Friday, February 24, 2012

Revenue recovery experiences

Evening. I looked at the boy, his cute innocent smile. Too many faces for the day and too little time to make any sense of it. The boy is too small for this world. There is a cocoon protecting him. Many don’t get the chance. Let him be – safe and happy.

We had set out for revenue recovery Mela in the morning. For those of you who may mistake ‘Mela’ for a festival, it’s far away from that. The bitch did warn that this was going to be something like a roller-coster ride. She wasn’t wrong. The journey started through the picturesque Kuttanad belt. The ducks and the fields came straight out of a picture post card. The paradox is this beautiful region is increasingly sounding the death knell of many a people.
We, four officials started out in the morning, intending to reach half an hour late. The people must know who the VIP is. Me and my mate were kind of stenographers- doing nothing creative but filling out the negotiation sheets. As for my mate, I found it particularly tough to stand her. But guts is a quality you might never find in me. We walked into the room to find it filled with people. We have to push and shove to reach our seat.

As soon as we rested our asses people teemed in and crowded around the table. I sat there watching the people, when the boss was doing his negotiations. There were disabled, people on crutches, people with proud faces and some with sympathy . Revenue recovery basically happens after Bank writes off debts. Then it turns out to be the duty of village officer to get back the money. We with a view to get back anything we might have lost, try to squeeze in as much as we can. A small commission is paid to the Village office. Even the interest rates aren’t calculated correctly and the whole thing is a publicity stunt.

Ever since liberalization and Basel days, banks have been trying hard and mad to meet the capital norms. So they tend to be extra cautious when there is a chance for assets going bad. But on top of it Government pushes for more loans to priority sector. There is a great chance for the loans going bad. And without enough security we’ve no choice but to write it off.

As soon as the whole exercise started, the people clammered around the table crying, pleading, demanding a waiver. The tough part was to make out the genuine cases from the fake ones. One of our initial cases was a man who took the educational loan for his kid and the kid couldn’t find a job and couldn’t repay it. I soon found out this wasn’t going to be the last.

A few years ago, Government decided to dole out licenses for free to any sort of educational institutions. The man behind the idiotic idea is protecting our country as the defense minister. His idea of rooting out corruption was to legalize it. Then to get the votes they forced the banks to give the loans for free. Then to please the cash hungry, illiterate college chairmen they liberalized the fee structure. Today we have the situation where young kids with starry eyes walk away with huge loans. It takes them 4 years to realize there are no MNCs waiting and the small jobs aren’t enough for the EMIs.

I met a guy from as far as Bangalore. Once upon a time male nurses was a lucrative option for the not so intelligent boys. The fees were obscene and today the hospitals totally shut out the jobs for men and the poor guy said he had no option but a higher study. He assured me the chances for a job is assured there. Who knows?!

Then there was this man who carried her palsy affected kid. He started with folded hands on his sick child. Our boss coldly cut him short, ‘Come to the point’. May be he came into exploit some of our soft corners. I was confused by the sympathy towards this man and despise for carrying his sick kid along.

The other interesting genre were the ones who stood as mutual guarantors. Even failure of one pulled the other into a quagmire, they were dragging each other in afraid to let the other go. There were women who went back and pawned their gold. They were very sure that, they might not be able to get it back.

Housing is a dream for every Mallu. But as soon as he starts to build it, he just blows away the cash. There was a well dressed man. From the looks of it, it became obvious that he was not used to this crowd. He later broke up and said even his wife’s Mangal Sutra was pawned and he had to lock his sick mother at home to come here. Even the unshakeable boss was visibly shaken.
Interestingly when the Mallyas, with as much as 7000 crore walk around happily and still throwing money around, people with a loan as less as 50000 bucks have to come crawling on their knees. Mallya still is the rash, lovely guy who has the time of his life. But how many bother that the money he gambles on his ventures, are really that of the people who beg for a waiver!!
Systematically we are heading to a total collapse- with a government who concentrates income generation capacity into the hands of a select few, while the rest of the population has to depend on them.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Jesus who?

I am kind of regularized in my exercises nowadays. The motivation being the buckle hole progressing more and more out. Besides I discovered a cute and rough ground here around where are a few old men running for their lives. I do a few rounds of jogging and move on for my warm ups. The secret pleasure being listening to the conversations discreetly. I try to make out their names, beliefs, occupation, fantasies and even their vulgar jokes.

It's then I heard about the protest march from the church to the town square. I was interested to see how many would dare to attend under a scorching sun. I was surprised to see rows after rows of people, priests, bishops and rest of the gang through the streets under burning sun protesting human rights violations meted out to Mr. Jesus. I looked at all these dumbos and felt my blood boil. Jasmone, the bitch, is responsible for fanning my anti-establishment passions.

Here’s what happened in a nutshell. The communist party of Kerala, were too eager to showcase their new found affinity for religion and put a portrait of Jesus with Karl Marx. They classified St.Sebastian as a revolutionary. Then they further went to make fun of capitalists by doing a caricature on last supper. The issue wouldn’t have ballooned if the biggest Mallu newspaper, Malayala Manja Manorama, hadn’t invoked the passions of ignorant Christians. Thankfully I was posted in the nerve centre of Christian soldiers and hence saw how the battalion went to battle.

I wanted to put down my thoughts but couldn’t come out with a clear idea. I realized how difficult it is to define the man, Jesus. Well here goes what I feel about him.

Was Jesus a revolutionary?

