Archive for February, 2009

Justice for a Buffalo which faced Mobile radiation

February 27, 2009

On 26 th  Feb 2009, the Times of India Bangalore Edition reported an interesting news item with caption “Dial buffalo’s tummy for mobile”. After reading this story I felt that injustice has been done to the poor animal which has been subject to the evil effects of radiation from the handset,which made her stomach upset. One can imagine the discomfiture of the poor creature which we see walking with mouthfuls of grass,plastic bags, etc sourced from garbage dumps. The buffalo which, according to Hindu Mythology is the transport of Lord Yama Dharmaraj, and according to Traffic regulators, they are recognized Brake Inspector and by helping the farmer in ploughing the lands,  and drawinmg carts,they are friends of the farmer.

The crux of the newstory reads like this. In a remote village in Bagalkot District in Karnataka,a buffalow is believed to have swallowed its keeper’s cell phone and the cell phone was supposed have been active even inside the belly of the buffalo.The keeper/farmer missed his cell phone on a Monday and reconciled to the thought that it would have dropped some where from his shirt pocket.Guess where the cell phone ended up.Straight inside the stomach of the buffalo when it swallowed the mobile with the pouch, with natural intention to chew the cud later. On Wednesday,the farmer,to his delight, is reported to have found the cell phone inside the heap of buffalo dung in the shed and still in working condition. The Missed call details of the SIM in the phone showed that there were 7 missed calls. Imagine the pain the buffalo would have undergone and how she must have reacted , when the cell phone started repeatedly ringing ,possibly from the repeated calls of a persistent tele marketing executive.With no one to press the button and say buffalo( hello) the poor animal endured the ordeal. The Buffalo unknowingly treated the calls as Missed calls from the missed cell phone. The buffalo would have initially felt that the sound is coming from the bell tied around her neck.Things would have got worse had the farmer set the ring tone with vibration whereby the buffalo would have felt the jitters and gone berserk with increasing number of calls. The poor animal could not reveal the hidden secret to any one including the farmer,because no body would have understood the reason for the moanings, of couse with exception of Hollywood Hero Eddy Murphy in the Movie Dr.Do Little who would have perhaps understood the language of the buffalo and helped the buffalo. However being unable to digest, our buffalo managed to excrete it,to the relief of the farmer who became wise and thought it fit to reveal the story to the reporter. I was impressed with this story and I felt that I should give wide publicity to this incident and try to undo the injustice done to the animal and hence this blog. When I tried to imagine the plight of the buffalo it occurred to me that injustice has been done to the speechless buffalo and attention of the authority like Society for prevention of cruelty to Animals (SPCA) should be drawn to this issue and the suffering of the buffalo should be remedied. It is not hard to gauge the publicity /advertisement mileage earned by the Mobile service Providers and the Mobile phone manufacturers when the news spread that THE MOBILE CONNECTION WAS NOT DISRUPTED EVEN INSIDE THE STOMACH OF THE BUFFALO. The buffalo has made the Mobile service provider and Mobile phone manufacturer proud. She has given free publicity to them by demonstrating to the world that the mobile works even in shit. The illnesses and ailments such as Cancer,Brain tumours,Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s,Fatigue ands headaches are medically known to have potential links to cell-phone radiation: Having been benefitted with the (undue)publicity the Mobile service provider and the Mobile phone manufacturer should adopt the Mobile famous buffalo and try to conduct research as to how the signal was flashing even inside the belly of the buffalo apart from providing medical treatment with the assistance of the best Veterinary surgeons of the country. Researchers and scientists in University of Buffalo (as the name suggests) in New York USA may consider initiating research programmes on the subject.The Global mobile manufacturers of handsets should compete with each other in adopting the Buffalo and intensify their R&D activities.They should open research centres in India so that it will benefit our country and also the research objects(buffaloes) is available in plenty in our country. It further occurred to me that some unscrupulous people may try to indulge in illegal cross border transactions by exporting and importing the buffaloes with contraband items like Diamonds,Gold narcotic drugs etc safely ‘embedded’ in the stomach of the buffaloes.The buffaloes are not anyway frisked or subject to X ray scanning or metal detector and the smugglers may have a field day. Hope the customs authorities at the Exit and entry points keep an eye for such export/import activity. In the field of education, some school teachers who scold their erring students by calling them ‘buffaloes’. They should rethink now and should not use the name of buffalo to scold. The mobile service providers may compose different types of ringtones in the voice of buffaloes,so that when the ringtone is heard by the buffaloes of opposite sex, they may get attracted to such mobile fame buffaloes. Some mobile service providers may try to give wide publicity to this incident in the electronic media , and comment upon themselves with  remarks such as “What an Idea sir ji”. We will be happy if SPCA folks take a note of this,investigate and bring medical treatment and  justice for the poor animal.

