Friday, 27 July 2007
You bet Mumbai is an honest city. I am appalled to hear some people doubt the study conducted recently, where they placed the city at the 5th position in the world on the honesty scale. I have seen great instances of honesty in every sphere of life. There is no corruption at all in any government office. No one asks for ghoos in our courts, in our ration card offices, in the stamp duty and property registration offices, in the hospitals, at the passport office… it’s all spic and span everywhere. Our taxi and rick guys never ask for extra fare when you disembark at railway stations and airports, and in fact they lower rates when it’s raining cats and dogs. And rigging fare meters is a thought that does not even occur to their Mother Teresa minds.
Needless to add, everyone in the city pays their due taxes, diligently and correctly. Especially the businessmen and the movie stars and the cricketers. You won’t find a penny of black money in their designer closets. And of course, no one converts his profession to be a legalised farmer.
There are no pickpockets on our streets, homes don’t get burgled at night, and conmen don’t pay our housewives a visit during noon. There is no adulteration in the milk we drink, the cement supplies carry no sand, and the gas we put in our cars is absolutely pure.
And no one steals electricity, no one buys or sells body organs, no one pays to get admissions into schools and colleges, and there is no question of corruption in the police force. And our mantris are the living embodiment of our honesty and integrity.
So how dare anyone doubt the credibility of the study? We Mumbaikars are very honest people. Especially me. Can’t you gauge that from this post?
Friday, 20 July 2007
I have a serious problem.
The hansta khelta undivided parivar staying on the floor above me is a maha loaded one. They are rolling in black money, which explains the new top-end cars and premium apartments they purchase every other month. They are medium scale industrialists, and have a booming family business. And one of the things they do when excessive black money gets accumulated, is to renovate their various houses every other day. “Humko Dharamji jaisa makaan chahiye,” is their single line brief to the decorator.
So am I feeling jealous? Well, not entirely, though I would love to have been born in a family that’s raking in big-time, who wouldn’t? But I have a different problem. I am really worried about the constant ‘renovations’ they keep doing, literally on top of my head. The perpetual deafening noises the workers make is the least of my problems. I am really worried about the damage they could be causing to the beams and the pillars, as walls come crashing down to seamlessly merge the bedrooms and the toilets and the kitchen with one another. Will not the regular overhauls weaken the skull of the building, is my big fear. The other day I narrowly missed instant death, as the ceiling fan came loose because of the heavy marble tiling that’s underway right above, and the damn thing fell right on top of my pillow (mercifully I was away at work.)
Now here’s my dilemma: I feel totally helpless. There’s no point complaining to the building society, as this particular family is not just ‘well-connected’, it has ensured their own members are an intrinsic part of the management committee. In other words, any complain would reach the mahogany desk of head of that very family, and am worried in their khunnas, they might instruct the masons to hammer around even harder. So that option’s out.
Then again, there’s no point sneaking to the municipal ward officers. If these gents haven’t already been bribed, they WILL be after I meet them, and all I will end up with is paan stains on my shirt.
The option of going to the police does not exist, they’d laugh and advise, “Baat cheet se settle karo do, bhai.” And the acronym RTI sounds like 120 days of privilege leave to me.
So all I do is pray. Pray that they aren’t damaging the pillars and the beams. Pray that the building won’t come down on my head one fine day. All I can do is bloody pray.
And am sure I am not alone in this situation. Corruption and greed has brought upon us many evils in this country. Death under the debris of you own sweet home is just one of them.
Saturday, 14 July 2007
I have said this before, and will say it again: We must completely do away with the post of the President. The person adds no value to our lives, and is in fact a burden on our taxes. However, if that’s not going to happen, can we please find a way to re-look at the process of election, and make sure we have a good man/woman inside the Rashtrapati Bhavan? The problem with leaving the choice to our slimy netas is that they WILL go for a person who will run when they scream, “FETCH, MOTI, FETCH!” Which means he/she can easily be manipulated, thus making the fancy post a total farce, clearly the Constitution did not want that to happen. But, it does, so something’s gotta be done.
Given the ugly war that’s been going on for weeks to plant a new Prez on the Hill, surely the time has come to reinvent both, the role of the Prez, and the manner of the selection. I think we have a great opportunity to select a person of unquestionable integrity on this occasion. One who is universally admired and has been a huge success in his/her sphere of life. Such a person should be selected by the Supreme Court bench, and his/her role should be to play watchdog to the nation, and he/she must be bestowed with executive powers to deliver on that job definition. The Prez should keep a sharp eye on the various evils politicians inflict upon us (promoting communal hated, corruption, murders, etc), and ensure they are brought to
book. Not being selected by the netas, the Prez shall not be answerable to them, and he/she can then run the show with only the nation’s good in mind.
Indian democracy sucks big time because slime balls and rascals are the ones who eventually find a way into Delhi’s power corridors. That’s the price we have paid for democracy. Can we not put out a power policeman to control these people? The Prez can be that man/woman.
And if it has to be a canine, I’d rather it barks and bites. And doesn’t fetch.
Sunday, 1 July 2007
And so, another messed up day in aamchi Mumbai. Pictures of people struggling under waist deep water. Laments of people who could not go about their business. Buck passing and excuses spouting BMC. The missing in action CM. TV journos speaking to middle class families whose clothes and utensils went for a swim. The power cuts engineered by the nervy Reliance. And of course the one mandatory thing that makes me retch: the famed Mumbai spirit and how citizens step out to help each other. Like a bad D grade film rerun on a SAB TV or a Jain TV, this sequence plays out every monsoon, and then people crib and carp a bit, and life simply moves on as if nothing happened. I think our collective apathy has reached a dangerously boring high, we just don’t want to do anything anymore. Even 26/7 wasn’t enough for us to rise and do something to change this city’s spiralling fall into destruction. This city has become a whore… we sleep with her, we use her, we earn from her… and after we’re done, we leave her alone to die. And we pay our netas to play pimps for this over-worked, AIDS ridden randi.
Sahib Singh RIP
While all of us were saving our lives in Mumbai, elsewhere, the BJP leader died in a car crash. Frankly, I don’t know much about Varma. Maybe he did outstanding work for Delhi, whose CM he once was. Maybe he was one of the men who divert our taxes to make Delhi rock. But I will remember him for just one thing, and that was his flight on Jet Airways. Here’s the link to my article I wrote in Mid Day 4 years ago. (Click here.) May his soul rest in peace.