Ramki Profile picture
14 Jan, 11 tweets, 2 min read
We are a people with pliable moral and ethical standards. Chalta hai, jugaad, we are like this only, kindly adjust, tedhi ungli, patli gully are cute verbal disguises for dishonesty. Taking liberties with the letter of the law has alway been okay. +
To us the law is not a diktat. It's a challenge. Like escaping from a mystery room. We rewrite and re-interpret the laws for ourselves in a more amenable, comfortable, acceptable, practical, convenient, benevolent manner.
And then we make abiding by this rewritten legal framework our way of life. In fact, we've made it a very cool thing as well. Giving and getting proxy at attendance, fudging a concession form, traveling by bus and claiming air fare, padding up travel expenses... +
... borrowing petrol and medical bills, copying in exams, getting rent bills from your own Dad, taking payment in a spouse's name, paying part in black, buying without a bill, using peons and office cars for personal work, bribing a traffic cop, ... +
... using the services of a tout at the RTO, greasing a TTE's palm, finding a railway contact to release EQ for non emergencies, buying booze and washing machines from the army canteen, getting fitness and sickness certificates without check ups... +
... getting fake medical liquor permits, writing NA without blinking an eye in application forms... these aren't violations, or even hacks... this is just how it is. This is how we are brought up. +
So when we assume offices of power, we aren't paragons of virtue. Our moral compass is already submerged in a magnetic field polluted by dubious doings. +
An old English teacher (he wasn't old then, but you know what I mean) once told me (there's a thread on this somewhere), 'shit is shit. even if you eat a little bit, it's still shit.' We've all eaten shit. +
IT, automation, and the magic of internet has de-defecated and de-touted the system a great deal. Thank heavens for it. Some dens of dicey dealings have been purged. Many a paper moves from desk to sarkari desk without palm grease. +
If we are indeed the IT wizards we think we are, this is our only hope. We train our machines to function in ways that we haven't been trained to. We code them to be on the straight and narrow. And shift every juicy chance to be dishonest out of our reach. +
So even when a worldly wise Dad tells his son, 'just slip the clerk a pink Gandhi', the son finds no opportunity to do so.


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More from @ramkid

10 Jan
Rana's mother insisted he call his father Pitaji. Not Papa, Baba, Babuji, and definitely not Daddy. 'But Ma,' he used to complain, 'this is the 21st century, not pracheen Bharat'. 'That's why I'm not asking you to call him Pitashri', she would retort. +
On the other hand, Sweety's mother, a very modern lady indeed, made sure she (Sweety) called her father Daddy. He didn't mind being called anything. Pop, Dad, Baba, Daddykins, Popsy.. as long as he got his quota of hugs and kisses from his darling daughter. +
Rana grew into a strapping young man. Earning raised (but respectful) eyebrows, when his friends heard him call his father Pitaji. But Pitaji deserved that honour. For he was an honourable man. +
Read 12 tweets
7 Jan
A watchman in our society, on an average, lasts 3 months. Just when we get a hang of each other's eccentricities, he disappears. So you have to start all over with the new man. 'Don't ever ring my bell twice... I carry my bags myself, thank you... '. And so on. +
Rakesh was different. He looked 16, though he was 21. Wide eyed, eager, sincere to a fault. He would magically get to the gate before you could honk, he'd never miss a courier, the water tank never got empty on his watch, the cars he washed sparkled. +
Before Rakesh, we had a run of disastrous men. He was like Kapil Dev walking in at 17 for 5. In a couple of days, we knew we had a keeper. Like those animated drops of lubricant in Castrol ads, Rakesh was everywhere at the same time, keeping our Society humming efficiently. +
Read 11 tweets
1 Jan
This isn't a story set in the year everyone loves to hate. In fact, that was a pretty good year for Rahul. It suited him well. He was anyway an expert at staying indoors and shunning human company. +
He liked nothing more than to make two packets of Maggi using three sachets of tastemaker, a cup of tea brewed for precisely 150 seconds, and then settle down on his chair that was specifically chosen because it could rest the plate and cup on its broad arms. And a book too. +
He'd sit there and think thoughts like 'Even my name is so lame. It's the default option every copywriter uses while writing an ad about a young executive. Don't they know most Rahuls are in their fifties now?' +
Read 17 tweets
31 Dec 20
I have only one tip for would be entrepreneurs. Make your signature short. Sala, bahut sign maarne padte hain.
I hate my signature. I'm stuck with it ever since I 'created' it for my 10th standard boards. Someone should have told me that it would haunt me all my life.
People with long names, you don't have to spell it all out. This is for you, Anantapadmanabhaswami. You can reduce your name to A scrawl i. Thank me when your accountant thumps a 79 page agreement to be signed in three directions on every page.
Read 7 tweets
20 Dec 20
My father likes to brag. Specially about his athletic abilities. Truth is, he does manage to catch the toast before it falls to the floor. At half his age, I can't do that. "Keeper's reflexes", he says. The rest of us exchange 'there he goes again' glances. Mom just smiles. +
We've heard his 'I could have played for India' story a few times. About how one dropped catch in a crucial match cost him his India berth. How he quit the game after that. And became an actuary. Instead of people studying his stats, he studied theirs. +
It's true that his keeper-reflexes have saved many a pickle jar, egg, and tea cup. He has thumbed his nose at gravity so often. we jokingly call him Rakesh Sharma. He'd have preferred Kiri or Rod or Alan. +
Read 12 tweets
15 Dec 20
Bill Bernbach, the most quotable of all the advertising Gods, once said, "It's not a principle till it costs you money.' It is only as an entrepreneur (I wish there was a less ostentatious word for this), that I fully understood the genius of that simple sentence. +
Every now and again, you meet a moral dilemma. They are the most troubling kind. Unlike the 'sambar daalke ya alag?' variety of dilemma. I'm talking about business opportunities that come with the faint, or not so faint, whiff of blackness in the lentils. +
We live in a grayscale world. Viewed through multi-hued glasses. A world where doctored and engineered have unflattering meanings. Forget about squeaky clean, nobody even seems to be scratchy clean. Even hallowed seems like a typo for hollowed. +
Read 9 tweets

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