Noel Ellis's Official Blog

I wield the pen to explore the vastness of the human mind

Category: HUMAN NATURE

METRO MENTALITY

 

 

METRO MENTALITY

While working in Mumbai I have used jam packed public transport, faced traffic snarls and escaped the monsoon deluge. I have also walked to office in knee deep water. I used to travel through Dharavi and smelt the stench and experienced the slowest moving traffic ever. People had right of way; traffic could wait even on a green light there. You had your eyes concentrating on people, one foot on the clutch, second on the brake, hand on the horn and an abuse on your lips. I have yet to see a foot over bridge or any effort of de-congest it.

People don’t want to move out from metros. Gurgaon is an example. You name a corporate it is there. The chain of malls I saw for the first time left me dumbfounded.

It reminded me of one our first ever visit to a mall in 2004. My wife, daughter and cousins decided to do our Christmas shopping. As we were done, I found a Barista counter near the main entrance. We sat down to have coffee. Suddenly there was commotion and people started to leave. I was observing this exodus sitting facing the entrance door.

I walked across to the gate to find the same thing happening on the opposite side malls too. Desperate honking and fanatic waving was going on. I asked the security what it is. He said there is a bomb scare in the mall opposite. I told myself don’t panic Noel and walked across to my gang sipping coffee. Kya Hua was the typical question and kuch nahi, relax was my typical answer.

I mentally started making escape routes as I had no idea of gurgaon. We had a few shopping bags and our new Christmas tree. Daughter was barely three. First thing I did was picked her up and made her sit on my shoulders so that my hands were free as I felt at home carrying a “pithoo”.

We had parked about a mile away in a private plot as their underground parking was full.  Outside there was only chaos. Road was jammed because all husbands or drivers who had gone to fetch their vehicles were now waiting for their better halves. Some cars had brushed each other so that typical Ma-Behen was on between drivers. No one bothered that there are others who need to use this road. In fact it was an eerie kind of panic as no one knew what the situation was. Everyone just wanted to flee.

I heard that NSG had been called in so I understood matter is serious better evaporate before something blasts. We reached our parking lot. My cousin knew a route which was not blocked. By then it was shocking to see people had by now put their small kids on car roofs and handed them ice creams. I thought to myself, look at our mentality, people are now in time pass mode and have come to witness a “tamasha”.

Police was nowhere to be seen, red lights which were functional when we came were no more functional. Some people tried the smart act of taking U turns at the red light had added to the chaos blocking both sides. There was no method in this madness.

I told my cousin lets scoot before we are trapped. We reached the main highway zig-zagging & went up the flyover; one only saw headlights and bright red tail lights glowing for miles. We reached home and said a prayer and hoped there would be no blast of any kind.

The Bomb Disposal Squad with their sniffer dogs had to alight well short of IFFCO chowk due to the jam. They could carry only hand held equipment and by the time the dogs reached the mall they were tired and had to be rested before they could start their job. Mera Bharat Mahan!

People celebrated all night, Chana-Mungfali, Ice cream-Bhutta walas had a ball. Water was sold at price of petrol. Cars ran out of petrol as the jam could not be cleared till the wee hours of the morning adding to further chaos. No one left their cars or cleared the area either. It turned out to be a hoax call.

In our village here traffic gets jammed due to tourists. They break lanes, halt at will, without being sensitive to the limited road space. I prefer my scooter to go to market. It is easy to manoeuvre, easy to park and can wriggle trough any jam, besides carry our weekly shopping with ease. Thank God we are far from a metro. Will our basic Indian mentality ever change? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

SAVING MOTHER FROM PLASTIC SMILES

SAVING MOTHER FROM PLASTIC SMILES

 

I was watching a programme on environment day and saw mountains of plastic all over the world. Statistics were alarming. Suffice to say, no one would have ever thought that it would reach such monstrous proportions over the years and threaten our very existence.

Like a ritual every year we too plant trees in our company on this day. Pits were dug and a water sprinkler made of “plastic” is kept handy for the ceremony. Lot of discussion on one time use plastics & their harmful effects on health and environment took place. I just pointed out that the bag in which the sapling has been sprouted is also “one time use” black colour plastic. There was a furore and instructions were passed that next year we will bring saplings in gunny bags only.

Then there was a photo op with “plastic smiles” and customary distribution of “peras”. A worker quickly pulled out a box of sweets from a “plastic carry bag”, threw it on the road side and wrestled with the thin cling film over the box. He tore it off and threw it at the same place. Everyone thanked the organiser & started walking off. Concern for environment also got over moment the sweet was in the mouth. I waited and picked up bits and pieces of plastic strewn and deposited them in a dust bin. People said why you do it; the safaiwala is paid to do it. I plastically smiled and walked off.

Last month, it was talk of our town that state government will come very heavily on plastic carry bags. They are called “PISHVI” in this part of the country. The rumour around was that anyone carrying a plastic bag will be fined 5000/- irrespective from where he got his hands on it from. Panic struck and suddenly cloth bags were on sale. They charged 10 rupees extra for it. Today, all kinds of plastic carry bags are back in vogue in all shapes and sizes.

I pass by an adivasi colony on my way to office every day. I see small boys and girls waiting to cross the road with one cup of tea “parcelled” in a pishvi from the local tea shop. Another child is holding 20 ml plastic milk sachets. Sometimes, I find them holding the same amount of cooking oil. They buy what they need and as much they can afford. How do they carry those small quantities? Pishvi is the only answer.

This Sunday we went to the beach. It was good to see lot of hustle and bustle and tourists’ thronging that place. It’s a pity that no one really cared for the environment. People had thrown plastic bags all over. Mineral water bottles were bobbing up and down with the waves giving such a shabby look. Cans of beer and empty plastic liquor bottles were strewn all over the place.

One fine day we will get a call from the Collector’s office, let’s do Swach-Bharat. T-shirts and caps will be given; school children will be involved with media coverage and press releases. The contractor will lift up the garbage and dump it in the mangroves on the other side. Garbage is actually never cleared; it is transferred from here to there.

This reminds me of the illegal dumping going on for landfills. All debris of construction sites and garbage of the village is brought and dumped at a particular place. This happens under the eyes of God as there is a temple next to the dump plus under the local Gods, as a Police Thana and Customs office isn’t very far. Dumping is known to everyone, police doesn’t get involved as it is matter of the gram panchayat. Customs department are meant for bigger things and life goes on. It may not be long when a new shopping or housing complex comes up in that area.

Worst is that when someone lights that garbage up. If you have your windows rolled down to enjoy the surroundings and fresh air, the whiff that will hit your nostril with that stinky smoke will get onto your brain. The whole impression of the place is turned upside down in that one second when the smoke fills your lungs.

