White Collared Thieves

There is a proverb called ‘Not all are saints that go to Church’. At least with respect to India, in movies and cinemas, to portray thieves and robbers, we depict them like persons of low income group, wearing dhotis and/or lungis, with unwashed face and uncombed hair and sometimes with kind of torn shirts or no shirts. But these portrayals are kind of very olden times. These days, even these thieves are going high tech.

Sometime back, when I was travelling by bus the conductor was saying about a pocket picker. He looks like a decent college guy with a notebook on hand, a very exorbitantly priced parker pen in his pocket, a pompous showing costly camera mobile brandishing in his hand with a high pitched ringtone. This guy, he says boards the bus near Meenambakkam only when the bus starts and near Ashok Pillar jumps off. A few moments after he gets down, there would be complaints like ‘Missing Wallet’ to the conductor. But the poor conductor is helpless. He can only give an indirect warning to the public ‘Go front Go front. Don’t crowd. Disperse and spread out into the bus’. But if he retalitates to the pocket picker, he has to face the music and sometimes during the return or the subsequent trips, he might be thrown with a cool drinks bottle or the vehicle would be pelted with stones.  Somebody asked him, why can not you make a complaint to the police station? He replied that there is no use. Once the crew took a pocket picker at about 8 PM to Vadapalani Police Station.

It seemed the SI (Sub Inspector) there had known this pocket picker before and he was cooly responding to the crew “Ivan nalla payyanachappa. Ivan intha thappalam panna maatanae?” [This guy, I know is a very good guy. He would not resort to these crimes]. He was also refusing to book the pocket picker and forcibly took him with him in the duty government jeep. This is the sad state of the city. And if the same police sees a poor man on the road, they would harass him and they would threaten him that they would book him under petty theft and other consequences.

Today, being Thursday, I went to temple in the evening. While returning, I encountered a piquant situation in the bus. Two guys (brandishing ID card of SRA Software) were travelling and they were standing near me.  The bus was quite a new bus and the seats were really well maintained except for the conductor’s seat which had a nail intentionally driven at the center and bolted since the conductor’s seat being single, many people lift it and take it to the homes when the bus is parked at isolated terminuses. One of the guy was telling his friend that why is Metropolitan Transport Corporation putting all these nails into the conductors’ seat. Otherwise we can easily take it and go to our home. The quality of these cushions is also really nice and we can use it in our homes.

I would like to put a straight simple question — Is this a common sense? Is this a civic sense that Chennai people are nurturning? I am sure that SRA would have a centrally airconditioned ambience and paying these jerks really in good amounts. But the poor conductor has that only thing to relax during the hot days and journey in the rough terrain and for his meagre earnings. 

The top authorities in Police and state administration should wake up to all these latent menaces in the state rather than just bieng in the deep slumber always.

Readers: What do you think? Share your views.