Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Road less travelled.....

When I went through the draft of the coffee table book  my organisation decided to come up with, I took not more than three odd minutes to flip through and keep it down. It's the same amount of time I may spend on other banal things like the news paper, the Swagat magazine of Air India so on and so forth.So, when I was asked to contribute some article to it , I again went through the articles which were already a part of the document, to understand what was expected of me. To say the least , I was horrified. The discussions in all the articles were of a very serious nature of international or may be intergalactic ramifications.

Am I in the wrong organisation? The question popped in my mind. I dismissed the thought with disgust. What in the heavens is wrong with me, I thought to myself. Organisations are never wrong, my mind reprimanded.

While I seriously contemplated over which topic to write about, it occurred to me that I was not the kind of a person who will sit and study to come up with an article. As a matter of principle, I believe that I have wasted enough of my life studying for the civil services. Moreover I have, in my seven years of service not used an iota of knowledge, I acquired during that period. The government jobs are invariably the most non creative jobs where initiative is killed. The whole story is about sending timely reports. The reports which are numerous, repetitive, relevant only to the extent that they have been sent timely, clerical in nature and they can be all kinds monthly, fortnightly, weekly, daily, even hourly. I have studied some Public Administration, and believe me Weber could not be more correct about bureaucracy.

So, the question remains the same, what should I write about? Why don't I write about what strikes you most about this organisation? (Apart from the reports). Take a guess. I bet you can't be thinking what first struck my mind. It's the TERMINAL!!

I don't know how many of you have seen this movie called 'The terminal', but I have often felt like Tom Hanks in the movie, except that i never met Catherine Zeta Jones. Unlike the others, I have a very small number of  family members who call me, but they soon pointed out after a few months I joined this organisation, that whenever they call me , i am either checking in or checking out or in transit. I realised how bad it had got when I found myself fumbling for the seat belt even when I was cozily sleeping in my bed in my room. So frequent are the trips that I am now well conversant with the Hindi and English versions of the safety procedure read and enacted by the air hostess, I may need a few more international flights ( for domestic travel only) to learn the procedure for the deaf and dumb though. Also I can open an emergency exit and put an oxygen mask (if it ever came down the cabinet) even in my sleep.

I am wondering if I should change the topic from ' the road less travelled' to 'more air borne' or something.The topic I gave to my musings above( hardly an article), is only a reflection of daring to write something so non serious as opposed to very sincere and serious articles....

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Ganga Behti ho kyun


                      Two soldiers of the Indian Army were beheaded and the bodies were sent to the Indian side. Thirteen CRPF men were brutally killed by the Naxalites in the latehar incident in Chhattisgarh the other day. The Naxalites slit open the stomach of a soldier and sew it back with an IED inside. The nation did not get outraged at any of it. Nobody went and lit candles at India gate , no one went on rampage on the streets, nobody took law into their hands, no judicial activism was shown, none of the film stars cried or tweeted.

                         We Indians are strange people.......our blood boils at certain incidents , at certain others we prefer to mind our business.....but when we are asked to mind our business we would poke our noses.
                          When asked to queue up, not jump red lights, not triple ride a two wheeler, not travel over roofs of the trains , not to spit paan masala in clean spaces, not to throw plastics in parks, not to pluck flowers, not to honk etc we are deaf.
                           When there is an accident on the road and the injured are lying on the road and need help we become blind too. We are blind when we sit comfortably in seats reserved for women , elderly and handicapped in trains and buses while they travel standing. We are blind and deaf when the national anthem is played in cinema halls before the screening of a movie.
                            But all is not wrong with us we have a very eloquent tongue and a very swift finger. We are very good at telling everyone else what is wrong with them and point fingers at them. We are quick to point out who all are not doing their jobs except ourselves
                            The mahakumbh saw an unprecedented numbers of devotees from all over the country and outside the country taking a dip at the sangam.......and the Holy Ganges. The question is can she take it all.....what if it starts minding its own business.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Verse fame and beauty are intense indeed, but death intenser- death is life's meed

How many of us have clapped when Ajay Devgan beats up a mafia don or when Amitabh Bachhan smashed a goonda's head in 80s......How many of us cried when cop played by Akshay Kumar dies in khakee ....Most of us have dreamt to be serving in one or the other uniformed services of the country and saluting the national flag. Most of us fancy those ambassador cars / gypsies with blue/red lights and pistols in the holsters. Some of us do get to be famous ........Some of us do get to live these fantasies.

Our job entails coming face to face with dead bodies often. Dead bodies in accidents, murders, suicides..... So often that probably death ceases to scare us . This usually happens because we separate the prospect of death from dead bodies. Our job also entails dangers of injuries and death and that too with a slightly higher probability than others in other normal jobs. But I guess we all take it as an occupational hazard and carry on.

