Expansion of the Women student’s dorm was actively going on in Bengaluru. The number of undergraduate admissions had increased recently, so also the demand for dorm rooms. Construction workers dug a long ditch for a foundation and a recent shower has filled the ditch up to its half with red muddy water.
Generally, nobody would bother about it except the warden Janakamma Madam, residing in her apartment very near the ditch. She could not sleep because the bleating of a goat kept her awake all night. Early morning, she got up in her crumpled, flowery nightgown to investigate. A couple of students saw her and joined her.
A goat was in the ditch running back and forth in the red, muddy water trying to escape. It jumped up but fell back in the water as the slippery mud offered no foot-hold. It bleated more, seeing the people around.
“The poor thing needs help,” the warden said looking at the two students.
“Yes, madam.” They looked at each other. “Madam, this animal looks big. It could be a street dog. We can’t handle it.”
“How can a dog bleat like a goat?” the madam asked.
“We will get help, Madam.” One of the students ran to the dorm.
Meanwhile, Janakamma spotted a traffic policeman outside the wire fence of the dorm. Wearing a khaki uniform and a cap, he stood erect under an umbrella, on the circular platform guiding traffic. He looked like a personification of authority. Surely, he could help. Janakamma called the policeman, raising her voice.
“I am on duty, madam, I can’t come.” The policeman shouted back.
“You’re a policeman and are supposed to help.”
“Madam, if the Sub inspector doesn’t see me here, I’ll lose my job.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll call the inspector and explain.”
~ ~ ~
The policeman took a quick look at the situation. “It’s hopeless, Madam, I can’t help you.”
“What kind of a police are you?” Janakamma was annoyed. “Take these bangles and wear them since you’re not much of a man. You’re not fit for your job.”
The dorm girls giggled.
This appealed to the cop’s manliness. He jumped in the ditch splashing the red wet mud all over. The goat got scared and ran to the other end. When the policeman reached the other end, the animal evaded him and darted to the previous end.
It was time to act, thought Janakamma. She pulled her sari to her knees and jumped into the ditch. Being a hefty woman, the splashing of mud was considerable. The goat got petrified and stood still. She caught a leg and the cop the other one. Now the goat kicked vigorously. A student jumped down to help. Finally, the animal was subdued and the three pushed the animal up into the hands of the onlookers. They “victory” clapped loudly.
A couple of students brought a ladder for the warden and others to climb, and a rope to tie around the neck of the goat.
“We appreciate your help, Mr. Policeman. I will put in a nice word when I meet the Sub-inspector. You can take the goat and go,” Janakamma said.
The policeman requested a bucketful of water to wash off the mud from the goat. A look of surprise flashed over his face. “Thank you Madam,” he said and left the premises immediately. He tied up the animal to the pole at the center of the circular platform and resumed his duties.
Soon a policeman with a goat attracted attention from the passers-by. Some honked, shouted, and clapped. Some even dared to ask whether goats would take over the cops’ duty.
By and by, a tall gentleman clad in a pleated pants and a white shirt stopped near the policeman. “Namaste, police saab, you have a plump goat here. Do you want to sell it?”
The cop hesitated for a moment and said, “Yes.”
“Good, how much?”
“How about 400?”
“Police Saab, I don’t have that much right now. I will give you 200 rupees right now. I will go home and bring the rest in a couple of hours.”
“That’s fine. Bring the money and take the goat.”
“You don’t trust me, do you?”
“What can I say? This is Kalyuga.”
The pleated pant gentleman gave the deposit of 200 rupees and left.
Soon a bearded Muslim gentleman wearing a round cap, white shirt and a checkered dhoti stopped by the policeman.
“Salam-alekum, Saab. Is the goat for sale?”
“Yes, 500 rupees.”
“Saab, here is 100. I will get you 400 in an hour. Salam-alekum.”
“Alekum-salam. Come at 6 0’clock,” said the policeman with a smile.
After a few minutes, the cop untied the goat. Free now, the animal sprinted off. At 5 o’clock, the policeman went home. Soon, the Muslim gentleman came and found the place empty except for a loose rope. He sat on the circular platform.
After a few minutes, the pleated pant gentleman too arrived and sat close by. He said, “Saab, have you seen a policeman with a goat here?”
“Yes, I am waiting for him. I bought the goat from him for 500 rupees.”
“Really? I too bought a goat from him today. Is this a black animal with a white spot on its forehead?”
“What? Did he have two goats?”
“I don’t think so. If he comes back with the goat, it is mine.”
“No. It is mine. I paid 200 rupees in advance.”
The men started arguing about the goat who should have it, while the policeman relaxed comfortably on a cot in his house. The goat with the white spot on its forehead had run back to its master’s home and nibbled bits of grass and leaves in his backyard.