The moment I say Traffic Cop – what are the adjectives that comes to your mind. Most of us will have something negative to talk about as our experiences with them have hardly been pleasant. They work under some very tough conditions managing motorists who drive in a reckless manner and many a times their personal credibility is always questioned. But then there are these exceptional cops whom we come across in our lives and they show why they are a different breed altogether.
Meet Mr.M.Kumar who is a traffic constable attached to the Sholinganallur Police Station and the kind of respect he gets from motorists is unbelievable. I have been following him for the last one year but then decided to take few pictures and chat with him today. I spent some time today near the busy Sholinganallur Traffic Signal along with another colleague and what we witnessed was something unbelievable. He brings in so much energy to his profession, standing in the middle of the road and managing traffic with his trade mark style statements and punchlines. In the time that I spent in the traffic signal, there was not a single person who violated the traffic lights. People who cross the road greet him with such love, motorists say a Hi to him while crossing the road, school children in their school van wave at him and then there was this Corporation School kid who was given something at school, comes running to him shows some stuff and goes home. These are no ordinary sight and can come only to a person who loves his job. When we went to have a small chat with him and introduced ourselves, there was a stranger who interrupted us and gives a mobile phone to Mr.Kumar and says “ Thank you for giving your mobile phone sir. I just spoke to my wife and told her that I am safe”. Noticing that this man was little aloof, Mr.Kumar gave his mobile phone to call his family – a very small gesture but not sure how many will do it.
According to Kumar – Police and Public relationship is the top most priority. He says both needs to respect each other and the job of the Police is to serve people. He proudly mentioned that he has 0% accident rate in all the signals that he has managed till now. We kept asking numerous questions and the answers came in a flash. To a specific question on how he keeps himself motivated especially during peak hours and those hot sunny days, He responds “ Sir, very simple. I just love my job. When I love my job,I don’t need any other reason to stay motivated”. I asked him on how other cops treat him, do they think he is different and he says “Initially there were hiccups but now no one bothers me. Many think I am Mad but this is the way I am sir. To me respect from the public matters a lot. I am here to ease their tension and prevent accidents”. He has clean hands and is extremely proud of it. He said “ Sir, I live in a rented house in Village road. I will just be able make both ends meet but I lead my life with a simple principle – Rather than earning more by unethical means and living in a own house spoiling one’s name, I prefer to stay in a rented house with Self-Respect”. Kumar is married with three children and kept inviting us home and he wanted us to meet and speak to his children. Every minute we spent with him was like listening to a management guru. Just then there was this lady who was selling flowers right outside the station who was curious to know what I was doing. The moment she knew that I was taking pictures of him she added “ Thambi, you will never find such a good, honest and committed policeman like Kumar anywhere in Tamil Nadu. Ask anyone here and they will talk about his honesty. While many earn lot of money, he has earned so much of love and affection from all of us”. She requested whether I can take a picture of her with Kumar and I happily obliged. We requested Kumar to join us for a glass of juice and spoke about many interesting things. We don’t come across such people every day. Sometimes the profession that we represent can be very unpopular amongst employees but as professionals we can’t be unpopular with our employees just like this gentleman Kumar who is towering example amongst other Policemen. As I bid good bye to him I was remembered about this famous quote in the book FISH “ There is always a choice about the way you do your work, even though there is no choice about the work itself”. Love your job and do it with a lot of passion is the secret. Let’s make Kumar – our super cop popular and the next time if you see him on the OMR road, please do say a hi to him – I must tell you, He just loves it!