Police Story..

I recently had the ‘privilege‘ of accompanying my cousin to the police station to get his identity verification done for his passport issuance. I am deeply troubled by the attitudes of those employed in government offices. The people who are supposed to get our prime jobs done are so narrow minded that, at times, they do more harm than good, knowingly or unknowingly. I mostly think it is the former! Outlined below is my experience and views on the process.

We got a call at about 10 AM from the police station that we need to be present at the police station at 12pm, with some documents that need to be produced. I understand that the purpose of this procedure is to verify that the passport is issued to an authentic person and that it is not a fraudulent individual. We were present at the police station at 12 noon and were told to wait for a while till the supposed person is to arrive.

A girl in her late teens / early twenties enters the hall with the required set of documents for the same process, and she too is asked to wait like the rest of us. I shall term her as Ms.G for simplicity. She received a call on her phone and was engaged for the next 15-20 minutes. She kept her voice low and made sure that she wasn’t disturbing anyone in the waiting hall. One of the older, pot-bellied staff in the police station, whom I shall term as X, did not like the sight of her speaking over the cellphone in a police station. He rudely asked her to cut the call or asked her to get out and do the talking. This was strike one. Ms.G ended the call she was on and sat waiting there for the verification staff to come in.

A few minutes later, Ms.G got another call, which she received outside the police station. She wound it up in less than 5 min and came back in to the waiting hall, sitting with her legs crossed, one on top of the other. At this moment, a jeep rushed outside the police station, which made X and the other staff in the police station stand up. I also observed that he hurriedly wore his hat, which is a part of his uniform. A few other people who were waiting stood up looking at the others. X observed that Ms.G and I did not stand up in response to his act and shot us a glare. He also gestured Ms.G to uncross her legs. Strike two. A lady sitting comfortably in a government office when an officer walks in is supposedly disrespectful! She was as confused as I was and we didn’t understand what he was trying to say. A lady sub inspector walked in to many people standing up and saluting her. I neither stood up not saluted her as I didn’t find the need to do so.  She went into her chamber and was not seen thereafter.

The guy who verified the identities of all these people was a youngster, in his mid 20s. I was pleasantly surprised to find him being extremely courteous and polite to all the people whom he was interacting with. The verification process started at about 1230, and went on for half hour. I noticed that X was shooing away people waiting outside the police station. Where are they supposed to go!!

The waiting area had 3 vacant seats at the time as most people were in the relevant rooms where their respective queries were catered to. Meanwhile, X did not find anyone to bully or boss over for the next few minutes. He glanced at me, and concluded that I must be his next unfortunate victim. He approached me and asked in Kannada if I had any work to be done at the police station. I responded that I had just accompanied my cousin who is getting his identity verification done. He promptly asked me to get out, as I was supposedly crowding up the area and taking up unnecessary space! Strike three.

I was shocked for while about the audacity and rudeness of X. All people present there were seated, and I would have gladly offered my seat to anyone who would have come. It’s not the seat that I am bothered about. X’s attitude and apathy towards fellow humans disturbed me. I got up and left the place giving X a cold stare, not once looking back.

As I stood waiting outside, my mind was seeking answers to many questions –

  1. Why is apathy shrouded in most government servants? Are they doing us a favour by doing their jobs?
  2. Why is there not enough respect for women even in today’s times? I cannot understand why making oneself comfortable is a matter of concern.
  3. Why do these people demand respect, instead of commanding it through their actions?

This incident has left me with serious doubts regarding the senior or older government servants. They need to set examples to the younger generation, and if this is the mentality of the vast majority of the work force, the future doesn’t look bright.

As Christopher Nolan puts it in “Batman Begins”, I would say that “people need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy”. I would suggest that a special commission be set up to monitor the behavior of people in government offices, and their attitudes towards the general public. Their pay needs to be proportional to the quality of their service. It is because these people get their salaries irrespective of them doing or not doing their jobs, that they are so apathetic to others’ needs. The rudeness exhibited by X demands a dismissal from all kinds of service if you ask me! A guy who thinks he is above the general public just because he is wearing the police uniform, which earns their respect , is a disgrace to the whole police community.