That also is the reason why we in police identify more with death while performing duties, like those of army men, para military forces and the police men. A similar death of a young PPS officer during the discharge of his duty filled me with a lot of anguish which I am trying to decipher here. Similar was the pain and anguish when a young IPS officer lost his life in morena. Both were young officers who had come from humble backgrounds and made their parents immensely proud. They died and with them died the dreams of their families .These deaths are glorious and honourable. Most of us are not really scared of the prospects of our own deaths, what filled me with anguish is watching the families. Comprehending any loss is difficult but comprehending such deaths become even more difficult......the reason is too incredible.....not illness, not rashness and negligence , not old age ......it's the discharge of duty.....

I have faced death of someone close staring in my eyes and that's why I know the prospect of being dead might not affect me, the prospect of death of a loved one does.


Thursday, 23 February 2012

Ask not what your country can do for you....

                                  It was 8.30 pm and i was heading home from my office, when the wireless set in my car started calling for me saying that there has been an accident of a child and there is a grave law and order problem developing with people of the locality out on streets in large numbers arsoning and pelting stones,and as a result jamming the highway. I too asked station officers of the nearby police stations to rush to the spot with force. It took  me around twenty five minutes to reach the spot. There were around twenty policemen including me at the spot and there was an agitating crowd of around 300 people with stones jamming the road with burning tyres and trying to burn the truck which was involved in the accident. I got down from my vehicle with my body protector on, a polycarbonate shield and a polycarbonate lathi in my hand. The duty was to protect the life and property, the job at hand was to save the truck from arson, protect the life of the truck driver and to remove the dead body of the child from the road and send it for postmortem  and also disperse the crowd so that traffic could resume. It was a indeed a very bad accident where the body was completely mangled with all the organs strewn on the road and any person other than  a doctor or a policeman was bound to have lost it for a moment.

                              Not something unusual for us, we have got used to the ‘petty local leaders’., ‘social workers’, who take up the cause of accident victims every other day and on the pretext keep the dead body on the road and jam it to get their share of cheap popularity. Nobody ever asked them as to what they achieved by this ,other than causing inconvenience to people who are stuck in the jam and showing utmost disrespect to the dead body by putting it in the middle of the road and doing politics over it. Anyways the situation was brought under control as we tried to reason with people there. We tried to convince them to register a case, we caught the driver who was hiding from the crowd and brought him safely to the police station.....and who would have been killed or at least beaten up very badly had the crowd found him before the police did. We enquired the people there about the child and about his parents.

                                  We needed the guardian to register an FIR of the accident and also so that further formalities of the inquest report and the postmortem could be carried out and road opened for the traffic, the agitated crowd decided not to cooperate and started accusing us of being insensitive, refusing to tell who were the child’s parents…….. they all started claiming that the child belonged to all of them  and that all of them were his parents. This went on for a while and we kept on arguing with them and tried to make them see reason in whatever way we could. We told them that there could be an ambulance stuck in the jam and that some children might be going home from tutions....anything that would defuse the situation. On the other hand I kept getting calls from the people stuck in the traffic jam saying that the police was useless and it has not been able to resume traffic even after two hours and that the police doesn't do anything except for taking bribes and harassing people.

                               Well all things come to an end and so did this..... we got them around and had to now send the body for the postmortem..... one of the constables started to pick up the body parts and put them in a sack and asked for people to help picking up those parts which were strewn all over the road alongwith blood and flesh.And all those men who were claiming the boy who died to be theirs a few minutes ago, backed out and spread out twenty feet backwards . We picked up the body, sent it for postmortem and put sand over the bloodspots and resumed the traffic and I came back home wondering  ....

The steel frame

                                             As I switched on the TV , there was a lot of hue and cry about an IPS officer making a constable do a front roll for some indiscipline on the part of the constable. There were as many as six people on the screen giving their opinions about what they thought was an absolutely unacceptable act in a liberal democracy like ours. Those armchair social workers and socialites suddenly acquired the right to give tips on how should an Addl.DCP be doing his job!!!   In the disciplined forces, corporal punishments are not taboo and are part of regular training and punishments. Anyone who has watched any of the movies related to armed forces or the police forces would know it.     Many a comments on various fora suggested that the IPS officers are cruel, must be suspended for meting out  such a punishment, must be made to apologize etc,etc…. realizing little that, if the same constable had shown impolite behaviour at a traffic signal to them they would want him to be hanged. The constable was supposed to have carried out his duties in a certain manner and it is through a system of rewards and punishments that a supervisory officer makes sure that everyone does his duty in an alert and disciplined manner. Such a reaction from people discourages young, bright and outstanding officers and they are often held to ransom by such sensationalizing media with little knowledge and  mindlessly supported by another bunch of mal-educated and internet savvy jokers who have an opinion on each and everything without having any knowledge or conscience

                         There was another incident of a particular  lady IPS officer slapping a lady protestor who was partcipating in a protest and  jamming the road. many many learned men and women of fragile intellect commented on you tube questioning the system of reservation, attributing the act of the lady officer to her ''low'' origins, some using the filthiest of hindi abuses against the officer.

