Friday, August 10, 2007

Some Myths cleared...

It was Sunday morning, I woke up to see thats its already 7:45am. I shot up from my bed and quickly did all my morning drills 'coz the time is running out. I was getting late for the 8:20am vasai local for my class. I hurriedly had my breakfast, packed my bag and also tucked in Shantaram by Gregory Robert David book so that I can read while on my way to the college in the train. I threw my bag on my shoulder and sprang out of my house. I briskly walked to the main road and asked started looking out for a rick to the station... preferably platform 1. Crap !!! No picks around.. finally I saw one speeding towards me.. Shit, it was full. Then another one, it was full too. I saw my watch, 7 min more... The third one has only 3 passengers. It stopped ahead of me and shared the front seat with the driver. While on my way to the station, I was cursing the other ricks for being full. Bump !! a pothole... I cursed the municipality. Then a traffic cop signalled and our rickshaw stopped. He let the vehicles pass by, I cursed him too. I checked my watch, crap.. just 3 more min. As soon as the rick was at my stop, I paid the driver exact fare and jumped out of the rick... My watch says 1 min more.. I hurriedly ran towards the station. I was running and dodging all the people who came in between. A middle aged marathi man saw me and yelled at me "Abbe... Shatrang khel raha hai kya ?? ". which means, Why was I playing chess on the road. He wasn't wrong because of the way i was cutting and crossing paths of the people around. i admit that it was a scarstic humour. I didnt feel like laughing but it certainly did bring down my pace. As soon as i got into the train, it started off. Phew !!! I settled down at a seat whereever i could find one and took some time to gather myself and get back on track.

After about 15 min, I opened up Shantaram and began reading the story about Linbaba treating a labour's wound. He mentioned in one of the para that Indians never thank, but instead show their thankfulness by returning a favour. Smile was on my face, I put down the book and my thought revolved around that statement. For a moment, I was proud that I am an Indian. Just then, 2 people started talking. I chose to overhear them. They both were middle aged and looked to me some some kind of those govt servant types. They indeed were.. One was working with the BMC and the other one was a Police Constable. When I heard that, i started having a feeling of hatred towards them in my mind. it was because, we have a notion, that the BMC do no work and never clean up the gutters and the Police, harassing the common citizens is their only motto.
These were their chats

Constable: howz your work going on?
BMC: Yes, we are gearing up for the monsoon. we have already covered most of the places, but then there is still work left in some areas.

I thought.. yeah, now they wake up.

BMC: These mediawale, they potray us in a negative manner. Public has a very bad picture of us. When we do something good for a ward, we are not rewarded at all, but if something goes wrong, we are in the front page of the morning newspapers. If they papers have no story to print, they dig up any of our past mismanagements and print it. At times, its very demoralising. Our boss tells us that if I dont find BMC in the newspapers, thats an achievement in itself.

After hearing this the cops smiled.

BMC: Really, if you cant be in the limelight for a good reason, atleast do not be for the wrong reason. when we are not on the papers, its an achievement in itself. We are handling a city of over a million people. You would know how this is.

After hearing this, the cop paused for a moment, took gathered himself and started speaking.

Cop: Yes, I agree. Similar things happen to us too. When More raped a girl, the media potrayed, that all the cops are nymphomaniacs. When, Daya was arrested, it was like as if we all have underground links. Nobody sees that we work minimum 15 hrs a day. Many at times we just prevent a crime from happening and no one notices it. When these VIP visits our city, they become our second wife. We do not return home for weeks together. Some sleep in ACs with girls of their daughters ages while we guard their home. When they are around, we do not even get a chance to eat rotis cooked by our wife. Now since there is monsoon, we would be busy with this. Then there is Ganpati, then the Navratri and then Ramzan and then Diwali. Followed by Christmas and New Year. Then after about 3 months we have the summer. We do our duty under the hot sun. Life is a mess over here.

He continued...

Cop: We have a lady constable who joined our force 3 years back. Her family had prayed that when she would get a job in the Maharashtra Police, they would start keeping a Ganpati at home for 10 days. But whenever there is Ganesh Chaturthi around, she is on a 15 days duty guarding a mandal. For the past 3 years she has not seen the Ganpati at her home. We work in a continuous shift for days together. When we are on a bandobast or out of our chowkies, we have the liberty to find a corner and pee, but what could these women do. We men can manage, but what do these women officers do.

I was speechless...

Cop: When these terrorists give our city a guest appearance, our life becomes a shit. Chowkies are our second home. I would not encourage my kids to join the police force. We are extremely short of man power. I am not sure why these mantris are hesitant to fill up the vacant posts. Our job is thankless one.

I felt ashamed. I just did not wish to hear any more. I was finding it difficult to digest whatever they spoke till now. Shantaram might have come across many good people, but am sure he must have never met the people who were with me in the train. Yes, we Indians are thankless, but we prefer to show our gratitude by returning a favour when needed. I feel, we might have missed these people out. I feel we have forgotten to thank them for the work that they do for our city. Just imagine, what if the cops go on a one day strike. Maybe we refuse to see other than what is shown to us by the media. I wouldn't blame the media for the shit they are in, but its we who encourage them to print. This incident made me respect people for the job that they do. I have stopped cursing them... I really felt the need to show some empathy before judging another person. Whenever you look around, there are better people around you than you.

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