What kind of juice would you like today Sir?

Orange juice

Orange juice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I despise corruption. There’s something about a person entering an office which should be above reproach and abusing their post that really grates with me. In some countries though, corruption is almost a way of life. An Indian colleague told me a story about the corruption in his country. The subject material annoys me, but I liked the story.

He told me that when the police stop you in India, it is seldom for a particular traffic violation; they want a bribe. He rode home from work one evening and the police stopped him. To my colleague’s dismay, he realised how little money he carried. Getting stopped twice was not beyond the realm of possibility and he only had enough money for one bribe.

As he handed over the cash to the police officer, my colleague explained his predicament. For some reason, the officer sympathised with his cause and gave him the following piece of advice. If you get stopped again, just tell the officer you had orange juice this morning. My colleague went on his way, eager to get home.

On the way, another police officer stopped him. My colleague had no money to give this time, so he told this officer that he’d drunk orange juice this morning. To his amazement, the officer waved him on. My colleague could scarcely believe his luck, but he was thankful and thought no more about it.

A few days later, the police stopped him again. He had the money to pay the bribe this time, but he wondered if the orange juice phrase would save him having to hand it over. As the officer approached him, he repeated the pass phrase once more and yet again, the police officer waved him on his way. My colleague felt like he’d cracked the system. No more traffic bribes for him.

Week after week, whenever the police stopped him, he trotted out the same old line and he paid scarcely a rupee in traffic fines. He couldn’t believe it and it saved him a fortune. It was almost a month later when one fine day, a policeman stopped him. My colleague was in a hurry, so he shouted across to the officer that he’d had orange juice this morning. The policeman smiled and said “Oh no sir. It’s apple juice this morning.”

So if you’re ever stopped by the police in India, just tell them you had some random kind of fruit juice. You never know you’re luck!


4 comments on “What kind of juice would you like today Sir?

  1. Pingback: Interesting Day | terry1954

  2. Hi Martin,

    I follow your blog very closely and really like your pennings, as they are quite pragmatic and reflect life in many different ways. But i am surprised that the opening remarks in this article lack those attributes.

    There are a minority who demand bribes and India has a system to challenge and bring the tainted officers to justice. Now i say that , because i belong to the same land you are referring to, in your writing.
    Maybe you must also know, that the people violating or having certain deviations (invalid driving license, not wearing a helmet, expired pollution check certificate and violations of the like), are the ones charged. The policemen give you a receipt for the fine charged. Having said this, there is no denying that there are a corrupt few in any system.

    I would like to sum up, that things are not as good as they should be, there are lot of issues that need to be streamlined and improved, because of the humungous population, and ratio of regulators: citizens ratio. But, definitlely Corruption is not a way of life – you have an option to be part of it or keep out of it.

    Just for the record, I have been driving for about 20 yrs in different Indian ciities, have been stopped more than a dozen times during this period and havent paid a pribe to any policeman till date. You show your credentials , valid docs and then drive down to your favourite juice outlet to have a fruit punch.
    Cheers !

    • Hi Kiran.

      Thanks very much for the comment. I relay the story as it was told to me. I’m sure, as a native, you have a far better perspective on how much or how little corruption there really is.

      Enjoy that fruit punch!

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