Optimizing Corruption!

A couple of months back I came across an email from the Alumni Association mentioning the probable contenders for this year’s Satyendra Dubey Memorial Award. If you are wondering who Satyendra Dubey was, let me tell you that he was an IITian and an officer in the Indian Engineering Service (IES) who was eliminated from this system as he proved to be a roadblock for those who wanted to exploit this system to their advantage.

If you are wondering why suddenly I am referring to him, then it is because both; him and myself had one thing in common which is that we are civil engineers. And recently I came across a guy from the same breed of civil engineers who happened to apply for a job of an engineer in one of the construction companies.construction 1

Though, it is no hidden truth that we all happen to be living in a system where everything ranging from getting your passport made to applying for a gas connection requires a common man to fill the pockets of those granting the same in order to get what they legitimately deserve to have, yet when it happens to come out as blatantly as it did in the interview that ensued between the company representatives (CR) and this guy (G) one cannot help but wonder whether corruption has become such an integral part of our lives that a point has come where one cannot get rid of it at any point of time in one’s lives.

Hello G! I can see on your resume that you have had an excellent academic record, you are from the likes of IIT, so there is no need to talk to you about technical things. But one thing that I would want to test you on is whether you are pragmatic enough to handle the situations that arise while working in the field. Are you ready?”——CR

Of course, Sir. I am.”—G

Good. Then I would want you to answer a question for me. Say, you are in charge of implementing a project and you come across a serious issue while supervising the project that the contractors are not using the same kind of concrete mix which is required as per the standards and are instead using a formula which will help them get maximum profits. What will you do in such a scenario?”—-CR

Sir, I will first of all stop the work and will come and report to the office of what is happening in the field.”—G

See, that was the exact reply that I was expecting from you. Very correct to the core. But this is not what we expect you to do. What we want you to do instead is to carry on with the work at the same time ensuring that the safety aspect is not compromised. In short, let the contractor do what he is up to, your responsibility will be to take care of the safety within the parameters that have been set by the contractor. For that if you need to compromise on the durability aspect you can do so, for in the end the maintenance contract will again come to us, and then we can repair it and keep the cycle going on forever.”—-CR

You are kidding, right, Sir?”—-G

Well, that is my only complaint with institutes like IIT. They do teach you all the fundamentals and theories but they don’t teach you anything about the reality and how you will be able to survive in this system. It is a pity that a talented guy like you is looking for jobs just because you are totally unaware of the system and its reality. May be it is high time they start teaching you the pragmatic part as well.”—–CR

If you are now wondering whether G got his job, then I must tell you that G preferred to walk out of the interview instead and is still looking for a job where he could get a chance to make use of all the things he has learnt in an honest and legitimate manner.

This is not only true for the construction industry but for all the sectors, though the kind and form may vary depending on the dynamics of that particular sector. Wherever one goes, one needs to become a part of the system, otherwise either he is called a loser of simply stupid person, for not being able to cope up with the pressures and demands that this system presents to us.

Every modern chanakya will tell you that you got to be a part of the system if you wish to bring about a change in this very system. In every high profile interview that you happen to appear for, be it the civil services examination or any other PSU, you might be lucky enough to get a lecture from those who consider them as part of the system on how you got to become an integral part of the system in order to bring about a change in the system.

Sometimes, I wonder, though, whether becoming a part of the system in itself is equivalent to giving a go ahead or an approval to the fact that very little can be done in case you choose to remain honest and in case you want to tread your own path and if you dare to do so, you should be mentally and physically prepared to meet all the challenges that will come your way courtesy of you being an honest officer.corruption

But it is true as well that if you are not able to enter the system then you won’t have a chance at all of making some difference to the way things are being conducted in our system. The better way would be to indeed work towards getting into this system and trying to live by the values and principles that could make both you and your family proud.

The choice is yours whether you want to join the herd who try to optimize corruption to their advantage or instead stand alone in this crowd and take on those who take great pride in doing acts of corruption. The only glitch may be that such honest people seem to be in a minority with majority joining the herd as that seems to be the easiest option.

Rest assured that there will be consequences, there will be times when you will feel down and out, there will be moments when you will feel like toeing in the line, but it will be your courage and desire to shape a better future for your children alone, which will carry you forward in this journey of creating a World of your dreams.

Source for Image: http://adminfinance.umw.edu/parking/construction/, http://technorati.com/women/article/leadership-lessons-loosening-the-knots-of/

Scared, Are you?