I just hope youngsters do not follow in the footsteps of the likes of X…

 

The Indefatigable Enthusiast…

It was a typical busy morning in the bustling city of Mumbai. People focussed on grabbing a transport – trains, buses, autos or cars; to get to their destination and start their daily chores, mundane or otherwise; vehicles running helter-skelter shipping them; the various street food vendors trying to appease the burgeoning crowds; and a set of people showcasing their graffiti skills with their paan [betel leaves] stuffed mouths!

It was yet another day in office for the IT employee in me, up at 9am, took to the street at 945am after having my usual share of vada pavs. Then came along a bus that would unexpectedly teach me something that I would try to emulate for long. It was horrendously crowded with people hanging on the foot-boards as with any bus at that time of the day. I managed to wriggle into it somehow and hang on for dear life. As I saw the conductor at a distance, I observed that he was murmuring something that I could not quite hear. I also saw that some people were smiling at him and some others were giving him a puzzled look.

Battling the crowd and dispensing tickets; as he approached me, he said with a smile – “Shuboday, kahan?”, meaning “Good morning, where (do you want to go)?” I returned a smile and said “Shuboday, Vikhroli” and thanked him after he gave me a ticket for 10 rupees.

The attitude of this conductor made me think. I crib about commuting in a crowded bus everyday. Here is this person whose job is to move in the worst of crowds and ensure that everyone buys a ticket from him, so that the government doesn’t lose its revenue. Not only is he doing his job well, but he is also making sure that people get a good start to their day; by doing whatever little he can – a simple good morning with a smile on his face, in all its genuinety.

Irrespective of whether we like our jobs or not, we need to do it right and make sure that we contribute a little something to make our peers’ day better. The energy levels and the enthusiasm of that conductor has elevated him to a status more than that of any ordinary professional in my perception.

Category Intro

This page is dedicated to all the small events that made a huge difference in my life; by people known and unknown. I owe a lot to them for shaping my thinking. Some realizations have been late, but there is never an end to learning, is there? 🙂

It’s surprising to know that there is something to learn from every person we meet, provided we have a receptive attitude and an open mind. 🙂

My gratitude goes out to all the simple men and women who’ve helped me make myself a better person.

Bang(allure)d!

Bangalore is my home. I am one of the many obsessive Bangaloreans who has had many a debate about the city that it is.
It wasn’t until I actually set foot in Bangalore again, that I realized how much I had missed it. The cool breeze that ruffles my hair, the various fast food restaurants that tickle the senses with their aroma, the street food that challenges my appetite, the BMTC Volvo buses that roam around with their yellow boards, the corporation parks where you can see the young and old keeping fit; are all trademark Bangalore traits!

My view of Bangalore is clouded by optimism. All I can relate to is all that is left. There have been so many changes lately that have given Bangalore a new identity, a mask I would say, that has buried the essence that Bangalore once stood for. I am not talking about the traffic or the pollution – those are common problems that are present in any city. Commuting continues to be a matter of concern, either due to the non-availability of transport or due to its sheer cost. Long gone are the days of a polite autorickshaw driver, this issue has been around for quite a while; but since I am more dependent on other means of transport, sans my bike, I have begun to feel it more. Auto drivers behave as if they own Rolls Royces. The docile ones that do oblige a ride in their British steed charge you a whopping amount for it, taking you for a ride, literally and figuratively!
. It was about 4 years ago that I wrote a post on how weird autos were at Chennai, and now, ironically, the same epidemic hits Bangalore.

As I sit in the dark and type out this post, the Bangalore lover in me says that it is one of the few cities in India where I could be fairly comfortable without having a fan running at any time of the day! However, the analyst in me says that this is a seething power situation that plagues the drive of this city. Power cuts of 3-4 hours in a city housing about 90 lakh people, at the onset of monsoons, is simply not acceptable.

Coming to recreation – why is the cost of a movie ticket Rs.250-350, when the same provider, like Inox, PVR etc can sell tickets at Rs.120-150 in Chennai, Hyderabad or Mumbai! These are the rates for Kannada movies as well, which were exempted from tax. [Not sure about the status now though] Be it autos, movies, fuel or real estate; price increase pokes its nose into every aspect! As far as I can see, prices increase here because people are arrogant enough to pay what it takes [I will not drag the IT debate here as it has been discussed many times over on different platforms.]

