We the People

Oh my God, it is 4.30 am, have to wake up and get ready. Anyhow, I have to catch the Bus at Kalpana Square at 5.30 am, then only I can come back by 9.00 am or at max 10.00 am.

These are some of the thoughts, my mind was debating with, when I woke up to my body clock on an ordinary Sunday morning. Of course, I could manage to get ready by 5.15 am. Wearing a white Kurta,Β  a pair of Trousers and a pair or Sandals, I hurriedly started. Being at the eastern part of India, and that too in summer, the sky was almost clear by 5.00 am. So, did not have any other problem. Roads were bit busy with morning walks and exercises. Good to see people are bit health conscious and the number is increasing day by day (could guess from my previous experiences). Not only people, animals like stray dogs, cows were also enjoying their morning in groups πŸ™‚

Anyway, I was walking through the roads, but was not in a mood to waste time in walking as I was getting late for my main trip. Looking for an auto-rickshaw, in a mood to reserve that (in Bhubaneswar, one can get share auto as well as reserved auto). Though I still do not have good experiences with reserved auto walas in Bhubaneswar, I was looking for that. In-fact, got hold of some one; but decided not to go with him as his charges were almost double than the usual rates, charging Rs. 50/- for a usual price of Rs. 20-25/-. May be he was in a mood to exploit the morning time and the customer or may be he was not in a mood to go. Anyway, decided not to take that and continued walking. Thank God, I got a shared auto and reached Kalpana Square at a price of Rs. 5/-.

By the time I reached Kalpana Square, it was 5.30 am. Place was bit crowded, looks like there were no Buses for the last 30 minutes or so. Over-heard some one talking that most of the Buses are reserved for marriages on that day, not sure though! After a waiting of 30 minutes, saw a mini-bus coming. It was a bit crowded (over crowded for some πŸ™‚ ) at that time. Was in a dilemma, whether to take that Bus or not. When I looked at the Conductor of that Bus with anticipation, he simply told me, “upar chhadh jao…“, what? I asked him… He explained me that there is no seat, not even any place to stand in the bus, so, if you want to go, then go and sit on the roof top of the Bus, where usually luggage and other things were kept. I could not imagine….. I did not venture, but 5/6 people in-fact went up and sat there. What a pity! Is this kind of travelling secure? If not, then are we crazy? When I told those people not to sit there, they simply laughed at me and said.. “chalta hai”. I seriously object to this kind of chalta hai attitude. People should not be allowed to travel like this. It is un-safe. Remember… β€œBetter late than Never”.

No one other than me objected, not even the police man standing there.

Somehow, I managed to get another crowded bus and reached Puri by 7.30 am. The conductor of that Bus was an interesting person. No reactions to people’s anger, shout and galis… Just pushing more and more passangers to the bus, like throwing Goats or Sheeps in to a truck. No other way! Have to suffer like this, if some one wants to go by public travel, in an Aamjunta way. I wonder, are we not responsible for this kind of problem? The population growth is alarming! So also the rise in living standard. But what about the basic infrastructure? Are we adding to it in proportionate! No, it is not. Then!….

After reaching Puri, as usual, I took a cycle rickshaw from the Bus Stand to the Jagannath Temple. I prefer cycle rickshaw at Puri; though in general ο»Ώadvocate machine with a humanitarian view. In Puri, I find it more traditional and still a need of many. Anyway, after keeping my sandals and mobile phone at the “Shoe Stand” I started walking towards the temple. Special security guards were there, but they were busy gossiping with each other, no one even asked me whether I have kept my mobile phone out side or not, forget about checking for explosives and other such things. The security checking is very casual there. In such scenario, both the devotees and the security system should cooperate. In-fact, the devotes should demand. They have to remember, that ultimately it is their security, which can be paralyzed by the miscreants!

