May 25, 2008

“the inconvenience is regretted.”

In view of the President’s participation in a cultural program at SKICC here Sunday May 25, the area from Chesmashahi crossing upto Dachigam including Shalimar and Nishat road will be out of bounds for civilian vehicles, a government spokesman said. Traffic on Foreshore Road will also remain restricted from Nishat to Habak crossing...

While the restrictions put an area inhabited by thousands and visited by equal number of tourists under a virtual curfew, a government spokesman said “the inconvenience is regretted.”

I alight the train at 8:30 pm in Hyderabad, after a 28+ hr journey, jostling with the crowd, and arrogant autovals naming exhorbitant prices in their attempt to cash in your tiredness, and the lateness of the hour. You come out of the station premises hoping to get an auto with a driver/owner who wears more reasonable a on his shoulders, or at least one without 'attitude! I wait endlessly, bargaining and finally when I'm done and its time to board the auto, suddenly this khakhi clad policeman comes, shooing away my heard earned auto bargain! Exaspirated, I turn to him to give him a piece of my mind, and before I've said something, I hear "the CM is passing by shortly, you can look for an auto after his brigade has passed!" Oh! this implies I get delayed in going home and unwinding by a good part of another hour, thanks to the CM!

A piercing look in the policeman's direction, threatening to burn him down, reciprocated by a "the inconvenience is regretted! Besides I'm just doing my duty, which is as much of an inconvenience to me, as to you!" look...and I'm rendered mute! (I could have said 'speechless,' but I did have a speech, going on full blast in my head, ready to spill out! I'll stick with 'mute' because in the wake of his words, I didn't have the heart to target him with an extempore outburst of emotion, given that he was doing his duty! A government employee, that too a policevala 'doing his duty' is too rare an incident, and you'd rather not make it an even rarer happening just because he delayed your going home by an hour! I digressed I guess...goes without saying, the inconvenience...!)

How crazy can this get! it was a matter of just a min or two, and I'd be on my way home, and now I had to wait another 20 min for the brigade to pass, followed by another fifteen, that took the traffic policemen to shed their stiff stances and get themselves and the traffic moving, before I could start looking for another auto!

I found myself wishing once more, that these political leaders, M.P.s, VIPs and their likes were more to us than just 'inconvenience' that they always personify, in all possible shapes and sizes!

Little did whoever called them 'public servants' realise that this term would come to be translated as 'people whom the public servants!' I know another noun was just rendered a verb, that's ok, it's acceptable in English!

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