Environmentalists’ are doing their bit I am sure but the biggest dilemma they face is when they visit a wash room and can’t decide whether he should save water or save paper.

Be that as it may. I as a citizen will do my bit for “my mother”. I am worried about those people who have no idea on the damage a pishvi can do. Then there are those who know about it but just don’t care. For them this is Sarkar’s job. Can we stop those “plastic smiles” and get down to save mother earth? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

CHANGING TIMES

 

 

 

CHANGING TIMES

 

I was not aware of this thing called Netflix, except for a few advertisements I had seen on TV. My daughter came to me and said papa there are very good programmes and movies on it so please take a subscription. She said she will watch them on her mobile. I gave her the nod.

She told me Papa I would like to pay for my connection with my debt card, as recently I have activated it. Well, I was more than happy because of the confidence of this young girl and her enthusiasm to learn online payment. Honestly, I am so sceptic to use debit cards online and avoid transactions. I have a level of discomfort in doing so. Though, I had to download “Paytm” on my mobile. Modi ji had given us a scare of our lives to go cashless. Things have become easy these days and children are at ease with technological advancements. I must learn and keep abreast.

In the good old days In Kapurthala, Punjab, we were addicted to Pakistani and English serials on PTV as kids. Dhoop Kinare, Uncle Urfi, Buddha Ghar pe hai, CHIPS, Six Million Dollar Man, Here is Lucy, Mind Your Language, Nilaam Ghar, Walt Disney Cartoons, plus late Friday night English movies were never missed. Dad used to put an alarm and wake the whole house up for this Friday ritual. Thursday night, sofas used to be pushed to the sides and mattresses laid out on the floor. Chitrahaar and Hindi movies were banned. Anything in English would do, after all Dad was an English teacher.

My duty used to be to climb the roof with a half broken bamboo ladder to a banister from where one had to get hold of a pipe going up to the water tank on the roof. Antenna used to be balanced on a 25 feet high pole tied to the chimney of the kitchen. I had to twist it from direction of Jalandhar to Lahore. Younger brother used to stand outside the drawing room as a relay station, relaying my voice “aa gaya”, “Nahi aya” used to be relayed back and forth. It used to be such a relief to hear “aaaaaa gaya”. By the time I used to get down, half the serial would have gone. By then Dad would have turned the tuning knob 360 degrees many times and kicked the TV just to ensure it behaves.

I remember in Jaisalmer, one of our COs wanted CCTV installed. He wanted RAMAYAN serial beamed to every company dining hall including officer’s mess. Complete India used to come to a standstill for it. I distinctly remember “Satayam Electronics” located at Falna Rajasthan were the CCTV experts. Yours truly was made in charge. One 3 ton, a couple of chaps and an electronics expert along with my favourite Havildar Azad Singh (Now Honorary Captain Retd) were given the task to get this whole contraption and get it functional.

We proceeded with all documents and cheques and landed up in Falna. Our electronics expert learnt how to join the “dabbi”. Dabbi was the splitter from where the cable could be sent in three directions. Then there used to be a “dabba” which used to be the booster for the signal. So with dabba, dabbi and chattri (Dish) we got back to unit.

Three days of hectic driving in midst of summers from Jaisalmer to Falna and back was some drive. On arrival CO gave orders that tomorrow’s serial he shall see in unit lines being a Sunday. We were dead tired and stinky but “CO Saab ka hukum” cannot be turned down. I asked Azad, kya karen, he in his typical jatoo said “gaad denge saab” meaning we will do it. At 3 am my eyes started to close. I had not had dinner as the task at hand needed my presence for many small things. I dozed off sitting on a red velvet folding chair. I told Azad I am breaking off. He said “saab eeb to jhanda gaad ke hi chodenge”, “re chore, saab ne garam chai pila saath anda bujia banwa liya langar tai”. (Sir we will finish this job and in the same breadth told a chap to get some anda bhujia from the cook house with a hot cup of tea to keep me awake).

At first light we tested our signals from a VCR as DD used start at 7. Every one said, aa gaya, What a relief it was! Dot at five to nine CO arrived. Our eyes were red and bloodshot. He went to one of the cook houses and saw the signal. I don’t remember whether I got a pat on the back or a kick about one foot below but I missed my favourite serial and slept off that Sunday. How I wish we had Netflix in the good old days. What all new inventions are in store for us in future? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

OUR DEER PINKY

 

 

OUR DEER PINKY

It was a cold wintry evening when two people clad in white dhoti, kurta & Loi’s (shawls) came to our house in Sainik School, Kapurthala. On enquiring they said they were parents of Bishnoi of Sarojini House of which Dad was the house master. They were carrying something in their lap which was very fidgety. They requested for old news papers. A very unusual request it was. As they stood up to greet dad, this twitchy bundle jumped out of their lap. It was a small, dainty, wet nosed brown baby deer (Chinkara).

We all were startled for a moment. They said that having heard of your love for animals Ellis Saab, we present to you “PINKY” as a token of love and respect for teaching our children. I saw my Dads eyes getting moist for the first time. In those days it was not banned. On asking what you feed it, they gave the details of how to feed it with a bottle and otherwise it would graze the lawn grass. In case some wheat can be made available it could be palm fed.

Dad took the leash and took her to the adjacent room as they left. We had spread many news papers for the droppings. The story was that this fawn was orphaned as the mother was shot by some people. It was raised by the Bishnoi’s and now they had found a suitable home for it.

It was extremely difficult to control the inquisitiveness of our dogs. Their barks was making pinky panicky. Curiosity amongst Ellis’ was also at its pinnacle. This little darling had done a 7 hour journey by bus from Hanumangarh to Kapurthala. It must be tired and disillusioned. We tiptoed into her room, I with a bottle of milk, mom with a fistful of wheat followed by brother with some grass and father to oversee things.

In came Coco, our Tibetan Apso, then all hell broke loose. She panicked and darted through all of us and the main door and escaped into the darkness. Dad told us that we have to get pinky back at any cost. It was dark and the colony was a jungle in itself. Pinky had evaporated into thin air. The front yard, the back yard, the dhobi ghat, everywhere, we ran helter-skelter looking for her but no luck.

I and my brother went on a search mission. It was close to midnight in that freezing cold of Punjab & we were quite dejected. As we were combing the area we reached the chota swimming pool. Stories of various “bhoots-prets” and deadly cobras were running parallel in our minds when my brother& I heard jingle of bells tied in her neck. In pitch darkness with fog also creeping in, we saw two eyes glistened & staring at us. The first reaction was to bolt as it could be a bhoot. We spotted her & breathed a sigh of relief. Dad was anxious, mom was crying and we were white faced, cold, damp with running noses. I put a blanket on her as she dozed off. What a first night it was!

