Sir, Am I Normal?
I switch on the radio only to listen about corruption in India, I switch on the television only to watch scams being unearthed, and I flip the newspaper only to read about money laundering and fund embezzlement. I go to my office and end up discussing spot fixing. I discuss India’s critical issues with my neighborhood paanchewing chaiwallah. As I drink tea with dollops of sugar and milk I think he is the best thing to have happened to me. “Accha, where was I? Haan, corruption! Ye corruption ek din India ko barbaad kar degi. Hona kya hai iss desh ka? Har jagah corruption hai. Ek file bina rishwat ke pass hi nahi hoti. Ye mantri log ko public ka paisa khaane se fursat mile tab na? Saala, reservation diya hua hai! Mera beta issi vajah se IIT crack nahi kar paaya. Barbaad desh hai bhai, baat samajh. Maine toh Pintu ko samjhaya hai, saala padhai kar aur yahaan se nikal le. USA mein settle ho jaa aur mujhe aur maa ko bhi bula le. Beti ka rishta NRI se hi kara diya jaayega. Aur kya? Jab jawaan the, toh bohot guroor tha, desh ke liye ye karenge woh karenge. Maa kasam pagala gaye the hum, iss desh ka kuch nahi hoga.” This is a normal everyday conversation between me and my chaiwallah who completely supports me. My wife is irritated and disappointed in me. I am a part-time school teacher with a salary of Rupees six thousand. See, I take tuitions also so extra income is there but my wife wants me to get a job according to my degree. I am a double gold medalist in geography and have done my PhD but I could not manage the 17 lakhs they demanded to recruit me in a local college. Kabhi dekhe nahi hai bhaiya itna saara paisa ek saath. So I am stuck in a rut as a part time school teacher teaching primary students.
But I am a responsible citizen. I express disappointment, anger and sadness over the issues that have gripped India like a demon. I join the protests near my house for the sacking of the corrupt minister. I join the candle march being carried out in the honor of the victim of rape and murder.
On a different note, I ask my daughter to not walk out of the house after 7 at night. I decide what dress my daughter can wear (whether or not it is revealing and whether or not it could entice the rapists to rape her).Arre bhai, zamana kharab hai. Baat ko samjho. I go to a government office to get my daughter’s passport made. The clerk would not agree without some money for his personal use, so I paid Rupees two hundred to him.Arre no, this is not bribery. I helped a poor man no? And this is my love for my daughter. And before I forget! I got an offer once from Mr. Saini toh pass his son in the final examinations wherein he would give me hundred rupees for each mark awarded. I was repulsed by the offer. It would mean the bade baap ka beta Chintu would pass the examination with flying colors while the hard-working Pinku would come second. I was going to say no but then I remembered my jawaan kunwari beti.As a father, I had the supreme responsibility to get her married. B.A pass toh thi hi, saath mein ghar ka kaam bhi jaanti thi. Gori bhi thi. Ab accha lagta ki baap dahej nahi de paaya isliye beti kunwari reh gayi? Aap hi bataiye. Nahi na? Aur ye sab toh upar waale ki dua hai”So I agreed to Mr Saini’s offer with a heavy heart. Sir, Am I normal? See, I told you how much I love my daughter.
Hi, I am the quintessential aam aadmi. I am the biggest star of India. The film actors make movies for me, the politicians claim to work for me, the cricketers play for me. I pay tax so that big officials can transfer it to their bank accounts, I protest against rapes, I drive the corrupt officials to submit their resignations; In short, I drive India. When I drive India, I should be responsible for what is happening here. I should throw those corrupt politicians out of power; I should ostracize those people who commit heinous crimes like rapes and murders. I should stand up for my daughter. If fairness cream adverts make me so angry, why do I ask my daughter to apply it before we go to search a groom for her? If we are a brown skinned population in general, why do we make for the biggest market for fairness creams?
If giving bribes is a crime, accepting bribes is a crime too. When the whole world is doing away with ‘casteism’, we are deepening its roots by offering reservation. If the thought of your daughter getting eve teased hurts you, why don’t you bring up your sons with the same notion? Ending corruption is not the easiest thing in the world but we have to be the change we want to see. Kick start a movement. Turn it into a revolution.
Another Aam Aadmi.