Dirty Harry : Welcome to real life from reel life

February 24, 2009

To day India rejoice with the Oscar winning heroes viz Alla Rakha Rahman,Resul Pookutty and Gulzar. As reported in the media,finally Hollywood has taken two decades to recognize the talent of AR Rahman,the music genius. The film Slum Dog Millionaire has bagged 8 awards for the first time in Indian film History and the Documentary “Smile Pinkie” added to the Oscar list. It was nice to hear the language Tamil which was spoken on the Oscar stage for the first time in Oscar history, when AR Rahman attributed his success to the Great Almighty by saying in Tamil “Ella Pughazum Iraivannukkae”(May all glory be with Almighty). Another Oscar winner Resul Pookutty referred to the importance of the mantra OHM.Gulzar who shares one Oscar with AR Rahman could not participate in the function due to a fracture.The three Indians really brought glory to the doorstep of India. Let us not forget the sports heroes Abhinav Bindra,Sushil Kumar and Vijender Singh who with their Olympic medals demonstrated to the rest of the World that Indians will be second to none in the recent Beijing Olympics. India’s ride of glory has just started in the field of sports and films and we may see repetitions of such feats in the years to come..
In the world of World cinema,many characters depicting upright cops have achieved fame.In this blog I would like to reminisce about the cops who dedicated their lives to uphold law and spearhead the fight of good over the evil and were able to rid the society of some really bad criminal elements. In the celluloid world, we always find the good (towards the end only )win the battle against bad.The audience is not bothered about the ways and means adopted by the hero cop in the fight against crimes as long as the happy end justified the means. The filmy audience always watch with anxiety and pride when their heroes fight single handedly the mob of bad elements with their jumps,falls, and other aerobics. At least in the Movies,they expect the hero to punish and bring to them to justice. Some heroes deliberately take revenge by taking law into their own hands and dispose off the criminals permanently by giving them tickets for non stop flight to hell.The audience enter the celluloid world to forget their problems and always get out with over- ambitious expectations that , someday the super cops among us will get rid of the criminals among us.

The Hollywood has identified for us many upright cops in the movies. In the Hollywood Movie “SUDDEN IMPACT” directed and produced by Clint East Wood,we enjoy the exploit of a super cop in Sanfransisco by name Harry Callaghan a.k.a Dirty Harry.(Incidentally Clint East wood was born on 31st May 1930 in Sanfransisco.Clint Eastwood is winner of 5 Academy awards). He is fearless,works alone and solves the homicide cases with ‘reports’ from his gun , in his usual heroic ways , mostly to the dismay of his bosses. In this blog I would like to share with my readers some of the interesting and powerful dialogues in this Movie which is fresh in memory(which was refreshed with recent viewing of the movie in DVD.)

This Day is celebration day for present Oscar awardees and a day for remembering the past awardees. I feel my timing is right today to remember the super cop and to record my blog as a tribute to him.

This film is about an upright Police Inspector who is trigger happy and gets upset with crimes. According to his Police captain of the precinct, wherever he goes for picking up suspects or for enquiry, the suspects end up in body bags. Following are some of the interesting scenes which depict the (humourous) attitude of Dirty Harry.

(i) In a scene, Harry accidentally enters a coffee shop where he sees three thugs who are attempting to rob the cash till ,while one hold his gun at the head of a lady customer.Harry coolly tells them “ you boys, put those guns down . We will not let you just walk out of here.” One of the goons asks ‘who is we’. Harry replies “Smith,Wesson and Me ” simultaneously reaching into his coat and drawing out his gun and fires at the three boys in a flash. His timely reference to the brand of the Gun he was wielding is superb.
(ii) In another scene he enters a private club where the aged villain is partying..At the entrance, Harry is stopped by two hefty thugs who look menacingly at him and block his entry. At that time, Harry asks the Governess “ Do you know the phone number of Sanfransisco General Emergency services. Why don’t you call them right now and tell them to send an ambulance to pick up two sorry looking scum bags with multiple contusion and broken jaws.” Immediately the goons get the ‘message’ and and give way to Harry. This shows Harry is fearless and tough.

