Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Blame the System: Law Makers Vs Law Breakers

Blame the systems. Yes. Blame them square.

It is human tendency to jump the queue. And where else would this be more prominent than in the roads, where commuters are not ordinary people but racers carrying the nation’s pride on their shoulders. Even those bikers and riders who somehow had all the patience to wait for the count-down of the traffic signal feel restless and totally out of place waiting idly as the numbers keep falling alarmingly in the single digits. 10: Engine on (those who had switched their engines off, that is). 9. Raise throttle. 8. Clutch and first gear (at one go). 7. Raise throttle and release clutch partially and close again so that the front suspension rises up vigorously and falls, all set to smash world records. 6. Move an inch. 5. Move a foot. 4. Move a couple of feet more. 3. Feet on the foot rest, vehicle in motion. 2. Gone! Hey folks, don’t we have 1, zero, then amber for a couple of seconds and then comes green when the throttle is sup…. Ssshhhh…which world are you in? The stone ages?

Well, that was a played-down version – normally, no one waits till 2. The sequence starts from 20 and is over by the time it’s 10 more seconds for amber.

But who is the culprit here? The bikers? The racers? The drivers? I blame the system!

In this same scenario, in the presence of a traffic constable/ police man, the outcome is not any different. The police play the abettor here. In most traffic signals, traffic policemen are visibly lazy. Can’t blame them anyway – would you want to keep standing at a place all day amidst a flurry of dust and smoke, watching floods of people go past with blaring horns? I certainly wouldn’t fancy that. Why should there be a traffic constable at all, when traffic signals are working just fine, in the first place?

Never mind the white shirts and the khakis. Then what’s the problem? The problem is that, becoming so bored at having been stationed motionlessly at one place, they start waving to the already impatient commuters to move on – even when the signal is still red – when they find a reduced stream of vehicles from the other side! They abet this behaviour of skipping the red signal! And they are the faces of law. In effect, the law says, “If you find a stupid red signal when there’s not a soul on the other side of the signal, treat the red signal as green”.

So, having been “conditioned” to keep moving in red, and because of a poor memory, our riders treat red as green even when some pathetic souls find themselves on the other side of the signal, forgetting the clause in the “law of red turns green”. The signal turns obsolete, cultured human beings become dogs scrambling for the piece of bone.

Uniformed men at traffic beats do this at every signal. One would suppose the system would have put them through an induction course and a training period of considerable duration for them to be familiar with Traffic signals and what a red coloured traffic light meant. Whether the system failed to tell the guardians of law that “Traffic rules need to be obeyed – period.” or whether the policemen failed to learn the lessons right or they forgot what they learnt, it ultimately becomes the responsibility of the system for letting traffic signals fail miserably.

How to blame poor citizens for a faulty system?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

General Musharraf - The "Crusader" who was 'Humiliated'

Our “Friendly Neighbourhood” – No, not Spiderman – General Musharraf has apparently expressed “Shock and Disbelief” (or something on similar lines) at something that our ex-Primo Vajpayee had said.

For one, according to the General, there is “Freedom Movement” in Kashmir, which is no where near the definitions of “Terrorism”. So, he would appreciate it if the world looked upon Pakistan as a country that actively encourages and supports a “Freedom Movement” in its neighbour’s territory, perhaps? If the International Community chose to call the slaughtering of people a Freedom Movement, Musharraf wouldn’t shy away from owning responsibility for all the “Martyr Camps” that operate from inside Pakistan. Musharraf only supports Freedom.

Talk of Freedom in Pakistan. When was the last time that there was any talk of elected Government in there? For someone who crept his way to the throne, who is a self-anointed “President”, and who keeps talking of “Free and Fair Elections” in Pakistan while clinging desperately to the chairs of Dictatorship, statements about “Freedom” are Blasphemy to the very concept!