But, what made me more worried is the way the police was acting inside the temple. They are just powerless in the temple, either busy with talking to the Pujakas or enforcing line where it is not required or sending their own people in the line whenever they want. After all they only can break all rules and all lines. Moreover, when I was on the line for a ticket (for a special darshan) inside the temple, I could sense that some are jointly looting people with some Pujakas. When a gentle man objected, one of them shouted, “tum bengali log… talking always about lines and rules“. I was stunned! What kind of statement is this? Are we approaching for a regionalism in temples also? Fortunately, at least 6/7 people (most of them were Odias and couple of them were Tamils) objected to that statement and reacted jointly. I too protested to that statement. Anyway, some times the Aamjunta wins, and finally the police man and the Pujaka left that place. The unity in diversity is still there! Thats the great about India πŸ™‚

While I was on the line, I was approached by some touts/agents, who were having tickets with them and were selling at a double price. There business was open secreat. Injustice, corruption at the place of worship and at the place of justic!. What a shame! One will wonder, it is not only at the temples, it is at some darghas and at other religious places also. Religion does not have any relation to this kind of practices.

I had nice time inside the temple. During the darshan, the Pujaka denied to give a tulsi leaf, unless I give him at least Rs. 20/-. I did not say any thing, not in a mood to give him any thing other than what was justified, just took some tulsi leaves from brass plate he was keeping there and left. While leaving, told him… “that was not yours, that was lords’ πŸ™‚” with a smile.

After the Darshan, I went to give some donations to the temple trust. Though, there were people who have already donated on that day, I could not see the volume in proportion to the number of devotees coming to the temple. I still believe, we the people can do slightly better in this regard, to donate voluntarily for the development of public places, be it a religious place or a tourist place. But, some time duplicate slips and touts on the way spoil the mood of the person interested to donate and some times it gets diverted to wrong hands.

Spent some time on Bada-danda (that is the wide road in front of the temple where we celebrate Rath Yatra every year). Bought couple of small items from the road-side vendors. Had nice time with them. However, what worried me is the public cleanness and civic sense…. One can say not a single person thinks about it, just throws any thing any where. Spitting at common places is very common. So also is smoking. What kind of life style and attitude do we have? Do we need some one to enforce civic sense? In-fact there is a mechanism to enforce this, but, as usual…. like us, they too have a chalta hai attitude.

Return journey to the Bus Stand from the temple was again through a cycle rickshaw. On the way, I got down from the rickshaw to buy some special seasonal fruits. I asked the vendor to give good quality half kilo fruits, did not bargain with him at all. I had a belief that at the city of Jagannath, these vendors are honest. I was wrong, he gave the worst quality fruits instead and cheated me. What kind of impression one will carry then? I should have checked the fruits before weighing. One should not blindly believe 😦 However, I am wondering, still feel that there are many good people around and are concerned about their customers. I am true to some extent, as there were some other shops, where I could sense the honesty to the core.

The bus journey from Puri to Bhubaneswar was a bit different. Before bording the Bus, the conductor assured me, “will start in 7 minutes”; and yes, it started, but did not move an inch for an hour….. he was just trying to get more and more passengers only. When I asked him that you told me to start in 7 minutes, he smiled and said.. yes sir, we have started before the 7 minutes deadline. How to react? This is very common. Moreover, he did not say that it will start the journey in 7 minutes :). Very clever πŸ™‚ No time sense, be that their own or others’. Finally it started and I reached home almost at 12.00 noon, late by 2 hours or more than my planned time.

Over-all, the trip was very good and memorable.

However, I wonder whether we the people, the Aamjunta like you and me are doing our part for the society? Do we act with responsibility? Aamjunta think about it. Let us make a strong, honest “we the people“, not a weak and corrupted one.

Jai Hind!

3 Responses

  1. Hey,

    Nice Read. Keep writing such kind of stories in future. Do not stop writing πŸ™‚ We have been waiting for your stories/experiences and many more.

  2. ++++, there are many good people around. Once I reached in an unknown place at about 11.30pm. It was delayed due to one train accident. When I reached the station, people advised me not stay in the platform and my relative’s place was just impossible to locate in the night. When I approached a rickshaw wala, he got agreed and said he knows the locality, but does not know the exact place. Finally I went… and you know, it was next to impossible to find the house in that night.. I asked the rickshaw wala to drop me there, to which he did not agree. he said, “either you go home or come back with me. unless you are safe, i will not let you go…” those two sentences were very touchy and i never forget him and those feelings.

  3. Very true. This thing happens very often in India. One major reason is due to the huge population in India.

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