(iii) Inside the club, he concots a story to the aged villain and shows an envelope as if it contains highly incriminating evidence more than enough to indict the old man and the old man with a week heart begins to sweat profusely and slides face forward on his party table clutching his heart in pain. Harry walks out, handing over the envelope containing blank sheets to the Governess who ask him ‘what happened’. Harry replies “Somebody grabbed his chest, he must have seen the bill.” His remarks about the exorbitant rates charged usually by such clubs is amazing.
(iv) Because of the ‘heat’ he has generated in the Mafia, few attempts are made on his life in vain. Harry’s boss tells him to take a month’s vacation saying “ they will keep coming after you. Take a vacation.” Harry replies “Good, that way we will know where they are.”With this remark, Harry wants to prod the mafia to come after him so that he can save the time in going after them.

There are many more such dialogues in this interesting film which capture the attention of the audience,thanks to the Line producer of the film. These punch dialogues depict the moral strength of the character Dirty Harry. What about the present day encounter cops we have come across.We read in the media that the real purpose of these encounter cops, was self aggrandizement or settling political and personal scores in the line of their duty and not,to save the society from criminals or save tax payer’s money to avoid protracted legal proceedings.
When lawlessness prevails or become the rule of the day,when criminals hold the innocent at peril,we really require cops like Inspector Harry Callaghan who is dirty only to criminals to dispatch them permanently from the society.According to me Harry Callaghan is not dirty but Clean. We always will hope that one day,super cops like Harry Callaghan , will come to real life from reel life to save the world from the super criminals.

Mangalore surprise – the gesture of Love by Sene activists

February 18, 2009

I was amused to read a news item captioned “Sene plays cupid”in Bangalore Mirror Newspaper today the 18th February 2009.

The ‘Sene’ which attracted the wrath of the youth in the valentine day controversy has demonstrated that that it meant ‘business’ when they arranged the marriage of a dalit boy Shobit with a girl,Geetha from acharya community near Mangalore in Karnataka.

For the benefit of readers of this blog, let me reproduce the story behind the incident which goes like this. Shobit and Geetha were in love against stiff opposition.They faced threats and were subjected to enquiries even by Police.They were driven to the extent of committing suicide. Faced with no means of earning their livelihood ,they were depending on the temples and surviving on the prasadhams. At last the God of love answered their prayers and the solution came to sight in the form of widely publicized challenge of the Sene that they will get any boy and girl found in companionship compulsorily married on valentines day. This announcement really came as a sliver lining for the loving couple. The lovers took advantage of the situation and approached the Sene activists who saw the possibility of making amends and in the process gain publicity, plunged into action . They arranged for the inter-caste marriage of the couple in Registrar’s office and later in a temple. In a further show of humanity and social activitism, they even reportedly also arranged for a shelter/house for the married couple and also got them jobs to earn their livelihood. Is it their response to the pink chaddy compaign ? Did they anticipate that this valiant act of theirs will find a welcome reception even among the V day enthusiasts who may think that this has contributed to the cause and ultimate goal of the V day enthusiasts.. The activists have shown that they are not against the concept of Love but only against the methods of celebration of the valentines day. The activists may come out with many such acts to prove their point. This deserves wide publicity in as much as it may l encourage many more such lovers to follow suit. Ofcourse, they will have to wait till the next Valentines day.This gesture on the part of the activists should help in reducing if not erasing the animosity on the issue. Any way the gesture, on the part of the activists whether it has achieved in furthering their goal, or not, it has certainly has helped in making the couple,life partners. Let us expect more such acts from the activists who deserve kudos from every one ,including the V-day enthusiasts.


