Friday, July 30, 2010

Three Crimes in Three Minutes

I look at the youth sitting opposite in the train rather closely. He is well and cleanly dressed (considering its raining and everybody looks shabby), has a clean tie in his pocket, is handsome in a clean-cut sort of way, an M.B.A. holding a manager’s position in some good company, I guess.

Then the good old checker of tickets has to spoil it all. His job is to check if everyone in the first class compartment has a ticket. He comes to our seat. The young man doesn’t have one. What? Such a well-dressed chappy has no ticket? I for the life of mine can’t believe it? His excuse that he has a season ticket but left it at home doesn’t impress the ticket checker. He is asked to get down at the next station to pay a fine. Just then the train starts to move. The youth jumps into the train with the intention of making his get away when the ticket checker is busy with some other free loaders.

The train gathers speed. The ticket checker jumps in after him, chasing him, almost catching hold of him. The youth then does something so stupid I will never forgive him for doing it. It was a darned dumb thing to do. He runs to the other side of the train and throws himself out of the fast-moving vehicle. He lands on his face and I am sure he has hurt himself badly. I couldn’t see anything after that because the train moved away.

The foolish young man put his life at risk for a few hundred rupees. He knew he had broken the law by being in a train without a proper ticket. Then he tried to escape. That’s a double crime according to me. Then he tried to kill himself, suicide, and that’s a triple crime. Three crimes in the matter of three minutes from an educated, well-dressed youth working in a responsible position in a corporation.

Has his upbringing, his parents, his teachers got anything to do with it? Yes, of course. For these three crimes I saw enacted in the matter of minutes, we all are responsible, our teachers, our schooling system, our mindless entertainment. Is this what they teach in the prestigious M.B.A. institutes, how to be irresponsible, how to cheat and then refuse to own up? We ignore despicable behaviour at a cricket match thinking they are being patriotic; we ignore religious bigotry saying it is again loyalty to one’s god, we condone jingoism saying it is love for one’s own country. What was enacted in a few minutes will lead us to our ultimate failure. The failure of a youth to own up for his mistake. I saw it with my own eyes.

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