Friday, April 14, 2017

Modi's India and Fadnavis's Maharashtra

To cheer you up, let me tell you a pleasant story.

HRH the Queen of Kutch and I both have 1 year First Class Bandra to Churchgate Western Railway passes. They cost Rs 5,300/- each. We find travelling by train most convenient, and you can time your journey. Blood pressure is kept in the normal range.

Anyway, our passes were due to expire on 14th April 2017. So, on the 12th when heading into ‘Town” we went to Churchgate to renew our passes. As in the past, I went to the ATM and withdrew Rs 11,000/- to pay for the passes in cash. A short line to the ticket window and soon I was close enough and could see the insides of the ticket booth. I saw 2 POS card machines sitting on the desk.

I immediately put away the cash and pulled out my credit card. On reaching the window I was asked if my card was debit or credit, and without a blink of an eye the ticket seller started to process my pass. I told him, trying to be helpful, that he could use the same card for both passes. He replied that he could process only one pass at a time, take payment and then move on to the other. I did not have a problem.

The POS worked, I made payment by card, and got the two passes issued. My Rs 11,000/- in cash was conserved. This was a most pleasant experience.

Of course by the time my two transactions had been put thru, the line behind me had become rather long. Could not be helped. The gent behind me, from the unwashed masses, was most upset at what he considered was the inordinate time being spent by me at the window. Then, to my chagrin, he said that who did I think I was buying a Rs 10/- ticket with a credit card? I gave him a mouthful. I told him I was buying a pass for Rs 10,000/- and not a bloody Rs 10 ticket. Unfair response by me, but then patience has never been an Indian virtue. Poor fellow could not imagine or believe that Rs 10,000/- could be spent at a ticket booth.

In conclusion, demonetization has helped. Yes I can buy a train pass with a credit card. Why was this not done earlier, I mean having POS machines? I have no idea. A pleasant and minor side effect of Modi’s policy.

Just as there is good, albeit small, there is bad, in large doses.

Last Sunday HRH the Queen of Kutch’s mother i.e. the Queens Mother went to a small village on the Maharashtra Gujarat border. A charity with which she is closely associated had made a donation to a school. So Queens Mother and her associates were there for a function. This place is about 160 KM from Mumbai and a good 3 hour car ride.

Unfortunately, Queens Mother tripped and fell, badly gashing her forehead. A deep 12 centimeter cut with heavy bleeding. First aid was administered by local doctors who stemmed the bleeding and said that Queens Mother required stitches. They claimed they did not have the expertise to do the sutures, which I guess is fair enough. So Queens Mother got back into the car and drove to Jaslok Hospital where she was attended to. The wound was cleaned, a plastic surgeon stitched the flaps of skin, bandaged her, had a CAT scan done to check for skull injury and Queens Mother was sent home. Please do remember that during all this Queens Mother was fully conscious and lucid.

Now starts the insanity.

The head doctor of Casualty at Jaslok Hospital informed the Malabar Hill Police Station that Queens Mother had suffered such an injury and was being treated. Once Queens Mother was sent home, HRH the Queen settled the bill and other formalities and was told to go to the Malabar Hill Police Station to answer some questions. When researching this post, I found that the Malabar Hill Police Station is a division of the Gamdevi Police Station. Jaslok Hospital would fall within the Gamdevi Police Station jurisdiction. The Malabar Hill Police Station would have Jurisdiction in so far as Queens Mother is concerned on account of her residence.

HRH The Queen of Kutch turned up at the Malabar Hill Police Station and was sat down before an officer and a report was laboriously hand written in a register in Marathi. Please remember this is 2017, India is going Digital and this police station is in probably the richest and certainly most powerful part of Mumbai. The Governor, the Chief Minister and lots of ministers live in its jurisdiction.

Moving swiftly on. Here is a sample of the questions asked of HRH The Queen of Kutch by the Malabar Hill Police Station

How are you related to the victim? - Daughter

Where do you live? – Bandra.

Who do you live with? - My husband.

Since when do you live with him? – Since I got married

What is your religion? Huh????

Where does your mother live? Who does she live with?

Who pays for your parents household expenses?

Who pays for your household expenses?

In detail explain how she suffered this injury?

What was the name of doctor in remote village? No clue. Why didn’t you ask? Because I wasn’t there!!

Do you suspect anybody? No she fell.

Finally, this nonsense ended with a statement that though this statement is in Marathi, I have been explained the contents of the report in Hindi and I confirm that this accurately records what I have said. Also another paragraph that I am making this statement as the daughter because my mother is “shaken up” by the incident!

The statement duly signed was stapled to a photocopy of the hospital discharge summary and filed away.

Boggles my mind.

The incident took place 160 kms away. Not a single person who was present at the incident was interviewed. The victim herself was not interviewed! Nothing absolutely nothing was recorded [thankfully] at the venue. So, if there was some “foul play” who would Malabar Hill Police call? What would they investigate?

What really is going on? What is the need for this absolute claptrap? Just filling in registers. Covering or fig leafing arses? Is this really not beyond the pale?

Being rather disturbed by this, rightly so, HRH The Queen of Kutch set about calling her friends. It appears that the whole world has gone mad. Virtually any visit to the hospital casualty with an injury and more specifically injury leading to copious bleeding has to be reported to and explained at the local Police Station. The police decide if the statement requires further investigation. Apparently, no discretion by the casualty doctors. Everyone is painted with the same brush. However, if Queens Mother had been taken to a private clinic, then reporting the incident would have been at the discretion of the doctor.

Why why why?

Have we totally lost the plot in meaningless officialdom?

I despair, I really do.

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