February 13, 2009

The present show down between the V Day enthusiasts and the so called self proclaimed Moral police in Karnataka, when the day for celebration approaching is unwarranted. Both the groups did some shadow boxing and that too in different rings.
The show down between Valentine Day enthusiasts and the self proclaimed moral police has reached s stage where the V day enthusiasts were planning to send pink chaddi to the leader of the opposing group. The V day enthusiasts who run their compaign by meeting and discussing through the medium of chats and groups in internet have planned this. In retaliation, the opposing group is trying to supply pink saree to the girl found in the company of a boy,and threaten to get the boy and girl married forcibly.The media flared up the issue and filled their columns.
When the emotions were at its peak and when both the groups were exchanging ideas as to how to achieve their goal, I came across a cartoon in one of the English dailies at Bangalore in which a small boy and girl are seen with their school bags strapped to their shoulders and returning home with garlanded necks and standing before the baffled parents and they tell their parents “we were just returning from school.” This cartoon rediculed the very idea of V day opposers.Hats off to the cartoonist. When good sense prevailed on the opposing group, an announcement was made by the chief of the group saying that they will democratically oppose the celebrations.With this welcome announcement,the V day enthusiasts heaved a sigh of relief.
The V Day supporters are free to observe the day as dedicated to the cause of love. The group consists of persons who are in love, persons who were in love and persons who hope to fall in love some day, or to be loved by some body in future and those who continue to be in love. The V-day enthusiasts wioll fall in one of the above in one of the above classifications.
Why the moral police is opposing Valentines Day. They say it is against the Indian culture. They conveniently forget the fact that the emotion of love always existed even in Hindu mythology and epics. Love at first sight was in Ramayana when “ Annalum Noakkinaan.. Avalum Noakkinaal.”( Rama also looked and Sita also looked ). Our epics show how beautiful was the love shown by Radha and Gopikas to Krishna. We also have read about Gandharva Vivahas. Hence the concept of Love was there,is there and will always be there. We show our Love by celebrating various days such as Mother’s day,Father’s day,Girl child’s day Teachers Day and the list is endless and valentine day is the Day designated to show our feelings of love to others.
Now that this issue has drawn the attention of the Governments and the ‘concerned’ social activitists, one may hope that the V- Day will be celebrated with usual devotion, fan fares, and cheers.One wonders who will be the winner /beneficiary in this flared up controversy. Is it the V-Day enthusiasts or the opposers.The answer is the Business community which promotes their products which include valentine cards, roses, gifts, booking in hotels and restaurants and garments. It is this business community into whose unseen hands the V day enthusiasts and the opposers have fallen and allowed themselves to be manipulated.and in this process quicks bucks were /are being made by the beaming business public.
Finally one message to the V day lovers. No body can stop you from celebrating the Valentines day. You exchange cards/greetings/pleasantries but within limits and with due respect to the other gender folks. You are not supposed to spread the message of hatred even towards the opposing group. Let the protesters protest and have their day with peaceful demonstrations. The authorities are there to ensure that the protests are peaceful.
Show to the world how how valiant you are in upholding your support for V Day celebrations and be “ strong”as the meaning for the equivalent word in latin suggests.Therefore try to make the V-Day, a “WE” DAY( to be read as WIN EVERYONE) by celebrating the day  with tolerance , humility and dignity.

TO SPIT OR NOT TO SPIT ,that is the Question

February 8, 2009

This is with reference to the news item titled “ They just spit on rules” which appeared in The Hindu on 7-2-09.The newscaster has done well in exposing the careless attitude of the spitters inspite of the existence of the law captioned ” The Tamilnadu Prohibition of smoking and spitting Act 2002 ” and about the practical difficulties in enforcing the Act. After reading this news item a famous phrase “to be, or not to be” from William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” came to my mind. In this blog the question I put to myself was ‘whether to spit or not to spit.’ I wanted to find out whether there is an alternative to spitting,and if there is one ,whether we can decidedly prefer it. There is something in us, however,  tells us always that there will be an alternative, as this is not the end of things, and we are not faced with a dilemma like Hamlet. Spitting is definitely avoidable. This gave me the impetus to ponder on this subject in this blog, about the origin and the effect of spitting.

Spitting originates from mouth which is referred to as window of the body. Spit is saliva which is a clear liquid that’s generated in our mouth 24 hours a day, day after day and it is made up of mostly water and few chemicals and is produced by the salivary glands inside areas adjoining the mouth. It is stated that the saliva glands secrete or ooze, about 1 to 2 liters of spit into our mouth every day and the purpose is to wet the food and makes it easier to swallow and helps to enjoy the taste. It is needed to begin the process of digestion The saliva helps in cleaning the inside of the mouth and rinses the teeth to help keep them clean and to fight off infections in the mouth. So much for the details. This is what we are informed about the mechanism of spitting. “Spitting is the act of expectorating. It is  the gentle sloshing of stomach contents up and out of the mouth.”  Spitting or expectoration is the act of forcibly ejecting saliva or other substances from the mouth.

