Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Driver, Me...and Raj

“Faaltu main aaya main!” I said, scanning the roster. I shouldn’t have come.

The three guys who were supposed to be with me in the cab did not come fearing for their safety.I was in the cab alone with the driver. I wished I knew in advance that they weren’t coming. I would’ve stayed back too.

Sighing, I rolled down the window and looked outside. The normally bustling streets were deserted today. The empty streets somehow reminded me of Mani Ratnam’s Bombay. The scene where Tinnu Anand surveys a burning Bombay from inside a white ambassador car flashed before me eyes. Somehow, I felt I was him.

The numbers were ringing in my mind. As many as 202 State Transport Buses, 350 Taxis , 115 BEST buses, 3 trucks and 4 private vehicles were smashed or gutted down across Maharashtra in a frenzied display of hatred.  All for a man spewing hate, mocking the constitution and indulging in regional terrorism. If he had even an iota of concern for the Marathi cause, they would have prospered. I was thinking about that young railways aspirant who lost his life for daring to seek employment by just means. And I knew Raj would get bail tomorrow. For murder. Again.

“Sir, ek baat bolun?” said that driver, breaking my chain of thoughts. Can I say something?

“Aap agar aaj nahin aate toh kuch nahin hota. Nahin toh bhi 60% employees nahin aaye hain.” He said. If you would not have come today, it wouldn’t have created much of a scene, as it is, 60% of the employees haven’t reported to work either.

He then went on to add that he would have left for home too. His parents were very worried.

He continued, “Saala gaadi bhi darke chalana padh raha hai..kahin se aa gaye toh apne toh vaande ho jaayenge.” I can’t even drive without fear lest they pop up from somewhere... we can very well forget about reaching office then.

“Yaar, tumko kyaa tension hai, tum toh Marathi ho..agar pakda, toh bol dena, ‘Mee Pan Marathi Manoos aahe!’, chhod denge turanth!” I said. I think it came out more sarcastically than I intended. Dude, why do you have to fear, you’re a Marathi guy, tell them .. I am Marathi too; they’ll spare you immediately.

“Kyaa sir, aisi baatein karte ho. Abhi gaadi kaa kaanch phodne ke baad mereko sorry bolke kyaa faaida? Voh log toh sabse pehle phatthar phenkte hain..” How can you say that sir? They throw stones at passing cars. And what’s the point in apologising after the windshield is smashed?”

I knew the company wouldn’t pay for that. Nor can they claim insurance in riot like situations. Besides, windshields cost a bomb when smashed.

“Abhi voh Nashik main maara voh Hindustan Lever kaa employee, voh toh Marathi thaa. Kyaa hua? Raj ne maafi maanga. Lekin kya sir, Murder ke liye bhi maafi maangke nikal jaaneka kya? Saala, kuch kimmat hi nahi hai apna?” He asked. Last time, they killed an employee of Hindustan Lever. He turned out to be a Marathi. What did Raj do? He apologised. Well, can you walk away with a murder by just tendering an apology? What’s the value of our lives?

Well, it was an employee of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited who lost his life at Nashik earlier this year. And it was true that Raj’s men literally walked away with murder then.

The driver asked, “Sir, abhi raatko kaise kyaa neend aata rahegaa usko? How does he manage to sleep at night?

There was no way I could reply to this.

I looked outside. I was wondering the same.

11 Grumblings:

Anand said...

That asshole is not going to get death penalty for sure..

But, can't we have the EC working like a referee wherein politicians it deems worthless can be banned from contesting elections further?

neha said...

It's amazing..how u ppl only single out Raj T.
Tell me..is any political party in india free from this taint of violence??? Congress attacking sikhs after indira's murder, bjp's hindu-muslim riots in ayodhya and then modi's gujrat riots..when the two leading national parties have indulged in this, u are silent, but u only have problem with Raj.
I think ur problem is mainly against marathi people. I know a lot of marathi people who suffered in those riots of last 2 days but said- "That's ok..we won't mind this..coz Raj is fighting for the right cause."
I agree violence is not a solution, but it's disgusting when only marathis are targeted but nobody has guts to point out that south indians treat hindi-speaking people in lower way than even animals. Marathis are weak so they are targeted.

Sikander F Khan said...

I really feel that India (read sub-continent) is fast going back to Pre British, post Mughal days of ethnic and lingual States. Being Marathi, Baloch, Tamil, Punjabi, Sindhi, Bengali, Bihari, Pathan, Kashmiri etc is all that we care about... not Indian or Pakistani.

Sikander F Khan said...

Neha... why does it have e 'Marathi people' and 'Tamil people'... why can't it be Indian people ??

ayyo.... said...

@ Anand
I cant recall anybody being punished either. Remember Shibu Soren?

I wish we had something like an EC , but I dont think that it is practical. Maybe we can do nothing more than appealing to the common man's morality!
Look at the US presidential elections. They are in such a stark contrast to what happens here!

ayyo.... said...

@ Neha
It's sad but there is no political party that has not indulged in violence in the past. To bring up Babri Masjid's demolition here would serve no purpose. It's the most shameful part of India's political history. But that doesn't justify anything?

But you have misuderstood my post as being Anti-Marathi. I am a Maharashtrian myself ( I think I can call myself that, for I was born here.)

For God's sake...please read my post as being Pro-India and not Anti-Marathi.

Peace!!

ayyo.... said...

@ Siku
Yes. And it's so sad. My inbox is full of Anti-Raj and Anti- Bihari e-mails. I feel so nauseated on reading them.
Isn't the something as in an "India" as well..

ketki said...

whatever be the language we
speak, we must not forget that we are indians first

kunwar said...

i alwayd have had a secret desire to put that chicken molesting rat fondling road double crossing crossbreed of a rodent and a poultry farm hen... into a bursting volcano thirsty for his blood

meerasworld said...

the comment from kunwar,is hilarious!
nice open post.

ayyo.... said...

Yeah, Kunwar's comment is hilarious. :D
I had a lot going through my mind those days..! He managed to divide the people..!