Those who have seen him in action say he is not in full control of himself. But for two hours on Monday, he was in cruise control at a chaotic crossroad.
It took a young man, “who is not all there”, to inject some traffic sense into the Monday morning madness at the AJC Bose Road-Elliot Road crossing.
The self-appointed traffic guardian, said witnesses, could have put a trained constable to shame. And his car-control exploits did not escape the notice of the traffic department.
On learning of the skills displayed by the anonymous addition to the force, police officials from the traffic wing initiated a move to track him down. They contacted some local residents and shop-owners. By the end of the day, a sketchy picture of the man of the morning had emerged.
In his early twenties, dressed in tattered blazer and trousers, with a yellow band on his forehead, he took up position at the intersection around 11.30 am and regulated traffic for a good two hours.
Carrying no baggage that comes with the uniform, he even stopped a police jeep carrying an officer-in-charge in its tracks till the turn of the vehicle came.
With no one — from a recalcitrant taxi driver to a policeman in a jeep unaccustomed to waiting in his jeep — willing to take a chance with the conscientious ‘constable’, the traffic flowed smoothly.
There was no traffic policeman around when the youth took his stand and started using his arms in textbook traffic-control style.
The driver of Ashish Sengupta, officer-in-charge of Maidan police station, was one of the ‘victims’ of the unusual traffic-stopper. Travelling down AJC Bose Road towards Moulali, Sengupta’s jeep was halted by the youth’s hand.
“It was around 12.45 pm when I spotted him. I had to stop because he was allowing the vehicles coming from Sealdah to enter Elliot Road first,” recounted Sengupta.
“He was acting like a well-trained traffic official,” added the Maidan officer-in-charge. “The way he was raising and bending his arms to regulate traffic was enough to win the confidence of the motorists. No one could have guessed that he was mentally disturbed.”
That was how Emdadul Haque, a teastall-owner, described the youth, who “lives somewhere in Mullickbazar”.
The mystery man from Mullickbazar who could teach traffic cops a thing or two, disappeared the moment a constable turned up. “I joined duty around 2 pm and spotted him manning traffic at the crossing. Before I could stop him, he had left his post and slipped away,” said the constable, on condition of anonymity.