Extremely distressed by the news of the rape victim’s death, I walked out of office today evening and went straight to Bandstand – the sea calms me down; makes me reflective and happy. So I decided to give it a try again, to check if it could still permeate my state of utter frustration, anger and grief at everything going on around me, at the country I live in, a country I claimed I loved no matter what, at one point of time.
And so I went and walked, for a really long time. Turns out, my expectations were met indeed. I did come back a calmer, slightly happier soul, and the reason for this was one street vendor, Ravinder from Jaunpur whom I happened to speak to just by chance. I asked him where, pray, would I find a dustbin across the long stretch of the Bandstand promenade where a huge sign forbidding littering was put up, with no ambiguity whatsoever of its commandment. The irony was that not even a single, small dustbin was provided anywhere along the entire route. And thus, in response to my query, began the outpouring of frustration, probably pent up inside the guy for quite some time. I, henceforth speak on his behalf, mostly quoting him word for word, and thus explaining my reason to return home a calmer soul.
P.S. The language may get slightly coloured for a few people henceforth, but please excuse me for these are views of the man, and in order to remain true to his sentiment I shall quote him exactly.
This is a chutiya place with chutiya people living around. They could make up an entire Bandstand but haven’t even provided for a single dustbin around the area. And so you see these huge houses, with rich people living inside? They don’t care whether people all around litter this promenade or not, but what they do care about are us poor vendors who are trying to earn an honest living. And thus, everyday, complaints are made, money is fed to the police who come around and pick up a few odd vendors from here, making sure they do not return, and thus shutting out an honest man’s way to support himself and his family. And then they talk of crimes being committed. Now, out of frustration and poverty if crimes won’t be committed then what else will happen? I try so hard every day to sell these peanuts, and chana jor garam etc. and ensure a decent income for my wife and me, but every day I battle the fear that today may be my fate won’t be with me. This government is a chutiya government. Laws are made not for welfare of people but just to harass us poor people, and for a show of authority. Why do you think criminals move around fearless? Because, the government knows that one gun totting criminal would do them and their “incomes” much more harm, than would a peaceful common man. And so they unleash their authority and ‘’laws’’ on the common man. He is supposed to adhere to laws, to respect them, while the chutiya government and the rich work hand in hand to ensure smooth, comfortable lives for themselves. Now take the case of that girl from Delhi who got gang raped just last week. The poor girl has passed away. But do you think the rapists will be punished? No way. Nothing is going to happen. Because this chutiya government only wants to save their backsides. When I have a son of my own, I am going to teach him the right way to live. I am going to teach him how to respect women, and be a good human being. Just the way my father taught me. You know how I got married? My wife was not getting a nod of approval from anyone else, for either there were exorbitant demands for dowry, or they had some or the other problem with her appearance, or they would just not bother to even reply back after going for a meeting. My father went just once to see her, for in my village the elders go and approve the girl, and immediately said yes. He just had one condition- there will be no exchange of any sort of dowry but since they insisted he agreed to let them give us whatever they sought fit, but within a certain limit. He did not ask for a single penny. That is the kind of lesson I shall impart to my son, when I have children. It’s so sad what happened to the girl in Delhi. But these things happen every day and will happen till this chutiya government continues to not care about us common people.
This is the anguish and frustration that got unleashed from this common man of India. And it was extremely satisfying to see that there is still a man around who thinks like this. To be colloquial, here’s someone from a “lower social strata” of society who can think more progressively, clearly and sensibly than more than half the ‘’cream of society’’.