I believe when you are on the wrong side of the law, it’s not wise to argue with the authorities. It just makes things worse for you.
But today I lost it with a traffic cop on the Mumbai-Pune expressway. For some weird reason motorcycles are not allowed on this expressway, although they are perfectly fine on the Yamuna expressway between Delhi and Agra.
I kept an eye out for road signs pointing to the expressway and stayed on the old Mumbai-Pune highway. But somehow I found myself on the expressway near Lonavla. I started searching for an exit and finally found one. The cop manning the exit stopped me and asked me to pay a ₹2000 fine for riding my motorcycle on the expressway. I told him that I knew motorcycles weren’t allowed on the expressway and I was following signs to stay on the old Mumbai-Pune highway. But he insisted that there was a sign which I had ignored.
Under normal circumstances I would have paid the fine and moved on. But maybe my brains were fried a little too much trying to get out of the crazy Mumbai traffic. I stuck to my story that there was no sign. The argument went back and forth for a while with each party sticking to their version of the truth.
Finally I asked the cop, “What does the sign look like?” He replied “Khopoli Exit”. Upon hearing that I lost it.
“I’m from Goa”, I yelled at the cop. “How the heck am I supposed to know which exit to take to stay on the old road. Is there a ‘No Motorcycle’ sign or something to tell someone not from this area to stay off the expressway?”
The cop thought for a while and said, “No”, then quickly added, “But you need to pay the fine because you are on the expressway.”
I snapped back at him, “No sign. No fine.”
He looked around and said, “Now what do we do?”
I replied, “You can continue to stand here. I’m going.”
And I went.