Tag Archives: city life

A Garland of Jaruls

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On The Fringe Of Humanity…

What’s wrong with this man with his shoes taken off in a Metro train? Well, not much, on first look.

He appears to be just one of those overworked, ordinary middle-class employees of a private sector organization. This was what I thought too.

But as soon as I settled down on a seat opposite to him, I noticed that he was talking very loudly to himself. I thought he was praying or perhaps he was speaking to someone through a Bluetooth device.

It soon became clear to me, however that he was doing none of these and he had a serious mental problem. He was ranting and cursing everyone, his family, friends, everyone he knew, this country, and even God! Over and over, he kept repeating the same lines which overflowed with venom and hatred for everything in life. He kept saying that he hoped this world ends soon in a nuclear blast and he gets to die like a dog with his body torn into shreds! Even God would want to commit suicide, he kept reiterating. Once in a while, he bent downwards to scratch his toes protruding through his torn socks.

I was horrified and I wondered how people sitting next to him managed to ignore him. See below.

His clothes were clean and well-ironed and he seemed to be from a good family. His choice of words indicated that he was well-educated and read newspapers regularly. What were those circumstances that unhinged him to such a great extent? I could not gather this from what he was saying.

I pitied him, but I could not do anything about it. Unable to put up with him any longer, I moved to another seat far away from him.

But it was clearer to me now what kind of people hurl themselves on the Metro rail tracks.

Delhi Metro, I hope you are reading this. Please keep a close eye on this man and if ever required, save him from himself…

Blessings of Nature

 

 

 

 

When you live in a big city like Delhi in a small flat, any edible thing that emerges from soil inside your house gives you a big thrill…

When white brinjals began appearing on a potted plant in my balcony, I was absolutely amazed as I had almost given up on it. Year after year, new flowers kept appearing, falling, and getting replaced by new ones, but the flowers just did not turn into any fruits, like one of those perpetually unlucky kids whom Success treats like outcasts.

I didn’t have the heart to pluck these bringals, so I let them be. Now they are ripening and their color has changed into a bright, attractive yellow. See below.

 

 

Their continued, tenacious presence in my balcony has a reassuring effect on me every morning while I water all the potted plants.

I know it’s like holding on to something that I know will collapse one day. But that’s what life is all about, isn’t it?

And here are some pics of a few other edibles that I plucked.

Mint

Green peppers and beans

Dead Or Still Alive?

 

 

Such sights are quite common in Delhi. People come from all over India to the nation’s capital with a dream for a better future. Not all succeed and this is how many end up…

But callous and hardened as we all are, we just turn away our faces and keep on moving with sorrows of our own, praying that we also don’t end up like this one day…

Jasbir Chatterjee

A City-Bred Cobra

First of July 2017 will remain etched in my memory for many years to come.

It was on this day that I witnessed a black cobra striking a pose for the shutterbugs, just like Aishwarya Rai on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival (see pic below). If this doesn’t surprise you, here’s something more. The cobra arrived at our car workshop in great style, like a VIP,  in a BMW car!

The car’s owner (see pic above, the man wearing a pink shirt) pointed to the car and said, “I saw the snake entering from the bottom, near the axle. Please get it removed.”

In spite of the gravity of the situation, he didn’t sound too perturbed and he seemed to have complete confidence in our capabilities.

My team and I were, however, very much taken aback as we had never handled this kind of a problem before. We were, in fact, already quite frazzled. Our systems were paralyzed as implementation of GST, the new single tax structure,  the so-called ‘Good and Simple Tax,’ was in progress. Our staff members were malingering around as work had ground to a halt.

The matter was immediately escalated to top management as the After Sales Manager had left his job a month ago. Their advice was, “Let the Head Technician handle this.”

It was in the middle of this chaos that the car was quickly transferred from the flat bed truck to a car lift. It was obvious that something had to be done fast before the cobra leaped out of the car and slithered into our premises.

Once the car was hoisted for inspection, our Head Technician flashed his torch into the underbody. The cobra reacted very strongly to this by raising its head menacingly through the axle, keeping its tail stubbornly coiled around the shock absorber. The Technician stepped back with a start and exclaimed, “Yes, it’s there.” A lot of employees who had been watching the proceedings earlier with great amusement hastily retreated into the safe confines of the closed office doors. The Technician also gave up and came inside.

Being a Customer Relations Manager, I had to get this sorted out soon. So I walked up to the Technician and suggested that we call in the wild life guys. After a frantic Google search and desperate telephone calls, we managed to contact the right people. They said they will reach in another 40 minutes, so we need to remain at a safe distance and watch out just in case it crawls away. They kept their promise. They were poised and confident and as you can see from the photos, even the cobra seemed to be quite awe-struck by their personalities. In just 30 minutes, they managed to draw the snake into a red bag, but not without letting us click lots of pics while it stood with its head held upright, proud and dignified, every bit a naag devta (Serpent God).

I hope this cobra is well and safe. Because of fast urbanization, a lot of snakes are being thrown out of their homes. Homeless and starved, they crawl around and find themselves in precarious situations like the one I have described here.

Copyright: Jasbir Chatterjee

Ladies Only, A National Challenge

 

women-only-3

 

A nation’s law and order situation can be gauged by the existence of exclusive ‘women’s-only’ compartments in trains. When a country creates reserved spaces for women in its public spaces including trains, it indicates its empathy and sincerity towards ensuring safety of women. But it is also a symptom of its inability to provide 100% security to half of its population and a toothless judicial system.

Take Delhi as an example. Delhi Metro began running its classy, air-conditioned trains in 2002 with general compartments. Four years later, in 2006, DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation) was forced to reserve one compartment exclusively in all metro trains at all times when it became clear that the twin problems of groping and women’s molestation were so rampant that they could not be controlled through punitive action alone. Ever since then, Delhi Metro has turned into the safest and the most civilized space in Delhi. Women can travel in other compartments too in these trains, but men can’t travel in the ladies-only compartments. This rule is implemented very strictly and has been made a legal offense.

During Commonwealth Games in 2014, I got the chance to interact with a European woman in a Delhi Metro train. She was amused to find so many woman gathered together at one place. “Very unusual in my country,” she remarked.

Countries like Israel, Japan, India, Egypt, Iran, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Phillipines, Malaysia, and UAE also have ladies-only compartments in their trains. But Singapore, which is famous for its exemplary standards in discipline, cleanliness, and orderliness in public spaces, has no ladies-only compartment in its MRT!

This proves what I am trying to say through this article, which is, that women-only spaces are needed only when law and order situation is not under control.

One Singaporean blogger ( (http://this-is-not-a-blog-.blogspot.in/2006/03/woman-only-train-compartments-in.html) concluded his article on this topic with “Woman only trains? Go to another country if you want them.“

Here’s another pic from inside a ladies compartment of the Delhi Metro.

 

metro women.png