Spitting is not the monopoly of the human beings. Even animals spit. It has been observed by zoologists that Camels are often ill-tempered and are known to spit at people, bite, and kick. Spitting has also been recognized as a competitive sport in which the participants are adjudged to number one spot, by measuring the distance their spit travelled. The Guinness Book of Records list the sport of Cherry Spitting and there are world championships in Kudu dung spitting. I was amused when I read about the Baseball player by name Frenchy Bordagaray who was once suspended for spitting on an umpire . He is said to have remarked that ‘ the punishment was more than I expectorated.”  It is reported that the Maasai people in Africa spit upon one another as a Greeting and Farewell. In the famous Hollywood Movie, “Ace Ventura: When nature calls.”,Hollywood actor Jim carrie made fun of this spitting. I also recall having seen in Hollywood comedy movie “History of the World Part-I ” directed and produced by Mel Brooks in which the Director had humorously picturised how people from  a tribal community bury their dead. The secene goes like this. ‘ Four persons will be holding the hands and legs of the dead, lift and  sway the body few times side ways a few times, chanting something and throw the body into a  pit and thereafter simultaneousely they all spit into the pit  in one go and show their respect .

As regards the harmful effects of spitting, which is contagious,it is reported that

‘ Respiratory droplets’ in spitting spreads the disease called Atypical pneumonia which does not respond to the usual antibiotic treatment, and spitting also spreads the dreaded but curable disease Tuberculosis. Spitting is normally considered rude and a social taboo in many parts of the world. Spitting upon another person, especially onto the face, is a universal sign of anger,hatred or contempt. The spitter makes a hissing noise and gathers the saliva in the mouth and forcible ejects the saliva with a sound which resembles “Thoo….”. After this spitting the spitter thinks that he has vented out his anger and starts worrying about the “backlash that would ensue ”.Whether the spitter spits on other’s face or on the ground, it definitely  affects the environment and inturn the society,hence a social evil..

I came across a study conducted in the City of Mumbai some years back, on the effect of spitting which I would like to share here. According to the study, “Ten per cent population of theMumbai city is likely to generate approximately 14,70,000 of spit every day.Comparing this data with the 437.7 sq km of the city, it follows that the spit generated can cover Mumbai 58 times over in a year . The samples show that on an average each spit sample weighs 3 gm. The volume of spit that can be generated by 10 per cent of the population of Mumbai, (14 million) would be nearly 5,36,550 kilo litres of spit per annum. People interviewed were from all walks of life and from downtown to the suburbs. Other facts thrown up show that an individual spits an average of 34 times a day and five times on each episode of tobacco or gutkha chewing. Primary spitters are tobacco or gutkha chewers”.

To fight the menace of spitting, the State Governments of Tamilnadu and Goa has passed the legislations prohibiting smoking and spitting. in public places. Spitting has been defined as voluntary ejection of saliva from the mouth after chewing or without ejection of mucus from the nose after inhaling snuff or without inhaling. The statute says “ No person shall spit in any place of public work or use.” The Government by notification in official gazette has notified many places as places of public work or use which include auditoria,cinema/conference/seminar halls,hospital buildings,health institutions,amusement centres,restaurants,eating houses,hotel lounges,and other waiting lounges,public offices,court buildings,educational institutions,libraries, bus stations/stands,ferry boats,places of worship,beaches, sports stadia, and the like which are visited by the general public but does not include other open places. You can see virtually all places where the public visit or work has been covered. Are there any places which are omitted.Yes , the list does not include private places..This does not mean that people are free to spit in these places. The Government can prohibit certain things only in public places and the spitting is prohibited in public . A reading of the above will show how serious the Government is and gives us an idea of the variety of places where the public spat before the advent of the Legislation. The wide range of places designated to fall within the definition of place of public work or use itself makes the enforcing of the Act an impossible task.The Act thus generally serves as an Advisory/Notice to the public and it has become practically impossible to enforce and thelegal machinery available is far too insufficient to enforce the Act and it would be therefore best left to the public to take a conscious decision. Still if the people tend to spit on the rules, it will be like spitting into the air in lying position.