A very recent incident in my life has made me “right” this one. It is not often that you want to avail the service of a public transport in smaller cities and towns in India, considering that the available space inside the same is utilized so efficiently that where only 2 persons are supposed to be seated, the conductor or the driver of the public transport will make sure that at least double the legitimate number is made to fit in the same space. If that was not enough, a couple of people who happen to be standing next to you, would be found leaning over for want of some space and air, coming through the windows.indian bus

But this is just the tip of an iceberg, when it comes to being scared of a thing or having some apprehensions about the same. A couple of days back, having heard so much about the state of the public transport in my city, I decided to experience it first hand. And there I was, travelling in this bus, which was supposed to take me from a place called Mahanagar to Hazratganj, which resembles the likes of CP in New Delhi, when it comes to the colour combinations that have been used to adorn the place.

Having barely managed to squeeze in the bus, I was lucky to have found a seat next to a gentleman, who looked to be in his twenties. One thing that foreigners find quite funny in case of us, Indians, is that no matter whether we know the person sitting besides us in a journey, we are very good and keen on starting a conversation with the unknown person available at our disposal.

Not only do we happen to talk about the general affairs going on in our country ranging from what Modi might be up to in the coming elections to would Dhoni be implicated in the IPL crisis that has ensued in recent times, but also about our own personal issues ranging from what my boss might have said to me the very day, to what would happen if my child happens to fail this year.

Keeping what I can call the tradition intact, the gentleman (whom I will refer to as G, from here on ), sitting to my left, started the conversation.

Hi, so where are you going?”—G

Hi, to Hazratganj, and you?”—me

I am going to charbagh, to catch this train. You see, my luggage is kept right above me. Actually, my uncle’s son is getting married, so I am going for his ceremony. So, you are originally from Lucknow?”—G

Yes, very much :).”—me

By the way, yesterday I went to this place called Indira Dam. Have you been there?”—G

Ya, I have been there twice. Nice place, I must say.”—me

What nice! You know what happened yesterday. I went there with a couple of friends. It was 6 p.m. in the evening. As we were walking past this barrage, we saw this lady lying unconscious on one side of the road. One of us even thought about calling the police, but we were too scared to get involved.”—G

So, you didn’t inform the police?”—me

We did. But it was only after we had left the place, from a P.C.O. (Public call office) located some 2 kms away. You know how it is with Police. With no fault of yours, they might indict you for something which you cannot even think of in your wildest of dreams and even if you happen to find a good policeman, then also you wouldn’t want to be going to the court as a witness every now and then, for the case might go on and on, considering the state of our judiciary, which takes ages to issue verdicts on cases.”—-GPOLICE-BRUTALITY

Hmm! Then what happened. Did you follow up?”—me

Not really! We just hung up the phone, after informing the police of the whereabouts of the lady. Later on, we came to know that in recent times, a couple of people have been found murdered at the same place and people have even spotted a couple of bodies floating in the running water at times.”—-G

That sounds awful.”—me

Ya, so many things are so awful in our country, if I can refer to it as my country in the first place. You must have already noticed the cap that I am wearing. I am a Muslim and for Muslims, especially the underprivileged ones, life is not so easy. You see, for every other blast or terrorist attack that takes place in this country, we are the first ones to be rounded by the police. We are made to suffer for no fault of ours, at times. That’s why, so much of resentment can be found in the Muslim youths, who find it easier to astray rather than comply with the laws of the country. On top of that, these political parties try to throw freebies at us, thinking that we can be cajoled by their futile efforts, which is nothing but a mockery of the political system in our country.”—G

Hmm!”—me. 

I know, it is a very sensitive matter. Instead of treating us like aliens, the political parties will do good if they can just treat us at par with every other citizen of this country. Anyways, this gets prioritized only for namesake at the time of elections and later on it is found no where on the agenda that the political parties are so proud of presenting during their election campaigns.”—G

That is very true. But then why don’t you try to get rid of all these political leaders who talk as if they are the representatives of the entire Muslim community and take matters in your own hand, by creating awareness and vouching for some political and social work?”—me

If it was so easy, then don’t you think every other person would end up doing the same? These very political leaders create so many hurdles and for a common man like me and you, it comes down to a choice. Whether we want to continue living our lives in the same pseudo-peaceful manner or do we want to disturb the peace of our minds by going against the Hukumat.“—G

Hmm! You know, a day would come and in some ways, it has already, in at least the Naxal affected parts of our country, when people would take up arms and would revolt against the atrocities and crimes that are being committed by our administration.”—me

