I lost it twice this week.
No, not virginity (How I wish! But, that’s another story).
Besides, you can lose that only once, remember!
So, yeah, I lost it.
I was so damn pissed that I lost my cool. Twice in a week!
First, it was seeing The Last Samurai being towed away… But first, what’s The Last Samurai? The Last Samurai is TN-01-H-2505. It’s my bike, my companion, like my best friend Murugan, my bike too is what Mammooty in ‘Thalapathy’ describes Superstar: En Nanban, En Thozhan, En Thalapathy. (My friend, My companion, My commander-in-chief.)
The original warrior. Together, we had bravely fought many deadlines, destiny and dames.
So mine was The Last Samurai Suzuki probably manufactured and was also phased out like Samurais were in Japan long ago. The Samurai, if you remember, is the No Problem bike.
And truly, a no problem bike.
It’s light, compact and still macho. It still gives me 50 km/litre demanding no maintenance whatsoever, even after a decade of its existence. It’s just a simple old bike that nobody would wanna steal it.
It’s this harmless, innocent-looking thing that I parked outside the ATM a few days ago, right in front of the ‘Parking’ board (The Board said Parking and had an arrow mark pointing right).
I come back and find he’s gone.
Instinctively, I look for a police tow vehicle and there I see it, fifty metres away. I knew the police station was just another 200 metres away, so I begin to jog, with my orange helmet in hand. Now, anyone seeing me running with my ubiquitous helmet would have surely noticed what I was following.
It was embarrassing, physically tiring and mentally taxing. My stress levels shot up with every extra step and there was just one thought in my mind: “The bastards towed it away from a Parking Zone. How dare they?”
So I reach the Aminjikarai police station just the same moment as the tyres screech to a halt. As the men started unloading the bikes, I could see them drag out my bike and they had stuffed the side-cover of my bike into the pocket atop the tank. They damaged him!
I was so furious. I went over to the front cabin to see who the villain of the piece was. I could just see his back because he was on the driver’s seat and about to get out from the other side. As I jogged over to the other side, I pulled out my wallet and fished out my Identity Card. I knew I would need this now, more than ever.
So I come face-to-face with this fifty-something man taking a folded 100-buck note from a man who seemed to be pleading. Now, don’t we all know what that was?
Now, I was pissed as hell. I caught his hand with my right hand, flashed my card with the left hand, like we’ve seen the cops do in Hollywood movies.
“Hindu Reporter. What is this?”
The guy who offered the bribe realizes the man is in trouble. In an attempt to bail him out, he says, “Sir, it’s just the wages for lifting the bikes.”
The cop who’s visibly embarrassed asks: “What do you want, Sir?”
“You bloody take my bike from a Parking Zone, make me run 200 metres, you are taking money from someone right in front of my eyes and asking me what I want? Get down. Let’s go.”
He gets off and asks: “Sir, please don’t make noise. Tell me which bike.”
I point out that he’s even damaged the bike.
“It was in the No Parking Zone,” he says.
By now, I’d completely lost it.
I yell at him at the top of my voice. I tell him that it was a Parking Board and challenge him to prove otherwise. And soon, like it always happens it Madras, a crowd – members of the I-want-free-entertainment-club – gathers in front of the police station. More cops rush to his rescue. On learning I’m a journalist, they know they can’t be too nasty. So they invite me inside.
I walk in and bring the roof down. The corrupt cop is summoned in. He admits it was a board that said ‘Parking’ and that my bike was right in front of the board. “Parking is allowed only towards the right of the board, Sir. He had parked it right in front of the board.”
He knew his case was weak. He was soon asked to release the bike. They tried to make peace and I just had one question for them:
What if I wasn’t a reporter?
In another incident a coupla days ago, it was a fight with an autorickshaw driver. He had quoted a price, we negotiated and he finally agreed. A few metres later, he restarted negotiations cribbing about the distance, at which point we put our foot down and said ‘No.’ He said: “Get down then.”
And we did, stopped another auto, almost instantly. He asked for ten bucks for the distance he had brought us. I refused, he had left us stranded in the middle of the road and had the gall to ask for money. He started giving me a strong dose of words straight out of the heartland of Madras – the slums. That was it.
I sent my friends off in the other auto, got back into this one and said: Let’s go to the police station. You picked the wrong guy.
He readily agreed and started the vehicle and I’m thinking: “I just hope he doesn’t take me to some dangerous slum area full of bad guys.”
But soon, I figure, he’s just brought me back to the starting point – GRT Grand Days. And coolly says: “Now walk from here.”
Too bad for him, he didn’t realise there was a police booth bang opposite to the auto-stand. It’s another story that there wasn’t any cop inside it then, but I note down his number, punch the buttons of my phone and give him an ‘I-kill-you-bastard-look’. But then again, the point is, what could you have done if you weren’t a reporter?
