My mind was made up. I would not waste a day more in approaching the neighbourhood bank for a loan of Rs 5 crores. But I was not too sure if the bank would as readily make up its mind about my creditworthiness with such a large sum. How would I know that, I thought, unless I took the first step. All my life I had been following the principle “neither a borrower nor a lender be”, so I was ignorant of the ways to charm your lender about your creditworthiness.
Bankers are neat, tidy people. Strutting in their three piece suits they take naturally to those so dressed. So I took out my best suit -a little frayed in places but it had been considered fashinable once.It stood for stability, mocking the fickle mindedness of my colleagues who seemed to change their suits half a dozen times every winter. Whatever. Looking my best I presented myself before the manager who made a huge effort to look pleasant and polite, though I could sense that he had sniffed me with his banker’s nose that I was an interloper. He made me sit. I thought he had no option – the three chairs in front of him were all vacant!
Without any further ceremony he talked business. Without any ceremony I stated my purpose – I wanted a loan of Rs 5 crores. He just stared at me. Then he took out a neatly folded handkerchief, wiped the nonexistent beads of sweat from his brow and asked with an exaggerated – almost faux politeness, “what do you do, sir.” “I am a retired police officer and I draw a pension of Rs 80, 000 per month”. He stared at me longer, harder and with more venom. “Before we get to the other details sir, what will you do with this huge sum? You said you had retired?” “I want to buy a Hummer.”He looked quite uncomprehendingly at me now, doubting my sanity. “I said it is not an impulsive decision, it is not a fad. I have given it days of careful thought .You see, actually my first choice was an ocean liner. But it would have been very expensive and quite beyond my means. But even if I had the means there was still the problem of berthing facilities, the uneven depths would require a proper channel to be dug up. Quite expensive. Then I thought of an amphibian vehicle. But that would have raised the hackles of the buggers in Intelligence Bureau and who knows even the CIA might have shown interest. Who wants trouble with these paranoid cops?” I could see his face getting contorted with impatience or incomprehension I could not tell but it looked like he was going to get a stroke. I wanted to give some more details only to convince him that I was not a loony bugger lately escaped from the asylum. Sensing that he was in some distress I stopped. After considerable time and effort he barked at me at an almost subsonic level.“What the hell is a Hummer and why do you want it?”
“Oh I see. I have a Maruti 800 so I want to buy a Hummer. I have heard that it is the sturdiest heavy duty SUV or whatever and with its high chassis it can clear any obstacles. Some of my loan will go to buy the vehicle and the rest to get it periodically filled up, what with the prices of petrol going up by the hour, one has to be well provided for. Dhoni owns one such SUV.” He still looked puzzled. Dear me! I should have told him. “Well my house is in the Gandhi Vihar Colony, in Patna. Now don’t tell me, you don’t know where Patna is. Amitabh Bacchan was here recently and the sheer beauty of the city sent him into raptures. The word is that Joseph Stieglitz who came here for a visit made enquiries about a suitable property.Patna is likely to overtake Paris in terms of beuaty and grandeur and the mayor of Paris is already feeling threatened; he is keenly studying the pattern of construction and destruction in the city. It rekindled the hopes of the likes of Lord Nicholas Stern, professor of economics, London School of Economics as a model for urban renewal and regeneration. Never mind that it gets inundated even when it just threatens to rain. And if it actually does then it is deluge. I have my house there so I am supposed to go there, aren’t I?”
He lost his cool. “Living in Patna you dream of an existence free of water logging.Next you will come up for buying a garbage disposal truck because garbage doesn’t get cleaned up. You may like to buy an incinerator, or build a brand new power station for yourself because there is no electricity. You better go to the moon. There are no problems of water logging there, none of garbage disposal.” I was quick to catch the symbolism of my banishment to moon. He was convinced I was touched in some corner of my head and to escape me he seemed ready to throw himself out of the window. I reluctantly made a move.
But I still have the problem at hand. Perpetual problem .If by some miracle, at some future date the stagnant pool of water does dry up (Well if the Ganges can, cannot the pool around my house?) there will be the piles of garbage and construction rubble. Inspired by Ferrari Kee Sawari an incipient but passing thought crossed my mind “Shall I steal Dhoni’s Hummer? Immediately the former police officer in me caught the momentarily way ward law abiding citizen by the scruff of his collar. I am still waiting at the bank to hitch a ride back home, on my private island, from some lucky guy with a Scorpio .
Sir, I am afraid that you may be charged for having fun like an island even at your doorstep. It shows the pathetic condition of people living in Patna though it's true for all Bihar with slight changing type of problems. We are bound to live in such a lawless society where all the basic amenities like health & hygiene, education, road, traffic, electricity, law & order, water-supply and many more..... all are on stake. Nobody is safe in such a lawless society. It seems they are taking revenge with unfortunate citizens. Some days earlier read a facebook post by an other IPS officer of Bihar Cadre that, "If someone eager to make it Paris, he should legally change the name of Patna as Paris and then it will become Paris without having any stress for betterment of the city". Sir, you are lucky to have a neighbour with Scorpio.
“Neend akhir ud gayee, ab karwaten badla karo;
Hum na kahte the, sunahare khwab kam dekha karo.”
Don’t you worry. Still some way out for you!! You did have to pay a price for dreaming of a Hummer!! Had you taken some worthwhile advice from a well wishers, - (like me), I would have given you a free million dollar advice that you simply and cheaply buy a motor boat which could see you through the deluge and ravages of inundations right from Jul to Oct. Thereafter, you could modify your boat by latest ‘JUGAAD’ technology which is on its way in. This could safely take you through the winter and summer – not forgetting that in these intervening months too, you would be forced to latch back to your good old boat many a times. And mind you –NO TAXES AT ALL!!!! This way you would have also saved some money over tidying up your ‘Armani’!!!
Thanks Rajneesh for your very apt comments.Colonel Sharma your wholesom advice comes a little too late but I am sure it will be of immense help to me next year because because the problem is going to be worse - we have one more year of Sushahsan left . I hope when things take a turn for the worse we can hope for better days .
Thanks for the prompt comments. It was all in the lighter veins. Loved your musings.
I love reading your posts. This one particularly for its dark humour. It is bitter irony that an honest and upright officer such as yourself, should have to put up with this. An unforgiving fury would be a more common reaction, I guess. Bihar earned a bad reputation under Laloo Yadav. Nitish Kumar clearly has outdone him with his own brand of corruption and bad governance. Karl Marx's observation that "History repeats itself, first as tragedy and second as farce" is Bihar's unfortunate political Predestination. A farce with humour, but only for 'the Elect' few.
Sir,while living in Patna one will have to negotiate hard with all most infernal condition of living. What you expect from the politicians who have made the concept of good governance a mere hoax ?Their sheer indifference towards pangs of sufferings unleashed by a short spell of torrential rain has once more proved that how hollow is their claim to espouse genuine public issues.It is really agonising to see that how literary leviathans like you get stranded at times by a deluge triggered by chocked drainage system of patna or by corrupt duo of officials and politicians who have mortgaged their conscience to the devil just for handful of silver coins. As usual sir at his best but this time more for your vitriolic swiftian satirical tone.
Waiting for Scorpio to return ? But how did you reach the bank in the first place ?
Good question Mr. Anonymous . On the wings of my fancy ,claiming a little bit of poetic license,eh!
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