                            I am not commenting  on whether the act of the officer was right or wrong , what i am pained to see is the mental bankruptcy of this new, internet savvy so called educated generation which is as ugly and rotten as the yellow journalists i had mentioned in my earlier blog……. Those who can name Britney Spear’s personal trainer but will not be able to recall the name of the Vice president of our country and those who don’t know about Dhyanchand but know how many months pregnant Angeline Jolie is!!!!! And they think its their right to comment on someone’s caste and on reservation , even when they know nothing about the  constitution which provides for it. They do know they have the freedom of expression under the same constitution and also have found out the caste of the of the lady officer, but do they know the same constitution has a chapter on the fundamental duties as well and do they know the caste of the Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the constitution. This shallow insistence on one’s rights without any deliberation on what one’s duties and responsibilities are, can we see where we are heading........????

                                  Reservation or no reservation, the members of the All India Services are those who chose to go to godforsaken parts of our country and serve the people there. If they could qualify this examination they could very well qualify many others with better salaries. Many who never ever lived anywhere other than posh localities in class 'A' cities, all their lives and could have been placed in the best of multinational companies with ten times their current salaries ,are serving in naxal affected districts with an imminent threat to their families' and their lives, many serve in places where there is no internet, hotel or even a restaurant to speak of. The intellectual abilities of their members is far better than most who sit on their computers every afternoon to comment for the heck of it ( or they think its cool) on people they hardly know,  with moral and social values  they can hardly comprehend.

                                        I strongly believe that it is because an all India service officer leaves his state and goes out to work in another state of the country , learns the language of the state and works there for 30-35 years of his life, that the democracy is working so well in this country and its integrity has been preserved unlike some of our neighbouring nations. I do agree that there are black sheeps everywhere but the bureaucracy of india under the given circumstances by which I mean the leaders ,the citizenry we are meant to serve, and the moral degeneration of the society in general .I think it is doing a pretty decent job out of it……

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

We the people.........

                               There were times when I could write pages together supporting the freedom of press, quoting Article 19 of the constitution , stating  media to be the  `fourth pillar of the democracy, blah ,blah ,blah……….An ardent supporter of the right to expression and individual 
liberty , I was dumbfounded when I closely saw the media working.

                               Sacrilege : the newspaper headlines screamed……..the SP City agra steps on a stage set for a religious function, with her shoes on. Blasphemy???........read on

                              It was one ‘o’ clock in the morning and I was taking a round in the city.......  to make sure the pickets, the mobiles and the chowkis-in-charge,the station officers are on their jobs........... what an ungodly hour to be working one would say, but in policing its a matter of routine. We provide security to people at the cost of our families, our children's education, our leisure.............

                            The traffic on the roads had thinned out and hence i decided to open the "no entry" which was in force and let the heavy vehicles into the city on the MG Road. As i moved forward i noticed a crowd of around 80 people sitting around a makeshift stage, set for a religious function ,with some ten odd people sitting on the stage and one man standing and playing a harmoniun and singing "dulhan to jayegi dulhe raja ke saath......suno sasurji".I got down from my car and enquired the station officer as to who the organizers of the event were and whether they had the permission to organize it. i was informed that they did not have the permission but it was a traditional function held every year for the past 300 years or so.

                         I climbed up the stage and tried to reason with them asking them not to block the whole road which would cause both way traffic to move on the same side of the divider and hence increase the chances of accidents. We also  offered them a solution whereby we would place some barriers on the road so as to partition it and let the traffic pass slowly on one side.Also we arranged within 20 minutes for the barriers and some bamboos and made makeshift barricading so that the gathering would be safe and the traffic would also be able to pass slowly, at which they decided to call off  the event itself. I came back home and slept.

                         Woke up next morning to learn that people  have jammed the MG Road saying that the SP City had misbehaved with them the previous night. I reach there, the city magistrate reaches and we hold conciliatory talks with them and finally the matter is resolved. They propose that they would go ahead with the function the coming night and we agree saying that it would be without blocking the whole road.

                       The same night i got a call from my station officer saying that the organizers would not allow barricading and demanded a diversion of traffic for the night. we along with the administration tried speaking to the organizers but they would not relent. Religion is indeed the opiate of the masses, but religion has always been amenable to logic,the followers are not.At last we had to divert the traffic which resulted in heavy traffic jams and accidents.

