Friday, February 22, 2008

A Corruption Tale

Disagreements with parents over morality and fights with younger siblings consume most of our time when we are at home with our family. But in cases where a student goes away form home in pursuit of education or in pursuit of trends, spending time in the alien land is often an issue worth discussing or sharing it with someone.

Whenever the ghost of assignments starts haunting me, or when the anxieties of the future and the miseries of the past make the four wall of my house resemble a prison, I and my friend honour the cheapest movies theatres of Bangalore with our gracious presence. On such a deep sad Saturday evening we went, dressed up like two mod girls of Bangalore city, to ‘Symphony’ at MG Road.

Now we had reached early and had been entertaining notions of easy tickets in our mind right since we had left home. But soon, my friend returned from the ticket counter, with an unpleasant smile, and enlightened me about the fact that the show was house full. She then gave a casual suggestion to buy tickets from one of the strange specimens of the human form who had been loitering shamelessly in the theatre premises with some tickets between their fingers.

I looked at the man, weather-beaten, plump, and shameless to the core, worthy enough to be the part of a collection of rarities, and was astonished at his ‘suggestion’ to buy a 50 rupee ticket (We only go for ‘front stall’, mind you!) for 150! Even the ‘gentleman’ from the ticket counter came and put his arm on this individual’s shoulder and said that the suggestion was indeed a good one. “Saturday evening, olle picture, thagoli madam”! He said……

Instances such as these are very common these days. From a train ticket and the RTO, to entry into the Taj Mahal, on every corner we find men who have betrayed their duty and would allow the corruption of their brains for little luxuries or a small amount of money.

Yet, more than these greedy victims of the system, it is us who are at fault, as we tolerate such practices, and moreover accept them. We take corruption as a part of our lives, something which is inseparable. Einstein once said, “The world is a dangerous place: not because of the people who do evil, but because of the people who see it and let it happen.”

The truth is, corruption is neither very powerful, nor is it inseparable. Phrases such as “this has always happened and will always happens; me and you can’t change it’. No one, in this world is insignificant or worthless. Everyone has the capacity to change the world; yet, we get caught in the cobwebs of worldly pleasures and look upon ourselves like an ant that lives with the fear of getting stamped over any moment.

We are a part of the society and it is a part of us. The least we can do to fight against the evils that plague our society is to ponder upon them and talk. Public opinions actually formed in places where it is least expected to take birth-coffee shops, local trains, classrooms, food courts, kiosks, newsletters and so on.

Coming back to the incident, did I buy the tickets? No, I did not; though the theatre was playing a movie whose release I had long waiting to see it. I did not buy the tickets though 150 rupees is not a great amount for an enjoyable evening. Not only this, I called up the police control room thrice and literally forced them to send the cops over. Once a cop reached, he seemed to have a friendly acquaintance with the black-ticketer, and ‘suggested’ that I take the ticket at actual rates. I refused, and after a few threats, persuaded him to take his’ friend’ in his jeep to the place he belonged. People, apart from the innocent, should fear the law.

Finally the outcome of our complaint to the cop was, some people went into hiding, and others appreciated our effort. Me and my friend came back home; the movies of assignments ghosts that we saw here were better than the movies that had to be seen by selling the Father of the nation and his ideals.

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