Friday, July 28, 2006 2 reflections

Got spat at? Spit back!

‘What!’ I exclaimed as my ex-colleague Gerard narrated his experience. He was returning from some place one sunny afternoon when a lazy public transport bus zoomed past him. As he tried to steer clear with his modest Kinetic Honda ZX a generous gob of human saliva shot out from within one unmistakable window and landed on dear Gerry’s left hand. Unable to bear being used as a metaphor for a trash bin and having endured enough abuse all his life as a commuter, Gerry had sped up right next to the roaring automobile, stood up on his Honda bike and returned the favor back into the surprised face of the passenger who occupied the window referred above. Gerry had then sped away from this catastrophe of an incident before getting into further trouble.

As amusing as this incident might seem, what really makes it borderline hilarious is that this is the only way, as it seems, that public sense can be evoked. How many times have you come across characters that relieve themselves on walls that yell back not to do so? How many times have you wondered why no one seems to want to pay that one rupee to use the many publicly installed restrooms across the city? How many times have you been extra cautious while walking past the windows of a bus not knowing what to expect on your head? A half eaten piece of corn? A very alive cigarette butt? Or worse?

Studies show that people are less likely to commit a sin when they become victims of the same genre. If there is anything real about this statement then I guess what my friend Gerry did was quite possibly heroic and is eligible for an award or two.

The human faculty is blessed with five major senses with the exceptional sixth one. But sadly the one sense they seem to have trouble mastering is the most common one – Civic Sense. What is ironic about it is that this sense seems to grow out like an extra limb when these very people travel to foreign lands. Can you imagine getting away with such disgusting behavior in London or Singapore? When confronted with this argument they retaliate with ‘Oh it is only India. Kindly adjust.’

Fair enough. We will adjust without a single shred of problem but only if they are ready to accept what they gave. Ever been in a traffic jam when the person behind you honks meaninglessly? I propose you carry a blow horn at all times. The moment he gets annoying step down from your vehicle and return the favor right next to his window. Wouldn’t that be the ideal revenge?

-- ShaKri

Sunday, July 09, 2006 2 reflections

Why India does not need Superman

Lois Lane bags the coveted Pulitzer award for an article titled 'Why the world does not need Superman' in the superhero flick - Superman Returns. Her article, as fictitious as it might be, added more context to my thoughts as my friend turned to me and said 'I wish we had a Superman too.' She was watching the man of steel bring an aircraft back to safety with his bare hands and wishing our country had one such savior as well. A decent wish, I thought.

Her words echoed in me long after as I tried to imagine where exactly Superman would fit the scene in our country. Assuming Superman decided to work exclusively for our country, what would be the best way to use him, I wondered.

He could start off with the easiest one - unclogging bottlenecks in the tens of thousands of traffic jams that occur every day across the nation. Being a super hero he needs to have something ‘super’ to boost his ‘super ego’ isn’t it? What better than move around heavy and polluted automobiles around to ensure better traffic conditions! Bangalore alone would give him enough to work with. But considering he will have to keep running off to the sun every hour for more energy, would we not be wasting twice the time waiting for him to fly back? What would be the point of using this man if he cannot be consistent in his efforts all over the city, let alone the nation? He will also need to maintain some sort of database that will help him manage the daily records of this activity. Since he cannot be at two places at the same time, he would really be servicing only one section of the country everyday hence being underused.

Ok so traffic control seems like a tougher one than we imagined. Could he be used to fight crime instead? Perhaps but his job will end once he captures the miscreants and hands him over to the authorities. Bails, power trips and the infinite time courts take to handle cases will ensure that our superhero’s job becomes redundant. Why some of the goons he catches will actually walk free the same day! 'Hey! Did I not arrest you last week?' he would wonder quite often. It will not be long before he is transferred to another zone given his hyperactive crime fighting powers. He will probably spend more time arguing with the officials and filling transfer forms than be on the streets preventing lawlessness.

Alright. I am sure we have something for him to do. The other area where he might be used is to help the various incomplete construction projects around the country. He could use his super powers to help engineers in putting together a bridge or a flyover or an airport within hours. But how will he manage the governing bodies’ decisions that will bring down the structure stating it is illegal? Once the court brings a stay order what could Superman do to aid in these projects? If anything he will feel sorry to have wasted so much energy in a project that was bound to be grounded. Other areas like poverty, population, pollution and education are also not quite the kind that would do justice to the super hero's powers.

Considering these main scenarios I guess it is safe to say that India might be one of the places, which can't use Superman. We appreciate what he can do but I guess he is better off being Clark Kent as far as India is concerned.

But then, we already have millions of those too. Krissh...are you listening buddy?