It was, as we had been told, a temporary police station. There was a trestle table, on which was placed a phone and a number of triplicate books complete with sheets of carbon paper. The books were one size, the carbon paper was another. There were rubber stamps, a few pens, a pot full of dressmakers pins and the accumulated stains of many years of this temporary arrangement. In front of the table was a small bench. Behind it were two chairs one of which was occupied by a policeman in a green uniform who was writing very very slowly in one of the official books. He had neat hand writing and a speed of about 10 words a minute. After every few lines he would pause to spit some brown liquid onto the floor beside him. His teeth were the colour of the liquid he was spitting. The other chair also held a policemen, this one though had two pips on his shoulders, he was an Inspector. He was was reading a newspaper, slowly, following each word with his fingers whilst miming the words. Eventually he looked up and said “What is Problem?” someone stole my bag said Jo. He looked at me and said “Sit down” we sat on the bench snd he went back to his paper. Meanwhile the scribe continued to scribe without looking at anyone, Some 20 minutes later, when he had finished the page Two Pips looked up again. “So, bag stolen, tell me.” Jo told him the story. He continued to look at me and ask me questions. By the time we had finished the scribe had finished his writing and put the book to one side. Two Pips spoke at length to the scribe. When he had finished the scribe picked up the phone and started making calls. Two Pips turned the page pf his paper and began again. The scribe made a number of calls during which I could make out the words IPhone and Camera. Jo asked Two Pips what was happening but he raised a hand and said “You wait. we finding out.” After another lifetime the phone calls ended but Two Pips continued reading the same page of the paper. We were now joined by the Indian guide and the two Japanese tourists that had also been robbed. The guide managed to engage Two Pips in what seemed to be a constructive conversation. When it was over we asked what we needed to do to register the theft. After another long exchange between the guide and Two Pips we were told that we had to fill in a piece of paper “ Respectfully advising them of the theft. They would then be able to issue us with an incident number. The scribe then inserted a ruler into a notebook and slowly tore out a page. They were very specific about what had to be written on it. Bogey number, seat number, what was stolen (fair enough), where it was stolen and what time. We went round in circles with the time and place of the theft. They would not accept that it was stolen from the train , we had to put in where the train was when the theft took place. Again the guide to the Japanese group came to our rescue. He said the the theft was at 1:00 am at Lucknow. My personal view is that no one really could be sure of the time and place and the police did not care as long as it was out of their jurisdiction. Anyway, the written account of the incident had been completed, in capitals as requested. It was passed to two Pips who read it in the same slow methodical way he read the paper. When he passed to back to us he told us it was missing information and would have to be done again. The scribe and his ruler combined to remove another blank page from the book and the process stared again. Two Pips was more attentive this time. He pointed to various places on the paper and said what should be put there. Finally they told Jo that she should sign it and put down who’s wife she was. I saw the look in Jo’s eyes and thought “ there will be blood.” Jo however continued to write without batting an eyelid. When I looked down to see what she had written I saw that she had described me as her husband rather than describe herself as my wife. Expertly done I thought. The second completed form was handed to Two Pips, who again read it slowly and methodically etc etc. Two Pips looked at us and said “Sorry we cant accept, you have crossed out a word” The guide told us that they cant accept anything that has any crossing out in it. We had failed the exam a second time. A new piece of plane white paper was provided and the writing started for a 3rd time. Whilst this had been happening I had been talking to the Guide from the Japanese group who told me that the group were accusing him of stealing the money and suitcases. It seems like unfairness piled onto unfairness. Eventually the third sheet of writing was examined by Two Pips and joy all round, we had passed! . Two Pipe passed the piece of paper to the scribe. Then began the slow laborious task of transcribing exactly what Jo had written. It took another 30 minutes and even then the document needed to be reread by Two Pips, Signed by him then passed back to the scribe for stamping before we could be given our copy with the crime number on it. We did notice that one word had been misspelt, crossed out and then spelt correctly. It would have been funny to say we could not accept anything that had crossing out on it but given my current age I don’t think there enough years left to play out that particular joke.
A short Tuk Tuk ride got us to our Hotel. Our room was OK but you could not see the Taj Mahal from it. We asked if there were any vacant rooms with the view. We were told the only one was the top floor Suite which we could have if we wanted. We wanted. It was a two room suite with an on suite bathroom. It cost us all of £30 a night.
This is the view from our bed.
The view when you are sitting on the toilet is exactly the same, but that does not sound nearly as romantic.