There used to be a competition between me and my brother who will feed her. Filling milk in a beer bottle and attaching feeding nipples was fun. Soon, Pinky started considering me as her mother. She used to crave for milk thrice a day. Dot at the precise hour she used to give her grunts. I used to call her back in the same tone.

Our dogs got used to her and pinky to the house. Cats started to cuddle with her. She was so friendly that we freed her. Within minutes she jumped the wall and was hopping and skipping merrily. All of us were afraid that the strays will kill her, well; they were no match to her speed. Once all the hostellers “gheraoed” her in a circle, she just took off & jumped over their heads. Her typical “deer jumps” on all fours together were a treat to watch.

She started accompanying dad to the cricket field and used to stand next to him where the Umpire stands. Once she got hit by a straight drive and collapsed on the pitch with all four legs stretched & the tongue hanging out, stiff as stiff could be. The batsman ran away fearing the wrath of Dad. She closed her eyes and we thought we have lost her. For 10 minutes we all were in tears. Then suddenly she sprung up and bolted away. Phew!

I had joined NDA and came back on my first term break. Dad was sitting on his haunches and hoeing his garden bed. I was explaining to him the “ragra” and in particular the front roll. I don’t know what came to pinky’s mind, she came charging and butted dad on his bums with her head. Dad did a beautiful somersault and I said now you know dad.

As time went by she started loving music and the school band playing. She used to stand with the band leader and walk along the march past of the school parade. She became the school mascot.

One day pinky was nowhere to be seen. There was panic and a sense of loss as a story was afloat that someone had killed her. Fourth day, while dad was on his angling trip a “Kabari” (rag picker) who used to come and collect small fish gave an input that she has been seen in the cantonment. Dad wound up and came rushing five kilometres from Kanjali River. She was not there but dad found her droppings. On a lot of pleading someone told that she had been sold to a “Kasai” (butcher). Dad rushed to find that “kasai” who just won’t admit. With folded hands and 400 rupees did he take him to the shed where she had been confined to. She would have been butchered the next day. Four days without water and food she was a wreck. She couldn’t even stand on all fours. People who had caught her had bruised her very badly. Dad left his cycle as mortgage and took a rickshaw to get her home. We were delighted to see her alive.

Within days she was frolicking around as usual. She lived with us for 10 years and one fine day we found her dead in the wheat fields. Probably she ate too much of insecticide which had been sprayed on the crop. It was a sad day. Her grave is still there behind our house 12-A.

Thank you for being part of our lives PINKY we all still remember you fondly and miss you. Can we relive those good old days again? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

SUNDAY SHOPPING

SUNDAY SHOPPING

 

Sunday is our weekly shopping day. It is the same old routine. Find parking for your car. I prefer the scooter as it is easy to manoeuvre. Hand over a few shoes and sandals to the “Mochi” (cobbler). Yes one odd piece you find shearing off and going to get one from Bombay is not worth the petrol to be burnt.  Our man Friday is such a smiley chap and will wish you with so much of warmth that I can’t help but shaking his hand every time we use his services. He will be waiting patiently even though it would be beyond his duty hours and will also tell you that probably we did not notice that the other shoe too needed a mend. The other day it was raining heavily. We had to get my daughters school shoes repaired and we got late, he knew tomorrow she has to go to school, he waited for us. Advantages of a small place I must say.

Next stop is our sabzi-wala. One of his workers is “Walter”. I love to see him glow with excitement seeing me and my wife. He will wish us the loudest good evening and then speak only in Marathi. By now he knows what we prefer. They generally hand over a basket to you to select your vegetables. I do it the other way, I tell him to do it for me. This way I ensure I will not get a dressing down from my wife as I still have no idea which bhopla (kaddu/pumpkin) is good and which bhindi (okra) is “Kauli” (tender) even after close to thirty years of marriage.

I was noticing how people pick up tomatoes. They will pick up one and drop it. Pick up the second one press it, look around it and drop it, pick the third one up and put it in their basket and this happens to more than twenty they need. I kept noticing that how long that one particular tomato is not picked up. I was amazed that the ones that I had fixed my eyes on were picked up by the next lady. This lady also dropped quite a few and picked up the ones dropped by the previous chap. The sabzi-wala puts up a huge basket full; one actually is confused as to what to pick up and what to drop. As the basket empties out, he doesn’t replace or refill them. A person who needs them will have to pick up from what is placed in front of you. Smart, I would say.

Then I came across one guy not taking off his helmet. He was just pointing out to Walter to weigh what he wants. Soon I realised he had his mobile stuck inside his helmet and was hands free of sorts. We Indians have a jugad (improvise) for everything. Then I found one fellow with his helmet’s face guard over his forehead.  That too was for a purpose. The pan masala he was chewing and the mixture which accumulates inside the mouth has to be spit out.  I asked him then why do you wear it, he said traffic police.

My macchiwali is very smart. She will shout uncle surmai sasti ho gai hai (Fish has become cheap). So even if you don’t want to buy it you get carried away. She will take out a small one and say pandrah shau 1500. You look at her and are about to turn back she says shaat shay pannas 750. You show two fingers meaning 200, now she looks back as if to say, what nonsense you are talking man. I realised two things if you get into a conversation with them you will not be able to wriggle out. Second is become “besharam” (shameless) and haggle and haggle till cows come home. Moment you start become a bara saab you will not know when she has stripped you.

After all this shopping is generally my haircut time. The head massage after that is the attraction. The ladies I leave at a general store to pick up their shampoos and lipsticks.  I don’t know how these barbers know which hair to cut. I find him snipping at the same place for ages neglecting the rest of the circumference. He always asks me “Chota karun” (shall I cut them short). In the first thirty seconds he would have cleared the head and it takes him the next ten minutes to find hair and keep snipping.

I remember going to a saloon in Bombay, that chap took an hour to snip off what my barber does in ten minutes. The only thing was that he used about 11 types of scissors and shavers. Another thing I noticed in our desi barbers. Once they have snipped some hair, they continue doing the sniping action behind your head in thin air. Why they do it, I will have to research. The difference between my barber and the saloon wala nai was 450 bucks. My nai does a better job any day and gives me a head massage free. The saloon chap will charge me a fortune.

Be that as it may, small little things and personal touch matters. My daughter keeps asking me that dad you have friends all over. The auto wala, the sabji wala, the chana-mufali wala, the chicken wala, macchiwali (I call her my girl friend) even the cobbler and the barber greet you so nicely. I tell her yes beta, it is nice to know them too as they do very important jobs. It is our duty to treat them with dignity and show respect. Will my daughter understand the importance of these people, I wonder!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

PERCEPTION & REALITY

I was sitting in a closing meeting of ISO certification the other day. The lead auditor was a Bengali and a senior citizen. He appeared to be very transparent and upright, the way he had spelt out conduct the audit. At the end of a two day gruelling process we all were awaiting the pearls of wisdom from him.

