Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Not a Penny More

The guy came rolling our LPG in and thumped the bill in my hands. He was short, a little stout with a thick moustache, and doubly arrogant. I said aloud, " 360". He said "375". I was a little confused now. I looked at the bill in every angle possible, upside down, the behind, the front, up, down, everywhere. But there was no sign of the mighty 375.

I said, "The bill says Rs 360.55. Where is the 15 Rs you are talking about?" (Did they just attach VAT for cooking gas in the budget?) What was I missing?

The guy by now was getting irritated with me, he said, "Bill is 360, my money is 375." It was my turn to get miffed. "Doesn't the agency pay you? I am gonna give you 360 and nothing more. You came in your gas van, used the lift to haul yourself up. And there are wheels under our LPG holder. Nothing was any cause of inconvenience," I said, with all the control I could muster.

He got irritated again. "Its delivery charges."
"Says who? The bill doesn't say delivery charges: Rs 15."
He laughed, probably the first time in a million years. "Madam, 375 beku."

I walked to my room, got my wallet out. No cash. I checked my jeans I had 400 and some change. Gave him Rs 360.55, signed the bill. He was really miffed.

I said,"I am not giving you anything more. Please leave."

And he did.

This happened just twenty minutes back and I am so angry that I am shaking. When I told my dad he wanted extra, he said, "Don't fight with these people, what if they don't come? Thats' how its done, give them the money and be done with it."

Why? Isn't that corruption?

I refuse to pay. I refuse to pay auto guys one penny more than the meter and all my friends know that. They, and now B, say, "Its ok, lets go, otherwise they wont come. I'll pay the extra.."

Why? Isn't that corruption?

The point is, we are scared. Scared that we wont get an auto, we wont get a gas connection, we wont get admission, we wont get our passports, we wont get a phone connection, we wont get this, we wont get that. If we don't give, we wont get.

That's how it is. This is how the system works. Really? Who made the system?

So what do we do? Don't go down without a fight. Simple.

If you think it isn't, consider this: The people of Egypt ousted 30 years of terror in two weeks. For them, Mubarak has been around forever. They could have said, "It's all over the Middle East. This is how the system is, there's nothing you can do about it."

But they didn't. Because they decided to fight.

Giving the money is the easy way out. Of course, it happens everywhere. But that doesn't make it right. We need an Egypt against the auto guy, the gas fellow, Raja, petrol prices, food prices, inflation, government and everything that's wrong.

I just mailed Lok Ayukta. I am not giving a penny more.


8 comments:

The Wandering Minstrel said...

That was a very sensible thing u did btw. i just wished u hadn't gotten angry.
i realise now how much i hurt myself when i get angry.
that ought to go. for u and for me too.

Diana said...

Agree with your view completely. Love your writing btw! Will be a regular visitor from now on. Thanks to 'The Wandering Ministrel' for introducing me to your blog :) Keep them coming!

mystupendoussalvation said...

Proud of u. :)

Me Thinks.. said...

@Reema Yeah, I wish I could control anger. But these things really get to me.

@Diana Hey Thanks! Please do. Welcome to my world ;)

@Richa Thanks!

Rashmi... said...

Welcome back Sadie :) missed you alot here...know what? Though you were on a long break but I visited this page of yours sometimes just to re-read some of your posts...

Your writing is inspirational :)

Keep Writing

angelofdusk said...

MTttttttttttttttttttt u r back and so is the reminder with a pinch of salt!! im reminded of how i wrote untiringly to the lokayuktha but gave up. time to start again. thanks!!

Prude said...

You're writing again MT and I haven't even realised!! :-) Glad to see you back!

We all make tiny compromises in life MT...you might stand indignant about the Rs 15...but take some time out and think about any areas where you might have paid a few extra rupees not coz ur scared but just for the convenience...

Ayn Rand's world doesn't exist.

lawlegend said...

if you refuse to give Rs.15, it will leads to lose of Rs.500 next time. if he fails to deliver in time, we have to take food from hotels. this is the common people's mentality in india. as a family man, i cant agitate against these kind of people. reality bites. it is easy to write, but hard to face. we are rules by black british people instead of white. our people are not like other people around the world. u cant wake them up.