True! You know what is more moving on an emotional level. When we lose lives just because of maladministration and faulty decision making on part of our government. You see, what’s happening in Uttarakhand. So many lives have been destroyed. So many people have gone missing and no one can predict when their lives will go back to normal.”—GArmy soldiers rescuing pilgrims during their flood relief operation in Chamoli, Uttarakhand

Ya, it is very sad to see that knowingly we opt to sit on a time bomb, waiting for it to explode. Faulty constructions and the approvals for the very same granted by none other than our administrators, coupled with total ignorance of the environment has resulted in a major tragedy which will continue to haunt the lives of those affected for many years to come.”—-me

Yes, and the lack of preparedness on part of our government is a sheer nonsense, which shows that no one is really concerned about what’s happening with this country. Everyone is busy looking for avenues where they can make quick bucks in order to secure the future for themselves and their loved ones. Oh, your stop has come. I guess its time to say bye. How soon time flies by! It was nice meeting you. Allah ne chaha to fir milenge.”—-G

It was a pleasure talking to you. I am sure we will meet sometime in the future :).”—-me

And there I was bidding goodbye to this wonderful gentleman. As I got down, having experienced the journey which began as a test of the public transport in my city, I wondered whether the picture of my country that had been depicted of in the conversation that I just had with G, would ever improve.

Being an optimist that I am, I certainly believe that there is still time to bring our country back on the right track. Lots needs to be done not only on part of our government but also as individuals. It might require some sacrifices and hardships.

The question, though is, are we all prepared to think over and above our selfish ends and rise up to the occasion to eradicate the fear that has for so long kept haunting us for the want of corrective actions in our lives?

Source for Image: http://punjab-tim.blogspot.in/2010/03/no-seat-belts-requiredindian-buses.htmlhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/07/30/top-5-police-brutality-vi_n_115921.htmlhttp://www.deccanchronicle.com/130701/news-politics/article/congress-bjp-twitter-war-over-uttarakhand

Era of Flats!

Few years back, when I was about to change my branch from Chemical to Civil Engineering, one of the professors of Civil Engineering from IIT Kanpur told me that this would prove to be one of the life changing decisions of my life, considering that India would soon be hit by a construction boon.

Though, I had altogether different reasons for changing my branch, and didn’t really care about the advice that the professor had to offer, yet when I look back at what he said taking into perspective today’s scenario, I wonder how correct he was with his prediction about the industry.

Yesterday, I was taking a tour of my very own city and realized how many societies and projects are coming up in the city with so many different builders ranging from Ansal to Omex taking share of the same pie.

What amazes me more is the holding capacity of the who’s who of my city, who tend to take part in the auctions conducted by the Development Authority. I also wonder how the who’s who of the city are able to get atleast a flat or atleast some piece of the land that is supposed to be auctioned.

Either the God is very kind to them or some other forces have a role to play in the same. Having said that, you will of course find certain genuine cases who happen to get a flat etc., much to their relief, in the auction at a price which is much below the inflated market price of the same.flats

One other factor that plays a big role in the Real Estate business is the amount of black money floating around in our country. With so much black money waiting to be made white, real estate provides that golden opportunity which the hoarders might be waiting for years now.

Not only does their money becomes white, but also they are able to possess the all so precious property whose prices, at least in the current scenario, are bound to increase exponentially, in turn affecting and in fact determining the market price of the land, which is inflated, courtesy the presence of people who are ready to pay large amounts of money in order to get a chunk.

As you know, it is all contigent upon the demand-supply game. At loss are those who neither have black money, nor are rich enough to make the cut and are found wanting. For a common honest man, it is extremely difficult to even think about getting a nice house/flat in a decent locality, leave alone actually possessing it.

Don’t you think, if such a scenario persists for long, people will tend to become more corrupt and would want to earn more money? Do you think, in this case, people would really worry about the legitimacy of the same, considering that, at stake is one of the basic needs of human kind and that is the makaan or the housing?

What is needed is formulation of a policy which caters to the equitable growth in society and its effective implementation. The question, though is, who will do such a thing and will someone be able to find the grit and determination to overcome all odds in proposing the same and turning it into a reality?

What will happen, no one can tell. But one thing is for sure, time is running out from our hands and the need of the hour is to get going and implement effective and efficient policies on an urgent basis, so as to stop this society from getting more and more corrupt.

Source for Image: http://www.missionbuilds.com/uploads/26/Mission_Flat_1.jpg