In the industry, I find that all these ISO certifications are a must if you really mean business. There are some companies which have a clause inserted in their business plan that they won’t do any business with companies without these certifications. It is not surprising though all these auditors have a standard check list, in addition they get hold of your standing operating procedures and then start picking holes in your system one by one. At the end of the day every Industry fears for a thing called NCs (non-compliances) which are Major NC and Minor NC. Let me not get into the nitty-gritty’s now.

I also happened to find out that there are quite a few agencies that do this accreditation and most of them are based in US of A or UK. Isn’t it surprising? An industry in India is being certified to the satisfaction of these countries that have no clue how our industry actually functions.

Manpower is the first thing which is axed in all industries. They want a lean mean fighting machine. Asking for overtime is a taboo. Working late is routine and expected. You have to be multi tasking with ten hands of Goddess Durga. The work which should be done today should have finished last week. The reports and statistics need to be produced in past tense. The beauty is that people still produce them. Aim is to show you are working basically covering your backside by sending mails.

Let’s come to social accountability. Is anyone responsible for the manager category? The whole system is worker oriented. It is assumed that the industry would be taking care of its managers automatically. The truth is very far from it. Then comes the union bazi, well lesser said the better about it. In all my experience, I have only seen union leaders taking the goonda approach or are kept shut with money depending upon the number of workers and the size of the industry. People talk about food basket, minimum wages, statutory compliances, safety procedures etc. Do they really mean what they say?

Problem with us Indians is that we want to ape what the US manual says without giving it due thought about comparative resources which are made available there. Their mind set, their culture needs to be taken into considerations. Above all they are far more honest and far less corrupt than us.

Environment is an issue; the watch dogs want every industry to produce only oxygen and pure water as its waste. One micron this side or that side there will be hell to pay. Issue doesn’t end here as these microns are managed by cash or kind. The boiler inspector will not even boil a cup of tea in the container but certify things as if they are straight out of the sauce pan. I was not aware that a job like a lift operator needs a certificate from an authorised institution, like a drivers licence. More are the compliances more is the outflow of cash, plus stay in company guest houses on the house.

I got cheesed off at this auditor mentioned about retired “sarkari karamchari”. As per him they only take a hefty pension without having worked. His brother gets a good pension working at “CHEETOROUNJAAN LOKHOMOTEEBS”. Then he started off on the income tax he has to pay. All of that is eaten up by government people especially the forces. These were the pearls which ultimately fell. I lost my shirt and told him that friend I gave my yesterday for your today. If you cannot be grateful for our services then you have no business to utter what you are uttering. The irony was many of the employees started agreeing that all their taxes are eaten up by government people especially from the forces and why are they penalised for it.

I walked out of the hall feeling hurt, that imagine what the civilian psyche is. As if they are the only ones paying to run this country. They seem to be ashamed to pay tax for the forces. They will never understand what each person in uniform went through. These people have been static, lived in a secure environment, getting hefty pays and getting the best of facilities with his family, with children getting best of education, contributing zero to nation building.

I really felt sad about the knowledge these people have about the forces. Should I waste time to teach them about what the armed forces are all about? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

BHARAT KYON BANDH

[ninja_form id=1][ninja_form id=1]Today there is a call for a nationwide Bharat Bandh I suppose. The Aam Admi is going to be the only one to be most affected. Commuting will be difficult, we are used to it. Essential services will be hit, what is new about it. Banks and Sarkari offices may have to be closed, so what. Vandalism may happen, well that is in our nature. Poor taxi-walas, chai-walas and daily wagers will be the sufferers. It happens every time. The big-wigs will still get their essentials through their back doors, from milk to liquor at a premium which they can afford to pay, nothing novel about it.

Bandh will be declared successful depending on the number of riot like situations created, police stations burnt, vehicles turned to cinders, number of lathi charges and the number of people who die in stampedes or firing. Neta ji gets more fuel to ignite and exploit the situation as also curse the government for poor law and order situation. His pride will be to court arrest by doing a drama in front of the cameras and get carried by policemen. Ho gaya bandh. Desh gaya tel lene.

Opposition takes to the streets, nothing original about this too. They go all out to defame the ruling government, this is routine, irrespective of who is in power.  Police will declare a red alert and a precautionary 144 but who cares for “Dhara ek sau chawalis”.  People gather in groups, in multiples of 50. Police catch people whom they can single out. Then situation goes out of their control, alas the police become moot spectators.

Daily wager sits and waits to feed those five people in his family who per force will go hungry today. They are now fully acclimatised to such bandhs. Schools would be shut down as a precautionary measure. Buses would be forced to be off road. Lonesome streets with ply card yielding “Hai-Hai” shouting people would only be seen. Most of them are paid for a day’s work. Ask them individually what their issue is, they won’t be able to tell.

Do we need Bandhs in the first place? Is it necessary to bring the country to a grinding halt? People may be travelling for business, joyous occasions, solemn occasions, interviews, hospitals etc just to be stuck and stranded for no fault of theirs. Is it justifiable? Should it be tolerated by the voters?

Where is the law to ban bandhs? Netas call it there democratic right. My foot! Neta ji can do bhashan baazi, neta ji can demand apologies from all and sundry but netaji will do nothing to refuse a call for a bandh. Netaji will never blame himself for any chaos. Neta ji’s have gone to the extent to bandh karo the parliament. Neta ji is netaji ji, period! They prefer to gorge on Chola-Bhaturas and then sit on a day long symbolic fast without realising the poor people they represent will go hungry.

I would suggest that all those who want to participate in a bandh can very much afford to get one “fawra”, “genti” “belcha” “jharoo” and one small tarpaulin. Let the netas lead from the front. Let the people who give “chanda” to parties provide dumpers and let us clean our cities. Every drain and every nali can be cleared. Every single piece of plastic & paper can be picked up by those who congregate needlessly for sloganeering.  Let no parliament function but then let all citizens get together and clean up India on the day of bandh. Is it possible?

I can assure you that the power of collectiveness which is shown by wasting precious man hours sitting and gossiping on stages, giving bhashans, cursing each other while the common man looks up to the “mai baaps” for redemption from the shackles of bad times will transform India. Clean your parks, clean your stadiums, clean your roads, clean your public amenities, clean your busses, clean your trains, we will see the difference. All those who can afford it, just do “geru-chuna” to the trees along the road. Netas who claim to be leaders of men need to set an example here. See how things transform in this country.