I guess it’s a stupid question this age. ‘Revolutionary’ is no longer the fashion now. It was the hip word a few decades ago. We may use the word ‘global’ instead. Was Jesus global? Nine out of ten for yes. Every body loves him- one end of earth to the other. But Jesus wasn’t so popular back then. Jewish hierarchy hated him and he didn’t have a good PR team to chill out with Romans. He preferred to party out with the miserables. They just ran away when it mattered to him the most. So will anyone disagree when I say:

No, Jesus wasn’t popular.

Was he a God?

I repeat I used ‘was’ and not ‘is’. Jesus never claimed he IS a god while he was in his human form and he never demanded worship. All the miracles he did, he said it could be done by a man with even the smallest iota of faith. The church saw encroachment of certain amount of Greek philosophies into Christianity and cut off the argument there. Jesus was raised from among the human race into heaven. Then they consecrated a special category to stand in between him and men- clergy. As far as I see his sole purpose was to bring Yehovah down to humans. Why are we driving him away?

Thanks to the world getting smaller and apple getting blacker- Jesus is getting popular. So the question comes up like- Was he a conservative? Was he liberal? Is he ok with gay marriages? No clue dude.

Was Jesus a peace lover?

Everyone loves peace. Gone are the days of war mongering barbarians. No one likes a good fight anymore. Right from the pope to the rock fan every one will flash the bull horns of peace. Jesus did say a few words on peace. Wait what’s peace by the way.

If he was a peace lover why did he have to die so cruelly. He said he came to preach the good news. But many of them was pissed off with the news. If he came for peace, peace wasn’t through Peace. He ruffled quite a few feathers, did some very atrocious things, said some unpleasant words. Even he couldn’t unite the disciple gang. While we say he was a man of Peace lets not belittle his times and purpose.

It gets a bit murky when the Church claims a legacy to Peace. The history of church never had been smooth. It was always dotted with trials, tribulations, power struggles, treachery, lust, crusades. I doubt if the Peace concept is equated to inactivity. The church has graduated from the bottom rungs to powerful circles. When there is no scope for Struggle lets better be peace lovers. Lets better stay out of all the bad things and leave the world for the evil men to run.

Was Jesus a Christian?

He was a Jew for sure. I don’t think he was much interested in being a Christian.

Guys, he was beyond all human imagination. Lets not try too hard to equate him with miserable imageries or men (Gandhi, Martin Luther). Lets not crucify him and say ‘U better stay there’

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Marriages ....fastforward

20 years has gone by. Life has turned a full circle. A lot has happened in between. The fancy erasers disappeared off the shelves. More Mallus have migrated abroad. IT parks have sprung up and so did engineering colleges. I have become as old as my uncle when he was married.

People have changed faster than the times. Bigger homes with tiny families in it have come up. Kids prefer TV to outdoor. They are loaded with information and junk food. The IT boom has given birth to a new generation with time for nothing else but the office. The changes haven’t spared the good old marriage too.

While I write this I am just back from a cousin who got married off. He is as old as me but with a richer Dad. The dad wanted to make a doctor out of him at any cost, so packed him off to an international school in Chennai. Soon the Dad learnt that his son didn’t have enough brains to wade through the merit scheme. So he dug a little more deep and made a doctor out of him.

The doc cousin fell in love with a class mate. Interestingly she belonged to a different religion and more interestingly from a very low caste. He introduced her to a few of us, and was hell bent on marrying her. But it seems his loving mother beat sense into his head and taught him the importance of reaping the returns of the investment his Dad made. Now the son knew the best, risk free business was getting married. So he dropped the ‘love-girl’ and married the ‘rich-girl’. And he managed to land himself a ‘single’ child of very rich parents.

Now, the enhanced individual income generating capacity has improved the quality of lifestyle. But it inturn eroded the need for attachment and dependence. The family and individuals started contracting into themselves. The first impact fell on the ‘girl/boy searching’. The practice which was once monopolized by the relatives now started to be done in the virtual world- matrimonial sites. The best part is there are tens of thousands of choices, most of them fake, and no possibility to check in the authenticity of information.

The invitations too have changed the old look. Tradition and formalities have taken a back seat, style and convenience have taken the drivers’ seat. With little time and very little help, people prefer phoning to running around from one end of the country to another in a span of few weeks. For that matter, we are seeing Facebook actively helping in sending wedding invitations.

Even so, no one seems to have the time to spare for anything other than themselves. The more people earn, the more they are sucked into their own world. Its left for the old and jobless (retired) to attend the weddings and fill the pews.

When the festivities started to reside a new concept came up- event management team. They will manage the entire drama for you and create an artificial atmosphere. Here you can revile for a day, for a ‘nominal’ fee. My cousin had his wedding done by the team. We were welcomed to his home by pretty girls in local attire. I made out that they probably might be from college earning quick bucks part time. There was a security guy in yellow shirt and red tie waving his hands rather aimlessly. In church where it became too congested for parking there was a giant of a security guy with tiny walkie talkie. People were awed by the size and came upto shake hands.

I sat there and figured out. These guys running the show has nothing much to do. Arrange all the items together and simply make the presence felt, you pocket in a cool huge packet.

My cousin lost nothing to highlight the extravaganza. There were a dance troupe of small girls doing traditional and remixes. He was escorted to the stage in a parade of dancing girls. The lavishness of food counter was the most reveling. Right from breakfast to dinner stalls were set up. I cant figure out if they thought people are planning to stay up the whole day for food. The waiters who were supposed to serve food ran around pretendin to be busy and the guests had to go up and serve for themselves their food.

After all this tamasha and a filled tummy, I couldn’t figure out if this was a wedding or an exhibition.

About Me

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Shakespeare,Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin and Lincoln never saw a movie,heard a radio or looked at TV. They had loneliness and knew what to do with it. Thay were not afraid of being lonely because they knew that was when the creative mood in them would work.