Anybody caught doing it, should be fined, like in Singapore ,the City of Fines,(where the spitters are fined  upto Singapore $ 1000)and repeated offenders are made to clean up the mess they created and also fined and the third offence lands the offender in jail. These measures may seem to be harsh. But this ‘medicine’ is needed in India  to create social responsibility. But by creating awareness,this social evil can be eradicated. and to achieve this people should be made conscious of their responsibility to their environment.

What about instances of un- avoidable spitting. As we have come to know that due to atmospheric pollution and due to onset of the disease Asthma,the asthmatics tend to often cough to clear their throat and naturally the sputum or phlem gets collected in the mouth and the asthmatics immediate feel the necessity to spit it out. Where will they spit. If they are indoors in office or house,they can go to the wash Rooms or toilets and clear their mouths. What can they do if they are out door, say waiting for bus/Taxi or traveling by Train or car or aircraft or other modes of transport.. The natural tendency is to spit outside at the first opportune moment. One wonders whether it is possible to use spittoons ? As regards  Spittoons, they  were known to have been used by people long back and it was recognized as an acceptable outlet for spitters. Spittoons became far less common after the influenza epidemic and disappeared from use.(Even in the present day,it is reported that each justice of the Supreme court in the USA continues to be provided with a personal spittoon known as cuspidor).

One cannot be expected to carry around with him/her a spittoon wherever he/she goes. How to solve this problem of spitting. The spitters should spit too and at the same time the environment should not come into any harm. The solution lies with Public health authorities who should install hygienic spit- booths in popular localities and encourage the general public to freely use the same.The Civic and Public health authorities have already installed Out – lets for public conveniences like toilets(free /Pay-N-Use).The Authorities may consider installing spittoons in these facilities with facility of cleaning them at regular intervals.

Further the persons who are likely to get the urge to spit in public should not hesitate to carry with them small paper envelopes(Spit packets) made from recycled papers and use the same to collect the spit from the mouth and throw it into the nearest dustbins or designated places.The Airlines supply vomit bags during flight,which people are encouraged to  use. Then why not people should be encouraged touse spit packets .

The major source for spit which spoil the hygiene is  chewing Gutkha.I have a suggestion here. Why not the authorities insist that along with purchase of each packet of Gutkha , atleast five spit packets may also be compulsorily supplied along with each sachet of gutkha and include the cost in the purchase price. The addicts will certainly have to comply and this may be beginning.The Gutkha and chewing gum manufacturers have more social responsibility. They are under pressure to  display the warning  that chewing Gutkha is dangerous to health. But they can go one step further and also add a notice / advisory saying “Donot spoil the environment with spitting; Be responsible “ in the Gutkha sachets.The Gutkha manufacturers and their network of profit- making distributors may spend a portion of their huge profit to release advertisements in the print/electronic media and also produce Ad- films educating the gutkha-chewing-public about the ways of disposing the chewed gum and gutkha spit.The shop keepers may be advised to display sign- boards in their premises, on the need to spit responsibly and they may also be encouraged to orally advice their customers  about hygienic way of disposing the spit. Incentives should be extended to them for this service. The NGOs engaged in anti-Gutkha chewing compaigns can highlight this and come forward to sponsor and supply such spit – packets initially.  The very idea of spitting inside the spit packets and carrying the same till its disposal, may look disgusting and unhygienic but is there any other way. One has to treat this as one of the processes connected with self cleaning of excretions from body.After spitting in the spit-packets, the spitters can get on with their chores after this “relief” and this may be an immediate way-out for the spitter who is far away from any place for cleaning. I have seen in some temple towns of India , that due to the sustained compaign by some seva ashrams, people donot spit on some roads frequently used by devotees. No person irrespective of the religion he/she follows will spit inside the places of worship. Thus religious compulsion is also working in some places .and the spitters,( who avoid spitting) do well in discharging their responsibility to their religions. As a natural corollary , social responsibility should follow suit. The spitters should start thinking that places other than places of worship are also to be treated in the same manner in order to keep it clean,because it is here we keep ourselves alive by breathing clean air. As days pass, when the awareness spreads it is expected that the spitting in public places will slow down and totally disappear. We all remember  the dictum ” Where there is a will there is a way” and let us join in the compaign to inculcate conscious and responsible spitting habits among the people and the younger generations  because there is an  alternative available and it is for us to catch up with the same to lead a  hygienic life.