But one has to admit – the General does have a weird sense of humour. “Musharraf in his book ‘In The Line Of Fire’ has also said that both he and Vajpayee had been "humiliated" at the Agra summit in 2001 "by someone above".” For someone who is such a hot seat, his sense of humour does deserve a huge round of applause. But it leaves one wondering, as to who could be “above” the “President” of Pakistan and the Prime Minister of India! We were taught at school that these are the top most positions in a Nation. So, who could possibly be “above” the Chiefs of two countries? Could it be the Secretary General of the United Nations? Was he referring, by any chance, to the “Ultimate President” George Bush? Or, was he talking of “Lord Almighty” Himself?

Well, one possibility could be this: Musharraf and Vajpayee must have completed their talks at Agra and must have been waiting for their private aircraft to arrive. The Pilot of the plane, while about to land to pick them up, must have had problems landing and must have taken off and done a sortie just when Musharraf expected the plane to land. And the pilot must have landed a few minutes later, perhaps. Quite justifiably, the General must have seen this as an act of defiance and humiliation by the Pilot (and this could also have brought him some old memories flooding in). So, that’s it - both he and Vajpayee were humiliated at the Agra summit in 2001 “by someone above”, the Pilot! Yeah, this sounds plausible.

One wonders why this story was not reported in the media. Perhaps, the General, so used to suppressing the media in his home town, must have done something to prevent this piece from getting into the media glare. After all, he had every right to reserve some surprises for his “Line of Fire”. Who would buy a book, otherwise?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Justice delayed has, after all, not been justice denied. For once, the culprit has been brought to book and will be meted out what what was to have been done earlier. However, punishments to such crimes need to be prohibitive. Human Rights activists may be up in arms against supposedly “Draconian” laws, but then, as I would like to remind to anyone willing to listen, Human Rights are meant only for humans!

In other news, Dengue and Chikungunya are the talk of the town, with the authorities struggling to contain the outbreak. So much so, that anyone and everyone down with fever claims to have been affected with Chikungunya. It has come to be seen as a Fashion Statement of sorts. “Hey, I had Dengue last week, what about you?” “Dengue? You out-dated freak! It’s CKG these days man, I’m just walking out of it”. CKG has become synonymous with any fever, any mild rise in temperature or any pain that deserves a balm. It’s become the “Since I am suffering from CKG for the past two days, please grant me . . .“ kind of frenzy. I met an acquaintance who was making a public announcement - “I couldn’t make it to the party folks, I was down with CKG yesterday!” – bubbling with pride. I walked up to him. “So, which type of CKG have you been treated for?” He gave me a “Look at this silly chilly” look and said, “What are the different types?” I said, “There is the Chikun65 gunya, then the Tandoori Chikun gunya, the Chikun Biryanya and a few others still evolving. Which strain of virus is yours?” I left him with a dumb look in his face.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Falter, Fumble, Fernandes.

President Kalam is the most popular youngster in India. There has not been, as much as one could immediately recall, a leader who has moved the youth as much as this simple man has; at least, in Free India. A man who could walk up to the child and smile, a President who would fill the garbage bin with protocols, a down-to-earth intellectual, a kind teacher, an inspiring father-figure . . . to this generation, he is just “Cool”.

Why did George Fernandes have to drag him into the mess that politics is? Why should someone try to taint an honest man? Why could the politicians not keep to themselves? That the entire art and science of politics has been filled with ranks and files of manipulators, egoists, and downright self-serving egomaniacs is no secret. The few Institutions of Supreme Court and the President’s Office that stand tall amidst the rubble are nothing less than sacrosanct. If the bigwigs of politics, in their enthusiasm to pass the buck as they are so used to, try to paint a dirty picture with their filthy brushes, would a Nation sit and watch the show?

If Contempt of Court is an offence, what should an attempt to taint the President himself be termed? Should someone be allowed to get away with such a deed that was nothing short of a blatant lie for the world to see? George Fernandes should be remembered for setting a new low in public service.