Incredible India

The lady of the house has long given a verdict: That I wasted my time in the defence forces, followed by a career in the corporate sector.

I would have done much better, she says, if I had followed my natural calling and had become a lawyer (pronounced liar, in my native Panjabi English). Whether her conclusion is right or wrong is a matter of detail but I must admit that I do like arguing.

 And I do it pretty well when my tongue is laced with a bit of alcohol and I am sitting on a bar stool, with my friends, like it happened the other day. A friend of mine was mocking at the ‘Incredible India’ brand being touted to highlight our greatness. The brand Incredible India, according to him, only creates credibility gap between the claim and the reality and bounces back on you like India shining brand positioning did.

It was my time to unleash my legal power. I asked him to show me one country, just one country, where millions of cases are pending in the courts and it would take decades to clear the backlog except in our incredible India. Show me one country where the accused prisoners have spent more time in jail than the maximum punishment allowed under law for the crime they allegedly committed except in our Incredible India.

Just then we saw a minister, his wife and daughter, walk in with eight riflemen trailing them and we discovered that they had entered the hotel to have dinner. I now had a live example to throw at the guy. Can, in any other country, the accused minister call the investigating agency to have a look at the report to be submitted before the highest court? Can, in any other country, the nephew of a minister promise top echelon jobs to people only if they greased his palm? What better label can you give to our motherland but Incredible India?

He tried to butt in but I won’t let him.  Where else do the members of parliament get subsidised canteen food only to come, eat, stall proceedings, seek adjournments and close the parliament, sine die. It was one way tirade and I asked him, the much travelled man, to indicate one country that has so many red beacon cars as we have? Or a country where the members of parliament and ministers are under investigation for rape, murder and fodder scams.

I took a large swig to lubricate my parched throat. I put forth my personal case and told him that the GOI had fined me Rs 100 for allegedly violating a law, a quarter of a century back and I was still fighting. Finding that he was not making much headway, he excused himself and went to the restroom. I give up, he said, on return and I quickly took off the lawyer’s hat and put on the hat of a judge and gave my verdict: In that case, you pick up the bill!

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