                        As i entered the hospital the unmistakable , sickening smell of the hospital filled my nostrils, i walked towards the lift and went up to the 5th floor and there he was, my constable ,lying in the ICU one leg amputated, bandaged all over,two bottles hanging over him one filled with blood,other with some other fluid both flowing into him through needles pierced into his body, surrounded by a paraphernalia of equipment beeping with LEDs emitting green ,yellow lights ................fighting for his life.The victim of the religious insanity of people, who care a bit too much about God but care two hoots about his creations. He was lying there quietly, will not merit even a mention in the newspapers ,forget about media highlighting the apathy of people and educating their readers and viewers 

                        The media today is a bunch of metric pass,tobacco chewing morons with yellow teeth who i doubt can even spell journalism.They use "press" so that they can violate the traffic rules without being challaned, so that they can force their entry in an exclusive event, so that they can hold people to ransom on various pretexts and all this at what cost............. exactly at the price of a decent camera and shamelessness.

                         I felt ashamed of being a part of this society when the media had come up with cheapest of slogans after India had won the finals and the match against Pakistan.We as a nation had shown utmost disregard for sport spirit and proved to be such contemptuous and conceited hosts. I felt disgraced, and, as on many other occasions earlier as well, it left such a bad taste in the mouth............... and lets not be under any illusion, mind you there is no light at the end of the tunnel as well. The media is selling us bullshit because we are buying it, because the intelligentsia is either dead or dying, because either we have lost our ability to think and react or we have accepted it as our fate.............. Its a pity that we have a sterile leadership who will rather gladly succumb to this yellow journalism than stand up and call a spade a spade 


Monday, 18 April 2011

Finding meaning......

    The moon looked beautiful as it rose at the horizon behind the trees, she was walking on the deserted road in the campus attempting to appreciate things she always did……………..the moon, the flowers, the sight of an old couple walking . She always believed that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder and it seemed more true than ever to her now…………… because all of it didn’t seem beautiful now             
                       The moon always fascinated her, it made her philosophical, it forced her to think , to ponder, to theorize, to appreciate , to find meaning....................but  today it made her sad . she believed beautiful things always make one happy but she  made amends  to her beliefs now and felt things seem beautiful when one is happy..............one must be happy to see the beauty she correlated. and she wondered what was happiness?
How does one achieve it?
Where does one find it?
Are all the people who seem happy really happy?
Is it  ephemeral ?
Is it always followed by sorrow or does it always follow sorrow.................??????

She thought for a while ,then gave up realizing she was trying to find answers, to the most difficult questions that the human race was ever confronted with, just by looking at the moon!!!!! She gave up and thought it all depended on God........one should probably leave it to Him

                   But how did she know that? who told her that it all depended on Him?..........She was reminded of the theories of religion she had studied in Anthropology which suggested that it was man who created God and not God that has created man. Those theories had suggested that the ancient man could not comprehend the reasons behind whatever happened around him or could not make sense out of events such as thunderstorm, lightning, disease, death etc and hence was overawed and associated all of this with something that was more  powerful than the combined power of humanity,something or someone who controlled the universe and the events.this also helped psychologically because it meant shrugging off the burden of responsibility and accept things as His will.

                   She herself had undergone major upheavals in her religious inclinations..............in the early phase when she hadn't attained much in life and consequently did not have much to lose as well , she had been sort of  an atheist and believed in nothing but her capabilities to make things happen .After a while she attained some things in life  and didn't want to lose them and turned into a believer , a bit later she lost them and turned into a god fearing individual ................

                  She saw various interpretations of God and religion..............people getting drunk in the name of religion and picking up fights, people who believed that taking out a procession with music systems blaring vulgar songs was the only way one could satiate one's God, people who would bribe the authorities to get a faster darshan,  people believing that religion could have no relationship whatsoever with logic...............

                                       Another one  was by a friend when he narrated to her a story portraying a young  blind woman who begs for a living , clad in filthy torn clothes  has been abandoned and lives on the streets ,eats all rubbish she can get, raped by people, kicked out of places............. she lives in this very world created by god and amongst the people who are believers of god. There is a man who lives in the same world and one day beheads the woman  proclaiming himself to be God.
 ‘Naan kadavul" a tamil phrase meaning i am God...............
God is supposed to end our suffering and he ends hers

 Her trail of thoughts  got interrupted by the blaze of the headlights of a car that took a turn and entered into the compound..............”tu na jaane aas paas hai khuda “ was the song that played in the car
 she looked up, the moon had travelled up in the sky, it looked smaller......................and less beautiful