My ebook: Journeys with the caterpillar

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Journeys with the caterpillar: Travelling through the islands of Flores
and Sumba, Indonesia
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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

This one goes to security guards in India

This one goes to the security guards in India. Post liberalization, the business of security guards has seen a boom. Guards can be seen everywhere: near schools, apartments, shops, malls, ATM machines, banks, clubs etc. Post liberalization, everyone has a need to show his need for security.

The apartment guards get poor salaries: Rs 2,500 to 5,000 a month for a twelve hour shift with no holidays. Their ambition in life is to drive their own auto-rickshaw. Their biggest joy is when the management or society for the apartment decides to provide them with a table fan after much deliberation. Amitabh Bacchan is still young and making sense to them. Most of them are Biharis or UPwalas since the sherpas and garhwalis are now deemed exotic breeds affordable only by rich Delhi homes.

They come early in the morning when aunties are going out for their 10min slow walk; and go to some dark corner in the apartment where they can change into their funny looking uniforms. They are deemed responsible for everything: for seepages in the flat, for teaching MC BC slangs to the kids and for having too many toilet breaks. They have to stand up and say good morning to all nobodies in the flat who respond by looking in other direction. They are the new custodians of Indian class system; expected to stop all not-so-well-dressed people and make them fill up a filthy notebook with their name details which serve no purpose. They have their own coterie of fan following: maids, milkman, paper guy and a few not yet narrow-minded apartment kids. In some apartments like mine; the big shots in the complex make them parade for the apartment independence and republic day celebrations in a funny exhibition of “patriotism through proxy.”

They are anyways too old for the President’s childhood bravery award and too irrelevant for a Param Vir Chakra. May be they could try for the Red and White bravery awards, but when has someone appreciated the courage of a guard when he stands up to a traveling salesman? They have their own surreal moment during lunch and dinner hours when they can be seen eating hiding their food behind the watchman’s desk; as if they ought to be ashamed for sustaining themselves.

The security guards; why can’t we look at them and give them a smile when they stand up and say us the compulsory “Hello”? We realize their need when we go to a foreign country, where they are the only people who engage you in conversations that span more than one sentence.


Anonymous said...

that was so true and such a vivid description of the reality all around.....keep blogging..

Nitesh Seth said...

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