Bangalore to me is figurative of nostalgia – the climate, the greenery, the eateries and all the roaming around that I have done here are all now just that, a memory. Many changes have come along – good or bad, only time will tell; but as a person who has spent 20 odd years in Bangalore, I am left feeling as an outsider in my own city!

The year gone by . . .

Yet another year passes by, as it always does, in rapid succession.

Looking back from the events that have formed the crux of the previous year, it has been a year of mixed emotions, of trials and tribulations, of waxes and wanes, crests and troughs; and a myriad of experiences.

January – [to March]

2011 started off on rather slim note, with work taking up most time along with my third attempt at MBA exams; with XAT being the usual finisher. What followed a set of unexpected results. The first shocker was CAT – I had presumed that I had performed decently well, but it turned out to be the worst outing of the three! The other exams were fiascoes, barring NMAT & XAT which managed to get me calls from NMIMS, XLRI and XIMB. Of the lot, GD and PI, NM was horrendous and XIMB was decent. I didn’t take up XLRI as it was a call for their HR course. Having deftly screwed up my chances of getting an MBA seat in Operations management, I looked in the other direction which was to go the tech way, the MS way, which was the equally interesting and better plausible alternative.

February –

A bunch of us college buddies came together of the best trip we had ever been on together. After the Wonderla outing that came as a compensatory and consolatory trip to the fiercely failed Coorg trip; we set out on a trip to Goa – the state that’s always on a holiday! Abhishek from Bangalore, Hari from Coimbatore, Yesahavant from Chennai – came together at Bangalore; and I from Mumbai; met at Mapusa in Goa. We spent three memorable days roaming around the streets of Goa on non-geared vehicles, going well late into the night. Specific details in a separate post maybe 😛

March to May –

This was the period I truly enjoyed my stay at Mumbai – seeing around places that define Mumbai –  CST station; late night Marine drive outings including Tanmay’s farewell and the free roam with roommates after India’s world cup victory; Gateway of India; trip to Water Kingdom, Paintball at Powai with friends at office. Work was not very demanding too as many of us were leaving 😛

It was time for another Goa trip 🙂 This time with office buddies. To summarise – an unforgettable train journey with 12 of us sitting on 2 berths playing Antyakshari all night/day, stay at Tanmay’s place, exhilarating late night rides on Avenger, getting caught by the police at Panaji, cricket and football games, futile attempts to learn swimming, adrenaline pumping adventure sports at Baga beach, to the bumpy bus ride back to Mumbai – it was one helluva trip that all of us will cherish for years to come!

The last day of May was my last working day at Accenture. A sense of redemption, juxtaposed with the feeling of going away from friends for life, who wrote the Mumbai chapter of my life, crept into me. Wishing all well, and bidding farewell, I moved to Bangalore.

June – July

Time to spend at home, Bangalore. Mostly characterized by meeting up with relatives and friends before leaving in pursuit of the MS dream. Packing up stuff, finishing up tasks and also parting with my steed of five years, Apache :(. The sinking feeling of parting with my bike is something that I cannot find words to describe. The slick clutch, the seamless gearshift, the flaring acceleration, the feather touch manoeuvers is something that I would miss for a long time 😦

Bade adieu to close relatives and friends, whom I am not sure when I would be meeting next, and set off to Bhiwadi. The Rajasthan trip that ensued was culturally uplifting. It reiterated that India is such a diverse country with rich history and culture. Sad to see the current state of affairs. Cannot expect much except that Indian polity needs a revolution. More on this in some other post.

Had my fill of home food, movies and serials; which will have to wait once I started off on my MSE.

August – December

Started off with the “honeymoon period”, characterised by the excitement of being in the USA, all on your own, exploring places and meeting new people. As the semester progressed, I was brutally exposed to the true colours of the course. Stuff that I had supposedly ‘learned’ in my Bachelors had evaporated, even my from thick skull! However, one course [of the three] posed the most problems, as it was completely unfathomable to me! Bad choice for a rookie. Learned the hard way that I had to do some serious damage control.

All in good time, hopefully.

And now after the fall break, looking forward to a better 2012 – full of life, benevolence, optimism and yeah of course, learning 🙂