I happened to mention earlier about attending a panel discussion on the power of media at the Ethiraj College. This had happened a few weeks ago and one of the questions that was posed to all of us by the moderator Mr Gnani - When did you feel powerless being in the media? At that point in time I did not have answer. I did not even know whether that would apply to me the singer. Because there I was only answering questions as a singer.
But now I do. Every morning on Aahaa Kaapi Klub is a dream come true because it gives me a feeling that I am actively contributing to some sort of a change in the city and the society. I have a faithful audience, an even more faithful set of callers who pour out their woes and offer opinions on how change can happen. I have somehow believed that if we keep saying the good thing, the power of word will manifest into action sooner or later.
But this morning was like a kick in the gut. One of my regular callers came on air to say that no matter what we say or discuss nothing is going to happen in this city. Asking him why gave me an answer that I didn't believe I would hear. He reminded me of the day that the Corporation Commissioner of Chennai came to the show and said he would take action on all the complaints that the callers registered. And he did. I was a witness to all the calls he kept making while songs kept playing and even called people who were outside his range of control. And the same caller that I am mentioning now, called that day again, to say "Thanks - I have hope that something will be done with regard to my issue, as the corporation has followed up". I haven't felt that happy too often in this short lifespan. And today he happened to mention that yes, the call happened but no action has been taken. As someone who genuinely wishes and wants to do anything as a law abiding citizen to make the city a better place, it crushed the hope that I had that things can happen in the city.
But then its not the Commissioner's fault. He did his duty to let the other employees of the corporation know and also followed up a couple of times. It is those under him who did not do the work.
Another personal instance yesterday when I had to take my car for an insurance claim cause I rammed into one of those makeshift concrete slab medians (that are hapazhazardly piled up in the middle of the roads, which are also shifted and removed by the respected citizens of Chennai according to their convenience) while trying to avoid one of those share autos who cut in like a maniac. If I had not rammed into the median perhaps my car door would have gone for a six. These buggers coolly shout out to you "claim insurance!!" as if the guys at the Insurance company are just waiting to settle claims. I take my car for service asking for insurance claim, people at the car company say I need a police certificate for this case. I go to the station, I am told that I need to pay a bribe to get a police cert. Now all that I do is say I will come back. I have by then decided that I am not going to bribe. Like I have said on my show, bribing is a two-way deal. I'd rather pay the bill at the service station. At least those guys seem to be doing their work. No insurance will be claimed but the silver lining is I get an NCB.
But before, you the reader starts commenting that we are cheated out of our taxes, or that I can probably afford to pay for the damages of my car and how most people in India cannot, or that's why bribing will thrive, let me offer my humble opinion.
If there are officials in the Government, Corporation, Electricity board and whatnot asking for bribes and not doing what they are paid for in the first place and probably whiling away their time, like shown in Anniyan, we the citizens have allowed such people to work for us. By, us the complainers. The cribbers. Because people like us don't work for the corporation or the country cos hey its not worthwhile or its below dignity. So at the end of the day, we are to blame.
Perhaps Superman or Spiderman none of them can help. Not even God. Lets enjoy being Indians, crib some more and eventually pass away from this country after a lifetime of cribbing.