Sunday, June 14, 2009
Corrupt officials vs unscrupulous gentry
Seems like all my posts of late have been to do with blaming someone. Either the bureaucracy, the people, something or the other. So here's one more post on the same flavor.
It's very difficult to book a train ticket nowadays. Unless you know well in advance ( ~ 2months ) about your exact plans, don't expect to make a comfortable journey. Well, I suffered the same fate and did not get an AC ticket. I'm not trying to sound super borgeois here. Indian summers are really tough otherwise. But, I did get a reserved ticket and that was good fate enough. So, the train rattled on through the great Deccan plateau towards the port city of Chennai. I was getting cooked, as if on a slow spit, such is life. I was just about dozing off when I heard some commotion. There was an angry quarrel between some passengers and the railway ticket officials ( called TTs).
There were about four of these troublemakers versus three TTs dressed in their official garb. What followed was a tirade of abuses, shouting, shoving and finally the ringleader of the troublemakers threatened to pull the 'emergency stop chain'. Meanwhile a crowd of sorts (including me) had accumulated and were looking on intently at the proceedings, never passing a chance to have some free entertainment. Just as we thought there was going to be some real action, the argument ended and both parties proceeded to amicably utter platitudes about cooperation, compromise and the Indian favourite, 'Adjust'. I was pretty surprised at the turn of events. I didn't expected the TTs who are supposed to be the upholders of all that is true and fair in the world of trains to buckle down like that. After all, those four goons were illegal freeloaders who had gotten on the train without reservations.
Luckily, I was rescued from my growing perplexity by a co passenger. The deal was this. The TTs were corrupt and these four members of the public had no scruples. The TTs had apparently had taken bribes and these guys had gotten on without reservations. The lesson was that the guilty protecteth the guilty. that is another one of my negative stories blaming someone. and ya Jai Hind..!