Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Who dares wins – simple gyaan to get away if busted

Have you ever had the nerve to dare an Indian police constable? The pot-bellied, thickly moustached, pan-chewing, stain-toothed, crotch-scratching, and loud ones. My encounters with them only ended up in me being submissive and handing the pittance they demand to let you go. However right you may be, and if you were wrong things could be even worse. That situation often thins down your wallet off a 500-rupee bill (which is considered to be the barest minimum in the ‘constable-bribe-bible’ under circumstances where the victim is at the receiving end).

There is this expat friend of mine who owns an Enfield and drives around the town – most of the times to challenge the Indian traffic and the rest to commute to work. Although, he had received advises in loads to own a car, he gyans that driving around in a two-wheeler in India enhances one’s confidence and tremendously improves the ‘never say die’ attitude. I could perfectly understand that since he probably had never witnessed any such traffic nightmares in his entire life before coming to India. Especially the unruly and careless ones. It’s not a surprise that he takes it as a challenge.

It was one such day that he was stopped by a police constable when he was returning back from work. It was the end of the month and apparently the constable had a shortfall in his monthly budget that he hoped to fill in a way normally other (corrupt) policemen adopt. Hunt down for two-wheelers and if there were a few who did not own a license, insurance, and important papers of that sort… Bingo.

Eventually, after being stopped by the constable and producing the necessary papers, my friend should have been let go. To his dismay he was asked for a bribe after which all hell broke loose. The argument grew hot by now and the constable was giving instructions over his walkie-talkie to send the tow truck – apparently to impound the vehicle.

It wouldn’t have been a wise thing to do when a constable stopped you in the middle of the night, but my friend did that. He took his camera out of his knapsack announcing that he was going to take the picture of the constable for demanding bribe.

Not sooner after this, the constable was seen running hysterically down the streets obviously not wanting to be flashed on the TV screens the next day. Although it was a possibility. My friend could not believe his eyes and not stop laughing his lungs out either.

These days, he does not forget to carry his camera in his knapsack.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to hurt anybody’s feelings. Especially not the honest policemen.

PS: Sorry Jack (name changed to protect privacy) for not obtaining prior consent before posting this article.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Assaulted author – new level of religious fundamentalism in India

Yet another scuffle and an ugly protest hidden in the name of religious intolerance and fundamentalism. This time directed towards Taslima Nasrin at the Hyderabad Press
club on the release of the Telugu version of her book Sokhe.

Surprisingly, (well, it is not so surprising, after all being MLAs doesn’t change anything out of a person) Taslima’s assaulters included 3 MLAs of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen. They were detained for the rough treatment only to be released a while after.

I had certain doubts (or rather questions) though:

1) Have the protesters ever read her books at all to be able to strongly protest the opinions expressed by her in her works? That’s not even a possibility for if they have, they would not be insane enough to unleash brutality over her. In my opinion, if a person has enough patience to read a book, he would only adopt more civilized ways of demonstration. Because that makes him a cultured individual where the difference lies between a fundamentalist and an educated person.

2) Why is the Indian government hesitant to provide her a visa? Why should this issue be entangled in the endless labyrinth of bureaucracy? Or is it that the Indian government is fearing an outburst of more such protests from the extremists if the visa is granted? In that case, why not say no?

3) Do these protests really affect and shake Taslima Nasreen so much that she stops expressing her views against the religion that she belongs to? Because, a death sentence against Salman Rushdie for his ‘Satanic Verses’ did absolutely nothing to his freedom of expression.

Is it time that we think better and become a little tolerant? I mean there are better ways to express remonstration. Aren’t there?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I long for a holiday…

It’s been days since I’ve packed my bags on a trip and it’s not surprisi
ng that I want one right now. I mean it does get boring at times of endless orkut-ting, coffee-ing, g-talking, and even blogging (all at work, mind you) especially because your life becomes a monotonous exercise where every activity is laid down in a neatly fashion. Notwithstanding the aftermath of sitting and staring your computer for hours together at work and back at home after that.

Monotony epitomizes the prolonged sensation of doing either absolutely nothing or the same thing time and again for like a thousand and one times everyday. Although one keeps bitching about the demerits of monotony, there seriously isn’t anything that can be done about it. No matter how hard you try. It is partly you. After all, old habits die-hard.

So that’s when the thought struck my mind of taking a holiday. Not that I have enough money to fuel the logistics for a trip, but it’s okay to have a wish. A dream perhaps? Nope, dream would be making it too unachievable. I will have a wish rather.

SMACK…. Duh I got caught while blogging at work.

Well, I suppose you get to work from time to time to substantiate the value of your pay packet.

Duh… back to work now