If bandh is a necessity, then let’s bandh karo corruption & useless bhashans. Let us band karo communal divide and suffering of a common man. Let us pledge to bandh karo throwing garbage on the roads, let us bandh karo wastage of electricity and water. Let us bandh karo obstructing parliament & getting fake news spread. Let us bandh karo all those who vandalise, burn, loot or damage things during bandhs. Let us bandh karo the very concept of bandh. Does it make sense to the planners of such bandhs?  I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

THE FOODIE WITHIN ME

I wish I had a job like these guys who come on a programme “Highway on my plate”. Some appetite those guys have. 30 years back I could have beaten them hands down. I like the one who is a non-vegetarian. Ghass-Phoos is not my cup of tea to be frank but due to dietary restrictions and age catching up, perforce I have to munch on my veggies and sprout salads. Nevertheless, I want to understand how they control their weight. For me even when I drink water, it goes and gets stuck on my waist like the after effects of Desi Ghee.

Imagine one gets paid for eating. This is some naukri I must say. Their crew must be dying salivating. The beauty is that they publically announce whether they liked or disliked the food. I wish they have a NDA second termers “square meal” as a daily ritual for their diet. In case they ran away from learning table manners I would send all the Drill and PT ustads hunting for them till the time they not only have a “flat foot” but a flat belly too.

Be that as it may, how can one eat so much and not have acidity. I am sure ENO salt people would have them on their cross wires. I think better would be “agar pet safa, har rog dafa” kinds. Kayam Chooran can claim to reduce the emissions of their obnoxious gases for free. By the way, these guys must be farting and farting non-stop. The only way to make way for the next morsel must be to release some gas. I pity the crew who accompany them as their car would be no less than the Nazi gas chamber of sorts.

When these guys must be reaching homes they must be insisting on their wives to make that “patli peeli wali khichiri”. People don’t get to eat two square meals and here we have two chaps who polish of meals for twenty chaps without even belching. I am sure they believe in the adage “pet bhar gaya par neeyat nahi bahri”.

In NDA, I and my cousin used to go to a tamarind jungle near Kondwa gate? We used to target the ripest pods, get them down with a fagot and squeeze the sweet, sour and tangy pulp on the slices of bread. Call it a “Tamrindwich”. We used to sometimes pick up “mixture” (namkeen) from gole market, mash a few “boondi ladoos” in it and stuff the “thing” in buns and wash it down with water, as going to get tea room on a movie day for a second termer meant trouble.

 Many moons back my wife once asked me yaar we have been married so many years and you have never told me that what you would like to eat. You just eat what I make. So please tell me. I said OK make Chicken Mayonnaise. All hell broke loose that day. “Don’t you know there is no chicken”. “First get chicken and then demand such a thing”. “We also don’t have mayonnaise”. “You do it on purpose”. Well I said you asked for it, what’s my fault. “No, you don’t love me and just want to embarrass me”. I learnt my lesson to keep shut and eat what you get ever after.

A few years later, when love overflowed again she said. “Yaar you never tell me how I cook”. “You never find any faults with my dishes”. “You just say “theek hai” never say “achha hai ya kuch kam-ziada hai”. One fine day I said “Namak kam hai” and all hell broke loose again. “How many times have I told you salt is not good for health”. “Don’t you find the salt and pepper shaker in front of you”? “This Tata chap is not making good quality salt”. “If I have forgotten to put it once why do you have to highlight it?” I said my dear, if I don’t say anything you have an issue. You coaxed me to say something, now there is an issue. Just tell me will I get dinner today or not. Believe you me there was double the salt in the dinner and I ate quietly. She sat with a grumpy face and decided to eat quite late. Then meekly came and said sorry and asked me how I ate with so much of extra salt. I told her I am Ex-NDA from 66 course. I can eat anything which moves or doesn’t move. We are Lakkar Hazzam and Pathhar Hazzam. (We can digest wood and stones)

Since that day I have been saved the agony of commenting on any food. By the way she is a terrific cook. My paunch reveals everything. Nevertheless, when will I get a chance to just taste food and be paid for it? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

 Noel Ellis

WHATSAPP KI JAI

Today, as I decided to clear my phone memory. I was shocked as to how much junk I carry. Thank God it is in electronic form or else I would have been buried alive under the weight of 27409 messages, 3081 images, 1619 video clips, 774 audio recordings and the same number of PDF files. Imagine if I went into reading and watching everything, I would live a hundred years.

Then I sat down to realise who all are my genuine friends out of the long list of phones contacts, found quite a few. However, there are a few perpetual “goodmoringers”. Many are the religious kinds who have to send you holy pictures and verses from all religious scriptures as a routine. Then are the pious kinds in the first half of the day and as the day wears out they turn into people with coloured eyes, especially of the bluish kind.  God save me from the chain mailers too. Then there are some nocturnal birds. They wake up past midnight, clear their phone memory and go off to sleep. My apologies to my foreign friends, as we in India don’t bother to check the time in your part of the world. Our urge to forward messages is so strong that we can inconvenience you at our will.

Then there are those repeaters, I am included. How can one remember what all have I sent to whom all? The beauty is that the person retorts immediately as if you have committed a murder, that you had sent it on Friday the 13th in the winter of 2008. Initially I used to say sorry but now I don’t bother. One has decided to hell with such complaints, how can one keep tight control on one’s fingers. Though, one does definitely try not to repeat a previously sent forward. Well age is catching up so such mistakes should be pardoned.

Then, there are people whom I call the fastest finger first. You send a message and before you say Jack Robinson, the same message or video lands back in your inbox from the person you just sent it to. That will be followed by two huge sorry emoticons followed by folded hands which are actually high fives modified to Indian conditions. Very rarely someone calls to say sorry.

Then we have the people who wake up once in a blue moon. Probably their work doesn’t allow them to interact much but if you see their status, they are online on all social networks. You find them checking messages you sent within seconds of its delivery. I grade them in the status of dormant volcanoes; they just spew some ash and fire once in a while.

Then there are people who are collectors. They even save good morning messages which they intend to share with their grand children when they grow up. Such people have huge memory cards in their phones. What else they save, God alone knows!

Then there are a few sermonisers. They can send you anything from a missing child’s pic, to a blood donor’s list, to availability of a kidney, to when to eat banana, do this and don’t do this etc. They will keep shoving anything and everything at you. They don’t even read what is written but will forward them thinking you may read it and benefit probably. In the bargain they do send attachments which they never saw and are of the adult kind. Then they go silent for a while to resurface after a gap and get back to their old habit.

There are a few who are allergic to those two words “Read More…” Moment they see those words they delete it. Who wants to waste time reading long stories? Such people are on the network for visual effects only. My articles are generally dealt like that.

