It was the year 2007, when
A new Inspector of Police
Visited our street and asked around,
Who steals the municipal water taps?
The street responded as it always does:
Must be the ghosts on the tamarind tree.
The Inspector blinked as others had before.
His Constables also smiled for a bit
But quickly looked down again, perhaps,
To investigate the splatter pattern
Of litres and litres of spilled water.
This was the seventh tap to be stolen,
And the seventh time the pipe had peed
Into the street, like morning kids,
Long after the women had left
With heads and armpits and hips full
Of large pots and larger gossip.
The Police of past had failed to nab
The ghosts who took the taps away,
But the new Inspector declared aloud
That he will catch the petty thief.
The next day a new tap was fixed.
And on the tamarind tree was tied
Two closed-circuit TV cameras,
The cross-eyes of Blindfolded Justice:
One looking up the street,
One looking down the street,
With a long optic nerve descending
And entering a grilled window where
The Inspector had taken permission
To leave a powered magnetic brain
That he called a CPU
But the street heard as Seipeyu,
The daughter deity of Mother Goddess
Who watched over the street’s safety.
A few weeks passed with no event
And the Inspector sat up proudly tall
Each time he passed by in his Jeep
Until the day he held in his hand
A severed optic nerve lying down
With no tap on the pipe
And no cameras on the tree
And lots of water on the street.
He took the CPU away.
Next day, the women filled their pots,
And laughed aloud at the Inspector’s
“Extra oversmart idea”
That had so many gaping blindspots.
That was when he came in his Jeep
And sent a lady constable
To cuff one of the laughing maids
And take her back to the Police Station.
The women around raised alarm
And within two blinks came armed men
With sharp blades and sharper eyes
And a deficiency of self-restraint.
The Inspector had predicted this
And pointed his baton up and straight
When two constables came running out
With large printed gray-scale photos
Of the woman cutting and stealing.
The people knew from the photo angle
The camera had been in the grilled window
Where the Inspector had left the CPU.
The Inspector then brought it out,
Placed it on his Jeep’s bonnet,
Removed the outer metal cover
To reveal a glimpse of divinity
Where the large exhaust holes had been.
The people saw Seipeyu’s third eye:
A webcam looking straight at them
Burning down their aggression.
The Inspector asked his constable
To step back into the Jeep
With the cuffs but without the maid,
And himself stood tall and told them all
He’s exorcised the tamarind tree.
And truly it has been fourteen years
Since a tap has been spirited away.