue from MAPASE proudly dominates others in traffic office. A certain percentage of the fine collected is believed to be distributed to the traffic cops. Nothing against it for they deserve some incentive for taking up the challenge of their grueling duty. They have smelled foul breaths in absence of breathalyzers. As such Dashain is a pricey compulsion disguised as festival. Goats are expensive. But, should it be the sole guiding factor for their action against the drinking drivers; social, unsocial, chronic or any other?
published in The Kantipur Post on 2013 January