Then there are people who copy paste jokes and download stuff form old mails, I call them the benevolent friends. They are really exerting, to read, to sift, thereafter to copy paste. They even add a few emoticons and then share it with friends. I look forward to such posts.

Today, laughter is restricted to those two emoticons, ha-ha, or Lols you send back. No one is actually laughing his heart out. Real fun and laughter is dead. People don’t watch even TV properly. Their heads are down on the mobile thinking they will be able to follow the story. At the end of it, they land up sending a wrong post to a wrong person. When they look up, they have lost the plot of the serial too.

To make out the difference between necessity and addiction is a tough call. I want to keep in touch with friends genuinely. How will I do it? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

LIFE IN THE YEAR GONE BY

A stage comes in life when one realises that time has now come to shed all negativity in life. Not that you are going to attain saint hood but as life gives you experiences you tend to mellow down for the better.  One realises that the bitterness you carried was for no reason. The unpleasant situations were self created most of the times or were reactions to people’s unpleasantness towards you. The anger within you was more for things which you could not do but you were forced to do against your will. The animosity and hostility against people was futile and for no reason actually. People reacted nastily to you either in self defence to prove a point. The dislike for orders in your official capacity will always stay and mixing official life with private life was the icing on the cake.

We created unknown enemies’ due to conjectures, guesses, speculations, assumptions, suppositions, imagination, presumptions, gossips, rumours and deductions thereof. No one cared to find out the truth, no one spoke, most of us just whatsapped, instagrammed, facebooked and old timers like me might have sent a few mails. All this was done to show that we are in touch but the thought may not be from the heart.

Many of us are on various groups; one good morning goes with a copy to all. We cover ourselves by sending wishes to even our so called “enemies” thus. Things I find are becoming more artificial, more kind of mechanical, where you have a fake or a pseudo connection with everyone. Yes one can understand the list of friends is growing on social media but actually the distances of our hearts are increasing.

To show you are in touch, you like a picture or comment on it because you do not want to offend the other person, secondly to acknowledge and show that you have seen the post, thirdly is to show to others that you are close to that person. Beyond that I doubt if we are true to even the thought behind the “like” button. Thumbs up sign means everything, an emoji means more than everything. A “heart” means that you don’t have time to comment. Most of us are copy pasting if not forwarding posts which will repeatedly come to you from at least 15 different sources. God save us from the videos which do the rounds repetitively. Free “gyan” (knowledge) is distributed abundantly, like I am doing now.

Well if this is what I and you feel, then this dangerous trend appears to be consolidating that we all are living in this make belief world. The status you display, the smiley’s that you paste, the kisses that you shower mean actually nothing.

One definitely feels on top of the world if a girl sends a wink. One goes through the roof if a girl sends a wink with a pout and kiss. If red lips come your way from her one feels like taking a “chuttie”(leave) that day  just to think yaar ye kyon bheje. (Why have lips been sent to me?) Out of shyness the girl will not say sorry that it was sent by mistake. Actually, she wanted to send a frown but next to the frown was the kiss emoji which got selected and the finger was already on the send arrow. Off it flew. You keep assuming what she wants to covey, she keeps hoping against hope that you don’t see it. People write “love and big hugs” but when you meet in person hugs evaporate, love disappears, life goes on. Right!

Families and friends sit within Wi-Fi range to communicate on phones.  People look for open Wi-Fi networks to download all the stuff they can, saving their data pack. People try and guess Wi-Fi passwords just to log in.  Let me share an experience. Some kids start a conversation  with leading questions like uncle you were born in march na, you say no, November, they say 12th  you say 2nd  and the year they guess as they would have already extracted it out saying that uncle you look 40. You tell them you are 54. Then you find a sudden silence, eyes on mobiles as everyone is guessing the password. Your car number and scooter number would have been tried already. Uncle is uff smarter.

Be that as it may, last year I learnt to grow flowers and they helped me to keep my negative energy at bay. Flowers helped me to smile & bring joy and happiness every time I opened the front door. One got a sense of achievement as your hard work had paid.  It gave a sense of contentment and satisfaction too. I found a way of avoiding people who emanate negativity energy and are a bad influence.  Some I deleted from my mailing list. I also had to exit from some groups. To top it all, I got off the damn idiot box which is a big relief.

This year I look forward to meet and greet people better. How far it will work out, I can’t say. I don’t want to make it my New Year resolution either but put in a genuine effort to be a better person. Is anyone coming along my way? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

7000 CRORES

Philanthropy means the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by generous donations of money to good cause. The synonyms are: benevolence, generosity, humanitarianism, public-spiritedness, altruism, social conscience, social concern, charity charitableness, brotherly love, fellow feeling, magnanimity, munificence, liberality, largess, open-handedness, bountifulness, beneficence, benignity, unselfishness, selflessness, humanity, kindness, kind-heartedness, big-heartedness, compassion, humaneness, patronage, sponsorship, backing, help, historical alms giving, literary bounty, bounteousness. The interpretations could differ, but the spirit remains the same.

As I was going through the news on the net I read somewhere that a family is going to donate 7000 crores for their philanthropic activities. My goodness Lord, firstly I am feeling tizzy hearing this amount. Secondly, I think if these notes are in 500 rupees denomination then it would be more than 14 crore notes itself. Number of Rs 500 notes needed to have a value of Rs 1 Crore = 1Crore/500= 200000. Weight of 1 Rs 500 note =1.15g, total weight of Rs 1 crore in 500 denomination = 200000 x 1.15=23000g =23Kg. Therefore 7000 crores x 23=161000 or 161 tons, if an average truck carries 20 tonnes, means 8 huge truck loads. Size of a 500 note is 66mm x 150mm, so if we lay them head to head in piles of 5 lakhs each means 140000 bundles means it is 210000 km. The distance to the moon is 3844000 km and circumference of the earth is 40075 km. Baapre! Well you can figure out the ratios on your own. My mind is boggling and boggling and eating circle after circle.

Be that as it may, if I divide this 7000 crore in my 125 crore deshwasis, we all shall have about 56 crores each in our kitty. Achhe din a gaye samjho. Leave alone the promise of 15 lakh in each account you can distribute 56 crores each. Half of India as it is doesn’t work because of berozgari, now we shall make sure the working India also stops working. Everyone will go sit and wait to finish his or her 56 crores. Even if I say I will spend 1 crore a year, at this stage when I am well past 50 years of age, I better double the spending, God knows how much time I have at my hands. A new born can live with his parents till 24 and then add another 56 years with a crore to spend a year will see him through till 80 what else does one require.