Readers of this blog may have better and more practical ideas on the subject which this blogger would like/hope to be informed of.

Finally ,as a result of the above deliberations,I think an answer to the question may come up. Spitting is not avoidable. But the hazards of spitting is avoidable with concerted efforts. Therefore the  need of the hour is to find an  alternative and to  make a beginning in creating  awareness and always remind ourselves of the slogan   “BE RESPONSIBLE WHEN YOU WANT TO  SPIT”.

Deficiency in efficiency-plight of train traveller

February 7, 2009

I happened to travel from Tiruchy to Chennai by Tiruchirapalli-Howrah Express which left Tiruchchirapalli Station at 4 PM on 6th February 2009 and “was” scheduled to arrive at Chennai at 10.10 PM. However the train kept sagging and went on losing time. The Engine driver did not seem to be in hurry. Forgetting that the train was a Super fast one, it began halting at small stations under the guise of allowing for crossing. The train reached Villuppuram Junction at 19 25 Hrs and to the dismay of every body, at least 4 trains came from the opposite direction, stopped for a few minutes and left. There was no sign of our train starting. People got agitated and started enquiring with the Railway staff. The TTE said “I do not know. Ask the SM”. The Station master said he too did not know the reason…. Is it not strange? He is supposed to know. He was not prepared to make an announcement in the Public address system. Finally the train started moving at 21 50 Hrs. During the two unwanted hours of halt at Villuppuram, the IRCTC staff started selling seemingly inedible chapatti and other food stuff, which appeared to be left overs of at least two days. Inspite of the fact that there was a Pantry car attached to the train, no proper food was prepared or distributed I think the Villuppuram catering staffs have totally forgotten the “lesson” taught by Vikram while depicting his character Anniyan in Director Shanker’s block buster Tamil Movie “ANNIYAN.” It looked as if Villuppuram railway catering will not improve even if thousand Anniyans descend on them and teach lessons. (By teaching such lessons, persons like Anniyan may become a good cook, after all!!)

Everybody including the railway staff “ironically” seemed to be waiting. Finally when the train, which was to further travel a distance of 1849 KMs to reach its destination Howrah, received signal to move and started moving, everybody heaved a sigh of relief and started calculating the tentative time of reaching Chennai and about the nature of transport they would have to take to reach their homes. But the calculations of the Rail Traffic controller appeared to be different. The train,which was supposed to pick up speed and make up for the lost time,instead,began stopping at unscheduled stops for want of signal and patiently allowed even Passenger trains to cross, as if there was no need to hurry. Though there was no scheduled stop at Mambalam Railway station, many passengers requested the driver to stop for a brief period at Mambalam at about 2 15 AM reminding him of the reason of the inconvenience caused by the undue delay and difficulty that would be faced by passengers in getting transport to reach home.But no solution was in sight as there was no redeemer of their sufferings to relieve the inconvenience. As one of the passengers I thought that the  driver was perhaps worrying about the official backlash due to further delay..The train chucked into Chennai Egmore Station at 230 AM after consuming TEN HOURS of journey, where further inconvenience was awaiting the passengers.
The platform was flooded with anxious passengers who were waiting in the platform to board the train to Howrah and to continue the next batch of a “pleasant journey” on a superficially “speeding ” train.The waiting passengers ,it seems, were not informed in advance of the late arrival of the train by the railways staff at Egmore regarding the causes of delay or the likely time of arrival. Donot jump to underestimate the announcers.One cannot forget the fact that there are a few duty conscious staff like the accredited railway employee viz Mr.VD Zhende, who used to make announcements of suburban train arrivals and departures from his small office room, at CST Railway station and who with his presence of mind saved hundreds of lives on the  fateful  evening of November 26 in the face of terror attack.

