21 March, 2009

Poor little Rich man

I am a poor little rich man who undeservedly utilise the benefits of government subsidies.

I was forced to apply for a ration card to be produced before all and sundry government offices as proof of my name, age, sex, address, and what not. While applying for the same, I had declared an income which I believe must be the highest in my servicing ration shop if not the locality (nobody gives the true figures).

By virtue of the ration card I was issued, I became entitled to two litres of subsidised kerosene every month which I use for my generator. The shop sells somebody else’s subsidised rice at a higher rate to me with which I feed my dog. I am entitled to subsidised sugar only during festival season, which I fully make use of.

I buy the kerosene and sugar only because I am entitled to it and if I do not take delivery of the same, obviously the shop keeper will sell it in the market and make a profit at my expense because he would have already taken delivery of these items from the civil supplies godown on my account.

I do not require any subsidy on any item whatsoever. I don’t mind taking them away, but put an end to the cross subsidisation. Take away the subsidy on kerosene and cooking gas and other petroleum products, but pass the corresponding reduction on to prices of petrol and diesel.

Please note that this might be a case more particularly of relevance to the state of Kerala where there is no abject poverty as seen in the north or other parts of India. The gap between the rich and the poor is comparatively less here because of the exorbitantly high wages.

12 March, 2009

A Tale of Two Extortions.

Extortion No. I
A year ago I temporarily shifted my place of residence from the estate to the town owing to my son’s education. He was in school as a boarder from the 1st standard and since he is to appear for the 2009 ICSE exams, bitter half wanted him under her tutelage.

Being a Syrian Catholic it is obligatory for us to attend Holy Mass on all Sundays and the church rules stipulate that anyone who resides in the jurisdiction of a parish for more than six months should transfer their name from the old parish to the new.

The first Sunday I attended Mass at the new place I noticed that the church was not very impressive and thought why the priests had not so far contemplated remodelling it. As if the vicar read my mind, the very next Sunday after the Mass he started a prayer for divine help to renovate the church.

Immediately I sensed what was in store if I joined this parish because just before I relocated from my former place of residence, the vicar there had imposed a hefty donation on me for building the parish hall. The only course of action for me to save from yet another heavy donation at the new place was to go for Mass at the nearby Latin Church which is an outstanding edifice and definitely not going to be remodelled in the near future.

Incidentally the most expensive piece of real estate at Kottayam in Kerala, India, is situated at the church cemetery! A 6 feet x 3 feet plot costs Rs. 2 ,00,000/- ($3,850) rate as on 26th Jan.2009.

Extortion No. II
I happen to have a small cardamom plantation is in the high ranges at Vandanmedu in Idukki district of Kerala, a state at the southern most part of India. The plantation was acquired by my grandfather in 1950 in the name of my then 18 year old father, from Mr. M.M. Mani Modayil, and has been in the family for now nearly 60 years.

Though we are supposed to be the lord and master of our land, there is a superior authority above us. If you thought I am referring to God almighty, you are mistaken. It is the all powerful union leader whose interference hangs as the dread Damocles's sword over our head.

Even though we pay the prescribed minimum wages plus all fringe benefits such as Bonus, Leave With Wages, National and Festival Holiday Wages, Sickness benefit, weather protection allowance, Extra Wages for insecticide and fungicide spraying and Gratuity, the militant communist trade union leaders precipitate issues to hold-up work with their muscle power if they are not kept in good humour.

During the 1st week of February the local CPI (Marxist) office bearers approached me for a donation to the party fund. I stated that I was willing to contribute Rs. 2000/-, which step by step I increased to Rs.4000/- but they sought Rs.8000/- and after bargaining wouldn’t settle for anything less than Rs.5000/- which reluctantly I had to part with which much heartburn. After they left I was shocked to find that only Rs.500/- was written on the receipt. I sent the receipt to the person and got it corrected but the amount he has written on the counterfoil remains a mystery!

A week after they ripped me I received a notice informing me that they were starting a union in my estate. Maybe the thought that I might not oblige them with funds once they opened a branch must have prompted them to make the raid in advance.

07 March, 2009

Agony of a driver

Kollam (Kerala) – Theni (Tamilnadu) NH.220, Chottupara stretch between Peermade and Kumily on the way to the world famous Periyar Tiger Reserve (Thekkady).

The unlucky driver fell into the pothole and broke the axel of the car (click on the picture to view the full impact). The 15 year lifetime road tax collected at the time of registration of the new car is used to pay the exorbitant salaries of the Government employees. Then where is the fund to maintain roads?

Stop charging road tax. Give the important roads to private entrepreneurs, let them maintain the roads and collect user’s fee.

01 March, 2009

Truth is Stranger than Fiction.

Owing to the excitement of becoming a father for the first time, he got so crazy that he went to the goldsmith to make a spoon with the date of birth of the baby engraved on it. But the level headed mother who had her feet perfectly planted on the ground wouldn’t let him know the exact date so he had to be content with just the month and year embossed on it. The boy was literally born with a golden spoon in his mouth.

True to the excellent stock that he came from the boy grew up to become so handsome that girls couldn’t help from exclaiming about his good looks. Like all boys of his age he grew up into a mischievous young man.

Entering college he had a big fan following because of his pleasing and easy manners. Things came to a state where he had to discontinue studies half way through the first year and return home. But the brains he inherited from his brilliant mother saw him through the entrance examination for CA with distinction.

The brand conscious person he was would do his training only in one of the big four. As luck would have it he managed to get into one of them. In the city where he was undergoing training the office of a famous film producer was directly opposite to the office where he had joined for training. Many a day the producer and he would travel up the same elevator. The producer noted his good looks and one day asked him if he would like to join movies.

Though a little apprehensive he thought of giving it a try and answered in the affirmative. He was cast opposite a pretty young thing in a movie which went on to become a block buster. So the CA course too was abandoned midstream.

Further movies didn’t takeoff and he was left in the lurch. But destiny was benevolent. That’s when thankfully his distance education Bachelors degree came in handy. Armed with the degree he applied for the civil service examinations. Because of his casual nature there too he was unsuccessful in the first two attempts. With his back to the wall he put in rigorous work and finally came out successful and was enrolled into the Indian Police Service.

NB: Any resemblance to any person living or dead is intentional