I have one question though, how much Izzat can we buy in this huge amount. My answer is zero. Izzat cannot be bought it has to be earned. Why I say this is because the people who are fighting for their Izzat to be restored need a very paltry sum from the government. The old and tired veterans need to go home as they have spent their time in hell already. The lucky ones came home and the luckier ones came back draped in the tri colour. At least they are not witnessing treatment which is being meted out to their own brethren by their government for whom they sacrificed their lives and limbs. Government may never understand Izzat, Pride and Honour, how can they understand benevolence.

Well, I am sure this amount will be a drop in the ocean for a country which is exploding from all ends. There is so much of pressure on every system that every bit contributed towards a good cause should be welcome. From infrastructure to health; from education to agriculture, from population to environment, you name a thing and we are bursting at our seams uncontrollably. We are refuting norms, throwing garbage and drainage, sewage, spewing toxic smoke everywhere. We are just living our lives and who cares about the future. If all this money is spent judiciously on a sustainable and maintainable model then I would say it would be worth it.

I saw a scheme called dial 102 for ambulances collapse. Today, most of the ambulances are rotting in junk yards in most states. There is a patient mafia, (patients are created on paper), fuel for the ambulance mafia, a telecom mafia connecting calls on the ambulance help line numbers. The issue is not the dearth of ambulances, it is the dearth of will to run and maintain them. The hospital infrastructure and cleanliness should be the top focus. The free availability of medicines and tests should be a fundamental right. They should be cheap and affordable for all. Ambulances need roads to run, not pot holes to negotiate and traffic jams to wait to clear. They need trained paramedics, even if they are idle most of the times but they are needed at crucial times, like the Armed forces.

Schools and schooling need to be sorted out. Education system needs to be focused on. Vernacular needs to turn to national education system and that should be internationally accepted. Food needs to be in good supply. No man or dog should go hungry in this country. Why should people beg? Why should they do menial jobs? Why can’t we have sustainable drinking water and electricity through out. Why farmers commit suicide? Why can’t we have non polluting industries and vehicles? Why can’t we have non corrupt people in all government machinery? Where are we lacking and why are we lacking in these? Is it because of lack of money and funds or its misuse?

Well, the answer my friend is blowing in the wind and that is the will to do it for the country. What I have written in jest about the length and weight of the currency and the distribution to individuals is not the issue, my calculations may be grossly wrong. The issue is that sir; either you sit with the government and address your benevolent issues through them or let us shut the government and start only charity to sustain this country.

I am not sure the causes you will take up, the states you will cover or for that matter people whom you are going to touch with your charity but promise me one thing sir, let not one pai get into the hands of the corrupt. Let this money be spent what it is meant for and not for getting files cleared to start your projects. Let this money be spent on the real needy, I beg of you, teach the needy how to fish and don’t start serving them fish.

I can assure you many veterans would love to join you to take your cause to its culmination. Take them on board sir, for it is difficult to corrupt them. Take them for their honesty and administrative skills. They shall not let you down. Mittal saab, I need 56 seconds of your time to read this article, will you be able to spare them, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

IN CONVERSATION WITH CATHERINE

Catherine and I were driving down to Alibaug over the weekend when we struck up a conversation. I was listening to the stereo and my wife was appreciating the music system and the stereo effects. Catherine was not enjoying the drive at all; actually the same was the case with me. Reasons were many. One was the dilapidated condition of the road and the pot holes. Besides, the village dogs accosting us barking at their loudest and snarling with their dirty teeth. Hens along with their chicks thought the road was for them.  Worst of all was the chaotic traffic jams. Above all the weekend crowd who were pouring into our territory by the dozens. They were blocking traffic in garb of purchasing something or asking for directions in these narrow alleys. Quite a frustrating kind of a drive it was all in low gear.

I ignored her and kept my concentration on driving but there were pieces of the conversation which kept striking me again and again as she asked me the first question. Have you paid road tax? I said yes and that to a hefty amount. After a pause she asked me, why are there so many pot holes then? I had no answer. She told me, Noel, please take me out on a long and majestic drive, where the road surface is smooth, maybe on expressways where the thrill of driving can be enjoyed. It appears that here every time we venture out she is worried about checking out how long will the suspension hold and she told me that this way it won’t take long to give away. I just kept quiet and listened.

The next question she asked me that do you pay toll tax? I told her yes and where ever my ID card works I don’t. She said never mind, you have actually paid life time toll tax by serving the Indian Army, so I won’t ask you again, however, she continued to say that where does this toll money  collected  from the other vehicles disappear. I said I don’t know and continued focusing on the oncoming traffic and the huge potholes.

I was wondering to myself, that last year I saw lot of work going on this road. I used to have a smooth ride but where has the road vanished. This must be happening year after year and taxes which were being collected going down the drain. I again started to listen to the stereo and this time I changed the channel of my choice. I got lost in the music and lyrics as we were getting close to our destination.

Catherine was in a chirpy mood and threw another question at me. She said do you pay income tax? I replied in the affirmative. I am sure that some portion of that must also be allocated to the development of infrastructure in this country. I said surely it must be the case, I am not sure of the percentages. She appeared to be questioning the government head on. She continued to quiz me, see why there are so many accidents on the road? I said reckless driving! She said yes, just then two bikes whizzed past overtaking us from the wrong side and missed hitting us by a whisker. The basic reason is that the infrastructure is not being planned as per our expansion of population she said. I could not agree with her more. Her observation was that our population is exploding and so is purchase of vehicles but government is not making better and broader roads. I said yes. After a while she said, it is time for the government to wake up and I just kept mum.

A little ahead Catherine again poked me. I said now what and she said, you pay income tax, professional tax, GST and all the other taxes which the tax man can think of. I replied to her that it appears that you have got hold of a book on finance. She wanted to know where each and every pie went. I actually didn’t know. I looked at the setting sun from out of the window and thought to myself that yes she is right; over these years I couldn’t even hide one paisa of my income and all my taxes go down the drain, without much of accountability and returns.

At last Catherine blurted, I don’t want to be a dented and painted car for no fault of mine. I told her that I shall definitely convey her concerns to the people who matter. I then requested her to just keep quiet for a while as my wife watched the moon rise from the other side. I switched over to John Denver singing “Country Roads, take me home”, on the car stereo.

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

WHEN PETS DON’T HAVE ALL THE FUN

If you see dogs with tails between their legs, whimpering, whining, running helter-skelter, digging up holes, huddling up with other dogs, shivering, avoiding food, basically scared almost to death, it means it is Diwali time. Dussera on wards, their behaviour takes a turn and suddenly from a happy go lucky dog it appears subdued and lack luster. The dogs which used to chase cats and squirrels’ at the drop of a hat are found moaning to themselves in squeaky voices sitting quietly in a corner. At that moment if a cat came and cuddled up, it won’t object all. This is a consequence of the fire crackers. The loud bangs and flashing lights scare the daylights out of them.

