Crime and Punishment for the Stoner Soul

POV

Crime and Punishment for the Stoner Soul

Illustration: Sushant Ahire/Arré

I

n all my 26 years of living in various Indian cities, I’ve realised one thing: Only two people are happy to see me walk into a room. One is my dog, and the other is the police officer who used to patrol past my college. The first is almost always fiending for something salty; the second is almost always on a salty look-out for fiends.

The cops usually mark me, or at least people who look like me, as prime suspects on their “drug-addict eradication mission,” mainly because I weigh a grand total of little more than my backpack, and because my hair defies Newtonian laws of gravity. Mumbai cops have been looking for people with a similar “look” since the turn of the millennium. In their parlance, it is “charsi sala”, although I prefer to describe my personal aesthetic as “drug dealer chic”.

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