Skip to main content

Our Politicians Who Rule The Roads

Adman Suhel Seth made an interesting observation the other day on a discussion that I was part of. "We fear our politicians while they should be fearing us." Obviously he was not referring to the gentle Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The subject was 26/11 and the first anniversary. The first anniversary demonstrated, as many commentators have amply pointed out; that the political class is now better protected and drives in sturdier SUVs and of course treats you like the very terrorist that its supposed to protect you from, were you to get in their way.

Yesterday I was racing to the Bangalore airport to make our evening flight back to Mumbai. We were on the last stretch. I turned around to see a white car with a howling siren honking ceaselessly. Surely we were not getting pulled over. Wrong, we were getting pushed over. Then the red light Ambasssador was alongside. In its wake, was a Volvo SUV, a XC 90 or therabouts I think. Prices start at Rs 45 lakh. Of course, the starched white politicians I could see seated comfortably within (forgive me if they were volunteers at Mother Teresa's) deserve no less.

Whose Roads Anyway ?

A policeman seated in the front left seat of the Ambassador car leaned out waving his finger threateningly. Our driver, fresh from a battle of words with a motorcyclist a few kilometres earlier, seemed raring to defy. He kept pace, both cars were now racing alongside. The policeman's finger kept going, finger waving. Now I was getting worried. One part of me wanted to cheer the driver on, the other part of me, was worried. What if these guys jumped out with guns and started firing ?

Fortunately, they did not (start firing ie) and we screeched into the terminal even as the motorcade veered left into another lane. Obviously, the reserved ones for VIPs. And then the sickening sight of the policemen genuflecting before them, rushing to clear the way. And then I lost sight and interest. I had a flight to catch.

This happens every other day in Mumbai city. Politicians, and I suspect, many others, routinely brush traffic aside like the roads were maternally willed to them. I've always wanted to force them aside and ask, "What gives you greater right over this road ? How is that these policemen whose salaries I pay for treat you like a lord and me like a serf." Isn't democracy is about it being the other way round." Maybe I will, force them aside one of these days. Remember you read it here first.


Roy said…
in India it seems that some are more equal than others. We have bred a culture of sycophancy which never seems to disappear
Naresh said…
Nice post. This is completely contradictory to the European countries where politicians are known to take the Metro to work. All this to avoid traffic jams!
This one wouldn't mind taking away a few to Heaven. What they don't seem to understand is driving as if devil may care, increases their chances of meeting a fatal accident. I remember the sad state of Sahib Singh Verma , the former chief minister of Delhi.
ms said…
hey man, cool it! we don't want to read about this dude who got shot at for not giving way to a sirening white ambassador! what about the traffic not parting like moses' sea when an ambulance wants way? i once was in such an ambulance, some car stopped to let us proceed, but before i could thank them, another idiot overtook it and suddenly, we had more than one patient in the van - 3 of us were thrown against the windscreen, two attendants in the rear were slammed against the steel cabinets, blood and broken bones all around.
Your blog is nice..keep it up..
Post your blog link in our web and get more web traffic free.
We are a web Journalist Group. We invite you to our group. Join with us.
For details mail us
monisha mehta said…
hey , nice blog , like it ,
won't be nice if i u can clickover to my blog page too ,
& post some suggestion

Popular posts from this blog

Why Did Aamir Khan Swing For Narmada ?

He is not the first celebrity to do so. But he’s turned out to be the most radical, activist Bollywood filmstar by far, all in day's least as far as my memory serves me.

The reasons why he would back the Narmada Bachao Aandolan
could be several. Ranging from the fact that a cousin associated with the movement influenced him to the fact that he was in and out of the Kutch for six months whilst the shooting of Lagaan.

Lets assume all that contributed significantly. Still, why join the protestors in the manner he did ? Why become a face for the movement ? Knowing well there could be consequences that may not be the most desirable.

Dammed If You Do..

To his credit, he did not buckle to the mob frenzy that followed his signing up a few days ago. Instead, he calmly called the attention of all and sundry and asked if these were really the politicians and political parties they wanted to be led by ? He even accused the political parties of trying to bully him.

There are those who de…

Jan Lokpal Bill Movement: Lessons For India's Middle & Ruling Classes

`Supercop' Kiran Bedi learnt the hard way (or so we hope) how not to hold fort when she resorted to somewhat unusual theatrics to drive home a point about elected representatives. She was on stage as Gandhian Anna Hazare fasted to get the Indian Government to agree to pass the Jan LokPal Bill, a strong anti-corruption bill. His fast ended on 28 August 2011, 12 days after it started.

The fast (and the strategy thereof) has attracted kudos and criticism alike. The critics call the fast and the accompanying protests blackmail. The supporters say politicians are not known to respond to the usual greet, meet and review process. As they have not in the past. Moreover, the country has lived with unprecedented levels of corruption for decades and across all walks of life. And cannot tolerate it any longer. Extreme conditions call for extreme responses. Both sides however agree that the issue of corruption in public life must be addressed, with some urgency.

I see it a little differently.…

The Zone

I was watching Indian captain MS Dhoni's eyes when he hit the sixer that catapulted India to victory at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 on Saturday night. Only someone with numbing focus and meditative concentration, oblivious to the utter mayhem and cacophony all around, can play a shot like that. It was the definitive, you-guys-can-take-this stroke from a cricketer wanting to leave a permanent stamp on the game.

To be fair, many such definitive shots have been played, match winning and otherwise. But it was one of the few I would categorize as belonging to The Zone. Spiritual expert Jaya Row who once defined the Zone to me. "Its your ability to disconnect totally from the world outside and be in total control of your mind and body for that moment," she had told me.

I have always wondered about the role of spirituality (secular) in our lives. Ms Row, a Vedanta expert, defined ita appropriately. "Think of Sachin Tendulkar when he is facing a bowler. Look at his face…