He brought you back to the spot. He isn’t wrong anymore.
In the previous case of the policeman, he had given me back my bike. He wasn’t wrong anymore.
But the point of these stories: What is it that makes us angry?
I think it’s injustice. The untruth. It’s not that we can’t afford to pay ten bucks more than an auto-driver has demanded. Nor is it that we are stingy about to bribe a cop ten-twenty bucks to get the bike back.
We spend 40 bucks on a coffee at Qwikys or Barista. We spend 10 bucks on Parking at Sathyam. We spend ten bucks on a fone call that lasts more than five minutes on a mobile call. Then, why does ten bucks make us angry?
It’s because it’s not reasonable. We know it’s not right. It’s not fair.
I think it’s just human to dislike dishonesty, especially when you are the victim. It’s human to feel strongly about it and raise your voice against it.
Which is why when Amitabh Bachchan as the ‘angry young man’ or Superstar Rajnikant kicked rotten ass in the mid seventies, people cheered, they celebrated. A hero was reflecting public anger and living their fantasy of kicking evil butt. A matinee idol was born.
Cut back to 2004.
Bad asses, hide. For angry young Suderman is all set to roam the roads on his rejuvenated Last Samurai, which is expected back after a complete service and a new look – a freshly-painted shiny black skin with golden Japanese letters that read ‘Last Samurai,’ replacing the original red skin and Samurai logos. He he!
had to click thrice to comment
u trying dissuade ppl from commenting huh!
*me goes to crystal gaze
me see a long rocky road uphill and
a lone warrior trudging the path*
a ominous voice echoes “great danger lies ahead oh brave warrior…”
have had zillion fights with these auto guys
so much so that the shop keeper outside my house once told me “avangaloda sandaikku pona namakku dhan ma asingam” but what the heck…
magane manohara this flashing of journo tag seems to be getting too regular me thinks. u shld keep it in check and try to fight the regular way
and belive me u still will get the same results
maybe extreme cases like movie hall incident requires it but then this too can be fought solely on suderman’s merit and not the dog tag he wears
infact in the long run this flashing(!) habit of urs might have a negative effect and dilute the value once they realise their is only so much the mighty pen can do
Fighting cops without the journo card???
I’ll do that when i’m in the mood for adventure!
thank your stars you arent jaded enough to take this shit in your stride … some of us have stopped reacting and easily take the short cut route out and not put up a fight …
I’ve said this once and I’ll say it again – your heart ( as well as Karthik’s & Ramya’s ) is in the right place. In this ****ing cynical world, you must hold on to it and see that the ‘right’ triumps over ‘might’! Gosh, I sound like a Commie! 🙂 Ravi
Am I glad that they still respect journos !!!
The others have no choice but to take the easy way out and give in.
But you are right, its more to do with the injustice than the fact that we cant afford it. I think thats what makes us see red !
I have read your articles long time back in annanagar or metro ads. I recently ran into your blog couple of weeks ago from one of my friend’s blog and have done my part in broadcasting to others. Anyway this blog was surely like one of your old articles. Funny!
May be you should start making a sitcom instead of a movie!
As ‘Captain’ Vijaykanth said,
“Engalukku adanki irukkavum theriyum…Arivalu edukkavum theriyum…”
or did someone from Kanchi say this?
Ohh that is a pain. I wonder as you say, what If I were you and not a reporter? Maann makes me go crazy. Its terrible. Is there a solution? Genralized one?
Ravi, Deez and Sowmya!
It’s funny how oblivious i’ve been to the world when I used my bike… And even more when I go out with friends in the car…
Sometimes I think all the injustice in the world is meted out to the middle class and the poor. The lower u are in the social strata, the more they wanna exploit you. The rich have a reserve to meet this kinda exploitation if it ever arises, the poor are sooo used to the injustice that they no longer complain… its the middle class which tries to find a way out… the educated optimistic middle class which believes they can change the world… and guess what? they just might! hail democracy!
And Sowmya, they dont respect journos… its just the fear of their bosses, they’re worried that we may know their bosses… I doubt if I could ve flashed a card at a Commissioner and got away!! As my anon user commented rightly, one can’t use the card all the time… I don’t when Im wrong, cuz i know they’ll tell me… You are supposed to be this journalist, how can u make this mistake!
Do you realise that was ten years ago???
Goodness! Thank you for remembering, though you think I still write like i used to when i was 17! he he!
And i m not sure if ur make a sitcom, not a movie suggestion is a compliment… but wat the heck, u at least gimme that much credit… tanks! 🙂
Dear Super Anon!!
I love u for that line from his latest movie!!
Hail Captain! He who is Sokka Thangam, with Neranja Manasu!!
Captain has been fighting injustice and terrorism for years now! All he now needs to know learn is to act! but who cares! He’s Captain, he doesnt really have to!
