E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: Ajji looked a bit distraught as she silently folded K.G. Netakalappa’s Praja Vani.
“What’s the matter, Ajji? You look like Germany’s coach Lowe after the semi-finals’ loss to Spain,” I said.
“Alvo, Ramu. Has life become so cheap in our country? Apparently our soft-spoken prime minster was in some way responsible for the death of a child. Because of security concerns the police didn’t allow a critical child to be taken to the hospital and he died on the road itself. It is so terrible and unfair.”
“Howda ajji. This is the price a common man has to pay to keep his leaders safe. Now even a child is not spared.”
“Identha nyaya idu? It is like nipping a future flower in the bud itself. Apart from this we have drunkards mowing down people sleeping on the footpath with their fancy cars. Our neighbour Software Seethamma told me that every other month some fillum star or business woman drinks and drives, and mows down a few people.”
“Software Seethu is right.”
“Seethammanige maryade kodo, Ramu. But don’t the police catch them and put them in jail?”
“Not in our country, Ajji. Actor Salman Khan drove a car under the influence of alcohol and killed some people sleeping on the pavement some years back.”
“Manehala! Why didn’t they arrest him?”
“With money and influence these things are fixed overnight, Ajji! Salman’s driver told police he was driving the car although everybody knew it was Salman who was behind the wheel. Sometimes the witnesses are bought. The case is still going on. In most cases the police do not even file an FIR as these people have contacts at high levels.”
“Ayyo! Who will protect the poor from getting killed while sleeping?”
“Nobody. Ex-navy chief Admiral Nanda’s grandson Sanjeev drove his Landrover on pedestrians and killed a few.”
“Grandson you say. He must have been drinking haalu.”
“Illa, Ajji. Appata alcoholu! He was put in jail and after few months was let out for good conduct.”
“Good conduct for a killer! It’s such a shame! In foreign countries it is different it seems. Our neighbour Hardware Hemalathabai’s husband was mentioning that in Holland, the culprit pay fines based on their income. Some singer Paris London drove under the influence of alcohol and they took away her licence.”
“Paravagilla Ajji! You have friends both in software and hardware.”
“Seethamma’s children are working as software engineers. Hemalathabai’s husband has a hardware shop selling taps, pipes, paints etc.”
“Ha, ha! Nice set of friends you have. She is right; singer’s name is not Paris London, her name is Paris Hilton! Hilton hotels around the world belong to her family. She was given punishment of three months of community service.”
“She had to clean the jail bathroom for three months wearing their uniform. If she doesn’t do properly or misses in between, they increase punishment to six months. Similarly, another film star Lindsay Lohan was also punished recently.”
“That’s wonderful. That’s how justice should be. Fair to everyone, rich or poor.”
“Ajji. Many film stars and even American President Lyndon B. Johnson have been hauled up for overspeeding by their police.”
“Howda? I wish such things happen in our country. That’s the only way to stop deaths on roads due to drunken driving, over speeding etc.”
“I still feel sorry for the boy who would have lived had our Prime Minister not visited Kanpur at all. What a terrible fate for the child and family,” Ajji ended the conversation with a deep sigh.