This year somehow the bangs drastically reduced. It has been few days since Diwali; I have yet to see the stray’s in my colony surface. Most of them have gone in hiding and I know there are numerous rain water drains which are the safest places. The hangover of those loud bangs must be still fresh in their minds. In a way it is good as we have a pack of about 10-12 strays who have now become the bosses of the colony. They do intimidate and gnarl colony residents sometimes.

These crackers are a kind of trauma for the dogs at least. I have observed dogs urinating with every bang. One can only pity their plight. Like on Holi people colour the dogs, on Diwali I have seen some sadistic people tying up series of crackers to their tails and lighting them. It is the cruellest from of torture I should say. What do they achieve out of it is anybody’s guess?

I am an animal lover and have made friends with almost every cat and dog here. To satisfy my “petty” feelings, I talk to every dog and cat during my walks. In the last couple of years most of them have started responding. I see their faces light up on seeing me which is indicated by a small meow in response to my voice, a wag of a tail if not a lick from the dogs. As a habit, I wish everyone during my walk. I wish these animals too and they respond back. Some people don’t, well lesser said the better about humans. There are a few cats which sit on our benches in the lawn, some allow me to approach them and give a tickle on their necks and if in the mood let me tickle their bellies too. I love it.

Be that as it may, I think people of India have taken cognizance to appeals given for reducing pollution, Diwali crackers being one of them. After all we all got to breathe easy. Sentiments should not come in between life and death. If we can save every drop of water and every unit of electricity for a better future, we can save the environment by bursting fewer and fewer crackers to save us from passive smoking and trauma to the ear drums. Every year many markets go up in flames causing colossal damage. People of jhuggi-jhonpris also keep their fingers crossed with a prayer that hopefully no stray rocket will make way to their humble dwellings.

The fire department is on super high alert. Hospitals get thousands of burn cases due to cracker injuries and lots of vision related issues. The issues related to lung and breathing is well known too. The trauma these crackers cause to the new born, old and infirm are also a cause of major worry. Let us give them the peace they deserve.

What I have understood about my own self is that unless I get kicked and pushed by someone I don’t listen to orders. I always argue of how not to do things. I always try and bicker about things if it is forced on me. I try and avoid following the rules and try and get out of the situation somehow. If still I have to follow that order I do so with utmost reluctance, cursing every government & organisation for the burden it puts on my finances and hurting my sentiments.

I wish the animals also have some place to complain to save them from the trauma, shock, suffering and pain. Let us be just be good and compassionate citizens of India. Political interference is not required or else we will find religion coming in to sort out the ache these animals suffer from during our festivals. Let us collectively decide so that courts are left free to do their primary job rather than order a ban on sale of crackers. Hope we see wisdom in it before they ban bursting of crackers completely. Will anyone see reason? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

THIS TOO SHALL PASS

It is quite a challenge to handle civilian employees especially those who don’t understand logic. Why? I don’t know. Let me share with you an incident which most of us faujis will laugh off as a silly issue. However, if I see it as an issue for employees it becomes a big one. I don’t want to draw any conclusions from it but suffice to say may God grant them wisdom to understand that there is life beyond making an issue out of a tissue. Here goes!

Let me give a little background to the story. We have two busses one of which is a shift bus and the second one is for CSR activities. Schools are closed for Diwali so the CSR bus is kept as a standby to the shift bus. A Sunday before Diwali, as a tradition both the busses are sent to Bombay for Diwali purchases as a welfare measure for employees. Thus we have to ensure all shift people have to be picked and dropped in company transport for that day.

The company had a hired 7 seater which the contractor withdrew without notice three days back. In addition there is a company owned 7 seater (Xylo), whose electrical systems packed off in its last trip; it now can function in day only. We were about to send it for repairs as we have a small car (I-10) but unfortunately that met with an accident and had to be sent to the workshop. There is no provision of hiring any additional vehicle whatsoever, call it the terms of reference.

To add to the crises on Saturday night the plant developed an issue, so many of the technicians had to be held back. Once the criticality of the plant was resolved were they allowed to leave? Some of them had been in the plant for about 24 hours. Hats off to them!

Be that as it may, the real complications start now as instead of say 4-5 people who were supposed to be dropped the numbers swelled up to 14-15. They definitely cannot fit in a xylo. They all came and sat in the shift bus which was detailed to go to Mumbai and refused to budge. The time of release of all the vehicles was 6.15am. The employees decided that they have a birth right on the shift bus and shall not adjust for about 20 kms with other passengers and families who also had to travel on the common route.

The solutions offered to them were, firstly, we will do two trips of the Xylo which was not acceptable to them as they were not able to decide who should go in the first trip. No one wanted to hang around twiddling his thumbs. The second solution offered was that kindly be accommodative for these 20 kms and let the Mumbai marketing people also stand along. Priority to sit on the seats shall be given to the shift people. Third solution given to them was the Xylo will accompany the busses, carry seven shift people especially those who stay nearby. This was also not acceptable to them either. Third solution offered was that Mumbai marketing people sit in the xylo and these people will then board the bus after 20 kms having dropped the shift people.

Ultimately after 60 minutes of haggling, pleading, requesting, coaxing, cajoling repeatedly did they agree? One hour was wasted in futile discussions. Everyone got delayed. I even offered to drop people in my car if worse comes to worst but by then some good sense prevailed and after heated parleys people left for their destinations.

What did you gather out of all this folks? Had the shift people been a little accommodative, a little adjusting, a little more flexible, a little more sensitive, a little more open minded, nothing of this sort should have happened. Had logic been applied, a kind of crisis situation should never have arisen. Imagine a person who waits for this shopping trip suddenly finds his trip being cancelled or delayed. How can shift people be so unreasonable? Why do people have to be difficult? Why do people make things harder when they know that resources are limited?

Had the shift people created a win-win situation in the first place, everybody would have been home and in Mumbai in time. We are all working for the same organisation but without unity and brotherhood. We don’t have a helping nature. My Ego is supreme. Anything in which I am a little uncomfortable is not acceptable to me is the psyche. Problem solving and issue resolving is not in their blood as most of them become mere Tamashbeen’s (spectators) to have some more masala to gossip about. How to help the other person who is going out of his way to tide over a situation is expecting too much. It is my way or no other way. Do what you have to or let everyone be inconvenienced.  My comfort comes first always and every time.

All is well that ends well friends. I did not want to get into telling them “when I was in the Army”. Thank God a body called the “workers union” did not get involved otherwise situation could have worsened. Over all a sad state of affairs as too much of welfare has spoilt them. Suffice to say one more day has passed, let me wait for the next challenge. Will these people ever understand? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

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