Rahul da Cunha: Intriguing India!
So, as we launch into 2016, two areas of our existence intrigue me:
1. Traffic violations
2. Terrorist strikes
Much has been reported about the sheer lawlessness on Mumbai’s streets. Reckless driving, rash overtaking and RTO attempting to bring about control. So the wise, old men of the traffic police have enforced some strict new rules, out of which two stand out.
1. If a two-wheeler rider is caught without a helmet, his licence will be suspended for three months. Fair enough. And he has to pay a fine. Nothing new about that. Except — hold your breath — he must pay by credit card. A few questions:
A. What if the rider/driver isn’t carrying a card?
B. Does the poor havaldar have to carry that credit card machine around?
C. And what happens if the card doesn’t work? Will the havaldar say, ‘Sir, your Visa card is not working. Do you have a Master card?’
2. So, if having your licence suspended isn’t punishment enough, a new dikat proclaims, you have to endure two hours of counselling — that too on another day. I’m wondering whether the session will proceed along the following lines.
Counsellor (C): So, sir, you know that jumping the red light was wrong?
Patient (P): I do. But doctor, the issue is genetic.
C: Would you care to explain?
P: Well, it runs in the family. My father broke traffic lights, and his father before him; my great great grandfather before him. In fact, my nana’s great great great grandfather, jumped the first-ever traffic light, outside Victoria terminus station way back in 1930. It’s in our blood, doctor saab.
C: Yes, I can see there is a history of ‘jumping signals’. I think you will require many sessions, plus some light
P: No doctor, there is no problem. You see, we are not bad citizens, nor is it a case of mental illness. Thing is, we are colour blind, we see red as green and vice versa.
C: Sir, please don’t say ‘colour blind’, that is not politically correct. The term is optically dyslexic!
And now to terrorist strikes, the Pathankot tragedy.
One thing intrigues me here — the speechwriters of our politicians.
Our defence minister admits to ‘some gaps’ in the security that led to the attacks resulting in the deaths of some soldiers. I’m intrigued by the man’s choice of words. ‘Some gaps’ are what we have in our teeth. These were not gaps, this was an abyss, this was a chasm, this was a collapse, this was a breakdown. Capiche?
And my final intrigue, now that Aamir Khan has been stripped of his brand ambassadorship of Incredible India, what’s next for him? Endorser of ‘Intolerant India’? Or as some vicious trollers on social media would say, ‘Incredible Pakistan’?
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org