Life on the Road

A day in the life of Narender, 45

Constable, IP Estate police station, New Delhi

Routine: Narender mans a picket near IGI stadium, sometimes from evening to early morning

He stands behind the yellow picket, his fluorescent green jacket reflecting the headlights of the cars whizzing past. The zig-zag yellow barricades force vehicles to slow down. His senior colleague signals and constable Narender asks two motorcyclists to pull over. Narender checks their papers while another constable stands guard with a rifle. The papers are checked and the men let through.

Narender is posted at the IP Estate police station. In addition to his regular duties, he mans this picket at the IGI stadium. "If we find someone suspicious, we stop him immediately. I can't afford to let a single person, who I think is a potential threat, slip through. One miss and I will not be able to make peace with the fact that I let go of a criminal," he says.

His job has its hazards, though. Just a week ago, head constable Ram Kishan, posted at the Jaunti border police picket, was shot dead by four car-borne unidentified assailants when he flagged them down for a routine check.

It's a little past 11 pm and Narender flags down two other motorcyclists who are not wearing helmets. He notes down their names and addresses, does the paper work and lets the duo off. "Youngsters...always in a hurry. I hope this punishment drills some sense into them," he says, as he scoffs and tugs at his uniform.

Born in Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh, Narender always wanted to be a police officer. "The uniform, the command, everything impressed me. I cleared my class 12 examination and the next thing I knew, I had joined the force," he says. Once he got used to the uniform, he realised that was more to being a policeman. "The uniform has its charm, but it wears off as soon as you face the reality," he says.

... contd.

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