When enquired with some railway staff, they stated that this train is a weekly train and there is public demand to make it at least bi-weekly. It occurred to me then that such tactics of delay on the part of Railways is to make the people to wait for the arrival of the train in a span of two days and making it a habit among the traveling public to expect the arrival of the train.(If the train does not come today, it will positively come tomorrow because ….)
At Egmore station at 2-30AM all the platforms were empty including the first, second and third which does not require the passengers to climb the foot over bridge.The Egmore Railway staff chose to draw the train at Platform No: 5 which necessitated climbing of foot over bridge One of checking staff was dutifully checking the passengers for their ticket. What a sense of duty I wondered. I was reminded of the tea shop Walla sardarji, a character in the TAMIL Movie “RUN” ,who would be unperturbed in his tea cooling process, when Vivek gets throttled in front of him. Vivek then says “Yaarumae illada kadaiyelaea Yaarukuyaa tea aathuhiraai. Adaiye singhu. Un Kadamai Unarchchikku oru alavae Illayaada…..” (may be skipped by those who have the language deficiency).Thus all the irritated and exasperated passengers gasped and climbed the foot over bridge and came out of the railway station where vultures in the guise of Auto/Taxi men , were waiting to fleece the passengers with demands of astronomical auto and taxi fares.
No Police personnel or RPF staff was in sight and an empty police booth with the sign “MAY I HELP YOU” greeted the passengers and remained a sign – a bad sign! One wonders whether is it not the duty of Railway Protection force to ensure the safety of the passengers, who were forced to arrive 5 Hours late with no chance of using the Public transports .The railway authorities will have to admit the deficiency in their service. Police and RPF authorities will have to admit their failure in posting atleast one constable to assist the passengers and help them in getting safe transport. They should take the cue from their counterparts in Bangalore, where there is pre paid taxi and Auto service.Even during odd hours in the night,the Police personnel usually come to the assistance of the passengers who are arriving at Bangalore at late hours and they note down the name of the passenger, the Regn number of the Auto/Taxi and name of the driver and prevent any untoward incident. Hope the Tamilnadu Police will follow suit.

Since the Superfast train really travelled like an ordinary passenger train (which usually takes about 10 hours to cover this distance, ) the collection of superfast surcharge is not justified and if one has the time to  approach the Consumer forum,he may get relief in the form of refund . The Railway authorities know that no body has the time for this.

May the rail’ways’ mend their ‘ways’ and try to be more consumer friendly and humane because it is the ‘way ‘the civilized consumer world expect and appreciate.

Police torture of a Poor girl in UP

February 4, 2009

A few days back we happened to watch in TV and  read in print media  how a poor  little girl was brutally hurt by  police men  near Lucknow. The incident sent shock waves through out the country and the UP Police chief swung into action and  dismissed the Sub Inspector who was perpetrating the  crime and suspended  the Inspector who was encouraging  the show  without any inhibition.

It has been reported that the girl was brought to the Police station by one lady, “who was intent on  some how punishing the girl under due process of law” on the allegation that the little girl had stolen Rs 280  from her and passed it on to a boy. When the girl was brought to the police station, no money was found on her. The Police appears to have  taken “swift action” relying solely on the lady,(who must now be regretting her action).  The Police was slapping her,pulling  her tousled mop of hair  making the child writhing  in pain.

One look at the Police man will show that he  was adjudicating the crime and enforcing the sentence. He seemed to be  enjoying  his  show of strength and method of teaching a lesson to the unfortunate child, whose young age    could not come to her protection.  No legal purpose seemed to be there in his actions. Perhaps his thoughts were that no useful purpose will be served and no case can be any way  registered against a six year old.

But for  the camera of a good samaritan which caught the incident for the world to watch and raise the alarm,this incident would not have come to light. Even if some  reporter had reported the story  in the newspapers, this would have not have attracted attention of the higher ups in the Police force and dissolved amidst umpteen newstories unfolding about persons like Rajus and Muthaliks.No body would have given second glance or   thought. It would have been forgotten  then and there  as another ‘usual excess’ by the police.

This incident only highlights the plight of  thr girl child  who I can  compare with Danny Boyle”s character Latika in  the Movie  Slum Dog Millionaire . One wonders what action the Law is contemplating against the real culprits who forcibly engage such children into such acts of crime.    The electronic media in its usual role repeatedly  highlighted the ‘show’ until the DG of Police drew blood with the suspension and sacking of the Police officials. The Police have registered a case against the culprits under section 323 and 504 of the Indian Penal code  for having voluntaril;y causing hurt and for having intentionally insulted and therebycausing provocation which may cause break in Public peace. Any way the people will forget the incident.  If any organisation including NGO  come forward to rehabilitate the child, for ensuring the future of the child,it will be a welcome break.