Is there a solution?? I was thinking abt it…
I guess there is, if u prepare for it everyday.
Here’s wat u need.
A digital camera, maybe u cud have one on ur fone. better still a video cam…
plenty of papers…
anytime u see the need, press the button…
for example: park ur bike, take a pic, go to the ATM… if u find it gone, get signatures from a coupla witnesses who will confirm that u’re bike has been towed away. take their phone numbers and address.
Then go to the police station, file an FIR accusing the police…
get a xerox copy of that.
first, send a copy of all documents to the head of the department along with a copy to the CM’s office. get acknowledgements for the same.
it shd do the job.
If it doesnt work, call a lawyer, send a notice (it costs 50 bucks or something… it will give u more satisfaction than paying the same amount for a bribe)
When u r demanding compensation for mental agony, add ur lawyers fee to that…
Vijay does this in ‘Tamizhan’… it is a very ideal solution if u have the time and if u really wanna teach these guys a lesson…
Only retired people have that kinda time which is why most petitions are filed by senior citizens and the old.. and u wont believe how many of them win cases and get compensated within a coupla months!
So, considering all the time and effort it takes for justice, best thing to do is flash ur badge, when u got one!
How I wish I had that badge (than the one I carry now, IT thingy!)….. now do we see Suderman walking away to glory like Anbuselvan (ACP)?!?!
look at all the perks the journos get…tickets to cricket matches, wedding receptions & wht not..poraadhadhuku tamilnadu police kitterndhu thappikkaradhu…even tho u were “almost” right, u were lucky to get away with it..wowow…can i exchange my badge with urs? 😉
the next time u catch someone (esp Police officers) getting bribes like this, mebbe u shud do a news story on that…
What if I hadnt owned that Badge – So simple,
my pocket would be lesser by a few tens of rupees! Have you ever tried it ? I mean without the badge challenge a Policeman. I have tried and I strongly suggest not. Hasnt History always showed that justice is always a puppet in the hands of power!!!
whoa!! reacting to ur comment to vin
got the point macchi 😉
i hv won a few battles minus the badge
so naan ennoda p.o.v la nikkaren
u think it might work with the babes
like the “men in uniform” thing 🙂
As long as you write about them w/i the next 2 days!
You could have tried some warpaints too on ur Last Samurai. 🙂
go suder-dude so
i’m cheering … see see???
Er… Anbuselvan’s girlfriend/wife gets bumped off!
I guess I need the girl more than the glory!! 😀
u need a shorter nick…
when dog bites man, not news.
when man bites dog, it news.
when cop takes bribe from man, not news.
when man takes bribe from cop, that news.
Suderman plans to take bribe from cop, next time! he he!
u’re rite, the puppets in hands of power bit…
but there are those who see money as power…
so they pay the cops and then yell at them, treat them like shit… if i had the money, i mite just throw the money on his face and yell at the corrupt cop u know! 🙂
I dint get ur doubt! u gotta rephrase that!
wat works with the babes like the “men in uniform” thing?? flashing a card?
man, or woman, if that were the case, I wud be a full-time flasher(!) he he!
still not too late to do that man… Im getting my bike back on saturday…
which is when i plan to paint it with japanese letters… so, i can still do that!
and u’re a bigger contradiction than suderman himself!
Cheers? or Curses?
Thanks for both! He he!
Yeah, i got wat u meant anyway!
idhar bhi saala apun ko ladka log hi cheer karela hai??
Kuch to karna padega!
Kuch ladki log ka setting karne ka maangta cheer-leading ke vaastey! he he!
losing ur cool is nothin to worry bout if u have a point.
i’ve had a similar situation like ur first case. i was at no fault but the cop would not lemme go till i bribed him. that was my first brush with a cop and the only reason i bribed him was coz i had to attend a class. i was helpless for no fault of mine. at that momnet if i had had a gun i would have shot that fella right there and would have driven off.
Your case with the auto and cop – its not an isolated Indian thing – it happens everywhere in every country. For those without the badge – if you’ve got a gov official, financial institutions, insurance companies or any one offering a service trying to take you for a ride I suggest you use the magic work – I’ll go to the consumer court, or I’ll go to the press – I’ve tried it and it works and I’m in Malaysia. Doesn’t sound so different does it?
Even if you had flashed your badge with the commissioner it would have worked – since he wouldn’t want bad press on him appearing as headlines the next day right?
That was quite an interesting read.
Im so glad there’s no gun culture in our country… India is a land full of emotional people… tempers flare at the drop of sweat…
if violence were to be measured just by magnitude of thought, then we’re a nation of natural born killers! he he!
here in India, threats by the common man do not work all that much…yeah, its a different thing if u know the commissioner and pretend to call him rite then…
knowing the rite ppl helps else… they don’t take threats too seriously!
but im sure it works in malaysia…
thanks whirlwings! 🙂