Cops and Cones!
What is it between the two?
SALT N PEPPER BY DR. AJAZ A. BABA
“What is it between cops and cones?” my friend spoke up suddenly one day as we were driving through Lal chowk.
“Cones probably keep them cool and the ice-cream parlours have a nice raking in as the cops fed on these cones look the other way! Good old symbiosis! That is what you call a cool arrangement!” I said after honking in vain as an attempt to clear the road so that I could manage to pass through this obstruction caused by families cooling it on the roadside. You see we had reached the part of Lal Chowk where the clientele of a couple of ice cream shops jam the road with their cars and a cop is never seen disturbing them as they savour delectable ice lollies and softies.
Catching the drift of my conversation and following my glance my friend laughed and said, “Ah you thought I was talking of ice cream cones?!”
“Weren’t you?” I scowled at the guy in the car ahead of me who responded to my frantic honking by waving an ice cream cone at me! I shook my fist in response.
“No it is these cones I am talking of,” he said pointing towards the cone-shaped dividers in the middle of the road.
“What of them?” I asked eyeing the bright orange plastic cones.
“Well they are the brightest idea the traffic cops have had in recent years. A great success in creating more road space where there isn’t any!”
“Wonder why they have chosen this funny shape. They look like those conical hats kids get to wear at birthday parties.” I remarked.
“Look more like witches’ hats to me!” my friend has a thing for the macabre. “Anyway,” he continued, “regardless of the type it must be definitely the hats that have inspired the whole thing.”
“Really! How come?” I asked.
“Haven’t you heard that story about the guy who went to the tailor with a piece of cloth to get a hat made for himself?”
“I might have but it won’t harm to refresh the scene. Besides as you can see that guy in the car blocking our way has finished his ice cone but seems hell bent upon topping it up with a milk shake. So you might as well start relating the whole of Arabian Nights to me!”
“Well there was this guy who chanced upon a rather fine piece of cloth and thought that it would make a very handsome hat. So off he went to the hatter and handed over the cloth to him asking him to make a hat out of it. Now while he was returning from the shop the thought occurred to him that maybe the cloth was more than what would be required to make a hat and he could not bear that the tailor would keep the surplus cloth for himself. So he retraced his steps and went back to the shop. ‘Can you make two hats out of the piece of cloth that I gave you?’
“‘Most certainly sir!’ the tailor smiled obligingly. As this fellow walked back from the shop, instead of feeling satisfied he got suspicious that the tailor having agreed so readily to make two hats out of the cloth there must have been more of it than he had thought. He retraced his steps and once at the tailor shop he asked the fellow whether he could make three hats out of the piece of cloth. The tailor was again at his obliging best. ‘Can you make four hats out of it?’ the fellow said falteringly. The tailor again acquiesced. There was no stopping the fellow now. He went on increasing the number of hats till he reached ten after which he thought that he had had enough. On the promised day our hero returned to the shop to take delivery of his hats. The tailor presented the ten hats to him, each hat atop a finger of his hand which it fitted beautifully! ‘What is this?!’ he shouted. ‘Well you asked for ten and ten is what you get!’ the tailor said with a obliging albeit mischievous smile!’
And so as you can safely surmise it must be this tale that must have inspired some wise guy in the traffic department!” my friend summed up in conclusion.
Come to think of it, the cones are not all that bad an idea. The best thing about them is their flexibility which is the hallmark of all our rules and laws and by-laws. You see one cannot afford to be all that rigid about rules. Like for instance if you are a traffic cop how can you help altering the geography of the cones if some fellow is really entreating you to allow him to pass through, especially if his humble request is supplemented with a currency note of a suitable denomination. And then of course there are our ubiquitous VIPs who have to be accommodated and the geography of the road altered so as not to inconvenience them. Now if you had a concrete divider that would be a problem isn’t it!
Meanwhile finally we managed to get through the traffic jam outside the ice-cream shops. As we drove on we reached a by-lane that would have made our journey shorter only to find that it had been walled off by these very cones. “Blow it! Now I will have to take a long detour,” I said in dismay.
“Not necessarily,” my intrepid friend said with a mysterious smile. He beckoned the traffic cop standing nearby and said to him. “Invert the cone will you?” The traffic cop obliged with a smile and presented an inverted traffic cone to my friend who thrust a currency note into it! Very soon the cones were discreetly pushed to one side and we went through the barrier with the same traffic cop smilingly waving us on.
“Just one more use of the cone!” my friend informed me loftily.
(Truth is mostly unpalatable…but truth cannot be ignored! Here we serve the truth, seasoned with salt and pepper and a dash of sauce (iness!). You can record your burps, belches and indigestion, if any, at email@example.com)
Lastupdate on : Sat, 2 Jul 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 2 Jul 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 3 Jul 2011 00:00:00 IST
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