Traveling to work one morning, my car halted as the traffic signal turned red. My usual tete-a-tete with a book seated comfortably on the back seat (No, I wasn’t reading and driving although there isn’t any rule against it as yet!) was interrupted when from the corner of my eye, I spotted the driver of the car waiting next to mine open the door and vomit out a splattering of chewed tobacco. It goes without saying that I was smothered by a feeling of profound disgust.
I pepped myself up to step out and accost him with my thoughts -maybe even lecture him about the impropriety of his deed so that he would remember the encounter vividly the next time he decided to carry out a similar act and hopefully, be discouraged to do so. However, the traffic moved a wee bit just then, taking his car ahead of mine and allowing me a clear view of the license plate. Bold letters of the Devanagari script sat smug on a red background, announcing to the world that the car belonged to the Minister, City Congress Council.
Now, neither is the Congress part of the government in my State, nor is it in control of the city’s Municipal Corporation. So how and of what could the owner of this car be a Minister? By now, my car had inched ahead too, offering me a better look at the driver. I must admit here that although the driver had someone sitting next to him, I wasn’t too sure as to who ‘looked’ like a driver and who, the minister. Was the driver the minister himself and the person sitting next to him a colleague? Or was the driver only a driver after all and the other person, the minister? Confusing, isn’t it?
As the furrows on my forehead deepened, I decided that this was a very tricky but commonplace situation in a country like ours. Leaders and ministers seldom dress or conduct themselves any differently than the uneducated masses, making it difficult for people like me to tell them apart.
In the meantime, the signal had turned green and both our cars were swept forward amidst a cacophony of horns honking from all directions. As the red license plate continued staring at me, I pondered about the wisdom in my idea to accost the driver. For if the driver was indeed a driver, my well-meaning sermon could have made a dent in his conscience, making it a worthy effort. But what if the driver was not a driver but the ‘Minister’ his license plate claimed to be? I’m not sure what the consequences of such an encounter would have been.
If at all I have learnt something from Indian politics, it is to keep away from politicians at all costs. And in this case, their drivers too!
And before I wrap up, here’s a cool poster I found on the net, attributed to randomjargonmusings.blogspot.in – I really liked the ‘NOT OK PLEASE’ part – something everyone who’s bothered to notice the derriere of trucks in India would immediately identify with!