Are you going to jail?

My four year old had persistent fever and his regular doctor was in US.   We gathered that the substitute pediatrician that we identified was available for consultation in Chinmaya Mission Hospital, fairly close to our home.

I reached the hospital in my two wheeler around 11 AM and parked my vehicle alongside a few other two wheelers.  Since I was in a hurry, I did not bother to check if it was a No Parking area - a decision also influenced by the presence of other vehicles.

It was 12.30 PM when we came out after meeting the doctor and I found a car parked in the place where I had left my vehicle.  "Hmm!  Did I park elsewhere?"  I wondered as I looked around.  A few metres from where I stood, I found a No Parking board.  I guess that applied to the place where I had parked as well (there is no point in wondering after your vehicle has been towed).  

A visitor entering the hospital saw me looking around and said "Looking for your vehicle? It has been towed to Jeevan Bhima Nagar Police Station".   And then I heard the crying - of my kid.  He was wailing inconsolably about the missing vehicle, much to the amusement of our amusement.

We tried telling him that the vehicle was quite safe and it was just an auto-ride (and a Rs.300/- fine payment away).

He kept crying as we took an auto (to my shock, the auto driver started the meter - I had not seen that in the last few rare rides that I had taken).

He stopped crying and we thought things were ok when he burst into a fresh burst of tears - "Appa, are you going to jail?"

That is when I realized the kind of exposure the four-year-olds of today have - through various media, neighbourhood, school and what not!   We couldn't help laughing, and it took quite some convincing (in the short ride to the Police Station) that this was not a crime that needed me to be jailed.

We took him inside the Station where the policeman wrote out the fine.  He was interested in the Walkie Talkie which the kind policeman placed near him on the table.   He kept murmuring about "bad policemen"  even after we got the vehicle back.

I tried to give him an analogy.  "See, when you make a mistake, you do get punishment, don't you? This is the same.  I made a mistake parking in a No Parking area.  I got a punishment".

He half-heartedly agreed to this logic, but I believe his "desire" to be a policman (wielding a gun and chasing thiefs) may have a taken a beating.

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