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Female Traffic Officers: Facing dust, noise and men

-Arati Gurung

Every time I pass by a lady police officer busy in the midst of traffic, I can’t help but wonder what it’s like to be her. Everyday, she takes in the scorching sun, the dust, all that noise and arrogant male drivers who think they were born to drive; everything a common woman tries to avoid. Just last week, I got to watch these women upclose in action, and I have to say I got to know a lot. A friend and I were waiting to fuel our motorbike in one of those endless lines at Tripureshwor; it’s one of the areas that have more female officers assigned than men.

There were 4 lady officers and all men drivers as far as the eye could see; and there were no other women around except for me and another lady. With men as drivers and so little women around, one can guess what the environment was like. I watched as the officers tried to control the growing line of overgrown men. The problem was, a couple of men created a line on the opposite side of the actual line inspite of the officers telling them not to. The men showed their behavior: women are no good behind the steering wheel nor are they in officers’ uniforms. They brushed off all warnings with an ‘hmf’ and a ‘look who’s talking about vehicles’ attitude. But the officers wouldn’t stop, they didn’t sign for the job if they were to walk away from problems, the ladies kept at it and finally the men spoke back - word after word. It was an interesting discussion which got me aggravated at times.

The men who were arguing were saying a bit too much while those watching were amusing themselves, exchanging sickening smiles. There were moments when I wanted to speak up but I respected these women enough not to interfere. Unfortunately the men got what they wanted; the officers made sure the line didn’t get to increase only those who were already in it would be fueled up. Even if the men got their way, I still feel good about the way the female officers handled the situation, not once did they speak a foul word, nor was their any show of power and position.

The officers spoke of proper management, public welfare and people’s rights, and I agree with every single word they said. After the little incident, I’ve come to respect these ladies even more. They say traffic officers are nothing without the traffic lights that do their job for them; I say traffic officers along with those who drive - are nothing without the discipline these ladies displayed, afterall isn’t driving all about discipline?

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